State Governing Board

The Common Cause Illinois Board is made up of community, business, and religious leaders from across the state. The Illinois Board provides stategic direction on the programs, campaigns, and overall development of the state organization. Read their biographies below or contact Brian Gladstein for more information at

Corky Siegel

Corky Siegel is known internationally as one of the world's great blues harmonica players, and is a celebrated composer, blues pianist, singer, songwriter, band leader and author.

Along with the likes of John Cage, Steve Reich, Phillip Glass, and Meredith Monk, he is the recipient of a Meet the Composer/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program for New American Music grant for chamber music composition resulting in the popular "Aunt Lila's Suite" with his Chamber Blues ensemble; he has also been honored with the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award for Music Composition, the Chicago Music Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame.

Ami Gandhi

Board Chair Ami Gandhi is the Director of Voting Rights and Civic Empowerment at Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights (CLC). Ami works to reduce voting barriers and increase civic participation. In the 2016 election, Ami led efforts for statewide voter protection. Ami worked on the behalf of communities of color during the Illinois redistricting effort and advised local election boards when Hindi ballots were first implemented in the country. Before working for the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, Ami was the Executive Director at the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI), and the Legal Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago. Ami is also on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. She received the 2015 Changemaker Award from Chicago Fair Trade for her role in passing anti-sweatshop laws and the 2015 Public Interest Award from the South Asian Bar Association of North America.

Steve Hausheer

Steve Hausheer is a senior digital marketing executive with 20+ years of experience concentrating on entertainment marketing and management. Putting his George Carlinesque good looks aside... Steve is aptly described as both a high energy "bullet train" and a "pragmatic visionary." Steve is an active member of the digital marketing community as a speaker, educator, and author. He has taught at DePaul University Chicago, and Wuhan University, Wuhan, China. Steve has volunteered at Common Cause Illinois since 2012.

Dan Conley

Dan Conley is the founder and owner of Beacon Communications in Greater Chicago. He specializes in serving as strategic counsel to organizations seeking to build their profile, credibility, and visibility with hard-to-reach business audiences. Dan is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Lyle Hyde

Lyle Hyde is a retired environmental engineer. Lyle became active in politics after the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. Lyle is a founder of the Coalition to Restore Democracy, a group which advocates for campaign finance reform. The coalition played a central grassroots role in gaining bipartisan support for the passage of a resolution through the state House and Senate maing Illinois the 14th of 19 states so far calling for a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United.

Juanita Irizarry

Juanita Irizarry is the executive director of Friends of the Parks, a Chicago-based nonprofit which protects the city's parks and forest preserves. She has held posts with the Hispanic Housing Development Corp., Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp., and the Resurrection Project. She worked with community groups to maintain affordable housing near the 606 trail on the Northwest Side. Irizarry was also executive director of the advocacy group Latinos United, now known as the Latino Policy Forum.

Bruce Elder

Rabbi Bruce Elder was born in Youngstown, Ohio. He graduated from Indiana University, Phi Beta Kappa, with a bachelor's degree in History and Psychology with certification in Jewish Studies. Upon graduation, Rabbi Elder moved to Chicago where he worked for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA), a Jewish social justice organization dedicated to empowering Chicago's diverse communities. His work at the JCUA led him to become a rabbi. He entered Hebrew Union College, the Reform movement's theological seminary, and was ordained in 1996. He served as an assistant rabbi for a congregation in Cherry Hill, New Jersey before moving back to Chicago in 1999. Rabbi Elder served as Associate Rabbi of Congregation Hakafa in Glencoe, IL and again on the staff of the JCUA until assuming the position of Rabbi at Hakafa in 2002. Rabbi Elder lives in Highland Park with his wife, Rona, and their three sons, Joshua, Noah, and Eli.

Anna Fenton-Hathaway

Anna Fenton-Hathaway earned her Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University and is currently the Managing Editor of Literature and Medicine as well as an advisor for the Northwestern Public Health Review.

Bryan Echols

Bryan Echols is the cofounder and CEO of Cocnerned Black Men of Metropolitan Chicago, the Chicago chapter of Concerned Black Men Nation. CBM is a nonprofit founded with the goal of providing assistance and mentorship to youth, families, and communities. Bryan was previously the executive director for the Metropolitan Area Group for Igniting Civilization, a nonprofit which empowers youth in Chicago.

Shanta Premawardhana

Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana is the current president of the Omnia Institute for Contextual Leadership. He founded the Chicago Ashram of Jesus Christ, a Christian community with outreach to South Asian immigrants, and served for fourteen years as senior pastor of Ellis Avenue Church on the South Side of Chicago. Additionally, Shanta has served as the Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations at the National Council of Churches of Christ in New York. Most recently, Shanta served as director of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches (WCC), a worldwide fellowship of 349 Protestant and Orthodox churches/denominations based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Shanta currently serves as a member of the governing board of the National Council of Churches USA, and as a member of the board of trustees of the Parliament of the World's Religions. In recognition of his ministry, the Academy of Parish Clergy named him 1998 Parish Pastor of the Year, and the Islamic Society of North America awarded him the Interfaith Unity Award in 2007. Shanta is originally from Sri Lanka and currently lives in Chicago.

Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth R. Foster is a partner at Kilkenny Capital Management, LLC. She joined the firm in 1996 as Chief Operating Officer and Client Services Director and retired in 2007. She brought 15 years of investment management and securities industry experience with her to the company.

Elizabeth is Founder and Co-Chairperson of Hedge Funds Care Midwest and has sat on the Executive Committee of the International Board of Hedge Funds Care since its inception. She currently serves as a trustee of the Corporation of Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago and as the chairwoman of the Investment Committee. Prior to these roles, she served a three year term as an Elder at Fourht Presbyterian Church.

In 2005, Elizabeth joined the Leadership Council of the Harvard School of Public Health, which helps raise awareness around the world about public health issues. She is a trustee of the McCormick Theological Seminary, and a member of the new Women's Board at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Joy Rogers

Rev. Joy Rogers is the provost of the St. James Cathedral. Prior to becoming a theologian, Rev. Joy Rogers was a critical care nurse. A native of Pennsylvania and life-long Episcopalian, Rogers earned a Master of Divinity degree in Parish Ministry and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Homiletics from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, where she now serves as a trustee. She is married to Nathaniel rogers and is the mother of Amy and Jonathan, and the grandmother of Adelle Joy.

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