Editorial: Introducing our advisory Sounding Board 2.0
Two and a half years ago, 10 volunteers from the suburbs joined together as our first advisory Sounding Board, and we're so grateful for the contributions they made to broaden our perspectives on the issues facing the community and our world.
Today, we introduce the second iteration of that panel, grown now to 15 members. We're calling them Sounding Board 2.0 (or in the august tradition of Congress, would it be better to refer to the group as the 2nd Sounding Board?).
Several members of the original group are staying, and we're pleased about that. We value their expertise and their insights. Their experience on the board also provides it with some continuity.
Several new members have been added, and we're excited about that. Not only will they add to the diversity of voices on the board, but they add new energy as well.
We met via Zoom with the newly installed advisory panel recently and we could feel the renewed energy among all participants, us included.
The new board, like the previous one, is composed of men and women of varying ages, ethnicities, ideologies and walks of life.
The point of the panel is not to take over the role of the Editorial Board. The editorial positions we take remain the responsibility of that board.
The Sounding Board's role is to help us avoid our blind spots.
That is, to help us better consider the viewpoints of the wide variety of people and interests in the community. And to expand the expertise we're listening to while formulating our positions.
We don't just seek the Sounding Board's help in formulating our positions -- but also in identifying interests and topics we may consider.
All of us have limited perspectives. It's human nature. We are largely creations of our environments and experiences.
We want to make sure, as much as possible, that we are not ignoring important topics and viewpoints simply because we're unaware of them.
This is not about shifting philosophies, but about entertaining ideas or arguments that otherwise might not occur to us.
As we said when we introduced the original Sounding Board in January 2019: "The idea is to add depth and perspective to the work of our editorials."
It's clear that the suburbs have diversified greatly in the past several years. What's sometimes less apparent is how wide that diversity is.
It's in ethnicity, in religion, in age, in income level, in education, in lifestyle, in political thought, in health, in technology, in language, in definitions of family.
How much have the suburbs changed? Take a look at the political makeup of congressional seats and the General Assembly. These used to be predominantly Republican in the suburbs; now they are predominantly Democratic.
It's easy to get tunnel vision, easy to lose sight of all of the challenges and opportunities and real-life issues that play out around us.
As the suburbs diversify, we must find ways to diversify ourselves to stay in touch with it, to help in this new suburban mosaic to fulfill our mission to make the world a little better place.
The Sounding Board is one of the ways we try to do that.
We look forward to working with Sounding Board 2.0 and thank the members for their participation.
Following are brief profiles of the new and returning members of the advisory board:
Professional background: Co-founder of Immigrant Solidarity DuPage
Community involvement: Activist working to advance the empowerment of the Latino community in Chicago's western suburbs since his teens. With the motto of Community + Struggle + Culture, Immigrant Solidarity DuPage struggles for the dignity and decency of the Latino community and seeks to cultivate community vision, leadership and creativity, as "a home for the soul-life of the Latino community" in an often spread-out and decentralized suburban climate.
Professional background: Pandemic Health Navigator for the Elgin YWCA, also home schooling a high school junior and a second-grader.
Community involvement: Former candidate for Elgin U-46 School District Board of Education; Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois volunteer; youth programs consultant with One Neighborhood Empowered (O. N. E) Community Center and Gym; former teacher assistant at Carpentersville Middle School; summer programs teacher for The Elgin Recreation Center.Community involvement: Former candidate for Elgin Area U-46 School District Board of Education; Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois volunteer; youth programs consultant with One Neighborhood Empowered (O.N.E.) Community Center and Gym; former teacher assistant at Carpentersville Middle School; summer programs teacher for The Elgin Recreation Center.
Lucy Chang Evans
Lucy Chang Evans
Professional background: Civil engineer; MBA candidate at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign hoping to pivot into career of data storytelling; former Secret Service agent
Community involvement: As a former candidate for Naperville City Council, Evans expressed her passion for social, environmental, economic sustainability.
Hometown: Hoffman Estates
Professional background: CEO of Corgenius; a fellow in Thanatology (study of death, loss, grief, aging and transition); has taught graduate classes at Loyola University Chicago for 10 years; former executive director of a small nonprofit; author of more than 200 articles and several books.
Community involvement: Has volunteered at area parishes; facilitates support groups for widowed people; returning Sounding Board member
Hometown: Crystal Lake
Professional background: Humanities professor and department chair at Harper College in Palatine; taught art history at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake and art history and appreciation at Elgin Community College
Community involvement: Choir member at Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation in McHenry; performs at Festival of the Voice at the Raue Center in Crystal Lake to raise money for PADS; cooks meals for homeless neighbors at Compassion for Campers events ; returning Sounding Board member
Hometown: Hawthorn Woods
Professional background: Retired director of project management at Abbott labs and several other companies; pharmaceutical executive with over 35 years experience in sales, marketing and research and development
Community involvement: Former trustee for College of Lake County; past president of Islamic foundation North; founder and chairman of Northern Illinois American Muslim Alliance; returning Sounding Board member
Allison "AJ" Johnson
Allison "AJ" Johnson
Hometown: Lake Villa
Professional background: Retired disabled Army veteran of 26 years. Currently teaches High School Army JROTC.
Community involvement: Former candidate for Lake Villa mayor; advocate for youths, infrastructure investment. political term limits and other issues; Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity; American Legion; Disabled American Veterans; Political Action Chair for Lake County NAACP; Lake Villa Township Lions Club; court appointed special advocate volunteer; Cedar Crossing II HOA board member; precinct committeeman; Sunday school teacher
Hometown: Arlington Heights
Professional background: Assistant editor at The Heartland Institute; dancer, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter
Community involvement: Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Columbia College Chicago; former candidate for Arlington Heights Public Library Board of Trustees
Professional background: Managing director of marketing and commercialization education at Northwestern University's Innovation and New Ventures Office; former secondary school science teacher; former research scientist
Community Involvement: Former school board member for Glenbrook High Schools District 225
Hometown: Arlington Heights
Professional background: Executive director of the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin; has worked in senior management at public libraries for 34 years
Community involvement: Arlington Heights Library Board trustee; former president of the Illinois Library Association and Rotary Club of Rolling Meadows; music teacher; member of church building committee; 2013 Illinois Librarian of the Year; returning Sounding Board member
Professional background: Pastor, Second Baptist Church of Elgin
Community involvement: U.S. Army veteran; cum laude Judson University graduate with BA in Christian Ministries; former associate minister at Original Philadelphia Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago; former interim pastor at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago.
Professional background: Retired Illinois Senate Republican leader; served in the senate for 20 years, last nine as first female caucus leader in state history; former LaGrange village trustee. Before politics, used her master's in social work degree in the mental health field.
Community involvement: A member of J.B Pritzker's transition team; K-12 substitute teacher; board member for Adance Illinois, an education policy organization; returning Sounding Board member
Hometown: Barrington Hills
Professional background: President of OTTO Engineering in Carpentersville; worked 30 years at OTTO, 12 years at Baxter Travenol
Community involvement: Board member, Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township; served on Elgin Symphony Orchestra board; former Barrington Unit District 220 school board member; returning Sounding Board member
Hometown: Hanover Park
Professional background: Former pricing analyst at General Electric -- Healthcare; works with not-for-profit organizations to translate documents for refugees, address gender inequality and respond to climate change.
Community involvement: Former Hanover Park village board member; , with service on Cultural Inclusion and Diversity Committee, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Diversity Task Force, Age-Friendly Collaborative, Environment Committee; member of Elgin Area U-46 Citizens Advisory Committee and School Improvement Community partner; National League of Cities' Human Development Committee Vice Chair; Race, Equity and Leadership Council; Women in Municipal Government board member; United Nations Women Chicago; Women's Empowerment Campaign
Professional background: Executive with IBM and former owner of three businesses
Community involvement: Benefactor of Mundelein High School Incubator since its inception); Vice President, Loch Lomond Property Owners Association; Veteran Mentor, American Corporate Partnership; Co- Founder, 100+ People Who Care Northern Illinois; Big Sister; co-founder, A-MAY-ZING Mundelein; former Mundelein village trustee