Board of Directors

Our board of directors plays an important role in supporting CNT's impact. We're honored to have had so many community leaders and national leaders, like former CNT board member Barack Obama, donate their time and talents to our organization.

2019 Board Members

Robert C. Henderson, EdD, Chair
Principal, The Henderson Consulting Group

Robert Henderson is Principal Consultant for The Henderson Consulting Group — specializing in the development of high performance organizations and providing services in management consulting, leadership, organization development, diversity, and executive coaching. His clients have included such companies as American Express, AT&T, BP/Amoco, General Electric, Hallmark, Exxon, Prudential, Rochester Regional Health, Ohio Health, United Technologies, Xerox, and the Chicago White Sox. He is an entrepreneur, business consultant and foundation executive and religious leader. He is president of the Philanthropic Division and member of the Executive Team of Baharicom Development Company Ltd., which is managing a $200 million project to build a 17,000 km fiber optic cable from France to South Africa, connecting Europe and the world to 23 African countries. Bob is a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, the national governing body of the American Bahá’í community, and was a founder and senior vice-president of Air Atlanta, the first United States African-American owned jet airline in the history of aviation. Bob holds a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts. He has published several articles and books on management systems and in-service training programs.

Margaret O’Dell, Vice Chair

Margaret served for 20 years as program officer for environment at the Joyce Foundation, and now consults for foundations and not-for-profits and is working on a book on philanthropy and global challenges. She has academic degrees from Carleton College and the University of Chicago. A long-time resident of the Great Lakes basin, she is an avid supporter of freshwater lakes, energy and water efficiency, natural landscaping, and sustainable cities.

Bennett Johnson III, Treasurer
Co-Founder and Managing Director, Oceans Holdings LLC

Bennett is treasurer of CNT’s board. He currently is Chairman and President of The UCI Group, Inc. Bennett spent over 15 years working with and assisting the public sector in Illinois and throughout the US become more efficient and effective. ‎A lifelong Chicagoan‎, Bennett worked with the City of Chicago’s Department of Finance and as the city's Budget Director. He holds a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering Sciences from Harvard University and a Master of Economics in Industrial Engineering and Personnel Management from the London School of Economics.

Steve Schlickman, Secretary
President, Schlickman & Associates

Steve has over 38 years of experience in advancing transportation programs and projects. In doing so, he has been responsible for obtaining billions of dollars of public funding for Chicago area transportation needs. He currently is in private consulting practice and is an adjunct assistant assistance professor in the UIC College of Urban Planning and Policy (CUPPA). Previously Steve was the Executive Director of the CUPPA Urban Transportation Center from 2010 to 2015. Before that, he was the Executive Director of the Regional Transportation Authority from 2005 to 2010 where he managed a $3.7 billion annual operating and capital budget. In 2007 and early 2008, Steve led the effort to obtain state legislation providing over $500 million annually in new operating assistance which averted significant Chicago area service cuts and fare increases. Steve has been involved in most major surface transportation initiatives in Illinois and on the federal level since 1980. He has been a national leader in the transit industry for which he formed on-going coalitions such as the New Start Working Group (sponsors of rail expansion projects) and the Metropolitan Rail Discussion Group (the most extensive and oldest rail/bus transit systems in the nation). He has also worked on aviation and other public infrastructure initiatives, most notably the congressional passage of the airport passenger facility charge authorization in 1990, which has funded billions of dollars of improvements for O’Hare and Midway Airports. As the first director of Chicago Mayor Daley’s Washington DC office, Steve oversaw Chicago’s involvement in all federal legislation affecting municipal government including the Clean Air Act amendments, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Community Development Block Grant funding. He is currently on the American Public Transportation Legislative Steering Committee. Steve is a graduate of DePaul University Law School and Georgetown University College of Liberal Arts.

Kirk Chamberlain
Vice President, Hub International

Mr. Chamberlain’s career comprises more than 25 years of experience in project management, advisory, line management, technology evaluation, capital formation, business development and due diligence roles for a wide variety of private and public sector clients in the capital projects, risk management, healthcare, life sciences, PPP/PFI, energy & utilities, oil & gas, technology, social services, and media sectors. Over his professional career, Mr. Chamberlain has been posted in the US and abroad while working on projects in more than 50 countries, and has been a periodic speaker and presenter at various international conferences and industry seminars on project development, PPPs/infrastructure privatization, construction & project risk management, risk financing, private equity, and Islamic (Shari’ah-compliant) investment & risk management issues. Mr. Chamberlain sits on several boards for companies in the biofuels, smart grid management, energy storage, healthcare IT, technology accelerator and broadcast media sectors.

Robert Dean
Chief Executive Officer, CNT 

Bob joined CNT as CEO in 2018. Prior to CNT, Bob served as the Deputy Executive Director for Planning for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). During his 10 years with CMAP, he created and then oversaw the Local Technical Assistance program, which has offered planning assistance to local governments across the region through over 200 local planning projects. Before initiating the LTA program, Bob managed GO TO 2040, the award-winning comprehensive plan for the Chicago metropolitan area that was adopted in October 2010. After leaving CMAP in 2017, he consulted for Chicago's Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and RW Ventures on local governance and economic development projects during 2018. Prior to CMAP, Bob worked in municipal government for five years, serving as a transportation and land use planner for the City of Naperville, Illinois and a transportation planning liaison for the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference. Bob holds a master's degree in planning from Cornell University and a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Delaware. He is originally from the Philadelphia region. He currently lives in Evanston, IL with his wife, two children, two cats, and lizard. 

Obinna Ekwueme
Vice President, Business Banking Relationship Manager, Fifth Third Bank

Obi Ekwueme is responsible for the day to day management of a loan portfolio for Fifth Third Bank as well as new loan origination, with specialties in commercial real estate lending, CNI lending, residential property, and wealth managerial investing. Obi prides himself on being well rounded, passing the CFA 1 exam and is a Series 7/66 holder in Investment Advising. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

Bernard J. Ford

Bernard J. Ford spent his entire career in the transportation sector, most notably influencing public transit in executive positions for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). Ford first joined the CTA in 1956 as a training assistant and worked his way up to Chief Administrative Officer before becoming the first chief of staff at the RTA, when it formed in the mid-1970s. Ford also served as a leader for the United Nations’ railway review team in Zambia during this time. He was Executive Director of the RTA from 1979-1982. Then-Mayor Jane Byrne asked him to return to the CTA as Executive Director in 1982, which he did before accepting leadership roles at both local and international engineering firms, first in 1985 and through 2010. He served as President of the CTA on a second occasion at the request of Mayor Daley in 1989/90. During his time in the private sector, Ford led several projects that made a lasting mark on Chicago’s landscape, from the CTA Green Line Rehabilitation to the world-renowned Millennium Park. He remains active with the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Now retired, Ford is a lifelong Chicagoan whose work has positively affected transit policies and practices here in Chicago, across the nation, and even the world.

Stefan Gspurning

Head of Digital Mobility Solutions NA, Robert Bosch LLC

Stefan Gspurning is the current Head of Digital Mobility Solutions NA for the Bosch Group and leads a strategy team in Chicago on the future ofr urban mobility. In his current role, he is responsible for identifying key market trends in the changing landscape of mobility and providinge input to the urban mobility strategy of the Bosch Group.

He is a global expert in vehicle connectivity, disruptive business models and digital transformation. He joined Bosch in 2012 as a Management Trainee for the Automotive Aftermarket division. Gspurning worked in various locations around the world including Karlsruhe, Berlin, Tokyo, and Palo Alto prior to joining his current team in Chicago. 

Stefan holds a master’s degree in international business administration and marketing from the University of Vienna in Austria and a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a focus on finance, from the University of Applied Science Northwestern Switzerland. 

Anne Hallett

Anne began serving a third term on CNT’s board in 2015. She is the director emeritus of Grow Your Own Illinois, an innovative partnership that supports non-traditional candidates to become highly effective teachers. She founded and served 11 years as Executive Director of the Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform, a network of school reform leaders in large cities. Her previous experience includes service as Executive Director of the Wieboldt Foundation in Chicago, the founding Executive Director of the Chicago Panel on School Policy and as Executive Director of Citizens Education Center in Seattle, Wash. Anne is also a board member of Elevate Energy and a life member of Interfaith Youth Core. 

Ann P. Kalayil, PhD
Bureau Chief of Asset Management, Cook County, IL

Ms. Kalayil oversees real estate development, capital planning and construction, and facilities management for 19 million square feet of Cook County real estate; she manages an annual capital budget of $269 million dollars, an operational budget or $55 million and manages a little over 530 employees. Previously, Ann was an Obama appointee serving for six years as the first woman Regional Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration in the Great Lakes Region. As the agency’s regional chief executive, she headed operations that supported federal agencies and the U.S. Courts in six states. She also served as the first Digital Strategist for GSA's Workplace program, where she developed the framework of integrating technology in workplace strategy and design. Prior to the GSA, Ann worked for more than 18 years at the University of Chicago in Information Technology Services. She's taught courses at DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Northeastern Illinois University, and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ann is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow.

Bo Kemp
Senior Director, Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting

Bo Kemp partners with cities, civic entities, as well as private companies to drive growth, tackle major initiatives and boost efficiency. He is particularly experienced in public-private partnerships (P3), municipal operations and infrastructure development. Bo has built a national network of advisors, advocates, and government leaders, and he has a reputation for driving innovation in municipal utilities, public infrastructure, and economic development for "legacy" cities. Bo spent the first decade of his professional career in finance with Morgan Stanley & Co. and TSG Capital Group, a private equity group. Then, after leading Cory A. Booker’s successful transition to the office of Mayor of Newark, N.J., Bo became the city’s Business Administrator (COO). In his three years with Booker (now a U.S. Senator), Bo and the senior leadership team helped Newark evolve from a city close to bankruptcy to a community growing in population for the first time in 40 years. Bo enjoys traveling and hopes to visit 100 countries in his lifetime. He’s a dangerous golfer (and not in the good way) but an aspiring aquaponics and micro farmer. Bo holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in economics from Yale University.

Jeremy Liu

Principal, Creative Ecology

Jeremy joined the CNT Board in 2011 and shortly thereafter the Board of Directors of I-GO Car Sharing. He led the strategic re-envisioning of a 36-year-old community development corporation using the social determinants of health as a fundamental framework shift for building healthy neighborhoods. He is the managing director of Creative Development Partners; the co-founder of Creative Ecology Partners; and a Senior Fellow at PolicyLink. As an artist, he has promoted Bitter Melon, mapped neighborhood bitterness, and won both the Artadia Award and the Blue Ribbon at the America's oldest county fair, the Topsfield Fair.

Ceasar McDowell, EdD
Professor of the Practice of Civic Design, MIT | DUSP

Ceasar is professor of the practice of Community Design at MIT and former President of Interaction Institute for Social Change. He holds an Ed.D. and M.Ed. from Harvard. Ceasar’s current work is on the design of new inclusive civic infrastructure, development of community knowledge systems and civic engagement. He has been working on the use of narrative and story making as a tool for sharing and maintaining grassroots knowledge. His research and teaching interests also include the use of mass media and technology in promoting democracy and community-building, the development and use of empathy in community work, civil rights history, peacemaking and conflict resolution. He is also founder of MIT’s Co-Lab (previously named Center for Reflective Community Practice), co-founder of The Civil Rights Forum on Telecommunications Policy, and founding board member of The Algebra Project.

Dick Munson
Director, Midwest Clean Energy, Environmental Defense Fund

Dick is the author of Tesla: Inventor of the Modern and director at the Environmental Defense Fund, Midwest Clean Energy, where he works to advance the use of clean energy in Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Mr. Munson focuses on creating new financing opportunities for efficiency, on ensuring smart meters provide the real-time data that will enable consumers to cut energy and pollution, and on building the business case for efficiency within commercial buildings.He previously served as the senior vice president of Recycled Energy Development and also authored From Edison to Enron, a history of the electricity industry. He has a Bachelor of Arts from University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Arts from the University of Michigan.

Mary O’Connell

Mary's connection to CNT began in 1984, when she became managing editor and later editor of its monthly publication, The Neighborhood Works (1984-95). She has been a CNT board member since 2008. As a communications consultant she works principally with nonprofit and foundation clients. Ms. O’Connell directed communications for the Joyce Foundation (1996-2008) and led award-winning coverage of national health care policy at American Medical News (1993-95). Her publications include Welfare to Work: What Have We Learned? (2002); School Reform Chicago Style (1991); and The Gift of Hospitality: Opening the Doors of Community Life to People with Disabilities (1988). Ms. O’Connell graduated from Loyola University Chicago and holds an M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania. A Chicago native, she lives in Rogers Park.

Lindene Patton
Partner, Tort Liability, Risk Management, Insurance, Fintech, Cyber Security, Earth and Water Law, LLC

Lindene is a strategic advisor with deep experience in large loss litigation strategy/recovery; climate attribution; risk management; product development; corporate advocacy; compliance; real property data and analytics; specialty risks (professional liability, D&O, nuclear liability schema, cyber security liability, environment); and sustainability and resilience. Her specialized expertise combines business, science, technology and the law to assess and solve complex risk management and litigation issues. Lindene is a recognized thought leader in climate attribution liability, financial risk management, resilience assessment, and defining the role of government and corporate governance, state and federal regulations, and compliance audit. Lindene is an attorney licensed in California and the District of Columbia; a Virginia licensed real estate agent and an American Board of Industrial Hygiene-Certified Industrial Hygienist, retired. She holds a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis; a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley; and a J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law.

Louis F. Rosenthal
Principal, Rosenthal Advisors LLC

Mr. Rosenthal is the Principal of Rosenthal Advisors LLC, which provides strategic, operational and financial advisory services to public and privately held companies with a focus on financial services and technology-enabled businesses. Mr. Rosenthal was previously Managing Director of The Chicago Corporation, an investment banking firm, where he now serves as Senior Advisor.

Mr. Rosenthal has over 35 years of experience in financial services and technology and has served in executive positions at Bank of America and LaSalle Bank as well as a global executive role for ABN AMRO Bank NV. Prior to joining The Chicago Corporation in 2013, Mr. Rosenthal was an organizer of a de novo bank and was a partner in a financial services advisory firm. His experience extends across investment banking, project finance, commercial and consumer lending, as well as technology and operations. Mr. Rosenthal began his career at The Bank of New York.

Mr. Rosenthal received a B.S. in business administration and accounting from he University of Florida. He currently serves on a number of advisory boards of start-up and not-for-profit entities and is an avid boater and long-distance cyclist.