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Human Rights Commissioners

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Biographical Information
Rose Mary Bombela-Tobias

Rose Mary Bombela-Tobias
Chairman

Hon. Rose Mary Bombela-Tobias is currently the Principal of the Global Diversity Solutions Group, which specializes in diversity consulting and multi-cultural workforce dynamics. For more than 35 years, Mrs. Bombela-Tobias has worked to improve diversity and treatment of minorities. Prior to this, she was the Director of Central States for SER - Jobs for Progress, the nation's largest Latino direct services organization.

Mrs. Bombela-Tobias is the former Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights. She was the first Hispanic to hold the position and the first Hispanic to hold a cabinet-level position.

Before Mrs. Bombela-Tobias worked in the private sector, she served the people of Illinois for 20 years in a variety of roles. Her most notable contribution was instituting the Minority and Female Business Enterprise Program. In addition to becoming the first Hispanic to lead the Illinois Department of Human Rights, she also worked for the Illinois Department of Central Management Service and the Illinois Department of Personnel. Mrs. Bombela-Tobias was also the Special Assistant to the Governor for Hispanic Affairs under Governor Jim Thompson.

Mrs. Bombela-Tobias was appointed as Chair of the Commission in March 2015.

Michael Bigger

​Michael Bigger
Commissioner

Hon. Michael Bigger has been a State Farm Insurance Agent for 35 years operating the only full time State Farm Insurance agency ever in Stark County, Illinois with an office in Wyoming, Illinois. In addition to Mr. Bigger's extensive small business ownership experience, he has also had significant civic and community experience. Mr. Bigger is the former Chairman of the Stark County Board having served on the Board from 2000-2012, and serving as Chairman 2004-2012. Mr. Bigger also founded and chaired the Stark County Economic Development Partnership Group, a public private collaborative county wide economic development apparatus serving all of Stark County, Illinois. Mr. Bigger is also the former President of the Wyoming Chamber of Commerce, and Wyoming Lion's Club.

In August of 2012, Mr. Bigger was named an Illinoisan of the Day by the Illinois State Farm Museum Board with a proclamation signed by then Governor Pat Quinn, naming him Illinoisan fo the Day for August 11, 2012. This award is based on volunteerism and community service and involvement.

Mr. Bigger has been married to wife Debra for 40 years on January 3, 1976, with two children, Dustin, age 35 and Katelyn, age 28.

Mr. Bigger was appointed to the Commission in October 2015.

Duke Alden

Duke Alden
Commissioner

Hon. Duke Alden is an attorney and Chief Information Security Officier for Aon.

Mr. Alden co-chairs the Governor's LGBT Working Group and currently serves as Board Chair of the Howard Brown Health, a Chicago-based community health organization serving over 18,000 adults and youths that is a national leader in the fight to eliminate disparities in healthcare experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Mr. Alden also serves on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

Mr. Alden previously served two terms as President of the Edgewater Community Council and the 48th Ward Planning & Zoning Committee.

In 2000, Mr. Alden was presented by the President and the Congress of the United States the Young American Medal for Service in recognition of his work to establish service programs that empower young people to positively impact the communities in which they live.

Mr. Alden earned his bachelor's degree from Missouri State University and his law degree from Tulane University, where he lobbied the Louisiana Legislature for enhanced protections for victims of domestic violence as part of Tulane Law School's Legislative Advocacy Clinic.

Mr. Alden was appointed to the Commission in March 2015.

Hamilton Chang

Hamilton Chang
Commissioner

Hon. Hamilton Chang is the Vice Chair of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk's Asian-American Advisory Committee and has been recognized in the Chinese community for his contributions.

Mr. Chang has more than 25 years of experience in finance and management. He led groups specializing in risk management. He is currently the Managing Partner of Ballparks of America-Branson, which is a youth baseball facility for 10-12 year olds. Mr. Chang also serves as a Trustee for New Trier Township.

Mr. Chang earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a master's degree from the University of Chicago.

Mr. Chang was appointed to the Commission in March 2015.

Robert A. Cantone

Robert A. Cantone
Commissioner

Hon. Robert A. Cantone is an attorney. Since 1986, his practice has involved handling personal injury claims on behalf of persons who have been injured due to motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, construction accidents, product defects and medical malpractice. Additionally, he has acted as an arbitrator for the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration program since 1990. He is also a member of the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.

Mr. Cantone was appointed to the Commission March 2011 and reappointed March 2015.

Nabi R. Fakroddin

Nabi R. Fakroddin, P.E., S.E.
Commissioner

Hon. Nabi R. Fakroddin is a licensed Professional and Structural Engineer. Mr. Fakroddin is Past President of the Illinois Engineering Council and the Illinois Association of County Engineers. He is a member of the St. Charles Zoning Board of Appeals and a former member of the Western Illinois Regional Manpower and Planning Commission. Mr. Fakroddin is the recipient of numerous awards, including APWA's Top Ten Public Works Leaders in the U.S. and a Distinguished Service Award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

Mr. Fakroddin was appointed to the Commission March 2010 and reappointed March 2015.

Commissioner Foss-Eggemann headshot.jpg

Charlene Foss-Eggemann

Commissioner

Hon. Charlene Foss-Eggemann lives in Park Ridge, Illinois with her husband and three boys.  Char has worked at LexisNexis, a prominent on-line information and legal software company, for almost 14 years.  Prior to joining LexisNexis, Char was in private practice at Lord, Bissell & Brook in Chicago; her practice focused primarily upon international coverage litigation. 

During her career at LexisNexis, Char has won multiple awards in consulting.  She served as a Corporate Legal Region Council Member from 2011 to 2013, and was selected by Reed Elsevier leadership in 2013 for the Recognizing Those Who Care award based on her charitable work as Chicago’s LN Cares Champion.  She also was a LexisNexis Circle of Excellence winner in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Char has a long record of volunteerism.  She has provided free legal services to those in need through her affiliation with groups such as Pro Bono Advocates and the Veterans Legal Support Center at The John Marshall Law School.  She also has served on Advocate Lutheran General Hospital’s Oncology Department Council of Advisors, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s CLE working group, and has fundraised for organizations such as the American Brain Tumor Association, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Park Ridge Newcomers Club’s annual Labor of Love event.

Char currently juggles multiple roles as an Illinois Human Rights Commissioner, as a Park Ridge Public Library Trustee and Secretary, and as Maine Township Committeeman.

Char graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan in 1992 and from Indiana University School of Law – Bloomington in 1997. 

 

Ms. Foss-Eggemann was appointed to the Commission in May 2017.



Steve Kim

Commissioner

 Hon. Steve Kim is currently the Managing Partner at RKJ Global LLC/RK Law Group LLC. In that role, he serves as general counsel and president of an international development company and general counsel of an international renewable energy company. Kim was previously the Vice President of Government and Public Affairs at Time Warner Cable, where he coordinated all aspects of media and community relations. In 2010, Kim was elected as the Illinois Republican Nominee for Attorney General and was elected as the Illinois 10th Congressional Delegate for Mitt Romney for President.Kim earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and J.D. from Loyola University. He lives in Deerfield.
Mr. Kim was appointed to the Commission in June 2015 and reappointed in August 2017.

Eleni Palivos-Bousis

Commissioner

Eleni D. Bousis is the wife of prominent entrepreneur, Dimitri (Jimmy) Bousis, mother of Michael, Victoria, Evangelo and George, daughter of Angelo and Bessie Palivos and sister of Louis, Peter and George Palivos. Born in Greece, Eleni has often said that when she came to America as a young girl with her family, they instilled in her not only a sense of pride in her Greek heritage, but also a duty to help others in need. After raising four children, she went back to school to earn her degree in child psychology. 
 
Over the years, Eleni has established, contributed to, and lead many humanitarian organizations throughout the world in addition to her work in the Chicagoland area.  Under the direction of the late Archbishop Christodoulos of Greece, Eleni was a founding member of Frontida, an organization for abused children and families.  This culminated to Eleni receiving the Woman of the 21st Century Award.  She is a founding member of The Dimitri and Eleni Bousis Orphanage in Kakamega, Kenya. In addition to her work with Hellenic organizations and causes, she has worked with former president Ronald Reagan to support research for Alzheimer’s disease.
 
Eleni is continually recognized for her philanthropy, and is the recipient of many accolades, however, she is best known in Chicago as the “woman who saved the nursing home.” Her diligence on behalf of the Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre (GARCC) has not only saved the institution, but also reenergized the passion of the community to keep the centre afloat. Eleni has dedicated her life to GARCC and has pledged to keep its doors open long into the future.  Under her leadership, the large deficit she inherited of over $4.5 million was erased and a heightened sense of awareness for the not-for-profit institution was produced.
 Additionally, during her tenure, her tireless efforts and creativity have garnered millions of dollars in donations to the Care Centre.
 
Eleni has been recognized in the United States as well as her native Greece for all her good works. She is constantly attending, coordinating and fundraising for many worthy institutions.  She is a contributing board member of the Little City Foundation,  located in Palatine, Illinois which is a not for profit organization for children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities which provides care, housing, training, education, life skills and encouragement to these individuals so they can live safely and productively throughout their lives.  Little City honored her with the prestigious Sidney L. Port Legacy of Distinction Award for her zeal, support and empathy. Eleni is also a recipient of the Hellenic American Academy Heritage Award for Hellenism, education and culture. Eleni has received the Hellenic Bar Association, Hellene of the Year Award for exemplifying the Hellenic ideals of democracy and culture, the Honorary Humanitarian Award by the Pansalinian Society, for her work in securing the existence of the Panagia Monastery in Ellasona, Greece, the Olive Tree Branch Award as Woman of the Year in Athens, Greece, after assisting Governor Giannopoulos to raise funds for parks in Arkadia, Greece, and has been recognized by the Pan-Arcadian Federation as Woman of the Year. 
 
Eleni is also an active Board member of Leadership 100, an organization dedicated to advancing Orthodoxy and Hellenism in the United States and assisting many in need throughout the world. Perpetuating Hellenism, Religious Freedom and Human Rights. She is an active board member of the President’s Council of Maryville Academy, of Des Plaines, Illinois which is a home for orphans and foster children and is dedicated to the education and preservation of dignity of children at every age. Currently, Eleni serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre and in 2015 established, and is Chairman of the Founding Board of the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation for the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. In addition, Mrs. Bousis serves on many other committees and boards for charitable and business organizations. Eleni is an Angel investor for numerous tech startups. Eleni was nominated and selected to receive the 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. Eleni in 2017 was appointed Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission board  for the state of Illinois. This is but a short list of her organizations and accomplishments.   
 
Eleni accredits her zeal, finesse and determination from her soul mate, Jimmy, the wind beneath her wings.  Together, this dynamic philanthropic duo recognized pain and suffering through their personal struggles and challenges.  Through their successes they gained the compassion to care for higher education, cultural awareness, the arts, human rights, religious freedom, the underprivileged, destitute, terminally ill and the elderly.  They truly know the meaning of giving, and not expecting to receive. Their love for God provides them the strength and enlightenment to continue their humanitarian works. 
 
Eleni’s selflessness and genuine love for the world propel her in every endeavor she undertakes.
 
Mrs. Bousis was appointed to the Commission in March 2017.
 

Patricia Bakalis Yadgir
Commissioner

Hon. Patricia Yadgir is Vice President of Schools and Community Relations for American Quality Schools, a not-for-profit educational management organization that operates charter and private schools in the Midwest. Ms. Yadgir has over 25 years' experience in the field of education, previously serving as a counselor and instructor at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL.

She is a strong advocate of social/emotional and anti-bullying education in the schools, and in 2009, she designed and implemented a charter education curriculum that teaches diversity, anti-bullying and tolerance to students. She is also the author of a childrens' book; "Hooty Learns What's Right - A child's First look at Character Education".

Ms. Yadgir holds her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education from Northern Illinois University. She is an active member of NIU's Executive Alumni Board where she chairs the Scholarship and Student Engagement Committee.

Ms. Yadgir was appointed to the Commission in June 2011.



Cheryl Mainor

Commissioner

Cheryl N. Mainor is President of The Mainline Group Consulting.   Founded in 1998, The Mainline Group is a full-service consulting firm, specializing in Issue Advocacy, Coalition Building including Stakeholder Identification, Community Outreach, Third-Party Engagement, Association Management and Event Management. 


Formerly, Mainor also served as President and Publisher at MainLine Media Group, LLC which was founded in 2001 in Alexandria, VA.   MainLine Media Group, LLC, was the publisher of LifeLines: The Journal of African American Health, the largest circulated publication targeting Black health issues.  The company specializes the business of not only developing original brands, but in consulting with publications across the country in operations, streamlining budgets, best practices, new media opportunities and implementation.  At the forefront of the digital revolution, Mainor was one of the architects of www.blackpressusa.com, one of the first web portals for news and information on the world-wide web. 


Mainor has been recognized for her work by the Congressional Black Caucus, National Institutes of Health HIV Vaccine Awareness, The National Medical Association, OIC of America, National Association of Nergo Women and other organizations. As an operations consultant for New Orleans Data News Weekly she led the publication to award-winning status with the “Ethnic Pulitzer” Communicator of the Year from New American Media, and the Daimler Chrysler Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2007.


In 2014, she stepped aside from MainLine Group Consulting to take on the role of President and Publisher of the historic Chicago Defender Newspaper.  As the first woman to hold the position, Mainor lead a professional team dedicated to ensuring that the legacy of the iconic brand continues to live on, and positioned it to lead in the field of print and digital communications.  Under Mainor’s leadership, the Chicago Defender was named the second most widely read and popular African American newspaper by Nielson and Essence Magazine and brought the newspaper back to profitability.  The paper and its legacy are now prominently displayed in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, and Mainor is highlighted in a display on the history and legacy of the Black Press and its role in American History. 


She has been active with several Voter participation organizations and GOTV campaigns, including National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s Unity ’04 and Reclaim the Right to Vote in Louisiana 2006, where she also worked on the Mayor C. Ray Nagin campaign.  Mainor was lead on the award-winning and groundbreaking 2000 “Life Every Voice and Vote” GOTV initiative representing the National Newspaper Publishers Association where she served as the organization’s first Director of Media Services and Deputy Director.  This campaign was awarded as Multicultural Campaign of the Year by PR Week Magazine. 


Cheryl has lived and worked professionally in Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, New York and Washington, D.C..

Ms. Mainor was appointed to the Commission in March of 2017
 
Hermene Hartman

Hermene Hartman
Commissioner

Hon. Hermene Hartman is one of the most significant and influential Black women in media and American publishing.Publisher of NDIGO, a successful weekly newspaper in Chicago started in 1989 targeting the Black middle class. NDIGO was the first newspaper to profile President Barack Obama as a young Illinois Senator. Hartman writes a weekly column, Publisher's page.

Hartman is the Founder of the NDIGO Foundation (501C3). The foundation was established in 1995. Annually the organization presents an affair at a major cultural venue to raise funds to send graduating seniors to college, to begin their college careers. To date the foundation has shared scholarships with nearly 300 students.

She is an on air radio personality for Clear Channel / IHeart Radio since 1997, providing social commentary and Hartman blogs for Chicago Now and Huffington Post.

She is a rounded media personality addressing the soul, spirit and sensibility of America with insight, curiosity, historical context, wit, and reality. Her behavioral scientist education is replicated in her writing and commentaries. Hartman holds four college degrees and was Vice Chancellor of External Affairs at City Colleges of Chicago, the nation's third largest community college system.

Her commentaries transform mindsets (literally). She broadens the Black conversation to include dialogue and analysis offering deep thoughts and opinion from new movies, the political scene, to taboo topics surrounding racial and social issues.

As an intense yet thoughtful interviewer, Hartman's style has been described as somewhere between Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, always asking the "right questions" and providing the most insightful comments.

Ms. Hartman was appointed to the Commission in April of 2015