City Club of Chicago: Advancing Economic Equity for All Chicago

Helene Gayle, Anna Valencia, Damon Jones and Rosazlia Grillier during the Advancing Economic Equity for All Chicago panel at the City Club of Chicago, June 11, 2019 (City Club of Chicago)

June 11, 2019

Advancing Economic Equity for All Chicago – Co-Hosted with The University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement – Moderator: Hon. Anna Valencia, Panelists: Helene Gayle, Rosazlia Grillier, Damon Jones

Hon. Anna Valencia

Anna Valencia was sworn-in for her 2nd term as City Clerk of Chicago on May 20, 2019, overseeing one of the largest offices in the City and serving 1.2 million Chicagoans, generating more than $130 million annually.

As City Clerk, Valencia has focused on making government accessible to all Chicagoans. Under Valencia’s leadership, the Office of the City Clerk has made it a priority to find new and innovative ways to bring services directly to residents, increase civic engagement, improve efficiencies and collaborate across government in the private and public sectors.

Valencia has also worked as an Illinois political professional in several positions including, serving as Campaign Manager for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin’s re-election campaign, Senior Advisor for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s re-election campaign, Deputy Director of the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund, a Communications Staffer for State Senate President John Cullerton, and Field Director for both Mike Quigley for Congress (IL-05) and Gary Peters for Congress (MI-09).

In 2017, Chicago Magazine listed Valencia as an Emerging Power Player highlighting her as a rising star in Chicago politics. Valencia has also been awarded Negocios Nows’ 40 under 40 for her work as part of the next generation of Latina leaders.

Valencia earned her degree in International Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She currently resides in the West Town neighborhood with her husband and dog.

Helene Gayle

Helene D. Gayle is President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s leading community foundations. The Trust works with donors, nonprofits, community leaders and residents to lead and inspire philanthropic efforts that improve the quality of life for the residents of the Chicago region. As the seventh executive in the Trust’s history, Dr. Gayle is responsible for establishing the priorities of the Trust and building positive engagement with the Trust’s diverse family of stakeholders in ways that advance the organization’s mission and goals.

Prior to joining the Trust, Dr. Gayle was the inaugural CEO of McKinsey Social Initiative, a nonprofit that brings together varied stakeholders to address complex global social challenges. She was instrumental in setting the organization’s direction and building its first program, Generation, designed to increase youth employment in India, Kenya, Mexico, Spain and the United States.

Named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women,” Foreign Policy magazine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” and Newsweek’s top 10 “Women in Leadership,” she has been featured by media outlets as diverse as the New York Times, Washington Post, ForbesWoman, Glamour, Essence, O Magazine, National Public Radio and CNN. She has also authored numerous articles on global and domestic public health issues, poverty alleviation, gender equality and social justice.

Her contributions have been honored with awards from Columbia University, Barnard College, Spelman College, Bryn Mawr College, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the U.S. Public Health Service and AARP, among others. She has received 13 honorary degrees and holds faculty appointments at the University of Washington and Emory University.

Damon Jones

Damon Jones is an associate professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. He conducts research at the intersection of three fields within economics.

Damon’s current research topics include income tax policy, social security, retirement and retirement savings, and the interaction between employer-provided benefits and labor market outcomes.

At Harris, Jones currently teaches a course on public finance and public policy, a course in advanced microeconomics, and the practicum “Taxes, Transfers, and Nonprofits.” He was a post doctoral fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (2009–2010) and is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Jones received his PhD in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and also holds a BA in Public Policy with a minor in African and African-American Studies from Stanford University, which he received in 2003.

Rosazlia Grillier

Rosazlia Grillier, is the mother of two daughters, both currently in college, a longtime activist in her Southside Englewood community, and Co-Chair of POWER-PAC (Parents Organized to Win, Educate and Renew – Policy Action Council), a parent-led cross cultural organization of low-income parents based in Chicago which is supported by Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI). POWER-PAC’s mission is to build a strong voice for low-income, immigrant and working families by uniting parents and grandparents across race and community around the issues of importance to families.

Ms. Grillier is also co-chair of POWER-PAC’s Stepping Out of Poverty Campaign, which seeks to increase economic stability for low-income families and a leader in POWER-PAC’s Early Learning Campaign. As a COFI Parent Peer Trainer, she has traveled the country, providing trainings in COFI’s leadership development and organizing model and inspiration to hundreds of other low-income parent leaders. In 2011, Ms. Grillier was awarded Allstate’s Give Back Day Award, a national recognition honoring community volunteers. She currently serves on COFI’s Board of Trustees.

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