Our Team
Delta Institute is a 501(c)(3) organization formed in 1998 that envisions a region in which all communities and landscapes thrive through an integrated approach to environmental, economic, and social challenges. Working with our partners, we identify opportunities for environmental solutions and design, test, and share solutions that yield social, environmental, and economic benefits for communities.

Megan (Walton) Conway

Senior Associate, Programs

Claire Costelloe

Assistant, Programs

Kevin Dick, LEED AP O+M

Director of Programs

Jack Eskin, AICP

Senior Specialist, Programs

Sidney (Sid) Freitag-Fey, CFRE

Director of Development and Communications

Helen M. Hardy

Director of Finance and Operations

Olga Lyandres, PhD

Senior Specialist, Programs

Mackenzie Manley

Associate, Finance and Operations

Reilly Manz

Associate, Programs

Patrick T. Murphy

Senior Specialist, Development and Communications

Katherine Schultz

Lead, Finance and Operations
Our governing Board of Directors provides oversight and management of Delta Institute. Board Directors serve up to two terms of three years each and participate in at least one of our four Committees: Development; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Finance; and Governance and Nominating. Our Board adheres to best practices in nonprofit governance and signs an annual participation agreement outlining their roles and responsibilities to Delta Institute, as well as identifying any conflicts of interest that may impact their service.
Andrew Burroughs

VP of Customer Engagement, Healthy Minds Innovations

Monica Chadha

Founder, Civic Projects

Jon Cheffings

EVP, Strategy, SCC&M

Tammi Davis

Secretary
Director of Compliance & Policy Engagement,
Gary Sanitary District

Paul A. DeCotis

Senior Director, West Monroe Partners

Tregg Duerson, MBA

Chief Operating Officer, Rebuild Foundation

David Freed

Director of Advanced Analytics, Automation and Sustainability at MSI Express, Inc. & Executive Partner, HCI Equity Partners

Niharika Hanglem

Research and Partnerships Manager, GET Cities Initiative

Allison Hannon Holly, MBA

Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair
Portfolio Manager, Product Strategy, Americas, Onshore Wind, GE Renewable Energy

Kevin Kalus

Market Executive – Illinois Middle Market, JPMorgan Chase

Ann McCabe

Development Committee Chair
US Program Director, Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP)

Julie Rizzo

Founder and CEO, Recycled Granite

Vanessa Roanhorse

CEO, Roanhorse Consulting LLC

Sam Schiller

Chair
Founder & CEO, Carbon Yield

Sanjiv Sinha, PE, PHD

Vice Chair; Governance and Nominating Committee Chair
Senior Vice President, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc.

The Delta Emerging Leaders (DELs) serve as the official associate board of Delta Institute and advance Delta’s mission by expanding its network of supporters, donors, and partners through events and initiatives that engage new and diverse audiences. Every year, the DELs host a live, crowd-funding pitch competition called BOOST for sustainable start-up businesses that help make Chicago a thriving, environmentally conscientious city to live and work in.
LIZ ALEXANDER

Experienced Consultant – Energy and Utilities, West Monroe Partners

KELLY AVES

DELs Secretary
Research Assistant, EPIC – University of Chicago

ASHLEY BAKELMUN

Associate, RW Ventures, LLC

DEREK BARTHEL

Data Sourcing Lead & Employee Engagement Manager, HERE Technologies

TAYLOR BRADSHAW

Senior Environmental Program Associate, Tradewater, LLC

MADELINE DEMO

EHS Consultant, BBJ Group & IH Trainee, UIC SPH

MAYA DUTTA

Sustainability Coordinator, City of Waukegan

ERIN FRY

DELs Co-Chair
Data Engineer, SPINS

SUE ANN GAN

Senior Consultant, EY

TRAVIS HAWKS

Sustainability Specialist, Advocate Aurora Health, Inc.

CLAIRE HOWARD

Assistant Engineer, Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group

ADRIANA KEMPER

DELs Communications Committee Co-Chair
Manager- Strategic Projects & Analysis, United Airlines

ETHAN LEIGNER

Senior Associate, Mergers and Acquisitions, Kaufman Hall

KIRSTEN MELLING

DELs Co-Chair
Senior Consultant, Burro Hapold

CHRISTOPHER NEWMAN, PHD

Data Scientist / Database Developer

KYLE PREUSS

DELs Communications Committee Co-Chair and DELs Liaison to the Development Committee
Senior Account Manager, Amadeus

JOAN SMEDINGHOFF

Digital Communications Senior, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

NATALIE SPETTER

DELs Outreach Committee Chair and DELs Liaison to the Governance and Nomination Committee
Project Manager

GREG VASILION

Director of Account Operations, National Solar Service

ANNA WITHERS

DELs Programming Committee Chair and DELs Liaison to the Development Committee
Donor Relations Manager, Sarah’s Circle

MARGOT ZUCKERMAN

DELs Treasurer and DELs Liaison to the Finance Committee
Senior Buyer – Ingredients Procurement, Kraft Heinz

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

 Delta Institute can only be successful in its mission if we direct our capacities, power, and collaborations toward creating greater equity and reversing institutional racism. We regard environmental challenges as intersectional issues that reveal disparities in how we allocate resources and value communities. We envision a region where ALL communities and landscapes thrive. This has not been the case since the forced removal of Kickapoo, Kaskaskia, Potawatomi, Peoria, Wyandotte, Delaware, and many other tribes from their ancestral lands. We recognize that racial animus, segregation, and institutional inequities have shaped our region and robbed us all of our potential.

At our core, we are an organization that is defined by its people and communities accelerating change, it is written into our very name. We do not minimize the challenges inherent to creating change, and believe it is part of our mission to interrogate ugly histories and current realities, and constantly learn, test, and collaborate until a new, better way of doing things is the standard. We believe that the solutions to our most difficult equity and environmental challenges are already being articulated in the communities that are impacted, and we seek to be a strong partner in securing resources, technical assistance, and government capacity to amplify and accelerate these remedies. To that end, we commit to building and sustaining an organization that represents all communities, to creating an atmosphere where we can bring our full selves to our work, and to directing our energy, diverse perspectives, and broad capacities to the task of renewing our region.

We have formally engaged in Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work since 2016 and created an ad hoc DEI committee including our staff, board, and auxiliary board in April 2019. We approached this as a process of continuous improvement, reflection and learning with the goal of integrating DEI into our programs and operations. This process includes the following ongoing activities:

  • Expand representation of BIPOCs at all levels of the organization, including senior leadership.
  • Assess our performance on DEI parameters through internal surveys and review processes across stakeholder groups.
  • Acknowledge and create processes to reduce implicit bias in our hiring processes.
  • Collaborate more equitably with our partners by uncovering hidden power dynamics, recognizing that community partners are best positioned to lead, and working proactively with partners to determine the best role Delta can take in collaborations.
  • Communicating with funders about DEI dynamics in their grantmaking.
  • Utilize our communications and fundraising channels to amplify partner community organizations and groups led by BIPOCs.
  • Curate resources to help build our organizational capacity around intersectional DEI concepts.
  • Ensure communications tools, particularly our website, are inclusive to those with disabilities and incorporate ADA Website Compliance 2.0 Guidelines.

    We at Delta are using this Statement of Commitment to DEI to sizably inform our next iteration of a new Strategic Plan. Our current Strategic Plan goes through the end of our FY22 (June 30, 2022), but we realized that our current Plan is not reflective of who we are, or who we want to be. We will share more online as more progress is made. We are committed to implementing DEI recommendations identified by the DEI Committee organization-wide, with much of the work currently being organized by Delta’s Governance & Nominating Committee of the Board. For questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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