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Celebrating our Commissioners during Women’s History Month

Cara Hendrickson became BPI's Executive Director in 2020. She is a change maker, passionate about using law and policy to tackle systemic inequities. Cara's role as Executive Director is her second at BPI; earlier in her career, she was a Skadden Fellow at BPI, with a focus on housing and education issues.

Prior to becoming Executive Director of BPI, Cara served as the Chief of the Illinois Attorney General's Public Interest Division for more than five years.  In that capacity, she supervised a Division with over 60 attorneys and staff who enforce civil rights, disability rights, workplace rights, and antitrust laws, in addition to conducting investigations and cases involving the False Claims Act, consumer fraud, and energy issues. At the Attorney General's Office, Cara led a team of lawyers and staff that litigated and negotiated a wide-ranging consent decree to reform the Chicago Police Department.

An experienced litigator, Cara's law practice focused on constitutional and civil rights litigation for more than eight years at Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. She has also practiced at Massey & Gail, LLP, and Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.

Cara is a Commissioner on the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission, which promotes ethics in Illinois public service, and she serves on the board of the Public Interest Law Initiative and on the advisory board of the American Constitution Society, Chicago Chapter. She was a fellow in the 2014 class of Leadership Greater Chicago.

Cara served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ann Claire Williams, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Ret). She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and received her B.A. from Northwestern University.

Patty Schuh, had a long and distinguished career in state government, including experience in both the legislative and executive branches. She served as a Deputy Chief of Staff in the Governor's Office, after more than three decades of experience working in the Illinois Senate.

Allison Powers is an experienced litigator with expertise in discrimination and harassment claims in both the private and public sectors. More than a litigator, Allison is a strategic partner to her clients. As such, she devotes a significant portion of her practice to counseling clients facing a variety of workplace challenges. Having served on the #MeToo practice group and Diversity and Inclusion task forces, Allison has, in recent years, expanded her practice to include handling sensitive workplace investigations and projects related to developing diversity strategy. Amidst the current public interest in racial justice and equality issues, Allison has also been involved in diversity and inclusion "crisis" investigations. Outside of work, Allison enjoys running, spending time with her family, cooking food from her native Jamaica, and scouring estate sales for mid-century modern furniture from significant makers.

Teresa Hall Bartels is the founder and principal of Hallbart Consulting, L.L.C., focused on leadership and team effectiveness and strategy for commercial businesses and not-for-profit organizations. She is passionate about servant leadership and helping individuals and teams to become high-performing, high-integrity leaders.

Currently Bartels serves as Chair for a Vistage CEO Peer Group and three Vistage groups inside a client company. She has served as Interim CEO four times during her career, most recently as Interim President, Newman University, where she also served on the Board of Trustees for nine years. Bartels was the founding chair of the board for the University Center of Lake County, IL, a consortium of 18 colleges and universities offering degree completion and graduate level courses.

Bartels began her career in fundraising with United Way of America. She and her husband, Chuck, owned and operated two Manpower franchises in Northern Minnesota and Northern Illinois. Subsequently, she was President and CEO for United Way International and then Gateway for Cancer Research.

Bartels graduated from Northern Arizona University (NAU) with a degree in public relations/journalism. She later earned a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Dominican University. In 2010, Newman University awarded Bartels an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Most recently, Bartels was selected to the NAU President's Hall of Fame and honored as one of "Who's Who in Healthcare" by Crain's Chicago Business. She has received the Chair Excellence Award from Vistage International. Bartels currently serves on the State of Illinois Executive Ethics Commission.

Along with her husband, Bartels is the parent of five grown sons and grandparent to nine wonderful grandchildren. She is active in her parish as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister, and she is a 30+ year volunteer with United Way of Lake County and United Way Worldwide.

About the Executive Ethics Commission

The EEC promotes ethics in public service and ensures that the State's business is conducted with efficiency, transparency, fairness, and integrity. The Commission's activities range from overseeing annual ethics training to enforcing the Ethics Act for all employees of the executive branch of State government. The EEC also provides independent oversight of the procurement process.

Contact: Denysha Crawford