Career Pathways 2022

Event Details

  • July 28, 2022
  • Career Day Speakers & Breakout Sessions: 1:00 – 5:30 PM
  • Networking with Career Professionals & Comer Alum: 5:30 – 6:30 PM
  • This will be an in-person event. We will follow updated Cook County & CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Join us for an invigorating afternoon with over 20 professionals!

Career Day Panelists

Share your career journey!

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Career Day Program

See our agenda and breakout session information

VIEW PROGRAM

Career Day 2022 Recap

After two years of virtual events, we were thrilled to host our annual Career Day in-person for participants from our summer youth employment programs. Our young people were able to learn from, engage with and explore the careers of 30 professionals and entrepreneurs from 6 strategically curated industry tracks including trades, business, arts, health, civic engagement and IT/engineering. It was a truly exceptional day of discovery and sharing consisting of enlightening dialogue and networking among our guest and youth participants. Featuring interactive panels, breakout sessions, one-on-one conversations, multimedia presentations and more, we are grateful to all of our professional guests for their generous commitment of time, knowledge and encouragement provided to our young people. We are focused on helping our members explore their interests, discover their passion and build the skills required to chart their own career pathways on their personal road to success. View the bios and gallery below to see the wide range of professionals who made this our most successful Career Day ever along with images taken by local photographer David Dickerson who beautifully captured the spirit and essence of this special day.

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Meet Our Speakers

Rene Alvarado

Ozinga
HR Manager

I'm a CPS and UIC Graduate with 20+ years as a Dedicated Operations Manager and Human Resource Consultant with experience in Business Development, organizational development, systems implementations, recruitment and retention, conflict resolution, labor relations, payroll and benefits administration. I have proven experience collaborating with senior management to conduct Human Resource strategic planning in order to support and further corporate goals. I possess broad knowledge of human resources in a variety of sectors including start-up organizations, Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, union and non-union environments.

Bridgette Battle

L.J. Sheridan & Co.
General Manager

Bridgette S. Battle works with L.J. Sheridan & Co. as the General Manager for The Garland Building. She has a wealth of Chicago high-rise experience including 333 S. Wabash Avenue, previously CNA Plaza, The Streeter at 345 E. Ohio Street, 33 N. LaSalle and facilities responsibilities at the Bank of America. She has worked with some of Chicago’s premier real estate management firms. Her educational credentials include both the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Governors State University along with a litany of real estate and environmental certifications and licenses. She has overseen a broad variety of capital improvements including façade, mechanical, electrical, window replacements as well as a multitude of tenant improvement projects.

Justin Behlke

Chicago Street Medicine
Board President

For eight years, I was a chef working in high level kitchens here in Chicago and across the world. Though these years were successful professionally, I was driven to extend my career in a way that would allow me to support individuals with their health needs while still utilizing my culinary background. This led me to transition out of restaurants and into the public health nonprofit sector where supported the implementation of food education into Chicago Public Schools. Further fueled by a desire to meaningfully support individuals in their health and wellness, I returned to finish an undergraduate degree in Integrated Health Studies at UIC in 2019 in order to prepare myself to apply to medical school. I am currently applying to medical school while also serving as the president for the Board of Directors of Chicago Street Medicine. I am passionate about centering my work on initiatives that lessen the gaps that exist in our healthcare system and creating an equitable healthcare system that affords equal access for everyone.

Terry Bell

Ozinga
Operations Manager

I'm 43 years old I have had a bunch of different life experiences. I've been an employee of Ozinga for 15 years. Were I was a driver for 9 and a plant operator for 6 of those.

Melissa Brinson

Invenergy
Senior Manager, Contracts

For over 11 years, I have worked in the energy industry in commercial roles that leverage my technical expertise and background as a civil engineer and my negotiation and project management skills. Prior to having a full-time job, I had several different internships to help me determine what type of career I wanted. I joined ExxonMobil in 2010 and worked in the natural gas, power, chemicals and global shipping industry. My experience at ExxonMobil laid a good foundation on what I now do at Invenergy. Currently at Invenergy, I work to close deals where we sell utility-scale solar, wind, and battery storage power projects to utility companies all across the United States.

Jessica Brown

UtmostU
University of Illinois at Chicago Class of 2022

Peer educator

Wellness Center Student Staff

Renardell Burns

ComEd
Supervisor

Underground CableSplicer 2009-2020; Supervisor 2020-present

Chloe Glispie-Gogins

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, The University of Chicago
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Chloe Glispie-Gogins graduated from The University of Chicago with a Bachelor’s in Comparative Human Development in 2016. She then attended The University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, receiving a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work with a specialty in Psychoanalytic and Family Systems Therapy in 2019. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has a background working with students and families who are coping with grief, domestic violence, and various mental health struggles, etc. She has a passion for working with transracially adopted adolescents and persons of color, advocating on their behalf, and providing comprehensive care.

Michael Goss

Greater Chicago Food Depository
Executive Chef

Michael Goss has spent 25 years in the food service industry and is the Executive Chef for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. He leads the organization's culinary team in their meal production effort, food safety program, research and development, and dietetics. Prior to his tenure at GCFD, Chef Goss spent thirteen years in fine dining, where he cooked in and ran kitchens that focused on exceptional quality and care. His passion for hunger relief and extensive experience as a culinarian led him to non-profit meal production and food banking. Through his work in the kitchen at GCFD, Chef Goss seeks to bring nourishment to our community and provoke thoughtful, positive change within professional cooking culture.

Utopia Hill

Reactivate/Invenergy
Head of Engineering, Procurement and Construction

Utopia Hill leads the community solar energy platform for Reactivate as Head EPC. Her efforts will be focused on construction and project execution of our solar facilities, as well as supplier diversity and workforce development. Utopia also serves as the Vice President, Construction Project Management at Invenergy.

After beginning her professional career at General Electric, Utopia joined Invenergy in 2005 as a Project Engineer where she learned to design energy facilities. At Invenergy, Utopia was recognized for her sharp intellect and detailed dedication to project execution. She advanced through Invenergy, spending time in supply chain and procurement and project construction for wind energy, battery storage and solar energy projects. Some of her project accomplishments at Invenergy include the ongoing construction of the largest solar project in North America, Samson Solar (1.3 GW), Invenergy’s first energy storage project (Grand Ridge Solar 1MW), as well as numerous utility scale renewables projects. She has been responsible for the engineering, procurement or construction of over 10,000 MW of renewables.

Camari Jones

UtmostU
Albion College Class Of 2023

Senior Community Advisor (Albion College)

Mentor (Freshman Mentor collective)

I Am Abel Foundation 2018 (Mentee)

Wilson Institute Of Medicine 2019 (Member)

Gillian Kerns

University of Chicago
Clinical Social Worker

I graduated from the Jane Addams school of social work at UIC, and began working in a psychiatric hospital. I decided to go into social work because there are so many different roles that you can play as a social worker! I have worked at a residential facility, a psychiatric hospital, a medical hospital, and am now working at the University of Chicago doing individual therapy with adults. I specialize in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness based cognitive therapy.

Stephanie Larios

ACCESS
Physician Assistant

I graduated from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in 2017 with a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. I am currently a family medicine practitioner with 3.5 years of urgent care experience. I am passionate about adolescent and LGBTQIA+ health. I currently work with ACCESS at a school based clinic in Gary Comer Youth Center.

Ebony Lashley, MBA

ACCESS Community Health Network
Health Center Manager

Current multi-site clinic manager for Chicago area’s largest provider of community health care. And a prime example of you can be whatever you are willing to work hard enough to accomplish.

Jada Laws

UtmostU
Senior at Eastern Illinois University

I am majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Entrepreneurship. I am vice president of the Public Relations Student Society of America on EIU's campus. I am currently doing two internships. One is at the Chicago Housing Authority headquarters downtown. I work in the communications/marketing department and the development department. I made some logos there, went on on-site tours, and formatted new letters. My second internship is with a social media manager. I curated new content, scheduled posts, made graphics, and did photography. Right now, the career path I want to do is to be a social media manager and work my way up in the PR industry. Social media management is just my steppingstone.

Christopher Llorence

Bel Brands USA
Portfolio Manager, Packaging

I've been a Packaging Design Professional for 15 years in various industries. I've experienced various parts of the industry including Innovation, Industrial Excellence and Productivity, Cost Savings, and more recently Sustainability and Management. I've been told I'm a dynamic leader with a gift developing followership and delivering on complex expectations.

Aside from work I have three main focuses in my life, Faith, Family, and Fitness. I'm also passionate about mentorship and aiding in the development of the generation(s) to come.

Guelord Mpagazihe

Infrastructure Engineering
Civil Engineer

Guelord Mpagazihe, EIT, is a civil engineer who specializes in transportation projects. Guelord studied both Applied Physics and Civil Engineering, earning his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota. He currently works for Infrastructure Engineering, Inc. (IEI), a national African-American owned civil engineering firm headquartered in Chicago, where he contributes his expertise to the design and construction of transportation infrastructure projects.

Guelord is currently working on the transformative Chicago Department of Transportation Roseland-South Michigan Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project, where he is designing traffic and pedestrian infrastructure to create a safe, walkable, and attractive street corridor to foster community and economic growth. This project allows Guelord to do what he most enjoys about being a civil engineer, “Having the opportunity to work on projects that not only change our physical surroundings but also improve communities.”
Prior to joining IEI, Guelord worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), where he won the People’s Choice Award for the 2020 IDOT Technical Innovation Ideas Contest for having developed an app that provides graphical presentations and spatial analysis of data elements that characterize vehicle crashes on Illinois roadways.

Guelord is a member of the Illinois Association of Highway Engineers and is working towards obtaining his Professional Engineer (PE) Certification.

Olivia Obineme

Public Narrative
Media Relations Specialist

Olivia Obineme (she/they) is a people and content strategist based in Chicago and photojournalist. She's currently activating media engagement at the nonprofit Public Narrative. Like PN, she helps journalism and community organizations conceptualize a broad range of innovative civic journalism production, education and facilitation. Olivia has previously worked in various newsrooms, including KQED, South Side Weekly, WBAL-TV 11 News, The Chicago Reporter and Baltimore magazine. In addition, she has contributed visual or written works to ESPN's The Undefeated, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Vogue.com, Complex, Vox's Eater, The Triibe, Chicago Reader, Mic.com, The Guardian, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, and more.

Oluwaseyi Olaleye

Organic Harvest Digital Inc
CEO & Founder

Organic Harvest Digital originally started off as an interdisciplinary partnership with the Stanford Mechanical Engineering capstone class, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Mechanical Engineering department at University of Alaska-Fairbanks. The goal was to design and create an inexpensive, holistic food-energy-water system for an indigenous community in rural Alaska with a set of user and technical requirements.

Since graduating from Stanford University, I have reflected on my personal experience of also having to grow up hungry and in a food insecure community. I realize the immediate impact having such a food-energy-water system can have in staving off hunger and uplifting marginalized communities.

My passion for energy and sustainability combined with my entrepreneurial spirit is what inspired me to create Organic Harvest Digital (OHD). The goal of the venture is to build on the research and technical diligence performed and realize it into a positive pathway for empowering marginalized communities. The mission of OHD is to train, mentor, and empower inner city youths and people of marginalized communities while creating sustainable, urban farming.

Polly Rosser

Bel Brands USA
Benefits Manager

I work in Human Resources and specifically manage employee benefits, which I have done for almost 30 years at many diverse and global organizations, in different industries, and population sizes varying from 500 to 30,000 employees. I originally wanted to attend school for accounting, but somehow along the way I landed in HR and would not change a thing.

Chantalle Scott

Bel Brands USA
HR & CEO Assistant

My name is Chantalle Scott. I am the HR & CEO Assistant with Bel Brands USA. I graduated with my MBA from Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN and my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ar.

Rob Sedivy

Google
Technical Program Manager

Robert is currently a Technical Program Manager at Google, leading capacity planning, analytics, and sustainability initiatives for Google’s Data Centers.

Robert received the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship from the Western Golf Association, a full tuition and housing scholarship awarded to caddies based on financial need and academics. He studied Civil and Environmental Engineering at Purdue University and began his career as a consultant in the water and wastewater industry, where he helped cities and utilities plan and develop sustainable and resilient water and wastewater infrastructure.

Christina Shin

Rush University Medical Center
Physician Assistant

Christina has been a Physician Assistant in neurocritical care for over seven years. Before becoming a PA, she was the administrator for a free clinic in Central Illinois at Champaign County Christian Health Center. She has had many different jobs within healthcare (OB Surgical Technician, Respiratory Care Technician) and currently serves on the board of directors for Chicago Street Medicine and JUSTembrace.

She majored in Psychology as an undergraduate and minored in Chemistry and Asian American Studies. She has a Master's in Public Health as well as in Physician Assistant Studies. Christina lives in the west side of Chicago and loves to eat and try new restaurants all throughout the city.

Vondale Singleton

Champs MALE Mentoring Program
CEO/FOUNDER

I am a proud Southside Chicago Native with a strong passion for identity formation for Boys and Young Men of Color through mentoring via the Champs Male Mentoring Program. I have served almost 20 years as both an Educator and Administrator.

Kyle Stock

Ozinga
Recruiter

Lewis University grad in 2019 & 2021; B.A in Human Resource Management; B.S in Marketin

Passionate about connecting people with what could be their dream job or company!


Aalaiyah Ticer

Infrastructure Engineering
Civil Engineer

Aalaiyah Ticer received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Southern Illinois University (SIU) in 2021. Although she is a recent graduate, she has been actively working in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry for several years. While at SIU, she served as the Vice President and President of the National Society of Black Engineers and as a Chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers, SIUC Chapters.

Aalaiyah currently works at Infrastructure Engineering Inc. (IEI), a national African-American owned civil engineering firm headquartered in Chicago, where she is a civil engineer designing transportation projects. She is on the IEI team that provides design engineering services (intersection design, traffic signal design, roadways, structures, and drainage) to the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways. Prior to joining IEI, Aalaiyah worked and interned at Turner Construction Company, Bulley & Andrews and FDH Infrastructure Services.

Creating equitable, accessible environments is not only Aalaiyah’s profession, but also her passion. Aalaiyah dedicates extensive time to volunteerism to do her part to make the world a better place. She is involved in Adopt-A-Spot, Gumdrops, and Habitat for Humanity. Although her career is young, Aalaiyah is already impacting the future of the AEC Industry with her time at Project Upward Bound, where she serves as a mentor to introduce high schoolers to STEM fields through hands-on projects.

Laura VanPuymbrouck

Rush University
Assistant Professor

I have been an occupational therapist for over 35 years working most of my career at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago - now The Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. As an occupational therapist I work with clients who have experienced a significant life altering health crisis to identify ways they can continue to participate in all of the roles and activities they found meaningful and important to do prior to the triggering event. I like to say the doctors and nurses help save a person's life but it's an occupational therapist who helps a person get back to living that life! I'm now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Rush University and teach students to become future occupational therapists.


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Rhonda Hopps

Comer Education Campus
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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Comer Education Campus
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