Robin M. Steans
A longtime public school parent, Robin Steans has spent over twenty years working on public school reform. Most recently, Robin served as Executive Director of Advance Illinois, a bipartisan, non-profit education policy and advocacy organization working to ensure every child in Illinois has access to quality schools. She has also served as Issues Director of the Small Schools Coalition and as Associate Director of Leadership for Quality Education and taught at public high schools in Boston, San Francisco and Chicago before going on to earn her law degree.
Robin serves as a Director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and on the Board of Ingenuity, an organization committed to strengthening Arts programming in Chicago Public Schools. She is co-founder and past Board Chair of the Celiac Disease Center at the University of Chicago, helped found and serves as a Director of North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School, and has served on two Local School Councils. Finally, Robin is an active trustee of the Steans Family Foundation, where she helps guide education and community development grant-making in the North Lawndale community.
Robin graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Brown University, received her master’s degree in Education from Stanford University, and attended law school at the University of Chicago, where she graduated cum laude and Order of the Coif. She is married and has three children, all of whom attend or graduated from Chicago Public Schools.
Finally, Robin is Board Chair of the Steans Family Foundation, where she helps guide education and community development grant-making in the North Lawndale community.
Ric Estrada is CEO of Metropolitan Family Servicessince 2011. Founded in 1857, Metropolitan is one of state’s largest and best respected social services agencies. Since his arrival, Ric has helped the agency grow by 60 percent in revenue and families served.
Ric has nearly three decades of leadership experience in human services, philanthropy and government. Prior to joining Metropolitan, Ric served as First Deputy Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). Before that, he served as Executive Director of Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago, where his accomplish-hments included founding the Erie Elementary Charter School.
Ric serves on the Board of Directors of Leadership Greater Chicago; Board of Directors of the Council on Accreditation’ Board of Directors of The Woods Fund of Chicago; Illinois Treasurer’s Office Charitable Trust, and Board of Directors of the Cook County Hospital and Health System.
Ric’s awards include being named an American Marshall Memorial Fellow, as well as receiving the City Club of Chicago John A. McDermott Award for Distinguished Social Leadership, the University of Illinois at Chicago City Partner Award, the Damen Award from Loyola University of Chicago in 2016, and the University of Chicago’s Inaugural 2014 SSA Social Impact Alumni Award. In 2013 he was named Leadership Greater Chicago’s “Distinguished Fellow,” and “Person of the Year” by the Corporate Responsibility Group of Chicago. In 2012 he was honored by the Chicago Bears with an NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award. He received a Kellogg CEO Perspectives Fellowship in 2009. He also was selected as one of Crain’s Chicago Business’ "40 under 40" in 2002.
Ric’s educational background is grounded in social services and business, including an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, an M.A. in Social Service Policy and Administration from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, and a B.S. in Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago.
Driven by his lifelong love for the arts, for his hometown, and for connecting with people from every background, Greg Cameron leads the Joffrey Ballet as Executive Director, responsible for organization-wide administration and strategy. Under Greg’s partnership with Artistic Director Ashley Wheater, the Joffrey has set new records at the box office and built the strongest financial foundation in its history.
His 2013 appointment was the culmination of three decades of work in arts administration and philanthropy. “I always loved art, but I wasn’t a great artist,” he says. “I could paint by numbers, or I could connect the dots. I realized early on I was a good dot connector. I could connect people to each other and help them get involved with the things they believe in.”
As a child in suburban Chicago, Greg ran a makeshift theater out of his garage and sold more mints than anyone else for his local YMCA. And as an adult, he turned those passions into a career raising funds for the cultural organizations he loves. At the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, where he rose to the role of Deputy Director and Chief Development Officer; and WTTW/WFMT, where he served as COO, Greg dedicated himself to supporting art and artists and to creating meaningful experiences for others. “The Joffrey brings it all together for me,” he says. “It’s about collaboration, partnership with the community, honoring and supporting artists, and telling stories that truly move people.”
Today, Greg leads the Joffrey’s efforts to support unforgettable productions and new commissions, reach out to organizations and communities across Chicago, and open up world-class ballet for audiences from all backgrounds. And he continues to throw himself into the community around him, volunteering for a wide range of nonprofit organizations and civic committees including Enrich Chicago, Forefront, and the UIC Chancellor’s Leadership Board, as well as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Fashion Committee, the UIC Visiting Committee—College of Architecture and the Arts, Chicago Community Trust LGBT Committee, Terra Foundation's Art Design Chicago Advisory Committee, and Choose Chicago. Greg also serves as a State Street Commissioner.
Moderator: Steven George
Steven is the Board Chair of the Chicago Development Leadership Consortium (DLC). He has served on the board since 2013, having graduated from the DLC Management Fellows Program in 2011.
Steven is the Assistant Dean of Advancement for the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Steven leads his team’s effort to successfully increase visibility, engagement, and philanthropy for UIC Nursing, which is ranked in the top 20 programs in the nation. Steven and his team recently secured a $5 million gift and broke ground on a 15,000 square foot, state-of-the-art nursing simulation center in early September.
Before UIC, Steven was Senior Director of Advancement for Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which is ranked among the top 5 departments in the country. Prior to ECE, he was Senior Major Gifts Officer at Illinois Tech for eight years, where he was an integral part of its $250M initiative, Fueling Innovation: The Campaign for IIT. Earlier in his career, Steven directed annual giving programs at Roosevelt University and Berklee College of Music.
Steven began his journey in philanthropy as a work-study student in the development and alumni offices at Bradley University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in vocal performance. Steven sings for St. Thomas of Canterbury Church and DePaul’s Community Chorus. Steven and his wife live in Uptown with their dog Sadie.