The Corporate Board is responsible for the overall policy, financial stability and direction of the organization, and delegate responsibility of day-to-day operations to the staff and committees. Board members must be age twenty-one (21) or older. The board receives no compensation. All board member positions are eligible for re-election annually.
Chris "Hopper" Oehler President
Hopper is an alumni of the program and has been a volunteer with the organization for over 20 years. He has served as a member of the Junior and Adult Staffs, the Seminar Planning Committee, Alumni Adviser and The Corporate Board. Hopper received his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University. He has enjoyed a 15 year career in the aerospace industry as a mechanical engineer with Woodward MPC, where he is responsible for designing test equipment.
Angela Jos Seminar Chair
Angela went through Illinois Leadership Seminars in 2007 as the leader from East Leyden High School. While in high school, she was involved in theatre, choir, and the poetry slam team as well as attending Presidential Classroom, an international leadership conference in Washington, DC. Angela then attended Illinois Wesleyan University where she was a board member for a multi-cultural student-run theatre company and a Campus Ambassador for The Associated Colleges of the Midwest. Angela graduated in May 2013 with her Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts. She currently works as a Customer Experience Coordinator at Creative Group, Inc.
Since first attending Seminar, Angela has remained active in the organization, including serving on Junior Staff from 2009-2011. In 2012, she joined the Seminar Planning Committee and originated the position of Assistant to the Seminar Chair, a role she held in both ’12 and ’13. Now, Angela is honored and thrilled to have been selected as the 2014 Seminar Chair, to lead and give back to the organization she is so passionate about, one which has given her so much.
Kristin Nickels Co-Alumni Advisor
Kristin has been volunteering with ILS for over 13 years after first becoming involved as a Senior Coach. She has held many roles including Programming Director, speaker/facilitator and her current roles as Corporate Board Alumni Advisor and Seminar Director of Staff. Kristin graduated with a bachelor's degree in Communications from Northwestern University. She is currently working as a Product Manager at the NPD Group, a market research firm, where Kristin is responsible for overseeing a variety of research products that track trends within the food industry.
Amanda Lemm Co-Alumni Advisor
Amanda attended the Illinois Leadership Seminar in 2005 representing Zion Benton Township High School. While still in high school she has served as a member of the student alumni board as the reunion director and secretary. She has also volunteered time as a member of the Junior and Adult Staff. Amanda received her bachelor's degree in chemistry education from Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville, and is working on her Masters degree in secondary education through the American College of Education. She is currently working at Washington Community High School in Washington, IL teaching physics, chemistry and biology to high school students.
Keith Donovan NYSL Representative
As a high school sophomore in 2000, Keith had his first encounter with ILS as the world entered the new millennium... and he could not imagine a world without the insightful and enigmatic leaders that walk through the doors of the flagship seminar every June. Since 2000, Keith has remained on staff fulfilling roles including Junior Coach, Operations Team member, Admin Team member, and Seminar Planning Committee member. In 2008, he joined the Corporate Board and was selected as chairperson for the Flagship Seminar from 2009 – 2011. He has also serves our national affiliate, NSYL, the National Society for Youth Leadership, as the Illinois representative. Keith received his B.A. from St. Mary's University of Minnesota in English and went on to work at the high school level as a teacher and Director of Student Life. Subsequently, Keith earned his M.A. in Human Development with an emphasis in Student Affairs, also from Saint Mary's, and continues to work in Student Affairs today.
John Bielski II, JD, CPA, MBA Advisor to the Board
John is an attorney and owner of the Bielski Law Office, Ltd., and practices in the areas of business law, real estate law and estate planning. In addition to performing extensive transactional work for individuals and businesses, John has represented clients before state and federal courts, appellate courts, and before the Illinois Supreme Court. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Illinois Benedictine College, and his law degree from DePaul University College of Law. Mr. Bielski is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Finance from DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. John is currently the Treasurer and a Director, and has been involved with ILS since 2002. In addition, he provides legal advice to the organization and the Board of Directors.
Heather Judd Fulara
Heather is an alumni of the 2000 Illinois Leadership Seminar, when she was attending Dakota High School. She has served the program as a member of the Junior and Senior staffs, as a panelist, and most recently planning the annual Wine Tasting and Silent Auction fundraiser. Heather received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing from Bradley University. Heather is currently a Product Marketing Manager in the electronics industry for a company called Element14.
Austin Walker Treasurer
Austin attended the Illinois Leadership Seminar in the summer of 2006 and has been actively involved ever since. He served as Alumni Association President before taking over as Recruitment Director on the Seminar Planning Committee. For the last 5 years, Austin has recruited hundreds of outstanding young leaders for ILS and he loves interacting with parents and students who have no clue what they just got themselves into. In addition to ILS, Austin interacts with sister seminars in other states through the National Society for Youth Leadership (NSYL). He believes that one of the greatest benefits of attending ILS is the opportunity to become part of not only a state-wide support system, but a national leadership network. Austin graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science.
Kelly is a Learning Solutions Consultant with Gallup, where she is responsible for growing Gallup's strengths-based learning and development programs and serves as a liaison to coaches who complete certification courses through the Gallup Strengths Center. She is a certified Strengths Coach through the Gallup organization, too. Passionate about Strengths development in the youth community, Kelly has volunteered as a mentor through the Tutoring Chicago program. Kelly joined the Illinois Leadership Seminar Corporate Board in 2016 excited to carry forward Gallup's partnership with ILS on Strengths leadership programming and corporate sponsorship. She received her bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Joey Carrillo came to ILS in 2014 as a volunteer and was so inspired by this organization that he continued to stay involved! As a former high school student Joey was involved in many leadership development programs and organizations such as the National Hispanic Institute (NHI), Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and Boys State Illinois, but his passion for young people and their leadership potential that keeps him involved. For the past three seminars Joey served as a coach during the seminar and joined the board in 2016 with hopes of expanding the organization’s fundraising efforts. Joey has 7 years of nonprofit development and fundraising experience across different levels including front-line fundraising to higher level administration in his current role as the Assistant Director of Annual Giving at Illinois Tech. He is excited to assist the board in expanding and moving the organization forward to continue to impact the lives of youth leaders across the state of Illinois.