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Convention and Advocacy Conference Keynote Speakers

Emanuel “Chris” Welch
Tuesday, March 29, 2022 – Awards Dinner

Chris has served as a State Representative in the Illinois General Assembly since January 2013. On January 13, 2021, Chris became the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. The first Black lawmaker to hold such position. Prior to becoming Speaker, Welch served as Chair of the House Executive Committee and before that he Chaired Higher Education.  All positions where he left a positive mark.

As State Representative, Welch focused on improving classroom education, creating jobs, helping the most vulnerable, and streamlining government. Welch was the Chief Sponsor of several pieces of historic legislation including the law bringing cursive writing back to our schools, the Historic Illinois Trust Act, the law making Illinois a Welcoming State for immigrants, and the Homeless Bill of Rights. Speaker Welch is also a leading voice for adding black and brown people to the boards of publicly held corporations after sponsoring landmark legislation that requires Illinois corporations to annually disclose their board composition.

Welch has been recognized with several significant awards for his legislative record including the prestigious Zeke Giorgi Award from the AFL-CIO and the Friend and Education Award from the Illinois Education Association.

Prior to joining the General Assembly, Welch served 12 years on the Proviso Township High School Board of Education.  His last ten years he served as the Board Chair. Welch lead the Proviso School Board in the creation of the Proviso Math and Science Academy, a school that today is recognized by Chicago Magazine and US News and World Reports. He did this all while balancing the schools budget for the first time since the early 90s.

Welch is married to ShawnTe and has two children, Tyler and Marley.

Cynthia Changyi-Levin
Wednesday, March 30, 2022 – 9:45 am

Levin is the author of “From Changing Diapers to Changing the World: Why Moms Make Great Advocates and How to Get Started.” A rare breed of non-partisan activist who works across a variety of issues, Levin coaches volunteers of all ages to build productive relationships with members of Congress. She advocated side-by-side with her two children from their toddler to teen years and crafted a new approach to advocacy based upon her strengths as a mother.

​Levin served as a board member of RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund for four years and led volunteer groups for RESULTS in Chicago and St Louis for more than ten years. She is currently a volunteer with RESULTS, the ONE CampaignBread for the WorldCAREMoms Demand Action for Gun Sense in AmericaMomsRising, and the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign.

​Her published opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, the Washington Post, and many other national and regional publications. She has delivered in-person presentations and workshops for many organizations including PTA, The World Bank, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign, and RESULTS. She also appears on podcasts and webinars speaking about advocacy and motherhood, discussing global poverty issues, and training advocacy volunteers. She received the 2021 Cameron Duncan Media Award from RESULTS Educational Fund for her citizen journalism on poverty issues. 

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