Board of Directors

Joan Akalaonu, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP 

Joined CAASE Board in 2019 

Joan is a business litigation associate at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP in Chicago. At Faegre, Joan counsels counseling clients through all steps of litigation and advising clients through internal and government investigations and compliance matters, including FCPA inquiries. Before Faegre, Joan was a litigation associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Chicago. In her pro bono practice, Joan has recently represented a young female asylum seeker escaping physical and sexual violence in immigration proceedings, represented children in guardianship proceedings, and assisted in drafting an amicus brief on solitary confinement for the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

Joan received her law degree from Loyola University School of Law in Chicago. Prior to attending law school, Joan worked for several years in social services, helping children who had suffered from abuse and/or neglect. After getting her Masters in Social Work, Joan worked as a child social worker in London handling cases involving serious and pervasive safeguarding concerns. 

Kat Aldag, UIC

Joined CAASE Board in 2017       

Kat has spent most of her career in higher education, with previous experience at Oberlin College, The University of Chicago, Columbia College, and now working at UIC. Kat is now pursuing a master's degree in counseling at Roosevelt University. Kat identifies as a Spanish-speaking advocate creating safe space for adolescents and individuals to cope with life transitions on their own terms.  

Judy Gold, Perkins Coie

Joined CAASE Board in 2013

Judy Gold is a partner at Perkins Coie in both the Government Relations and Business Law practices. Judy has two decades of transactional experience in general corporate, real estate and private equity as well as in the areas of government relations, public affairs, and crisis management. In addition to the private practice of law, Judy has significant public sector experience. Judy served in the Clinton White House, Mayor Daley’s Cabinet as Chief of Policy for the City of Chicago, chaired the Illinois Commission on the Status of Women, was a member of the Illinois State Board of Education and chaired Women’s Policy for the Obama for America Campaign.  Most recently, she was appointed by the Obama Administration to serve as U.S. representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She serves on numerous local boards including Chicago's Civic Federation and the Chicago Chamber of Commerce. Judy is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, and resides in Chicago with her husband and young family. 

Mari Johnson, Illinois Commerce Commission

Joined CAASE Board in 2019

Mari Johnson is an Administrative Law Judge with the Illinois Commerce Commission. Prior, she worked in private practice focusing on civil litigation and representing municipal clients in the Peoria, Illinois area. Mari is a member of several service organizations including, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Junior League.  She enjoys spending time with her family exploring Chicago since moving back to the area after 18 years. 

Amy Kohn

Joined CAASE Board in 2010

Amy has nearly 20 years of experience working as an employment lawyer and HR consultant, most recently at Seyfarth Shaw and previously for more than 12 years at Hewitt Associates in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Amy is a longtime supporter of non-profit organizations and has participated in two half-marathons with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. A supporter of women’s rights since she took a “Women and the Law” class during college, Amy worked for a labor-side law firm during law school and is committed to supporting CAASE’s mission and achieving its goals. Amy graduated with a B.A. with honors from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.

Gail Lee, Skadden Arps - Board Vice President

Joined CAASE Board in 2018

Gail is an Associate in the litigation department at Skadden Arps, where she serves on the Associates Committee to foster better communication between associates and partners and to address general associate issues and concerns.  Gail obtained her Juris Doctor with honors at the University of Pennsylvania, where she co-chaired the Penn chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, a public interest and human rights focused bar organization, and served as the Education Chair of the Penn chapter of Lambda Legal, a national organization focused on achieving equal rights and protections for LGBT individuals. Gail received a B.A. with honors from the University of Kansas, where she majored in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and minored in Public Policy and Art History.    

Akintunde Littlejohn, The Admiral at The Lake

Joined CAASE Board in 2019

Lj has been the Director of Information Technology at The Admiral at The Lake for the past 7 years. The Admiral is a not for profit Continuing Care Retirement Community located in uptown Chicago. Previously, he was the Manager of Information Technology at PCC Community Wellness, also a nonprofit organization and a Federally Qualified Health Center.Prior to entering the non- profit space, Lj worked in various roles in the financial brokerage industry with his most tenured role as Director of Information Technology for Fox Investments Division of MF Global. His experience in Information Technology spans 20+ years. Recently, LJ served as a Board Member for a startup nonprofit, Pop Up Youth Center. He provided technology consultation, identified organizations to hire program participants, facilitated job preparation workshops and implemented a mentorship program. Lj possesses an Associates of Applied Science in Computer Information Science from Kennedy King Jr College.

Lauren Parton, Renaissance Hotel Chicago

Joined CAASE Board in 2019

Lauren is a beverage consultant and trainer, as well as the Bar Operations Manager for the Renaissance Hotel Chicago. A Chicago native, Lauren jump-started her career on the culinary side of the food and beverage realm. Eager to pursue further teachings, Lauren began the certification process for becoming a Sommelier in 2009. She then joined the opening bar team at award-winning Drumbar, working as a bartender alongside famed bartender Benjamin Newby, where she developed a passion for fusing the worlds of food and beverage to create innovative drinkable and edible cocktails. Lauren created the award-winning cocktail program for the W Hotels and Loews Chicago, and previously headed the wine program at Kimpton Grey Hotel. 

Ross H. Neihaus, Kaye Scholer LLP - Board President

Joined CAASE Board in 2014

Ross H. Neihaus is a commercial litigator with a specialty in complex commercial matters. He has represented clients in cases involving allegations of securities fraud, monopolization, price manipulation, breach of contract, misrepresentation and other business torts. Ross also provides pro bono services for a variety of community legal organizations, including the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), the Jewish Federation of Chicago's Community Legal Services Clinic and the Circuit Court of Cook County's Pro Bono Program for petitioners seeking orders of protection.

Nancy Radner, Primo Center for Women and Children - Board Treasurer

Joined CAASE Board in 2015

Nancy Radner is the Chief Operating Officer of the Primo Center for Women and Children, which provides housing, shelter and supportive services for homeless families on the west side of Chicago.  She is the founding CEO of the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness and the Partnership to End Homelessness. She has also been the director of Illinois Policy at the Ounce of Prevention Fund and a staff attorney at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago. She has a J.D. from the University of Michigan and an A.M. from the University of Chicago Social Services Administration. 

Francesca Schuler, Motorola Solutions - Board Secretary

Joined CAASE Board in 2017

Francesca Schuler is Director at Motorola Solutions and in her current role drives the strategy and business priorities for an end-to-end solution that requires leading complex matrix teams.  Francesca has experience in all phases of product development, strategy and operations, product management, and technology research. She holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, and a Master of Business Administration. Francesca holds 20 patents, serves as a member of Motorola Solutions Science Advisory Board, and is a certified Six Sigma Master Blackbelt.


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