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Meet Pritzker’s new Appointments to State Boards and Commissions


Chicago, (HINA)- Governor JB Pritzker announced that his administration has nominated the following individuals to serve on a variety of state boards and commissions:


Maria Bocanegra will serve as Commissioner of the Illinois Commerce Commission.* Bocanegra is an accomplished, well-respected attorney with prior public service in both Democratic and Republican administrations. She most recently served as Arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. There, she managed a docket of nearly 3,000 claims, presiding over various matters including pre-trials, trials, settlement, dismissals, attorney fee disputes and Medicare and Social Security collateral issues. Bocanegra previously held the Public Seat for the Labor Advisory Board of the Illinois Department of Labor, participating in critical meetings regarding various laws and issues affecting Illinois workers, including those laws enforced by the Department of Labor. She was previously an attorney with Katz Friedman, where she handled workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. Bocanegra earned her Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law and her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Quincy University. She is fluent in Spanish and is the first in her family to obtain a college degree.


Elizabeth Lopez will serve as Commissioner of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.* Lopez is Litigation Counsel in United Airlines Legal Department. She joined the company in 2016 after eight years of private practice at a large national law firm. At United, she supports all areas of the business with regard to pre-litigation and litigation advice. Lopez manages United’s relationship with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), where she regularly takes on pro bono legal work and coordinates pro bono opportunities for her colleagues. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of Mexican Art; recently completed a 3-year term as a member of the Board of the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association; and is a founding member of the Junior Leadership Board of the National Immigrant Justice Center. Lopez received her Juris Doctor from Northwestern University and her Master of Arts in American history and Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University.

James Hibbert will continue to serve as Commissioner of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.* Hibbert has been with Wells Fargo for nine years and is currently the relationship manager and vice president. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, he spent 10 years at The Northern Trust Company where he served as vice president, relationship manager and manager in the Investment Operations Department. Hibbert also worked in the Trust and Custody Department at Harris Bank in Investment Manager Relations. After graduating from college, Mr. Hibbert held a variety of positions as an account executive for firms at Chicago Board of Trade and on Wall Street in New York working for traders at Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. He received his Bachelor of Science in communication and SCS financial planner certification at Northwestern University.


Daniel Brink will serve on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.* Brink started his career as a counselor at the Adams County Juvenile Center and then became a probation officer to the Adams County Probation Department for a combined total of nearly 10 years. As a probation officer, he completed pre-sentence investigation reports for the court and supervised both juveniles and adults on probation. He also has experience in human resource management and owned his own business handling debt collections. For the past 10 years, he has served an assistant vice president at a local retail banking corporation as well as a facility manager and collection officer. He is also responsible for handling the Bank Security Program for 10 locations. He also served the City of Quincy as an Alderman for the sixth ward from 2009 to 2017. Brink received his Bachelor of Arts in social justice professions from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Oreal James will serve on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.* James is a certified mediator who has focused on establishing restorative justice practices within public education settings and community organizations for nearly two decades. As a foster/adoptive parent for 20 years, he was a pioneer in the practice of shared parenting when children could return home. He has been a vocal advocate for the educational, mental health and medical needs of children, including those dually-involved in the juvenile justice system and foster care system. For 12 years, he served as then-Senator Kwame Raoul’s senior advisor and district director. James received his Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Artis in political and economic analysis from DePaul University.

Kaye Wilson will serve on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.* Wilson is a consultant with almost fifty years of professional experience in a variety of social justice and nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies. She was one of the founding members of DePaul University’s School for New Learning where she the positions of director and assistant dean. She founded the Wells Prep School, an elementary school for public housing children, based on the Marva Collins’ educational approach and funded by the Department of Justice. As Executive Director of Urban Programs at Chicago City-Wide College, she designed and implemented Project Choice, a welfare-to-work education and training program for General Assistance participants. The Illinois Department of Public Aid and Community College Board later adopted the Project Choice model as the prototype for the Illinois welfare-to-work program, Advancing Opportunities. She also developed Project Leap, a program designed to assist returning citizens with employment, housing and other issues relative to their successful transition back into society. Having worked at Woods Fund of Chicago and Grand Victoria Foundation, Wilson has over eight years’ experience as a private philanthropic foundation program director. In 2009, she was appointed to serve as a Commissioner on President Obama’s White House Fellowship Program where she served for eight years. She is a trained Restorative Justice Practitioner and Circle Keeper Trainer. Wilson holds a Master’s degree in Urban Education and considers herself a generalist whose work experience has included teaching from elementary to graduate school levels.


Devon Bruce will serve on the Board of Trustees of the Teachers’ Retirement System.* Bruce is a partner at the law firm of Power, Rogers & Smith. Prior to joining the firm in 1994, he was a law clerk for Justice Moses Harrison II on the Illinois Supreme Court. Since joining the firm, Bruce has represented victims of accounting malpractice, embezzlement, banking negligence, medical malpractice, construction negligence and other types of personal injury cases. Bruce previously served in various public sector roles as the Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Investment, which oversaw approximately $18 billion dollars of pension funds; the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.  He also taught at the University of Illinois College of Law and the Trinity College, Dublin, School of Law as a visiting professor. He currently serves on various public and charity boards including Navy Pier, the American Ireland Fund and the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago.

Maureen Mena will serve on the Board of Trustees of the Teachers’ Retirement System.* Mena is a wealth planner with LPL Financial and she is a highly accomplished professional with over 15 years of experience. She began her career soon after graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Consumer Economics and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Spanish. Mena is registered through LPL Financial to offer mutual funds and variable annuities.  She received the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellowship (LUTCF) credential from the American College and is a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA). She previously served on the board of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) as the Vice President of the Women of ALPFA.