Illinois Humanities Proudly Welcomes New Staff and Board Members

IH STAFF 0185 cr Illinois Humanities

Features
By Illinois Humanities

Read Time 6 minutes
May 9, 2024

So far this year, Illinois Humanities has gained the invaluable expertise of seven new members of board and staff to help carry out its mission.

Among our newly elected board members are Myriam Del Angel, Vice President of Human Resources for North America at Randstad Sourceright; Aarón Díaz Bianco, Sonora Investment Partnership Manager; and Nakea West, Chief Equity and Diversity Officer for IFF. Together, these three leaders bring a wealth of experience and commitment to DEI and antiracist workplace practices and financial advisory expertise. We’re honored to welcome them onto our stellar board chaired by Jai Winston, Program Director, St. Paul for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

We are also celebrating the arrival of four new staff members, whose enthusiasm and fresh perspectives brighten our team!

Illinois Humanities’ robust programming is now supported by three dedicated individuals— Margy LaFreniere is our new Program Manager of Teaching and Learning, and will help support middle school and high school educators to develop, participate in, and share public humanities programs and resources throughout the state and lend her expertise to our educational initiatives; Tony Pizarro is the Program Manager of Envisioning Justice, Illinois Humanities’ program devoted to reimagining the criminal legal system; and Brooklyn Rue works across the Programs team to support public events, data management, and best-practice program processes as Program Operations Coordinator. 

Hannah Sugarman is our new Foundation and Corporate Relations Coordinator, where she supports the Development team’s goals to maintain and grow Illinois Humanities’ donor ecosystem.

Learn more about our newest team members’ careers and special interests below!

BOARD

Myriam Del Angel (she/her/ella)
Randstad Sourceright
Vice President of Human Resources North America

Myriam Del Angel has over two decades of experience as a bilingual HR professional. Throughout her career, she has provided comprehensive guidance to leadership on various human resources matters, including diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. She earned her bachelor’s degree in human resources from Northeastern Illinois University and has held positions at prominent companies such as Arthur Andersen, Microsoft, Accenture, Deloitte, E&Y, PwC, and Grant Thornton. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of Human Resources for North America at Randstad Sourceright and serves as the executive sponsor for Randstad Empowering All Latinos (R.E.A.L.) business resource group.

Myriam is the author of Latinas in Corporate: Overcoming Cultural Obstacles While Juggling a Career and a Family, a book that offers valuable insights into the experiences of Latinas in corporate America, and is a contributor to Latinas Rising Up in HR: Volume 1, a book highlighting the remarkable journeys of women in the HR field.

Myriam was born and raised in Little Village, “La Villita,” a predominantly Mexican neighborhood in Chicago. As a first-generation Latina, she takes great pride in her Mexican and Colombian heritage. A dedicated mother to three teenagers, Myriam finds joy in Latin Dancing, practicing Yoga, and exploring the world through travel.

Myriam Del Angel headshot scaled

Aarón Díaz Bianco, JD/CFA (he/him)
Sonora Investment Partnership 
Manager

Prior to launching Sonora Investment Partnership, Aarón has served as a research analyst for 7+ years at a leading investment firm, an attorney, and an investment banking analyst.

Aarón is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He graduated from Princeton University, earned his MBA in Quantitative Finance from the University of Chicago, and holds a JD from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. During law school, Aarón constructed a comprehensive set of advanced valuation tools for a leading intellectual property advisory firm.

Aarón is a member of American Mensa, Ltd. He is also an advisory board member of Facing History & Ourselves and the National Museum of Mexican Art. Aarón resides in Chicago with his wife and three children.

Aaron Diaz Bianco headshot scaled

Nakea West (she/her)
IFF 
Chief Equity and Diversity Officer (CEDO)

Nakea West is the Chief Equity and Diversity Officer (CEDO) for IFF, leading strategy to develop, implement, evaluate, and monitor IFF’s commitment to become a diverse, anti-racist and anti-oppressive organization. In this role, Nakea partners with IFF’s Senior Leadership Team and the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Transformation Team (EDITT) to set an overarching vision for equity, diversity, and inclusion at IFF, and support the implementation of that vision. Nakea also engages internal and external partners to create an inclusive organizational culture in which diverse, lived experiences and perspectives are celebrated and leveraged to tackle racist and oppressive systems, policies, and practices at the intersection of nonprofit facilities and finance.

Previously, Nakea served as IFF’s Managing Director of Resource Development and Co-Chair of EDITT’s inaugural team.

Nakea has more than fifteen years of experience leading nonprofit fundraising. Prior to joining IFF in 2018, Nakea led strategic fundraising and funder engagement for Project Vote and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, both in Washington, D.C. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from The University of Chicago.

Nakea West headshot cropped

STAFF

Margy LaFreniere (she/her)
Program Manager, Teaching and Learning

Margy joined Illinois Humanities in April 2024. Previously, she was the Education Project Manager at the Museum of Science and Industry where she developed the Girls in STEM program to support girls and gender-expansive youth in STEM spaces. 

Margy also led a variety of other programs and events linking low-income youth and families with science opportunities. She has worked as a public-school teacher and curriculum designer, focusing on student-led and project-based learning in the humanities. 

Margy loves connecting people with opportunities to develop their passions.

Margy La Freniere

Tony Pizarro (he/him)
Program Manager, Envisioning Justice

Tony joined Illinois Humanities in May 2024. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, he was previously the Writing Center Assistant Director and Lecturer for North Park University where he also served as faculty advisor for the Black Student Union. He is a former Steering Committee member for the Illinois Coalition for Higher Education in Prison (IL-CHEP).

Tony is also the founder and owner of Kintsugi-LLC whose mission is to transform brokenness into beauty together. He has published articles with Atla and the Christian Community Development Association. Currently, he is pursuing his doctorate degree.

Tony Pizarro from Linked In

Brooklyn Rue (she/her)
Program Operations Coordinator

Brooklyn joined Illinois Humanities in March 2024. Previously, she helped coordinate and execute events at the University of Chicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Humanities, where she also completed her MA in English and Gender & Sexuality Studies. 

In her free time, Brooklyn enjoys traveling, taking art classes, and spending time with her two mischievous kittens.

Brooklyn Rue Headshot

Hannah Sugarman (she/her)
Foundation and Corporate Relations Coordinator

Hannah joined Illinois Humanities in December 2023. She previously worked at JCUA, a Chicago-based organization that mobilizes the Jewish community to pursue justice, and has experience in nonprofit marketing, development, and volunteer management. 

Hannah grew up in the Chicago suburbs and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis where she studied Anthropology, Latin American Studies, and Spanish. 

Outside of work, you can find Hannah visiting museums and eating her way through Chicago's ice cream shops.

Hannah Sugarman headshot