Even before Hoy McConnell became BPI’s third Executive Director in September 1999, he was active on the Board of Directors — as a member since 1981 and president from 1990-96. Previously Hoy led a distinguished career in the advertising agency business. At the Leo Burnett Company, Hoy was Senior Vice President, Account Director. He joined Burnett from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles Worldwide (DMB&B), where from 1983 until 1995 he served as Managing Director of DMB&B/Chicago, leading the 160-person Chicago office, which steadily grew under his direction. Hoy received a BA magna cum laude from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Angela M. Bailey
Senior Education Associate
Angela joined BPI in 2013. Prior to joining BPI, Angela worked as a Policy Associate at the Chicago Jobs Council. In her work at CJC, Angela managed the organization’s advocacy strategy for a number of regional workforce and economic development initiatives, including the Urban Weatherization Initiative, the proposed CTA Red Line South Extension, and the Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative. She has also worked as a Research Assistant under University of Chicago’s Dr. Charles Payne as part of the Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community. Angela is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and a 2009 City of Chicago Mayoral Fellow. All of her research and professional experience have been based on analyzing and promoting opportunity structures for economically disadvantaged families and communities. She holds a B.A. from Knox College and M.A. from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.
Julie Elena Brown has served as Staff Counsel since 1989 and currently works on housing litigation and policy development. Prior to
her role at BPI, Julie served as Assistant Corporation Counsel with the City of Chicago Law Department. She received her bachelor's degree
from the University of Wisconsin and JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she was on staff at the Law Review and an
editor at the International Law Journal.
Ellen joined BPI in 2000. She was formerly Assistant Director of Development at the John G. Shedd Aquarium where she worked in
planned giving and donor communications. In addition to her involvement with other nonprofit organizations, she has been part of start-up teams
for two Web-based companies. Ellen has a BA in English Literature from Loyola University and JD from the DePaul University College of Law.
Adam Gross joined BPI in 1995 and now directs BPI's Affordable Housing Program, which works to create and preserve affordable housing and to ensure that it is distributed equitably throughout the Chicago metropolitan region. The multi-pronged program develops, advocates for and helps implement state laws and policies; works with municipalities, counties and community organizations to create and implement local policies; and builds coalitions and educates policymakers and the general public. In recent years, much of Adam’s work has been devoted to developing and building support for state and local policies to address the foreclosure crisis. For example, he has drafted several pieces of state legislation and amendments to the City of Chicago’s Vacant Property Ordinance, helped to develop the Cook County Circuit Court’s foreclosure mediation program, and begun to develop a land bank. Previously at BPI, Adam worked on the legal, policy and planning issues involved in the transformation of public housing and the development of mixed-income communities and represented public housing residents in the landmark Gautreaux public housing desegregation litigation. He received his B.A. from Yale University, his Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.
Em joined BPI in 2013. She's an award-winning marketer with a knack for digital strategy and social media. Despite all odds, she still believes in the Oxford comma and two spaces after a period. At Goodwill of Greater Washington, Em was a driving force behind the groundbreaking “Fashion of Goodwill” blogging campaign, increasing retail revenue while refreshing the brand for a new generation of shoppers and donors. Her work at the USO brought the organization of Bob Hope to the Facebook generation and was featured as a case study - The ROI of Emily - by measurement expert Katie Paine. At Zipcar she spearheaded a regional video strategy and was instrumental in creating new online products for B2B and B2G marketing. In addition to a long roster of small business and non-profit consulting clients, Em also serves as the marketing manager for a regional theatre company. She received a B.A. with Honors from the University of Chicago and earned Masters in U.S. History and Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University. She is currently finishing her Certificate in Integrated Marketing at the University of Chicago's Graham School. In her spare time she enjoys checking in on Foursquare.
Betsy Lassar is a member of BPI's Affordable Housing team. Prior to joining BPI, Betsy served as Housing Planner and Consultant to the City of Highland Park, where she was responsible for affordable housing activities, including coordinating implementation of the city’s Affordable Housing Plan. Betsy is founder and currently vice-president of the Highland Park Community Land Trust, and served as Vice Chair of the City’s Housing Commission. She also serves as Commissioner of the Lake County Affordable Housing Commission. Betsy is no stranger to BPI, having served as staff counsel from 1977-1984. She holds a JD from Northwestern University and a BA from the University of Michigan. Betsy was elected to BPI's Board of Directors in September 2007.
Susannah joined BPI in July 2003 after receiving her Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago's Irving B. Harris School of
Public Policy Studies. Currently, she engages in policy analysis, advocacy, research and community organizing for BPI's Affordable Housing Initiative. As a Public Policy Associate at Illinois Action for Children, Susannah led lobbying efforts
and conducted legislative advocacy on behalf of low-income families. Susannah has also worked with the Financial Research and Advisory
Committee (FRAC). She received her BA from Brandeis University.
Alexander Polikoff has served as lead counsel in the Gautreaux public housing litigation for more than 40 years. Alex joined BPI one year after its founding in 1970 as Executive Director, a position he held for almost 30 years. Previously, he was a member of the Chicago law firm Schiff Hardin & Waite (now Schiff Hardin LLP). He received his BA, MA in English Language and Literature and JD from the University of Chicago. He is the author of three books, The Path Still Open: A Greater Chance for Peace Than Ever Before (2009), Waiting for Gautreaux: A Story of Segregation, Housing, and the Black Ghetto (2006), and Housing the Poor: The Case for Heroism (1978).
Kim Zalent joined BPI as Director of the Public Education Program in 2003. Prior to joining BPI, Kim served as the Executive Director/Lead Organizer for the South Bronx Churches/IAF, where she co-led a project to create 19 small public high schools. A founding organizer for Lower Manhattan Together, an Industrial Areas Foundation organization in New York, Kim also led a number of Chicago-based initiatives, including the Organization of the NorthEast (ONE) and the Pilsen Resurrection Project. Kim holds a BA from Valparaiso University.
Karen received her JD in May 2012 from the University of Georgia School of Law where she was recipient of the Ellen Jordan Public Interest Award, director of the Working in the Public Interest Conference, and president of the school’s American Constitution Society chapter. While in law school, Karen interned with the Carter Center’s Human Rights Program, HUD, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee in Budapest. Karen completed a year of AmeriCorps service with New Sector Alliance in Boston where she worked on foreclosure prevention and community health projects. Afterwards, she worked as development coordinator for a neighborhood health center. Karen holds a BA from Yale University, where she researched education and child welfare in New Delhi, India and with the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding.
A 2010 graduate of Harvard Law School, Emily clerked for Justice Denise Johnson of the Vermont Supreme Court before coming to BPI. As a law student, Emily was an editor of the Harvard Civil Rights – Civil Liberties Law Review, a research and teaching assistant for Professor Lani Guinier, and a mediator with the Harvard Mediation Program. Her internships during law school included work with The Legal Aid Society (NYC), Centro Legal de la Raza (Oakland), Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (Boston), and Advancement Project (Washington, D.C.). Prior to law school, Emily was a Teaching Fellow at Citizen Schools in Boston, a publication assistant for Harvard’s Global Equity Initiative, and a research assistant with the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research. As a Rockefeller Fellow, she worked on community development projects with rural farming communities in Mexico. Emily received her BA magna cum laude in History and Literature from Harvard College in 2004.
Technology Coordinator/Administrative Assistant