conference schedule


9:00 – 9:30am Doors Open: Check In & Catered Breakfast / Networking

9:30 – 9:45am Brief introductory remarks by CCA Executive Director Dr. Mónica Félix

John Russick, Board of Directors President

9:45 – 10:45am Featured panel: “Grants for Cultural Heritage Institutions”

In this panel, representatives for various granting organizations will discuss funding opportunities they have available that will be of interest to cultural heritage institutions. 

  • Panelist 1: Ellen Placey Wadey (Program Director)
    • Organization: Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
    • Focus: The GDDF’s grants available for Broadening Narratives.
  • Panelist 2: Dave Joens (Coordinator of ISHRAB)
    • Organization: Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board (ISHRAB)
    • Focus: Historical Grants Program
  • Panelist 3: Jackie Banks-Mahlum (Director of Programs)
    • Organization: Illinois Arts Council Agency / IACA)
    • Focus: General operating support
  • Panelist 4: Mark Hallett (Director of Grants Programs)
    • Organization: Illinois Humanities
    • Focus: Various grants – Action, Vision, Multiplier, and Activate History

10:45am – 11:00am Break (coffee/tea); registrants head to other breakout rooms

11:00am – 12:00pm Panel: “At Risk Collections – Two Case Studies”

Description: This panel will present the stories of two cultural heritage organizations with collections that were (or currently are) at risk. Panelists will discuss the history behind the collection, what efforts have been made, and plans for the future. The panel is designed to lead to further conversation about efforts that worked, what could have changed, and also connect with area archivists & funders who might have ideas for any other cultural heritage institutions who are in a similar position.

Moderator: Dr. Rebecca Amato (Illinois Humanities / CCA Board of Directors)

  • Panelist 1: Ashley Dequila (FAHSC Board Member)
    • Organization: Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago (FAHSC – CCA Core Member)
      • Context: The FAHSC once had a museum, then were forced to shut down. Ms. Dequilla will talk about the emergency efforts to relocate, store, triage, and catalogue the collection. She will then discuss lessons learned, collaborators, and next steps.
    • Panelist 2: Marite Plume (Executive Director)
      • Organization: Latvian Folk Art Museum
  • This organization also once had a building with exhibits presenting the story of Latvian immigration to Chicago. The museum closed and the collection is now stored in her home. She will discuss the series of events that led to this, efforts to catalog and preserve the collections, and recent developments for storage and new collaborations.

11:00am – 12:00pm “Leadership Workshop for CCA Members”

This is a roundtable designed for executive staff members of CCA member organizations. The topic will be: succession planning.

Discussion Facilitators:

  • John Russick (CCA President)
  • Mónica Félix (CCA Executive Director)

11:00am – 12:00pm “Getting Started with Digitization” 

This panel is designed for centers of cultural heritage that are interested in digitizing photo or document archives. They will see existing models for this, discuss equipment needs, hosting, metadata, volunteer training, and related topics.

Moderator: Dr. Nitha Nagubadi (CCA Board Director)

    • Panelist 1: Jessica BodeFrank – Organization: Chicago Collections Consortium
      • Panelist 2: Jennifer Dalzin (Director of Digital Initiatives and Services  – Organization: Newberry Library
      • Panelist 3: Melissa Rovner, Chicago History Museum

12:00 – 1:00pm Lunch break – Catered

1:00 – 2:00pm “Low-Cost Solutions for Collections”

This panel is ideal for archives and cultural centers who are looking for ideas of how to preserve their collections on a tight budget. 


  • Panelist 1: Andrew Leith
    • Former CCA Conservation & Collections Program Manager
  • Panelist 2: Jacob Campbell (Lead Environmental Society Scientist / Adjunct Curator of Anthropology)
    • Organization: Field Museum
  • Panelist 3: Kate Swisher, Field Museum (Exhibitions Registrar)

1:00 – 2:00pm “Round tables: Nonprofit Jobs for Students”

This event is designed to provide students and early career professionals with the opportunity to meet with nonprofit professionals in a variety of positions in a low-stakes setting. During these conversations, they are welcome to ask about a typical day, what skills are desirable, and what professional networks they should join.

Table 1: Analú María Lopez, Newberry Library,  Ayer Librarian and Assistant Curator of American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Table 2: Jose (Jojo) Galvan Mora, Northwestern PhD/Co-curator, Chicago History Museum (“Aquí Chicago” Exhibit)

Table 3: Karen Christianson, Newberry Library Director of Public Programs and Adult Education

Table 4: Dorian H Nash, Smart Museum

1:00 – 2:00pm “Marketing and Strategy Tips for Cultural Nonprofits”

How should cultural heritage centers and other institutions look at branding and design as a way to communicate their story, establish a collective identity, and activate its community? This session will explore this question and learn how it’s done from two Chicago designers who have worked with both small community-based groups to global nonprofits and foundations, Mere Montgomery and Demetrio Maguigad. You’ll learn how they’ve worked with their partners including the Center for Humans and Nature, The Chicago Teachers Union, The MacArthur Foundation, and even the Chicago Cultural Alliance in activating experiences through branding and design.

  • Panelist 1: Demetrio Cardona-Maguigad, Founder of LimeRed and current CCA Board Director
  • Panelist 2: Meredith Montgomery, LimeRed

2:00 – 2:10pm Coffee/tea break & move to main area for keynote

2:10 – 3:00pm Juana Guzmán | KEYNOTE ADDRESS

3:00 – 3:10pm Registrants relocate to breakout rooms

3:10 – 4:10pm Panel: “Media Relations for Cultural Heritage Institutions”

The panel is designed for small cultural centers to learn more about how to work with media partners to reach a wider audience and share their community’s story. 

Moderator: Paul Durica (Chicago History Museum)

  • Panelist 1: Monica Eng | Reporter
    • Organization: Axios
  • Panelist 2: Gwen Ihnat | Arts & Culture Editor
    • Organization: Block Club Chicago
  • Panelist 3: Diana Palomar | VP Community Engagement
    • WLS-TV / ABC7
  • Panelist 4: Veronica Cassados | Press Relations
    • Organization: Chicago History Museum

3:10 – 4:10pm “Getting Started with Collecting Oral Histories”

This popular panel serves as an introduction for individuals and organizations to collecting an archive of oral histories from community members. Panels will provide examples, talk about the process, and give solid recommendations for equipment/hosting/questions/misc.

Moderator: Dr. Rebecca Amato (Illinois Humanities / CCA Board Member)

  • Panelist 1: Mary Doi
    • Organization: Chicago Japanese American Historical Society (CJAHS)
  • Panelist 2: Peter Alter
    • Organization: Chicago History Museum | Director of the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History

3:10 – 4:10pm “Community Resilience: Grassroots Funding and Mutual Aid in Chicago’s Cultural Landscape”

Moderator: Dr. Alyssa Greenberg (Chicago Symphony Orchestra Alliance / CCA Board Member)

Panelists will discuss other ways in which small to medium-size organizations can garner support and raise funds. This is intended to expand the conversation beyond grant writing and conventional fundraising.


4:10 – 4:20pm Registrants relocate to main area for final remarks

4:20 – 5:00pm An Interactive Discussion : Conference Highlights & Closing Remarks

  • Facilitator 1: Dr. Rebecca Amato (Illinois Humanities / CCA Board Director)
  • Facilitator 2: Dr. Alyssa Greenberg (Chicago Symphony Orchestra / CCA Board Director)

Registrants are invited to reconvene in the main room during this final conference activity. We will reconnect, talk through highlights from the conference, and work through ways in which you can begin applying some of the lessons or ideas in your own work.


  • IDE Interactive – This web developer is providing free 20-minute one-on-one consultations to registrants. They are happy to offer an assessment of your website or answer miscellaneous tech questions. 


  • The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum will be open to registrants for self-guided tours.


-More speakers to be announced-


Rebecca Amato (Moderator)

Ashley Dequilla – An artist-filmmaker and archivist who uses painting, performance, moving image, installation, and ritual in her research-based practice. In 2023, she obtained her Masters of Fine Arts in Moving Image from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she is currently enrolled as an MA student in Art History. As a community organizer, Ashley works in the realm of gender violence survivor advocacy and Philippine cultural production. She is a Co-Curator Partner of the Philippine Heritage Collection at the Field Museum of Natural History and a member of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA). Ashley is the de facto archivist for the Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago, working to restore its film collection with Chicago Film Society and the University of Chicago’s South Side Home Movie Project.

Martie Plume – After a successful career in business management as the Chief Executive Officer of Argonne Credit Union, Marite Plume has, since 2008 applied her financial skills at the Chicago Latvian Association and the Latvian Folk Art Museum. Her accounting degree from Northeastern Illinois University has been utilized in her job as Board treasurer for both organizations. In addition, a lifelong love of ethnic design specifically as used in Latvian textiles and nurtured at home under her mother’s influence, has given her a very good background in understanding the practicality and beauty of the everyday items in the museum. 



John Russick (Moderator)

Mark Hallett is the director of grants programs at the statewide nonprofit Illinois Humanities. A native Chicagoan, he has lived in Brazil, Mexico, Norway, and Spain. Prior to coming to Illinois Humanities in 2015, Mark was a senior program officer at the McCormick Foundation, where he guided grantmaking in youth media, community and ethnic media, press freedom in the Americas, and investigative reporting. He is an avid photographer and visual artist, and speaks Spanish and Portuguese. 

Dave Joens is the Director of the Illinois State Archives, the state agency that is responsible for the preservation of historic Illinois state and local government records. A fifth-generation resident of Illinois, Joens received his Bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, two Master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and a doctorate in Illinois history from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He is the author of three books on Illinois history and government, including “From Slave to State Legislator: John W. E. Thomas, Illinois’ First African American Lawmaker,” published by SIU Press.

Ellen Placey Wadey – Ellen Placey Wadey joined the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation in 2013 and becameDirector for Chicago Arts & Collections in 2021. She is currently the board co-chair of the Arts WorkFund and serves on the board of Enrich Chicago. Previously, she was an independent consultant focusing on small arts and culture organizations including the Chicago Cultural Alliance and many of its core members as well as social justice organizations including the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights and the Dorothy Stang Adult Education High School. Earlier in her career, she was executive director for the Guild Literary Complex, and director of marketing and development for Marwen. She has been a jurist or panelist for the Cuyahoga Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Kentucky Foundation for Women, Rasmussen Foundation, Third Coast Festival New Audio Competition, and United States Artists. Ellen holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College; an M.A. in fiction writing from the University of Illinois-Chicago and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the recipient of the Scott Turow Fiction Prize and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. For ten years, she co-produced Prosody, a radio show interviewing poets and writers, for the National Public Radio outlet in Pittsburgh.


Jackie Banks-Mahlum – Jackie Banks-Mahlum has worked at the Illinois Arts Council since 2019. Prior to her work at IAC Jackie was the Managing Director for Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and the Development Associate for Arts Alliance Illinois. While primarily a lifelong Illinoisan, Jackie spent some years in the Los Angeles area where she worked with Theatricum Botanicum, Center Theatre Group, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has also freelanced throughout several areas in the country where she had the opportunity to work with a variety of performing arts including opera, ballet, modern dance, improv, and theatre. Jackie earned her bachelor’s degree in theatre production and business management from Bradley University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre producing from the California Institute of the Arts.



Rebecca Amato

Peter Alter – Peter T. Alter is the Chicago History Museum’s Gary T. Johnson Chief Historian and Director, Studs Terkel Center for Oral History. As the Director of the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History, he develops new Museum oral history projects. The center collaborates with community partners to promote oral history as a tool of social justice.

Mary Doi Mary Doi, PhD., is community-based. qualitative researcher and oral historian. She was the Midwest coordinator for the Japanese American National Museum’s 4-site REgenerations Oral HIstory Project. This study documented the lives of Japanese Americans as they left the WWII incarceration camps to forge lives in a new city such as Chicago or in former home towns such as San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego.



Paul Durica (Moderator)

Monica Eng

Gwen Ihnat – 

Diana Palomar –  

Vanessa Cassados


Andrew Leith (Moderator) – BIO

Kate Swisher – BIO

Jacob Campbell – Jacob Campbell is an Environmental Anthropologist with the Keller Science Action Center at the Field Museum, where he leads the social science team for the Chicago region program. His recent applied research, pedagogy, and collaborative programming has focused on cultural connections to the natural world in urban areas. He works with partners across Chicago to create more equitable city institutions and green spaces that help communities thrive. He specializes in participatory research that informs decision-making about biodiversity conservation, land management, and public space design. Jacob also is adjunct curator of Anthropology at the Field Museum and lectures in Anthropology at University of Illinois-Chicago.



John Russick

Monica Felix – Mónica Félix has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago with specializations in German and Russian literature and a B.A. in German and Linguistics from Lawrence University. She began her career in public humanities with her role as the Museum Director of the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center in Chicago. To support new programming for diverse audiences, she formed partnerships with fellow Alliance organizations to plan an International Game Night, secured funding for genealogy resources, and greatly expanded the museum internship program to draw students from across Chicagoland.



Nitha Nagubadi (Moderator) –

Jessica BrodeFrank – Jessica BrodeFrank (she/her) spent the last decade in cultural heritage institutions, running DAMS, digital humanities research, and digital curation. She held positions at the Georgetown University Library, Adler Planetarium, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and Smithsonian’s NAA, Gardens, NPG, and NMAAHC. She completed her doctorate in Digital Humanities at University of London, and serves a joint appointment as Assistant Clinical Professor and Digital Projects Librarian at the University of Illinois Chicago and Portal Manager for Chicago Collections Consortium. Her research and work focus on crowdsourcing as a means of digital engagement, and the enrichment of metadata taxonomies with these diverse voices as a way towards inclusive search and access.

Melissa Rovner – Melissa Rovner is the Digital Humanities Curatorial Fellow at the Chicago History Museum. Her research focuses on uneven development practices and the entanglements of urban and architectural histories with labor and identity. Rovner works with thick mapping, virtual environments, and digital storytelling to excavate and highlight the hidden layers of the city that have been marginalized, displaced or erased in the physical environment, as in what the public experiences and imagines of those environments. Rovner is a Registered Architect in California and Illinois, holds a PhD in Architecture History from UCLA, and has taught at Woodbury University, USD, UCLA, UIC, and the Chicago Center.

Jennifer Datzin – Jennifer Thom Dalzin is the Director of Digital Initiatives and Services at the Newberry. She is responsible for major digital initiatives including DAMS selection and migration projects and transitioning to an open access policy. Jennifer has planned/managed large-scale digitization grants including 38,00 French Revolution era pamphlets; 1,500 17th century Italian maps; 8,000 19th century Philippines photographs; and 100s of thousands of manuscript pages and postcards. She is currently planning digitization grants for monographs containing 300+ languages spoken by Indigenous peoples of the Americas and 600,000 Pullman Company employee records. Jennifer has an MLIS from the University of Michigan.



Karen Christianson – Karen Christianson is Director of Public Programs and Adult Education at the Newberry Library. As a public humanities professional, she produces collaborative and multidisciplinary projects that help bridge the divide between scholars’ work and the general public. Activities include developing engaging classes, public programs, and events; writing grant proposals and directing grant-funded projects; and digital humanities projects.

Jose (Jojo) Galvan Mora – Jojo Galvan (he/him/his) has an MA in Museum and Exhibition Studies (’19) from UIC and is currently in the doctoral program in History at Northwestern University, where his research focuses on the intersections of Public and Urban History. He currently works as a historian in the curatorial department at the Chicago History Museum, as an instructor for the Illinois Humanities Odyssey Project, and as a freelance translator for a number of museums and historical institutions.


Analú María López Analú María López (Huachichil/Xi’úi) is the Ayer Librarian and Assistant Curator of American  Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library. As the Ayer librarian and Assistant  Curator, she helps steward the Indigenous studies collection while guiding library users through,  connecting them with, and interpreting materials linked to the Indigenous Studies collection. She  is interested in historically underrepresented Indigenous narratives, preservation and  revitalization of Indigenous languages, decolonial theory (within Libraries), and intentional  community collaborations for access to materials within colonial institutions. She holds a Master  of Library and Information Sciences with a certificate in Archives and Cultural Heritage  Resources and Services from Dominican University and a Bachelor of Arts in Photography with  a minor in Latin-American Studies from Columbia College Chicago. Mrs. López began her  career with the Newberry in 2004. After working for other libraries and museums in Chicago for  13 years, Mrs. López returned to the library in her current role in September 2017.

Dorian Nash  –



Demetrio Cardona-Maguigad

Meredith Montgomery



Alyssa Greenberg