The board of the Chicago Poetry Center is comprised primarily of volunteer members who donate their time, talent, and resources to supporting the ongoing success of the organization. In addition to our volunteer members, there are two formal positions for active Poets in Residence teaching in the organization’s residency program. Additional volunteers support the work of the board on a committee-specific basis, without being full members. If you are interested in joining the Chicago Poetry Center board, reach out to our Executive Director at


Emily is a queer writer and artist based in Chicago. If stranded on a deserted island, one poet Emily would choose for company would be Ross Gay. She is deeply grateful to Ada Limón for these lines from “The Raincoat:” My god,/ I thought, my whole life I’ve been under her/ raincoat thinking it was somehow a marvel/ that I never got wet. Bieniek’s work can be found in SAND Journal, Plain China, Columbia Poetry Review, Ransack Press, The Lab Review and The Garland Court Review. Her superpower is removing dog hair from clothes. She works in marketing and media and is available for freelance work.




Elizabeth has a passion for people, development and organization. She is results driven with outstanding general management skills. Her superpower is her sense of direction. One poet Elizabeth would choose for company if stranded on a deserted island is Maya Angelou. Elizabeth’s earliest memory is of her mother, while pushing her on a swing, reciting these lines of poetry from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Swing:” How do you like to go up in a swing, Up in the air so blue? Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing Ever a child can do! Elizabeth pushed her children chanting these lines when they were little and recites them in her head whenever she swings still.



Kim Chayeb is the Two-Spirit (they/them) founder/CEO of Wild Tongues as well as a multi-disciplinary artist, holistic healer, activist, and educator originally from San Diego, California via Indian Trail, North Carolina. Kim graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and their spoken word poetry and conceptual performance art experiences explore themes of Environmental Justice, Indigenous Sovereignty, Anti-Racism and Science/Spirituality. Kim has performed at Steppenwolf Theatre, Pilsen Fest, Citlalín Gallery, Steep Theatre’s The Boxcar, DePaul University, Saint Xavier University, at Chicago’s Navy pier during Thawalls , Gallery 400, MCA Chicago, OPEN Center for the Arts, Hairpin Arts Center, & the Chicago Artists Coalition. Kim Chayeb is currently passing the creative torch to future generations as a high school Theater Arts Teacher in their Pilsen community.




Ana Espinoza is a second-generation Chicagoan whose love of pop culture and social media fuels her work as a publicist. She has worked on a variety of accounts in her 10+ years of marketing and public relations work, including hotels, restaurants, fast casual groups, and most recently CPG brands. In her spare time Ana enjoys following professional wrestling, scouring thrift stores, and spending time with friends and family. A line from a poem that she loves is from Vows (for a gay wedding): “I vow to love you in infinite forms.”





Shivani is a spoken-word artist, curator, dancer and overall stage-loving human. By day, she works as the Lead Behavior Architect for the executive, cross-functional strategic unit at Fractal Analytics. Her ‘Partition Poetry’ set was featured on BBC and Forbes; and pieces on Cultural & Gender identity won the Mumbai Poetry Slam in 2018. Her work has been featured at the Fringe Festival (Edinburgh), Jungle in the City Fest, SXonomics, Unerase Poetry (Mumbai), Femme Fest, Grandma’s House (Chicago) and many more. A line from a poem she loves is by Rainer Maria Rilke, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.”




Alex Kerber is super excited to be joining the Chicago Poetry Center’s team as a queer writer born and raised in Chicago. Alex has worked within the Special Olympics Chicago community for the last 10 years. Being fortunate enough to sort through life’s complexities as well as honor its beauty through written word and poetry, Alex looks forward to bringing poetry to many people who haven’t been offered the chance to put their experience into words just yet. A line from a poem that Alex loves is “All of this circumnavigating the earth\was to get back to my life.”



SCOTT KRUEGER | In Memoriam, 2019 – 2022

Scott had 30+ years of experience as an advertising executive and attorney before founding Krueger Coaching and Consulting. His superpowers were empathy and emotional intelligence. His coaching focused on career transitions, enabling individuals to find purpose, leverage strengths, embrace areas of opportunity, and unleash possibilities. One poet Scott chose for company on a deserted island was Oscar Wilde. Lines Scott loved from Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure:” Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. Scott’s intuitive nature and keen ability to see patterns and disparate connections allowed him to live in spaces that are not clearly black or white; if he were in a band, it would be called “Living in the Grey.” Scott’s family (and his great pride) includes his wife, a marketing, e-commerce, and human resource executive in Silicon Valley and his three sons, all of whom embrace their creative talents.


Clayton Neighbors is a nonprofit professional with a passion for serving under-resourced communities and building capacity and organizational effectiveness within the social impact sector. He has over 8 years of capacity building, fundraising, and programmatic expertise across the sector. Clayton currently serves as the Director of Institutional Advancement at Forefront, where he manages the grant, membership, and sponsorship areas in support of the organization’s revenue generation goals. His superpower is keeping plants alive!




Susan Oliver is a friend, mentor, pet parent and home chef living in Chicago whose superpower is cooking for large groups. She enjoys being outside and any themed activity. If Susan were stranded on a desert island, one poet she would choose for company would be Edna St. Vincent Millay. Susan believes that poetry and the arts are vital elements of humanity, allowing us to fully express and communicate our experiences, feelings and needs and acting as bridges of understanding. Some lines of poetry Susan loves: We sow the glebe, we reap the corn, We build the house where we may rest, And then, at moments, suddenly, We look up to the great wide sky, Inquiring wherefore we were born… For earnest or for jest? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.



Mallari is a health care professional who has cared for people in South Side communities of Chicago for the last 10 years. One poet Mallari would choose for company on a deserted island would be Joy Harjo. Mallari loves these lines from Langston Hughes’ poem, “Mother to Son:” Don’t you fall down now–For I’se still goin’, honey, I’se still climbin’… Mallari’s superpower is helping people help themselves, and she is passionate about literacy for children. Mallari believes poetry is a perfect way for children to develop literacy skills and express their humanity. If she were in a band, it would be called The Stellar Travelers.



KEVIN ROONEY | President

Kevin is a data and technology geek with a poet’s heart who serves as the Chief Administrative Officer at West Monroe. His superpower is connection—to people, to concepts, to technologies. If he were stranded on a deserted island, one poet he would pick for company would be Robert Frost. Kevin is a happily married father of two, almost full grown kids; he is a volleyball player and a high school coach. One line of poetry he thinks about: The steps towards tomorrow are taken today.




Nina Sudhakar is a writer, poet, and lawyer. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks Matriarchetypes (Bird’s Thumb, 2018) and Embodiments (Sutra Press, 2019), and her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Witness, The Offing, Ecotone, and elsewhere. She also serves as the Dispatches and Book Reviews Editor at The Common. For more, see Nina’s superpower is maintaining a capacity for wonder & awe, and if she were stranded on a deserted island, she would choose Aracelis Girmay, Donika Kelly, and Bhanu Kapil to be with her.




Naimah is a Chicago-based visual artist, art therapist, and licensed professional counselor who focuses on the intersections of art and mental health in BIPOC communities. With a master’s degree in art therapy and a background in graphic design, she uses her artwork to shift healing narratives and create spaces for exploration and re-imagination. Naimah has collaborated with organizations such as La Colombe, ACLU, Project Nia, Palenque LSNA, and The Goodman Theatre, contributing her artistic expertise to initiatives supporting women entrepreneurs and responding to the Black Lives Matter movement. If Naimah could eat one thing for the rest of her life, it would be mango with tajin.



Luis Tubens, a.k.a “Logan Lu”, was born in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood and raised in Logan Square. In 2014, he earned a B.A. in Communications, media and theater from Northeastern Illinois University. He is the 2017 Artists in Residence at Oak Park Public Library. Luis has performed poetry across the United States including with the GUILD COMPLEX, Tia Chucha Press, and the National Museum of Mexican Art. He has toured Mexico City in 2016 and 2018 presenting his work at the acclaimed “Show Socrates MX” (2016) and the National Book Fair of Leon GTO (2018) and featured in Puerto Rico at “Poets Passage” and “Gathering of Cities” at Libros AC (2019). He has also held workshops for the residents of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and students in the Chicago Public Schools. On stage, he has opened for notable acts including Saul Williams and Calle 13. He is the author of Stone Eagle (2017) published by Bobbin Lace Press, Chicago. Currently, Luis is the resident poet for ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat (2016 Best New Band and Best International Music Act, Chicago Reader) and represented Chicago in the 2014 and 2018 National Poetry Slam.


Suzette is in the business of lighting and enlightenment. Suzette is the founder and CEO of the LOM Group, LLC, a company that designs and manufactures high-performance lighting systems, and also an author and inspirational speaker. Suzette’s superpower is activating leadership, including powers of persuasion and a talent at getting things started. If she were to be stranded on a deserted island, one poet she would choose for company would be Audre Lorde. Suzette loves these lines from Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise:”

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.


Mary Ellen is a reformed Corporate Information Technology leader. She has recently completed the Inspired Leadership Initiative (ILI) Fellowship and is working on her next passion – helping young people get to and through their college education. She writes in prose but loves the work of the Chicago Poetry Center. If she were to be stranded on a deserted island, one poet she would choose for company would be Shakespeare, and if she were to start her own band, she would name it MEW’s band of Merry Makers.




Joy Young is a poet and educator born and raised in Chicago. If she were in a band, it would be called Taurus Girl Vibes. She holds a BA in Fiction from Columbia College Chicago and MA in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University. If stranded on a desert island, one poet Joy would enjoy for company would be Sarah Kay. Joy’s superpower is ingenuity: being resourceful and optimistic. Joy loves this line of poetry from Ode to The Selfie by Megan Falley and Olivia Gatwood: Today, you could see the resemblance to your ancestors, could tell you are a direct descendant of stars. Joy’s work has appeared in the literary journals Poetry East and Lunch Ticket, and also in a collaborative art therapy project at the InnerSpace Studio of Homan Square and LOCUS: VIII Gallery Showcase at The Martin.