Staff & Board

Chicago Votes Staff

Stevie Valles

Executive Director

Stevie grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio but has lived all over the place – Virginia, Alabama, Washington DC, Dallas, Austin, and now Chicago. Even though he isn’t from the “Windy City”, he often says he got here as soon as he could. A graduate of Oakwood University with a Bachelors in Social Work, Stevie has committed his entire career to making sure all people have a voice and are welcomed as equals. Stevie joins the Chicago Votes family after working as the National Campaigns Director for the Alliance for Youth Action (formerly the Bus Federation). In this role he coordinated HUGE projects including National Voter Registration Day, which resulted in 777,321 new registered voters in 2017, and the American Voter Guide project. In addition to this experience he has worked in the United States Senate, the Texas Legislature and on a slew of campaigns ranging from presidential, gubernatorial, and affordable housing. Stevie loves music, dogs, writing, singing, star wars, dancing, legos, talking and learning about politics, and most of all playing basketball.

Jen Dean

Co Deputy Director

Jen grew up in Utica, NY which is the second largest political refugee resettlement community in the US. Jen’s passion is to cultivate new social justice organizations which include STAND, an organization that aims to prevent genocide and Baby University which is designed to reduce infant mortality. During graduate school, she moved to Chicago to study violence prevention efforts, which resulted in a publication on activism highlighting the value of social capital and collective efficacy. While at Chicago Votes she has created and distributed over 250,000 voter guides that include youth-focused issue stances from candidates. Jen is responsible for the citywide “Parade To The Polls” and is currently running Cook County Jail Votes, conducting voter registration drives making sure all eligible voters in the jail have a voice during elections. Working with coalition partners she drafted HB4469 that requires voting access in jails and will ensure that individuals released from prisons know their voting rights. Some of the campaigns she has worked on through Chicago Votes include Automatic Voter Registration, Fight for $15, and the Stop Act. She is a board member for Chasing 23 an organization that mentors South Side youth and Bring Your Bag Chicago.

Rudy Garrett

Co Deputy Director

A Hoosier native, Rudy graduated from Denison University with a B.A. in political science and international studies. She moved to Chicago in August of 2013 to attend culinary school, but found her inner activist instead. She completed the Chicago Votes Winter internship program in late winter/ early spring of 2014. After working at a law firm in the loop, she took a job as a Chicago Votes Field Organizer during the summer/ fall voter registration project and has been working with the organization ever since. Rudy is excited to show young Chicagoans that they can make a difference in their city and encourage the millennial generation to take an active role in the political system.

Kemdah Stroud

Cultural Organizer

Kemdah Stroud is a Chicago based community organizer curating large-scale activation under the pseudonym Aqua Vitae. She uses her backgrounds in health, publicity and civic engagement to optimize effectivity. Her mission is to bring partners together to optimize efficacy and has done so with initiatives such as Parade to the Polls™ and Thankful for Chicago, and has aided organizations such as Warner Music Group, SocialWorks, SaveMoneySaveLife and the Chicago Park District. Kemdah is currently a senior studying neuroscience at DePaul University, focusing her research at the intersectionality of music and neuropsychology. She is at the forefront of a new paradigm: using social influence to drive social reform.

Alex Boutros

Community Organizer

Alex is a recent graduate of DePaul University with a bachelors in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies. She has been an active organizer in voting rights and the criminal justice system, as well as how those two fields intersect. She also works with Christina Rivers from DePaul’s Inside Out Program, a Legislative Think Tank at Stateville prison consisting of people who are currently detained.

Brian X

Community Organizer

Brian started organizing in high school. As a member of his school’s student council he advocated against racially driven policies that had not been implemented at his school since the 1800’s. He eventually left the student council in spite of those policies for not complying with them. In response to that, he started his own Black Student Union. He continued to fight against the same policies. Ask him…he will tell you the rest. In 2014 he rallied in the protest for “School Choice Now” which was for free education. In 2017 he joined “The People’s Lobby, Reclaim Chicago and Chicago Student Action. He began to run his own student action teams on multiple college campuses including Malcolm X and Harold Washington, both teams had over 20 students. They bird dogged, hosted phone banks for gubernatorial candidates and ran activist trainings.

Chicago Votes Education Fund Board of Directors

Jauwan Hall


Democratic National Training Committee

Deepa Kunapuli



Rebecca Petzel


The Emergence Collective

Laura Garcia


Independent Consultant

Jamie Brown


American Bar Association

Sam Spitz


Anne Olson



Erica Wozniak Francis


Chicago Public Schools