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CUE Fellows for the People

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Meet the CUE Fellows appointed by Mayor Brandon Johnson to Transition Subcommittees!


Under Mayor Brandon Johnson, a new vision of an administration that represents all Chicagoans is coming to the fore. A transformation of this scale requires a new assembly of change-makers. We’re proud to announce that this diverse group of appointments includes 14 of our very own CUE alumni!

These hardworking 14 will serve across eight transition subcommittees to assess the current state of our city from housing and transportation to health and education, and create the guideposts for the future work of the Johnson administration.

Two of these fellows has also been appointed to senior leadership for the new administration! S. Mayumi "Umi" Grigsby (2022 CUE Fellow) is now the Chief of Policy and Beatriz Ponce De Leon (2017/2018 CUE Fellow) is now the Deputy Mayor for Immigrant, Migrant, and Refugee Rights for the Johnson Administration.

Congrats to all these newly appointed leaders ushering Chicago into a new era.



S. Mayumi "Umi" Grisby (2022 CUE Fellow) is Chief of Policy and an Immigration and Subcommittee Member.


Beatriz Ponce De Leon (2017/2018 CUE Fellow) is the Deputy Mayor for Immigrant, Migrant, and Refugee Rights and a Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion Subcommittee Member.


Lynette McRae (2017/2018 CUE Fellow, 2021 CUE Senior Fellow) is the Economic Vitality Subcommittee Co-Chair.


Sendy Soto (2017/2018 CUE Fellow, Logan Square Project Lead) is the Housing Subcommittee Co-Chair.


Candace Coleman (2020 CUE Fellow) is the Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion Subcommittee Co-Chair.


Beth Berendsen (2020 CUE Fellow) is an Economic Vitality Subcommittee Member.


Drea Hall (2020 CUE Fellow) is an Education & Youth Subcommittee Member.


Jianan Shi (2020 CUE Fellow, 2022 CUE Senior Fellow) is an Education & Youth Subcommittee member.


Miguel Blancarte Jr. (2022 CUE Fellow) is a Health & Human Services Subcommittee Member.


Kendra Freeman (2019 CUE Fellow) is a Housing Subcommittee Member.


Cliff Helm (2019 CUE Fellow, 2022 CUE Fellow) is a Housing Subcommittee Member.


Katanya Raby (2020 CUE Fellow) is a Housing Subcommittee Member.


Renaldo Hudson (2022 CUE Fellow) is a Public Safety Subcommittee Member.


Jim Merrell (2019 CUE Fellow, TIF Project Lead) is a Transportation Subcommittee Member.


Update: The 2023 Mayoral Transition Report is now live! View and download "Building Bridges and Growing the Soul of Chicago: A Blueprint for Creating a More Just and Vibrant City for All."
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