Our Team

An independent Board of Directors oversees the work of HOPE Fair Housing Center.

A. Jay Mitchell

President

 

Alton (Jay) Mitchell, born in Washington, DC, has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Science, from the University of Maryland and University of Waterloo, respectively. He worked in computer-related environments for 35 years, focusing on telecommunication development and testing roles, before retiring from Alcatel-Lucent in 2013. Jay was also at one time, a licensed real estate broker in the State of Illinois.

Jay has been involved in fair housing for over 25 years after becoming a trained “tester” for HOPE Fair Housing. He has participated in fair housing tests across the country, for both local and national fair housing organizations, and has been deposed to support filed complaints. In 2003, Jay was appointed to Naperville’s Fair Housing Advisory Commission where he served for 5 years, elected first as Secretary in 2003, and then as Chairman in 2007. In 2008, he accepted a position on the Board of Directors of HOPE Fair Housing and was elected as its President from 2011 to 2018. He then served as Vice President from 2018 to 2020, when he was again elected as President of the Board. Jay also served as on the Ethics Commission of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County from 2013 to 2020.

In addition to his fair housing background, Jay sees his strengths as his willingness to listen and communicate with others, his organizational skills, and his analytical approach to problem-solving.

Jay lives in Naperville, travels when time permits, and, loving the outdoors, bikes, hikes, and backpacks regularly.

Florentina Rendón

Vice President

 
Florentina Rendón was born in Mexico and raised on the West Side of Chicago. She attended a Catholic elementary school as well as a Catholic high school. She received her Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies.

After working for a Chicago law firm for five years, Florentina worked for the next 17 years in civil rights. One of the organizations she worked for was the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF), the only national legal organization for the Latino community. While at MALDEF, Florentina worked on a four-month trial in federal court regarding redistricting the City of Chicago.

Florentina also worked for HOPE Fair Housing Center as a Test Coordinator and then as Director of Outreach. While at HOPE, Florentina assisted in housing discrimination cases against the City of Elgin, the City of West Chicago, and Arlington Park Racetrack.

Florentina lives in Lombard with her husband and her two children. Her daughter attends Glenbard East High School and her son attends Montini Catholic High School.

Patricia Mathis

Secretary

 
Pat Mathis is the retired Director of Development for Metropolitan Family Services. With more than 35 years working in the not for profit arena, she is an experienced fundraiser in a variety of areas including annual programs, grant writing, major gift work, and special events.

Prior to working with Metropolitan Family Services, she served as Director of Annual Programs with Advocate Charitable Foundation. Previous to her work in fundraising, Pat served as Manager of Housing Programs for DuPage County’s Department of Human Services.

She holds a Master’s Of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Administration from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Aside from being elected to President of HOPE’s Board of Directors in 2018, she also presently serves on two other boards: the DuPage A.M.E. Church Board of Stewards and the board of the Progressives Harambé, Inc. In the past she has served on numerous boards and committees aside from HOPE including:

  • DuPage Housing Authority
  • REACH Food Pantry
  • DuPage Habitat for Humanity
  • Central DuPage Hospital Foundation
  • Family Shelter Service

Pat was named YWCA DuPage Woman of the Year in the area of Racial Justice in 1995. She is originally from Cleveland, OH, and presently lives in Woodridge, IL with her husband, Robert. She is the mother and grandmother of two. Her interests include theological studies, music, cooking reviewing movies, and reading.

Maria Padilla

 
Maria Padilla holds a Title of Family Doctor, a Degree comparable to the U.S. Doctor of Medicine from Medical School in Monterrey, N.L. Mexico. She has been working in the Head Start program for the last 7 years for Metropolitan Family Services in DuPage County as a Family Support Worker and for 8 years before that in the same role for Lifelink, a non-profit agency in DuPage. Maria also spent over a decade working as a bilingual teacher in Cicero, Illinois and a few years in the medical field here in USA and Mexico.

Maria currently serves as a volunteer at Westmont Public Library teaching Spanish, as well as participating in other seasonal Social Services programs for the community. She was also elected as the Secretary of HOPE’s Board of directors in 2018, and she is a member of the COD Foundation Committee. She is Bilingual in English and Spanish and a service-focused social worker and educator with a strong commitment to serving the needs of disadvantaged families and children.

Pam Terrell

 
Pam Terrell, a native of North Carolina and avid sports fan, holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Pam’s experience of 25 years entails administrative positions held in the areas of housing and supportive services for vulnerable populations.

Over the past 13 years, she has worked as the Director of Community Services for Catholic Charities programs in DuPage County. Pam is an active member of the Illinois Department of Human Services Community Quality Council in DuPage; DuPage County and State Housing Action Coalitions; the African American Leadership Roundtable; DuPage County Continuum of Care for the homeless population and she serves as Co-chair of the Homeless Needs Assessment Committee.

Pam is also a sponsoring member of the DuPage Homeownership Center that provides support for those in need of permanent housing options. Her previous experience includes 11 years with Little Friends, Inc. of Naperville, IL where she held the following positions: Division Director of Homeless Services, Director of Community Residential Alternatives and Social Worker for adults with developmental disabilities.

Prior to that time, for 5 years Pam supervised a division of Social Workers and worked as the Coordinator of Agency Services at Caswell Center located in Kinston, N.C. Her Board involvement and experience includes 4 years on the Naperville CARES Board; 6 years on the St. Andrews School Board; 1 year with Hyde County’s Social Services Board and 2 years on the HOPE Fair Housing Center’s Board, after being a trained tester for 1 year.

Meet Our Staff

Evelyn Sanguinetti

Executive Director

 Evelyn Sanguinetti is a wife, working mother of three, and an attorney by trade. Sanguinetti was born in Hialeah, a neighborhood outside of Miami, Florida, to teenage parents – her mother a Cuban refugee, and her father an Ecuadorian immigrant. Growing up in extreme poverty, Sanguinetti relied on government assistance for food and housing. Her first language was Spanish. Although Sanguinetti struggled in school, her first break came when she earned a place in the prestigious New World School of the Arts, a magnet school for the arts in Miami. She then went on to attend Florida International University.

Following graduation, Sanguinetti moved to Chicago to attend The John Marshall Law School (JMLS) where she developed an understanding and passion for the law and for Illinois. While in law school, Sanguinetti joined the JMLS Fair Housing Legal Clinic. She served as President of the Hispanic Student Association and the Fair Housing Association. Through her work at the Fair Housing Legal Clinic, she was able to practice law pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711, and represented victims of housing discrimination. While a student, she successfully handled the first ever case at the Chicago Commission on Human Relations that established a precedent for discrimination based on source of income. McCutchen v. Robinson, CCHR No. 95-I-1-84. She soon joined Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan’s office as an Assistant Attorney General where she fought to protect the people of the State of Illinois. Sanguinetti subsequently served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at JMLS and a Wheaton City Councilwoman.

In 2014, Sanguinetti served as not only the first Latina Lieutenant Governor of the state but of the entire country. In her four years in office, Sanguinetti has focused on helping to improve the lives of all Illinoisans through the delivery of more efficient government, providing health care access to all regions of the state, quality educational opportunities to all residents regardless of income or location, and economic opportunity to small businesses throughout the state. From humble beginnings in Hialeah, Florida, to become the nation’s first Latina Lieutenant Governor, Sanguinetti has never forgotten where she came from or lost the desire to excel in whatever role comes her way.

Josefina Navar

Director of Enforcement

 
Josefina Navar joined HOPE as Director of Enforcement in September of 2019. Prior to joining HOPE’s staff, Josefina was the Testing and Outreach Coordinator and later Senior Fair Housing Investigations Coordinator at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights from 2009 – 2019.  Josefina is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois and worked in Mental Health services for 7 years as a case manager and therapist prior to becoming a Fair Housing advocate.

June Bishop

Investigations Coordinator

 
June Bishop worked for HOPE between 1996-1999 part-time as the bookkeeper and performed accounting services for the organization. She has been with HOPE full time since June of 2011. Prior to working for HOPE, Ms. Bishop worked as an assistant commercial property manager for over 13 years, and additionally, spent 11 years working as a Senior Executive Secretary to the National Human Resources Manager, and later, for the National Director of Merchandising Research at Sears National Headquarters’ offices on the west side of Chicago.

Ms. Bishop often works closely with HOPE’s enforcement staff on various projects and coordinates logistics for on-site assessments. She also works with HOPE’s Office Administrator to compile organizational data needed for HUD grant reporting.

Blake Mitchell

Intake Specialist

Blake Mitchell joined HOPE in October 2020 as the Intake Specialist. He graduated from North Central College in 2019 with degrees in French and Political Science and a minor in Middle Eastern/North African Studies. Prior to his time at HOPE, Mr. Mitchell did a year of service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program at Hesed House Homeless Shelter in Aurora. As Intake Specialist, Mr. Mitchell conducts initial intake interviews for referral to the appropriate HOPE staff member or outside agency and provides information and referral to clients for non-fair housing complaints.

Rachel Watson

Director of Outreach

Rachel Watson joined HOPE in September of 2019 as the Community Education and Outreach Coordinator, and became HOPE’s Director of Outreach in September of 2020. A recent graduate from Knox College, Rachel has a background in nonprofit and social rights work. Prior to joining HOPE she worked as a Services/Partner Relations Program Assistant at Greenheart Exchange, where she helped J-1 visa students navigate the challenges of a foreign country, including tenants’ rights concerns. Before that, she worked at the New York City branch of the National Organization for Women where she helped organize informational campaigns and protests in support of women and immigrant’s rights.

If you would like to host a HOPE event or have a HOPE staff member speak to your organization about fair housing rights, please email Rachel at rachel.watson@hopefair.org.

Alex Majestic

Program Coordinator

 
Alex Majestic joined HOPE in August of 2018 as an administrative intern, and then began as HOPE’s Project Coordinator in February of 2019. She graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2018 with a degree in Nonprofit and NGO Studies (NNGO) and a minor in both Social Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Prior to her time at HOPE, Ms. Majestic worked for over 15 years in retail management and was a Certified Learning Coach and manager for 10 years at Starbucks Coffee Company. Ms. Majestic also has over 4 years of experience as a landlord and commercial property manager.

Shirley Stacy

Executive Assistant

 Shirley Stacy joined HOPE in February of 1995. Before coming to HOPE, Stacy worked for Sears, Roebuck and Co. for almost 40 years. Her experience as an executive secretary with Sears included Administrative Assistant to: the Vice President of Menswear, the Vice President of Specialty Sales and secretary to several different National Merchandise Managers of various buying departments at Sears Headquarters. She worked on Chicago’s west side and in downtown area in the Sears Tower, and then in Hoffman Estates when Sears moved their headquarters from the loop. In 1990, Ms. Stacy became a Product Liability Administrator in the Law Department of Sears, where she managed and maintained product liability files involving property and personal injury claims and law suits against Sears. Ms. Stacy is currently responsible for the administrative operations and logistics management of HOPE.

Carol O’Neill

Financial Manager

Carol O’Neill joined HOPE in July of 2011. She worked as a bookkeeper for 15 years prior to HOPE and has an extensive background in commercial and residential property management. Ms. O’Neill is HOPE’s financial manager and is responsible for all bookkeeping tasks as well as HR, building management, and building maintenance. She also assists in planning and coordinating HOPE’s special events.

Rolando Santana

Intern

Rolando Santana recently joined HOPE as an intern in August 2020. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2018 with a BA in history. After graduating, he spent a year teaching English in Spain. Upon his return, he began studying his Master of Social Work at Aurora University, in which he will graduate in 2022. In the meantime, he is studying, interning at HOPE and working in the early childhood education field.

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