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.

Margaret "Maggie" Buckley

Vice President

Maggie Buckley is a lifetime DuPage County resident, residing for the past 20 years in Wheaton, Illinois. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. and is currently employed at Ensono in Downers Grove as a Global Director of Database and Middleware where she leads a global team of engineers across multiple countries.

Maggie is a highly collaborative, results oriented, decisive leader that has 30 years of experience building and leading high performing global teams. She is an analytic problem solver with strong communication and collaborative skills that focus on aligning people, processes, and projects. She is also a passionate advocate for Inclusion and Diversity.

When she is not working, or travelling with her wife Lynn, Maggie enjoys cooking, golfing, listening to music, reading and spending time with their family, friends and their 2 rescue dogs (Hawkeye and Gunnar) and 3 rescue cats (Beans, Bella and Bullet).

Florentina Rendón

Recording Secretary

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

 
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.

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.

June Bishop

Investigations Coordinator

June Bishop began working for HOPE in 1996, serving as the part-time bookkeeper and providing accounting services for the organization for over three years. In June of 2011, Ms. Bishop returned and began working for HOPE full time as HOPE’s Intake Specialist and became HOPE’s Investigations Coordinator in 2020. 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 is an integral component of HOPE’s enforcement staff and is involved in systemic investigations 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.

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.

L'Quita Alexander

Financial Manager

Tara Joy

AmeriCorps VISTA

Tara Joy joined HOPE in December 2020 for a year of service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. She graduated in 2020 from Wesleyan University with degrees in Neuroscience and Psychology, and a minor in Data Analysis. As part of a longer-term effort to expand HOPE’s service area downstate, she helps profile communities throughout Southern Illinois through a combination of research and interviews with local organizations.

Beth LeCroy

AmeriCorps Summer VISTA

Beth LeCroy joined HOPE in June 2021 for a summer of service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. She is a rising junior at Wake Forest University, majoring in English and minoring Sociology and Health and Human Services with hopes to attend law school after graduation. During her time at HOPE she will focus on capacity building and implementing event planning practices to assist HOPE in creating impactful events, both new and recurring. 

Isabel Maletich

Summer Intern

Isabel joined HOPE in June 2021 for a summer internship. She is a rising senior at the University of Chicago, majoring in public policy with a minor in environmental and urban studies. During her time at HOPE she will focus on researching demographic and housing trends to expand HOPE’s systemic investigation into housing discrimination.

CALL US

Hours

Monday - Friday
9 am to 5 pm CST