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 becoming 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.
Shirley Stacy, Office Administrator
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.
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.
Marsha Lightfoot, Investigations Coordinator
Marsha Lightfoot joined HOPE in September of 2019 as HOPE’s Investigations Coordinator. Prior to working at HOPE, Ms. Lightfoot worked for a social service agency for over 25 years; first in Cook County with a DCFS Family Preservation program, then moving to the same program covering DuPage County. After the program ended, she became the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program Coordinator in DuPage County. She also served as the case manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters. During her time here, Ms. Lightfoot advocated for and completely revamped the organization’s mentorship program into school-based matches serving 20 DuPage County elementary and middle schools across 6 school districts. Her last three years at the agency she served as the Coordinator of an early literacy program in the Englewood community.
Rachel Watson, Community Engagement and Education Coordinator
Rachel Watson joined HOPE in September of 2019 as the Community Education and Outreach Coordinator. 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 3 years of experience as a landlord and commercial property manager.
June Bishop, Intake Specialist & Program Assistant
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.
Currently, as HOPE’s main Intake Specialist and Program Assistant, Ms. Bishop manages and tracks inquiries, conducts initial intake interviews for referral to the appropriate HOPE staff member or outside agency, assists in the investigation of housing discrimination allegations, and provides information and referral to clients for non-fair housing complaints. 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.
Carol O’Neill, Accounting
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.