Young Professionals Board


The Young Professionals Board of the John Howard Association of Illinois will:

  1. Support the JHA’s efforts to achieve a fair, humane, and effective criminal justice system
  2. Encourage young professionals to prioritize systemic criminal justice reform among humanitarian concerns
  3. Engage the Chicago community at large and our social and professional networks to address targeted needs of people who are incarcerated

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Board Members
Amanda Penabad, Esq., External Co-Chair
Federal Defender Program

Stephanie Stern, Esq., Internal Co-Chair
Law Clerk for the Northern District of Illinois

Jordan Blumenthal, Esq., Treasurer
Jenner & Block

Brenda Kay Zylstra, MA/AM, Secretary
American Society of Safety Engineers

Sarah Losh Bakker, Esq., Events Co-Chair
Sidley Austin LLP

Ashley Velchek, MPP, Events Co-Chair
Youth Outreach Services

Kelly Fischietto, MSW
Booz Allen Hamilton

Vanessa Johnson, Esq.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Julia Hamel, MBA, MAJS
Avon Breast Cancer Crusade

Bill Michael
Baker Tilly

Briana Sprick-Schuster, Esq.
Jenner & Block

Matthew Tedeschi, MA

Want to join the Young Professionals Board? 
New members will be invited to join the Young Professionals Board (YPB) based on the needs and discretion of John Howard Association and the Young Professionals Board. To be considered for membership, a prospective member must:

  1. Complete and submit an application
  2. Attend at least one YPB event or participate in a YPB effort
  3. Complete a meeting or phone call with a member of the Executive Committee

Please contact us at