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Staff Bios

Tasha R. Green Cruzat

President

Tasha R. Green Cruzat joined Voices for Illinois Children as its president in March 2016 with more than twenty-five years of experience in the public and private sectors of education, business, and government. Immediately prior to joining Voices, Tasha served as the Chief of Staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, where she was responsible for an operating budget of $4.2 billion. Previously, Tasha was with the State of Illinois as the Senior Management Advisor to the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget and before that as the Chief Operating Officer for Central Management Services, one of the largest state agencies, with an operating budget of $4.5 billion.

Prior to joining the State of Illinois, Ms. Cruzat was the Executive Director of High Jump, a non-profit organization devoted to providing enriched academic opportunities for talented, low-income middle-school students in Chicago. Ms. Cruzat dedicated six years of active duty service in the United States Navy, where she received awards including the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. In 2009, Tasha was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn to the Illinois Reform Commission — an independent advisory group of commissioners whose role was to examine Illinois government practices and ethics, and make recommendations for cleaning up state government.

Tasha is a board member for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Tasha holds a BA in Political Science from Brooklyn College, an MA in Education Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. Ms. Cruzat was born in the city of Chicago and raised in Evanston, Illinois. She is married to Edward Cruzat, and currently lives in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. In her spare time, Tasha enjoys mentoring children, playing golf and tennis, along with spending time with her family.

Tasha’s complete bio can be found here.

 


Leslie Helmcamp

Leslie Helmcamp joined the Fiscal Policy Center (FPC) at Voices for Illinois Children as a policy analyst in 2016. She focuses on efforts to reduce youth incarceration and advocate for state investments to support youth. Prior to joining Voices, Ms. Helmcamp was a policy analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, Texas where she worked on economic opportunity issues, including improving college access and completion, promoting workforce development for low-income adults, and supporting low-income families to become more financially secure. Ms. Helmcamp earned a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Before pursuing graduate work, Ms. Helmcamp served as the Director of the Immigration Legal Services program of Catholic Charities of Central Texas where she provided direct services to immigrant families. Ms. Helmcamp lives in Evanston, IL with her husband and two children.

Madelyn James  

Madelyn James, early childhood project manager, is a passionate advocate for ensuring all children from birth to age 8 and their families have the necessary supports to achieve a strong foundation for future success. Ms. James’ responsibility at Voices is to build an approach that advocates for supports that benefit the “whole child.” Her first career was in business, where she honed negotiation, team building, management, budgeting, and strategic planning skills. Prior to joining Voices, Ms. James served in various capacities as a direct service provider, a Head Start and state preschool teacher, an Illinois STARNET trainer and project director, a supervisor of home visiting and center-based programs, director of the National Lekotek affiliates and early childhood training, a National Association for the Education of Young Children fellow, an adjunct faculty member with Chicago City Colleges, and as consultant and member of local, state, and national early childhood collaboratives. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bradley University and a master’s degree in early childhood education from Dominican University in River Forest, Ill. She has two adult children and recently became a grandmother for the first time to a beautiful baby named Illyana.

Amber Kirchhoff

Amber Kirchhoff joined Voices as the Kids Count and Digital Communications Specialist in summer 2016. Prior to joining the team at Voices, Amber worked with a number of non-profit organizations and public universities as a policy and communications consultant, helping to inform and organize program evaluations, advocacy campaigns, and communications efforts for her partners. Before her work as a consultant, she held various roles in the Office of Governor Pat Quinn including education and early childhood policy analyst where she coordinated the Illinois P-20 Council, Illinois Early Learning Council, and Illinois Educational Opportunities for Military Children’s Council. Amber also served as a James H. Dunn, Jr. Memorial Fellow under the Quinn administration. Amber obtained her M.A. in Political Science through the Civic Leadership Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and completed her B.A. with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Sociology and Political Science.

David Lloyd  

David Lloyd serves as both vice president and director the Fiscal Policy Center and Kids Count. Prior to joining Voices, he was a senior advisor to U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, advising the Senator on civil rights, immigration, manufacturing, and international trade policy. Through his work on international trade issues, Mr. Lloyd came to see that our state and national economic competitiveness depends on nurturing and developing our human capital — which starts with our children. Mr. Lloyd has a bachelor’s degree in history from Cornell University and a Masters in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Emily Miller  

As director of policy and advocacy, Emily Miller brings years of experience in Illinois public policy and legislative advocacy. Ms. Miller directs Voices’ legislative advocacy and shapes public policy priorities to improve life for children and families. Prior to joining Voices, Ms. Miller ran policy and government affairs for the Better Government Association, a non-profit government watchdog organization. Previous roles as a member of the Service Employees International Union Health Care Illinois & Indiana Government Affairs team and as the Health Care Advocate with Illinois PIRG gave Ms. Miller years of experience in standing up for children and families, and securing funding for vital programs, like the Child Care Assistance Program.  A member of the Illinois Bar, Ms. Miller earned her bachelor’s degree in government from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA and her Juris Doctorate from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.