Civic leader mentors help youth with “Career Talks” during CHA/Big Brother Big Sister event

May 9, 2019
BBBS Group

Press contacts:
Office of Communications – Chicago Housing Authority
Molly Sullivan: (312) 786-3344;
Matthew Aguilar: (312) 935-2646;

CHICAGO (May 9, 2019): CHA partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters Metropolitan Chicago (BBBS) at the second annual “Career Talks” event this week at Gary Comer Youth Center on Chicago’s South Side.

The goal of the event was to introduce Comer students to a wide range of professions and encourage them to aim high. The students joined the civic leaders - dubbed “Career Champions” - in small group discussions, asking questions and getting advice on their future paths.

“These events are important in building the self-esteem and confidence of young people,” said CHA CEO Eugene E. Jones Jr. “Big Brothers Big Sisters was a big influence in my life, and I am hoping the Comer students get the same fulfillment that I did. There were productive, engaging conversations between the Career Champions and the students.”

Among the Career Champions were:

  • Howard Griffith, Big 10 Network analyst and former NFL running back.
  • Terry Peterson, Vice President of Governmental Affairs at RUSH and CTA Board Chairman
  • Andrea Zopp, President and CEO of World Business Chicago.
  • Kenya Ayers, NE Campus President-Elect of Tarrant County College.
  • Gail Gadberry, Associate Vice President for Budget and Financial Planning and Analysis for Roosevelt University.
  • Quention Curtis, Lieutenant/EMT at the Chicago Fire Department.
  • Ashanti Johnson, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at 360: Mind, Body and Soul.
  • Trez V. Pugh III, Founder/President and CEO of Sip and Savor Chicago.
  • Bevon Joseph, Co-Founder and President of the Greenwood Project.
  • Nicole Johnson-Scales, Senior Vice President of Community Development, Fifth/Third Bank.
  • Mike Pincus, Managing Director of Mid Corp Banking at BMO Harris Bank.

The Career Champions thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“I loved talking with these amazing young people,” Ayers said.

Pugh agreed: “It was such an honor to be a part of these young adults’ lives.”

Gadberry said it was her pleasure to take part in such a great event.

“I was inspired by the enthusiasm they had about college and their career aspirations.”

This year's BBBS program cycle will close with Comer students and their mentors attending a Chicago Cubs game courtesy of Julian Green, Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs for the Chicago Cubs.

CHA has worked with BBBS and Comer students for the last several years providing an enriching mentor/mentee experience for CHA staff and the students alike. The program is one example of CHA’s commitment to civic engagement and support for youth across the city.