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Governor’s Office Academy of Leadership

Below are the 2024 G.O.A.L. fellows. This highly-competitive program was designed to provide a robust professional development opportunity for mid-level leaders who maintain critical roles in advancing key initiatives and maintaining optimal operations for the State.

This year's 30-person cohort was once again selected from hundreds of applicants by a multi-agency evaluator panel and represents a diverse pool of leaders committed to advancing public service in State Government. The 2024 G.O.A.L. cohort includes:

  • Jakki Alexander, Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Melishia Bansa, Department of Healthcare and Family Services
  • Freddie Buckingham, Department of Employment Security
  • José Miguel Burgos, Department of Natural Resources
  • Jackie Clisham, Illinois Racing Board
  • Mary Ann Dyar, Criminal Justice Information Authority
  • Noah Franklin, Department of Public Health
  • Jeffrey Green, Department of Central Management Services
  • Brandy Jones, Department of Children & Family Services
  • Tiara Jones, Department of Employment Security
  • Kathryn Kaniewski, Guardianship and Advocacy Commission
  • Harish Kumar, Department of Innovation and Technology
  • Yolanda Lampkin-Diming, Department of Human Services
  • Nicole Miceli, Department of Human Services
  • Tali Myers, Department of Human Services
  • Rebekah Nichols, Department of Children & Family Services
  • Victor Nwankwo, Department of Corrections
  • Amorio Parish, Department of Human Services
  • Natalie Pine, The Office of Governor
  • Edith Salinas, Department of Human Services
  • Bridget Sheehan, Illinois Commerce Commission
  • T'Kira Siler-Wilkerson, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Brian Spencer, Department of Children & Family Services
  • George Sweeney, Department of Insurance
  • Renee Thompson, Department of Human Services
  • Stephany Trejos, Department of Corrections
  • Beth Walker, Department of Revenue
  • Kit Walsh, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
  • Jeremy Wheeler, Department of Children & Family Services
  • Courtney Wick, Department of Human Services

What is G.O.A.L.?

The Governor's Office Academy of Leadership (G.O.A.L.) is an exciting program open to mid-level merit compensation leaders in executive branch agencies* under the Office of the Governor. These leaders are the backbone of State government and play critical roles in providing stability through transitions and maintaining the operations that serve the State's mission.  The G.O.A.L. program provides an opportunity to develop leadership skillsets, build long-term relationships across agencies, and broaden perspectives to lead effectively in a diverse and changing environment.  

This program has been created for the purpose of advancing excellence in public service leadership. Leaders in public service organizations share many traditional roles and responsibilities with business leaders, but there are some significant differences: Public Service leaders are the stewards of citizen trust, and their overarching purpose is to provide for the common good, applying fiscal responsibility but not exclusively focused on a financial bottom line. The motivation that calls leaders to public service and the unique and tremendous responsibility they are entrusted with shapes how they lead and innovate to provide for the public welfare.

*For ease of communication, the term Agency is used here to refer to all organizations under the jurisdiction of The Governor's Office, to include Offices, Boards, Commissions, etc.

The application period for the 2024 G.O.A.L. is closed. Watch for the 2025 application period in the fall of 2024.

For questions, please email