Meet Our Team

Jennifer Walling | Executive Director
Jen Walling, Executive Director
Jen started as executive director of IEC in January of 2011. In addition to managing the organization, Jen lobbies on behalf of IEC’s nearly 80 member organizations on a wide range of issues.  During her tenure, she has guided passage of legislation such as Illinois’ ban on microbeads in personal care products, funding for IDNR, recreation liability protection for landowners, numerous bills on recycling and composting, and many other statewide policies.

Prior to her time as executive director, Jen worked as chief of staff to State Senator Heather Steans. She has also worked for the Environmental Law and Policy Center and SCARCE, an environmental education non-profit in Glen Ellyn, and interned for then Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn. Jen obtained her law degree and master’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Law School in 2006, after gaining her undergraduate degree in NRES at the University of Illinois.

Reach Jen at jwalling at ilenviro dot org

Matt Steffen | Deputy Director
Matt started as communications director at the Illinois Environmental Council in May of 2014, before transitioning to deputy director in 2017.

Prior to his time at IEC, Matt worked on a successful state representative campaign and interned for Senator Tom Harkin in the United States Senate. Matt obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and History from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Reach Matt at msteffen at ilenviro dot org

Colleen Smith | Legislative Director
Colleen is currently serving as Legislative Director at IEC. She has previously served as a Government Affairs associate at Stricklin & Associates and as Chief of Staff for State Representative Ann Williams, working closely on environmental issues.

Prior to those experiences, Colleen worked as Women’s Outreach Coordinator for Quinn for Illinois, and as Clean Water Advocate for the Sierra Club of Illinois. She holds her Masters of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School, and has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from University of Colorado- Boulder, 2012.

Reach Colleen at colleen at ilenviro dot org

Lindsay Keeney | Conservation Director
Lindsay Keeney, Conservation Director
Lindsay studied biology in undergrad at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL and in graduate school at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Lindsay’s areas of interest include aquatic ecology, pollinators and invertebrate diversity, sustainable agriculture, and Illinois open space and water conservation. This diverse interest list was inspired by the various environmental positions she has held throughout her career including positions with; Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Jim Edgar State Fish and Wildlife Area, The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Natural History Survey’s Illinois River Biological Station and the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.

Reach Lindsay at lkeeney at ilenviro dot org

Cary Shepherd | Policy Director
Cary is the Policy Director at IEC, where he works with IEC’s partner organizations on issues such as designing environmentally friendly energy laws and overseeing regulatory implementation of Illinois energy policy such as the Future Energy Jobs Act.

As a Chicago native, Cary is also an alumni of the City’s public school system. During his time at the University of Illinois, Cary worked on campaigns such as President Obama’s re-election team and the Sierra Club’s advocacy for change in Illinois coal policy. After college, he attended The University of Chicago Law School, where he spent two years litigating for environmental protection cases at the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic. Cary has also served in the Chicago Mayor’s Office and seasonally teaches a class on formal logic.

Reach Cary at cshepherd at ilenviro dot org

Eliot Clay | Agriculture & Water Programs Director
Prior to IEC, Eliot worked for 4 year on the Illinois State Senate Republican Staff providing support for the Environment & Conservation Committee and the Agriculture Committee as a Legislative Analyst. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Illinois-Springfield and his Bachelor Degree in Political Science from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

Reach Eliot at eclay at ilenviro dot org

Jeff Shelden | Development Director
As Development Director, Jeff works with IEC’s affiliates, members and institutional partners to support IEC’s efforts.

Prior to joining IEC, Jeff worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago as the Corporate and Foundation Gifts Officer. Jeff is an active volunteer with the Sierra Club where he is Chairperson of the Chicago Group and leads their volunteer Water Team. Jeff studied Political Science at Denison University and spent the first half of his career in the beverage alcohol industry in supply chain, customer management, and sales strategy roles.

Reach Jeff at jshelden at ilenviro dot org

Tucker Barry | Communications Director
Tucker Barry is the Communications Director of the Illinois Environmental Council where he oversees the organization’s traditional and digital communications strategy to protect Illinois’ environment.

Before moving to Illinois, Tucker served as Press Secretary to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D-Louisiana) and ran communications and operations outfits at a handful of progressive advocacy nonprofits in Louisiana. He graduated from Louisiana State University with a master’s in Mass Communication and a bachelor’s in English, Writing and Culture.

Reach Tucker at tucker at ilenviro dot org

Crystal Kern | Finance Director
Crystal started as Accountant at the Illinois Environmental Council in November 2017, before transitioning to Finance Director in February 2019.

Prior to her time at IEC, Crystal has worked with many nonprofits in various roles from Fiscal Officer to Controller. Crystal obtained her Bachelor Degree in Business from McKendree College and her Masters
Degree in Accounting from University of Illinois.

Reach Crystal and crystal at ilenviro dot org

Iyana Simba | Clean Water Advocate
Reach Iyana at iyana at ilenviro dot org
Alli Kearney | Office Coordinator
Reach Alli at akearney at ilenviro dot org
Sam Guthman | Researcher
Reach Sam at sguthman at ilenviro dot org

IEC Board

IEC Officers:
Anne McKibbin, President

Kelly Mazeski, Vice President
Delmar Gillus, Treasurer
Andrew Szwak, Secretary

Elected Directors:
Christine Del Priore
Delmar Gillus
Dave Kolata
Karen May
Kelly Mazeski
Juliana Pino
Lauren Rosenthal
Michael Tryon

Appointed Directors/Lead Affiliates:
Andrew Szwak, Openlands
Ashley Maybanks, The Nature Conservancy
Elliot Brinkman, Prairie Rivers Network
J.C. Kibbey, Natural Resources Defense Council
David McEllis, Environmental Law and Policy Center
Anne McKibbin, Elevate Energy
Dick Munson, Environmental Defense Fund
Kady McFadden, Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club
Brian Urbaszewski, Respiratory Health Association
Pastor Scott Onque’, Faith in Place
Margaret Frisbie, Friends of the Chicago River


IECEF Officers:
Stacey Paradis, President

David McEllis, Vice President
Belinda Li, Treasurer
Andrew Szwak, Secretary

Elected Directors:
Chris Benda
Kit White
Belinda Li
Sarah Moskowitz
Dick Breckenridge
Vittorio Gomez

Appointed Directors/Lead Affiliates:
Andrew Rehn, Prairie Rivers Network
David McEllis, Environmental Law and Policy Center
Pastor Booker Vance, Elevate Energy
Ellen Bell, Environmental Defense Fund
Stacey Paradis, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
Jack Darin, Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club
Brian Sauder, Faith in Place

Partners for Parks and Wildlife

Partners for Parks and Wildlife (PPW) is a grassroots coalition that is dedicated to secure and increase funding for open space and park acquisition, natural area preservation, wildlife habitat protection and recreational opportunities in Illinois.

Learn More About Climate Change

The U.S. EPA’s website on climate change was once a great resource for basic scientific information on the topic and we look forward to the day that it is again. Until then, the City of Chicago is making sure its citizens have access to research and information.


One of the simplest ways to donate to the IEC is by contributing through EarthShare in your workplace charity campaign .