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, and before transitioning to deputy director in 2017. In particular, Matt has been deeply involved in the successful campaigns to pass the most significant climate bill in Illinois history, the Future Energy Jobs Act.

Prior to his time at IEC, 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, she worked as Women’s Outreach Coordinator for Quinn for Illinois, and as Clean Water Advocate for the Sierra Club of Illinois. She is pursuing 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.

Melissa Bealon | Membership & Development Coordinator
Melissa Bealon is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) with over 23 years of experience working “in-the-trenches” for the not-for-profit industry. She has served in various capacities at several national and statewide associations including Membership Director, Sponsor Coordinator, Communications Director, Meeting Services Director, and Associate Director. After years of working on a variety of interesting and unique projects, Melissa earned the distinguished CMP designation in 2000.

As the Membership and Development Coordinator, Melissa will work closely and collaboratively with members, donors and the entire IEC team to coordinate and align membership activities across the organization. She will manage IEC’s membership initiatives to maximize the impact of giving.

Reach Melissa at melissa at ilenviro dot org

IEC Board

IEC Officers:
Anne McKibbin, President

Carol Hays, 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
Carol Hays, Prairie Rivers Network
Ben Lenet, 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
Brian Sauder, Faith in Place


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

Appointed Directors/Lead Affiliates:
Andrew Szwak, Openlands
Steve Byers, Izaak Walton League, Illinois Division
Andrew Rehn, Prairie Rivers Network
David McEllis, Environmental Law and Policy Center
Suzanne Stelmasek, 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 .