December 2018 Voting

UNA Chicago


January 2019-December 2020 Elections

Voting will close December 10th @ 11:59 PM. 

You must be an active UNA-Chicago member to vote.

Vote here



Secretary (Director)

Treasurer (Director)

GenUN Director

Social Media Chair

Young Professionals Chair




Anastasia Herasimovich (incumbent)

I would like to apply for the Secretary position on the UNA Chicago Board for the second term. I am very much aligned with the goals and focus of UNA Chicago and would like to continue contributing to the success of the chapter and use the skills gained as an attorney at the largest international law firm and as Adviser to the Head of the UN Mission in Belarus to help the chapter reach its objectives.

My UN work experience in Belarus was so rewarding and unique. I learned how the UN system works and what goals the organization is trying to achieve. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were just announced during my time at the UN, and I have been able to attend a UN sponsored training in Bangkok to understand SDGs better, and I am happy to continue advocating for and implementing SDGs while on the Board of the UNA Chicago.   

Quality review of documents and associated processes is my key strength. I was fortunate to lead the two rounds of amendments to the chapter’s bylaws since I started serving on the Board. By now, I know the chapter’s bylaws very well and can easily see whether the chapter and the Board are acting in line with its corporate governance rules. This allows me to be a guardian of the chapter’s bylaws and ensure all Board members act responsibly.

Timely and accurate organization of information is another strength that I can provide to the Board. I  regularly provide support to the Board, through the collection and sharing of information, keeping accurate minutes of Board meetings and recording all decisions. I make sure all meetings are scheduled on time and communicate with all Board members on the deliverables that they have to submit within a deadline. I always ensure that the Board is well informed and that its activities are well documented and are kept on the drive we use for the chapter.  

Efficient conflict resolution is critical for any Board, and as an Executive Committee member, I have had a privilege to be involved in several Executive Committee conversations that required problem resolution. As an attorney, I am happy to continue sharing my experience and dispute resolution management techniques with Executive Committee Members to ensure a smooth, impartial and speedy resolution of any issue.

I am confident that my previous UNA Chicago Board experience together with my UN experience and commitment to the chapter’s mission will bring sustainable benefit and I look forward to putting these towards a good cause.

Thank you for your consideration.


Kayla Anderson

My name is Kayla Anderson and I am eager to become more active in the United Nations Association of Greater Chicago this upcoming year. I recently moved back to the Midwest, from chaotic Washington DC, where I was the program manager for the Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service sponsored by The Fund for American Studies. Through this position, I facilitated an academic internship program that focused on civic engagement, economics, and the importance of the nonprofit sector for college students across the country and world. I was also given the opportunity to coordinate the institute-wide mentor program in which I connected nearly 250 students with D.C professionals throughout the year. Prior to working at TFAS, I was the international credential evaluator for the University of Arkansas Graduate School and Department of International Education in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I also worked for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics as an international eligibility representative in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2016, I also  spent time in Morocco serving as a youth and community development volunteer in the US Peace Corps.

I am originally from rural Kansas where I received my Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and History from Baker University. I received my Master of Science in Global and International Studies from the University of Kansas, where I focused my studies on Middle Eastern politics and human trafficking. While I’ve spent the last few years working in international education, a niche field that I am incredibly passionate about, I miss learning and completely emerging myself in the world of international studies and relations. Additionally, I have found myself longing to join an organization that is comprised of like-minded professionals, who are committed to actively serving not only those abroad, but on a local level here in Chicago.  This is why I am ecstatic to apply for the position of secretary with the UNA-GCC. I believe through my past experiences, I have the necessary administrative skills, time, and passion to devote to this position and this organization.


Tatiana O’Connor Venegas

My passion for public service is not something that happened overnight or something that I was taught. My passion for public service is something that has always been a part of me, even subconsciously. Growing up in a third-world country, I’ve always wanted to do something about all the injustices I witnessed. In my heart I knew that something had to be done.

The path that I have chosen thus far has led me to acquiring many years of professional experience in the non-profit sector and currently working with children in public schools. As a social impact professional and enthusiast, I am deeply inspired by the United Nations Association’s commitment to empowering and advocating for local citizens in Chicago.

Beyond my background and experience, I value making a difference in people’s lives, a passion I believe will be valued at the United Nations Association.


Treasurer (Director)


Benjamin Mertz

My name is Benjamin Mertz, and I am a graduate of Miami University, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) candidate, and a financial accounting consultant. I write to you with the intent of submitting myself as a candidate for the position of Treasurer.

My interest in international affairs and diplomacy began at a young age. During my childhood, I volunteered on humanitarian missions both domestically and abroad. These experiences opened my eyes to the importance the United Nations plays in ensuring health, safety, and development around the world. I recall walking down a dirt road in Haiti and being awestruck when a UN vehicle whisked past me, on its way to deliver aid to those in need.

As a high school student, I took the initiative to establish a Model UN club, which quickly became one of the most highly membered associations the school had to offer. As president, I secured the support of school sponsors, scheduled meetings with guest speakers on careers in international affairs, and organized my school’s participation in a Model UN competition at the University of Pittsburgh.

During my time at Miami University, I served as an ambassador for the school’s study abroad programs, and even inherited the role of a study abroad academic advisor – a position ordinarily reserved as a full- time job. I cherished this opportunity to impart the virtues of engaging in the international community with my fellow students.

My career thus far has not followed down the path of international affairs, but I believe this has afforded me unique perspectives and experiences that I would be energized to bring to the table for the UNA. As a consultant in Global Treasury Services at my firm, as well as a CPA candidate, I am confident that I possess the technical skills and competencies required to carry on the duties of Treasurer.

I am passionate about taking a step in the direction of being a part of the UNA, and I believe I hold qualities that would be an asset to your organization. Though I seek the position of Treasurer, I am open to any possible ways that I may become involved with the UNA and contribute to the greater good.


Bryce Wied

The Treasurer of an organization is a uniquely vital, yet sometimes inconspicuous role, which provides essential foundation and guidance for an organization’s financial mission. My goal is to combine my financial consulting experience with my passion for UNA to more closely incorporate budgeting and monthly reconciliations as a key aspect of achieving our fundraising/financial goals.

For the last 10 years my work has focused on building sustainable partnerships for growth in two different industries; education and technology. From 2011-2012 I founded a non-profit pairing public schools and donation centers to provide homeless high school students with basic necessities – now helping over 3,000 students annually. 2013, however, presented a new opportunity in local education. My focus shifted to co-found a mutually-beneficial volunteer program that served grade school students, college students, and young professionals. We collaborated with EY, The Federal Reserve Bank, and other organizations to teach financial literacy to grade school students. All the meanwhile, I also focused on increasing exposure to international learning opportunities. In December of 2014 I was 1 of 100 students around the World selected by Princeton University to serve as a delegate to their Business Today Conference on sustainable, ethical technology development. Lastly, I’ve also served as a delegate to other international conferences, such as: The World Business Dialogue in Cologne, Germany, the United Nations Youth Assembly, and most recently served as a program coordinator for the World Bank Youth Summit. Each of these experiences has provided unique insights to how the youth are motivated and engaged by issues around the globe, and I believe this experience would be an asset for your Board.  

My consulting career has also prepared me to take on the role of Treasurer for UNA Chicago. I do financial technology and process improvement consulting for Higher Education institutions around the world. Typically, my client counterparts are the Controller, CFO, or Treasurer. I’ve worked on process improvement designs for bank reconciliations, capital planning, budgeting, and general accounting practices. This job requires me to travel 100% of the time, but I believe the Treasurer role can be easily balanced with this schedule. As I am becoming more senior at the firm, I also am getting more flexibility with travel schedules, and may be able to accommodate extra days in Chicago for chapter events.

I believe I am uniquely positioned to positively impact UNA as the Treasurer because I understand the key factors in a successful globally-focused organization. This is an exciting challenge that has potential to enhance education, awareness and advocacy on behalf of the UN Foundation, and I’m grateful to be considered for the position.


Fany Bortolin

I was an infant when my family fled Argentina’s terrifying military dictatorship for Brazil, where we lived for ten years until democracy was restored. My mother volunteered in the slums of São Paulo, where I was oblivious to the poverty around me but formed fond memories of barefoot friends and an inescapable sense of obligation to serve. By the age of seven, poverty, human rights, and the well-being of all children had emerged as the focus of my life.

I’ve spent most of my career doing accounting and financial operations for public schools in under-served communities throughout the country. I’m the founder of Acorn Accounting CPA, a Chicago-based accounting firm dedicated to helping non-profit organizations grow. I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve as Treasurer for the United Nations Association of Chicago. I offer my accounting expertise and my passion and uncompromised commitment to equality, human rights, and dignity.


Gen UN Director


Janhvi Patel

Seasons greetings. My name is Janhvi Patel and I would be honored to be considered for the GenUN director position for the UNA-C. I am newly moved Chicago resident and mother of one sweet toddler. I have completed my Masters in Public Health in Health policy and Management at New York University recently in 2017 and have been involved with different causes such as health equity, social determinants of health and reducing inequalities. I have worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a Disaster Management Intern; my role was to consolidate the federal, state and local level protocols to eliminate confusion and repetition when there is a disaster. My studies at NYU led me to work with the Global Citizens organization where I was introduced with the Global Goals and United Nations. I was the person on ground for the kickstarting campaigns to get students and locals to become involved and aware of UN vision and SGDs. I am a devoted person and look forward to working with you and the entire organization!


Paula Mora Climent

I am a UNA-Chicago member applying to the GenUN Director position. I am originally from Spain, established in Chicago since 2015. I have a Master ́s degree in Civil Engineering. I have worked previously in a governmental organization (Spanish Chamber of Commerce) in South Africa as a former Director and General Manager, being part of the Economic and Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy. While in South Africa, I had the honor to work with the current ambassador of Spain in the UN in New York, Mr Agustín Santos Maraver. I worked with him during my time as Director and he inspired me to be more involved with UN activities and their promotion.

Besides, I have collaborated with Red Cross as a volunteer and with the WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) and CORC NPO, working on a project to build water conduits, improving the sanitation system of an informal settlement at Landrug community (Cape Town).

This month I attended the Intergenerational Model UN and I really enjoyed it. It allows members and general public to simulate one day working as an UN delegate, learning about diplomacy, negotiation, and decision making, which has some similarities with my previous experience at the Spanish Embassy where I had daily meetings with government delegates and I negotiated bilateral agreements between countries.

The reason why I would love to be in a Director position is because I am a very committed person, able to attend the UNA meetings and I am willing to foster and inspire people about the UN initiatives, representing all the great work that UN does helping to maintain international order among others. I have experience bringing new members to the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in South Africa and working with a team recruiting and filling leadership positions. In addition, I have experience coordinating and being the point person for creating the Charters for the Spanish Chamber of Commerce. My interest in human rights and global health is one of the priorities in my live and UN is the perfect place to develop my goals.

Therefore, my previous experience being in a board of Directors position before allows me to know what entails in terms of commitment and also representing the association in front of organizations, governments and general public. I really would like to help from an active position such as GenUN Director to use my background to make the UN here in Chicago grow. One of my goals is also to inform members and future members about GenUN initiatives and UN activities in general. I am committed to do my best in order to be an example mobilizing and inspiring people to support the great work of the United Nations and the local actions for the Global Goals in Chicago.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I very much hope that you will look favorably upon my application by recognizing my skills for the GenUN Director position.


Social Media Chair

Amy Dupis

I have never believed that “ignorance is bliss.” I have always thought of ignorance as an enemy, especially when it comes to organizations like the UNA. I’m currently working for Asian Human Services as a Youth Employment Assistant through their AmeriCorps program. As a full-time AmeriCorps member, I am able to attend various trainings and volunteer with different projects around Chicago, like the Stand Down event on November 16th which provided aid to veterans; as well as work for Asian Human Services as a case manager for the youth department. Working with AmeriCorps, I have learned how important it is to get your message out to the world. I help many people through my position to find work, but through social media like Facebook or LinkedIn, I am able to reach more individuals to help.

Being able to reach out to more individuals and teach them about the things that I do, that AmeriCorps does, and the things Asian Human Services works to accomplish, is a gift. We watch the news today, and it looks bad. And when you see that much bad, we tend to forget about the good. We forget that about the people working hard to make the world a better place. We forget about organizations like my own or the UNA. I would like to use this position to help remind people. For the past two years, I have grown my own blog to remind people to smile. Using my creative writing degree from the University of Louisiana, I create humorous stories to show people that laughter is still important and to give them a break from their own life. And while I have loved sharing my own story to help others, I would like to use the skills I’ve learned to show even more people that while there is bad in the world, people, like AmeriCorps or the UN, are working to fix it.


Alicia L. Ross

I have worked in media/technology for several years as a trainer and applicator. My experiences with Social Media include Facebook, Twitter, various Blog sites, and LinkedIn. I believe social media can be  a great asset for communicating invigorating and positive messages. It is also a great tool to communicate with communities about information regarding events, programs, and other information that an organization/company/or individual would like to share with their online audiences.

As a leader I have worked on several boards and respect each of the committee members I have worked with over the years. It would be an honor to work with committee members of the United Nations Chicago Association because of the great things the association is offering to the Chicagoland communities. I have been a member of this community for several years and have worked in positions that are internationally connected. It is a passion of mine to work with people of many backgrounds globally. As a doctoral student in Global Studies I look forward to the opportunity to share my experiences and expertise upon graduation. It would be an honor to serve as the Social Media Chair of the United Nations Chicago Association because it helps in expanding my knowledge of the world.


Chantyle Davis

As a recent Graduate student of Western Illinois University in the field of Communications, Marketing and Public Relations, I can say with confidence that my experience aligns with what you are seeking.  I am certain that I would make a valuable contribution to your company; eager to give 110%, while yet excited to learn much more about the business.

With my combination of educational knowledge, employment experience, volunteer work and passion for Marketing and Public Relations, I believe that I am the perfect candidate for the position.  I am ambitious, a self-starter and highly motivated to succeed. I want to learn from the best to become the best. My goal is to fulfill this position of social media chair for United Nations Associations of Greater Chicago, contributing to your ongoing success, knowing that it will require dedication, training, commitment, self-motivation and so much more.      

My work as an intern with the City of Gary Indiana provided me the opportunity to gain knowledge as it relates to non-profit work.  Other positions include Office Manager for Beacon Academy in the City of Dolton, Illinois, and President of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, both of which  have increased my capacity in the areas of event planning, press release creation/distribution, multimedia presentations, public affairs and decision making.  


Young Professionals Chair

Emily Ott

Given my involvement in various initiatives with the UNA-GCC throughout the past year, I believe my acquired experiences support my candidacy for the Young Professionals Chair. Here are a few of my qualifications for this role:

Exceptional organization and leadership skills: In my current role as Research Manager in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Chicago Medical Center, I am responsible for coordinating and supporting multiple clinical- and community-based projects related to decreasing reproductive health disparities for underserved populations. In this position, I’ve contributed to emerging aspects of health- related research, education, awareness, and career development initiatives. Additionally, I have gained experience in grant writing, program evaluation, and managing research teams.

Strong communication skills: The research I am involved with specifically focuses on improving access to contraception and HIV prevention methods. As part of my role as Research Manager, I organize community engagement sessions which include creating research briefs/summaries, leading research uptake strategies, conducting one-on-one interviews, and facilitating focus groups in order to better understand the community’s health needs and develop strategies to improve overall well-being.

Community outreach involvement: As a member of the UNA-GCC, I have taken part in events such as Cities for CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), UN Day, and am currently a Global Goal Ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goal #3. My involvement in these events included partnering with individuals/organizations, creating informational materials as well as organizing campaign logistics and volunteer management.

Altogether, my strong communication, leadership, and enthusiasm make me an ideal candidate for the Young Professionals Chair position. I am eager to pursue advocacy efforts that foster engagement within the community and mobilize support for the UNA-GCC. Thank you in advance for your consideration.


Ali Kleiche

Currently, I am a student at Chicago State University (CSU), pursuing my Bachelor degree in International Relations Political with a focus on Diplomacy. I’m applying for your Young Professionals chair position that was advertised at your website. After taking a look at your website, I found plenty of overlap between my interests in international diplomacy and development, and your organization commitment to convene leading global voices.

As a multilingual, first-generation immigrant from West Africa, I have a personal interest in seeing changes in immigration issues around the world and believe that good immigration policies shape the path of success for others, like myself, who are working to establish themselves in new countries and immerse themselves in new cultures.  

Your position position requires skills in research, media monitoring, youth outreach and event planning. In my previous role as president of the HWC United Nations (UN) chapter, I have developed my research skills in various international relations topics as well as hosted many diplomatic encounters and meetings to educate the HWC student population on issues such as immigration and refugee crisis, as well as the demographic changes that occurs. Hosting events under the UN umbrella has also allowed me to develop my outreach and event planning skills by creating flyers, posting on social media, and personally inviting other colleges and community members to attend events.

I believe that this position will be an excellent opportunity to contribute to the ongoing success of your organization, and welcome the chance to meet and discuss my qualifications in more detail.