(TWITTER: @charliestone)

A former criminal prosecutor and successful entrepreneur, Charlie Stone has built and led several entities, including http://www.MorningCommute.TV, a national interactive forum dedicated to hearing from interesting people doing interesting things. In addition, Charlie founded the, an incubator, investor of crazy ideas.  His most recent venture,, is dedicated to building communities of cause advocates and avid customers for its national partners.  Charlie lives in Evanston with his far better half, Liz, and their three children.

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(TWITTER: @GrassrootsChi)

Amisha Patel
serves as Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative and Grassroots Illinois Action, affiliated non-profit organizations working to win racial and economic justice in Chicago and statewide.  Both organizations educate and mobilize Illinois residents to build real power for working families, by fighting for living wage jobs, quality public schools, affordable housing, and safe streets, and by connecting these fights to the voting booth.  She has served as the director since 2007.

This follows six years at Service Employees International Union Local 73, where Amisha organized hospital employees and Head Start workers, and worked in coalition with community organizations to fight against school closings.  She worked for five years doing arts-based violence against women prevention programming in communities of color in the Bay Area.  The documentary that her youth created, Young Azns Rising! Breaking Down Violence Against Women, screened in numerous film festivals and won the Asian Emmy for best documentary.  Amisha received Community Renewal Society’s 35 under 35 award, the 2014 Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 award, and Chicago Freedom School’s Champion of Justice award.

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(TWITTER: @RayLong)

Ray Long is an investigative projects reporter for the Chicago Tribune. For more than 35 years, Long has written about Illinois government and politics.  Since 1998, he has worked in the Chicago Tribune's statehouse bureau, becoming a vital source on political issues, leaders, and practices.

He has authored ground-breaking stories about political scandals, questionable public spending, massive budget problems, the nation’s worst-funded pension system and numerous crooked deals. He also followed major statewide issues under six governors and the legislative agendas pushed by Rahm Emanuel and his predecessors.

Long played significant roles in multiple hard-edged stories about once-imprisoned former Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, and still-imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat impeached in Springfield and sentenced to prison for trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by another graduate of the Illinois legislature, President Barack Obama.

He served many years as president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association, the press corps that covers the state capitol. He has received numerous local and national awards for individual and team reporting, including for spot news, enterprise, investigations and news analysis.

Long formerly ran The Associated Press bureau in Springfield; he covered Mayor Richard M. Daley from Chicago’s City Hall, the Cook County Board, courts and state government for the Chicago Sun-Times; and he covered local, state and federal beats for the Peoria Journal Star.

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