Audra Wilson has been a champion for racial and economic justice for more than 20 years as a public interest lawyer and teacher, policy shaper, community mobilizer, and experienced executive manager. Throughout her career, Wilson has focused on the voices and experiences of communities of color and communities most impacted by injustice.
Wilson began her legal career as a Welfare Advocacy Staff Attorney with the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, where she focused on welfare reform implementation and food security issues in Illinois. She was then tapped by then-state-Senator Barack Obama to serve as the Deputy Press and Policy Director on his U.S. Senate campaign.
After the U.S. Senate race, Wilson returned to her public interest roots, serving as Director of Diversity Education and Outreach and Adjunct Professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law for 7 years. At Northwestern, she co-founded the first formal consortium of law school diversity professionals in Chicago, seen as a national model. During this time, Wilson also served as a policy advisor to leading candidates for U.S. Senate, Illinois State Treasurer, and Lieutenant Governor.
In 2013, Wilson accepted a position as Deputy Chief of Staff for United States Congresswoman Robin Kelly in the Second Congressional District of Illinois, where she oversaw all district operations and served as a surrogate for the Congresswoman while she was serving in D.C. Among Wilson’s other responsibilities, she served as lead Illinois coordinator of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls.
As Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Illinois, Wilson led critical change to expand the mission of a 100-year-old civic engagement organization with nearly 4,000 members and over 40 chapters statewide. Wilson advanced the League’s advocacy on issues of race equity and voting rights and built organizational capacity for fundraising and communications. In October 2019, Wilson was appointed chair of the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues by Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle. Wilson is also a board member for Bucknell University and Woodstock Institute, and serves on the Illinois Commission on Poverty Elimination and Economic Security and the Illinois Commission to End Hunger.
In her free time, Wilson enjoys playing music. She is a lifelong student of piano, including spending seven years at the Westminster Conservatory of Music in Princeton, New Jersey, where she grew up. Currently, Wilson studies with Dr. Daniel Baer at the Music Institute of Chicago, where she sits on the MIC’s Board of Trustees. Wilson runs the PianoForte Piano Performance Group, an amateur piano group that meets quarterly at the beautiful PianoForte high-end piano store and performance space in the South Loop. She is also an accomplished alto saxophonist.
Wilson holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Spanish from Bucknell University, and a J.D. from Valparaiso University School of Law.
Embracing, supporting and promoting BIPOC leaders can truly enrich an organization.
Statement from Audra Wilson, President & CEO of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law
These "precedented" times compelled voters to make their voices heard and demand change
All families deserve to live in happy and stable homes free from criminalization, family separation, and surveillance.
The presence of police officers in our schools and their detrimental impact on Black and Brown children is well documented.
Statement from New President & CEO Audra Wilson