Audra Wilson

Audra Wilson
Audra Wilson
Audra Wilson
President & CEO


Audra Wilson

Audra Wilson has been a champion for racial and economic justice for more than 20 years. She is a lawyer, policy shaper, community mobilizer, teacher, and executive. Throughout her career, Audra has centered the voices and experiences of people of color and communities most affected by inequities.

Audra began her legal career at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law. As a welfare advocacy staff attorney, she focused on welfare reform and food security issues in Illinois. She was then recruited by Barack Obama to serve as deputy press and policy director on his U.S. Senate campaign.

After the U.S. Senate race, Audra returned to her public interest roots. For seven years, she served as director of diversity education and outreach and an adjunct professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. At Northwestern, she co-founded the first formal consortium of law school diversity professionals, now seen as a national model. During this time, she was also a policy advisor to leading candidates for the U.S. Senate, Illinois state treasurer, and lieutenant governor.

In 2013, Audra accepted a position as deputy chief of staff for U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly in the Second Congressional District of Illinois. In this role, she oversaw all district operations. She was a surrogate for the congresswoman while she was in Washington, D.C. Audra also served as lead Illinois coordinator of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls.

At the League of Women Voters of Illinois, Audra led critical changes as its executive director. She expanded the mission of the 100-year-old civic engagement organization, which has nearly 4,000 members and over 40 chapters statewide. She advanced the League’s advocacy on issues of race equity and voting rights. She also built organizational capacity for fundraising and communications.

In October 2019, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle appointed Audra chair of the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues. Audra serves on the Illinois Commission on Poverty Elimination and Economic Security and the Illinois Commission to End Hunger. She also is a board member for Bucknell University and Woodstock Institute.

In her free time, Audra enjoys playing music. She is a lifelong piano student. She spent seven years at the Westminster Conservatory of Music in Princeton, New Jersey, where she grew up. Currently, she studies with Dr. Daniel Baer at the Music Institute of Chicago (MIC), where she sits on the MIC’s Board of Trustees. Audra 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.

Audra holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and Spanish from Bucknell University. She earned her juris doctorate from Valparaiso University School of Law.

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