Steering Committee

Northisde DFA Steering Committee 2018 - 2020

As of December 18, 2018 Carl Nyberg is not a member of Northside DFA's Steering Committee.


Matt McWhinney (co-chair) has served on the NDFA Steering committee for 2 terms over the past 4 years and while on Steering, has helped organize NDFA fundraisers and the most recent 2017 Political Training Workshop. Matt has been active in the local political scene and an avid supporter of his wife Anne Shaw who has run for public office in Chicago. Matt is an Electrical Engineer and has lived in the colorful 1st Ward in Chicago for 20 years. When he’s not involved in volunteer efforts, Matt enjoys kayaking, cooking, biking and discovering Chicago history. 


Mary Claire Peceny (co-chair) has been a steering committee member for three years and a member of NDFA for at least 12 years.  She was on the committee for the Campaign Training that was so successful last year and is on it again for training this year.  She has been active in many campaigns as a volunteer stuffing envelopes, canvassing, getting signatures, making phone calls:  all the things a progressive grass roots group does to advance a progressive agenda.  Changing the country one election at a time means building a progressive base one voter at a time.  She’shonored to continue the work of advancing NDFA's mission to elect socially progressive, fiscally responsible, and ethically committed Democrats to all levels of government.


Mary Stich-Marcus (treasurer) is a CPA by training (and  just generally grooves on numbers) and a political junkie from childhood on.   Her grandma was a precinct captain in Milwaukee back in the day, grandpa was a proud and active union member, and she came of age in the ‘60’s, which formed her worldview.  Mary believes in NDFA’s message and unique approach to the election process, and is delighted to be part of the organization.

Kevin Allen is a current member of the Steering Committee and has been active with NDFA for over 9 years. He is one of our few voting members from the suburbs. Kevin has been a long-time volunteer, organizer, trainer, and consultant with Democratic campaigns and organizations throughout the Chicago area. He has served as a Precinct Committeeman, member of the Democratic Executive Committee for DuPage, and as an officer with the Democratic Women of DuPage. Kevin was previously endorsed by NDFA when he ran for the Illinois State Senate. 


Talha Basit  Born to Indian Muslim immigrants in the U.K., Talha has spent over two decades as a leader in the technology and start-up sectors in Silicon Valley and Chicago. He is currently the Chief Technology Officer for divvyDOSE, an innovative healthcare start-up that employs over 150 Illinois residents.  Previously, he transformed technology access for underserved children at Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and developed iMovie at Apple Computer. A lifelong progressive, Talha most recently held the role of campaign manager for a progressive congressional candidate in IL-05. A new voting member, Talha will bring his business, technology, and political experience to expand NDFA’s capabilities and help endorsed candidates win. Talha serves as a board member of the Old Town School of Folk Music.


Joseph Fedorko is a long time NDFA member and has conducted meetings and emcee’d NDFA events.  He works in several universes that touch NDFA -- including activist, artist, amateur chef, educator, labor union leader, satirist, skeptic, writer, citizen, occasionally overly-zealous Democrat and unapologetic progressive. Through it all, he’s been a valuable NDFA and Steering Committee member, and is always committed to the work NDFA chooses, growing its influence with integrity and honesty - all while living up to the immortal vow of Emma Goldman: "If I can't dance, I don't want to be a part of you revolution." (Joe says he can’t dance very well, but you get the point.)

Marlena Johnson is a lifelong Chicagoan who cares deeply for the city.  In 2013, Marlena began to intern on Will Guzzardi’s campaign for State Representative, her first experience with the progressive movement in Chicago. At the end of that campaign, she became a voting member of NDFA and has volunteered on many of NDFA’s endorsed candidates campaigns. Currently, Marlena is President of the 45th Ward Independent Democrats and is focused on building progressive power on the Northwest side of Chicago. She is extremely organized, reliable, and has a focus on focus on member engagement and expansion.

Melissa Lindberg is a founding member of Northside DFA.  She served as chair 2011 -2018. Her son Kenneth was the first person to take advantage of the voting age rule: he became a voting at age 15, as per the by-laws. She ran for State Central Committee in the March 2018 election. In her former life, she was in theater, primarily working with Stage Left Theatre.  Also, she was an original ensemble member of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind.  She works at University of Chicago, lives with Carl Nyberg, and travels to Vermont regularly. Change comes slowly, but it is worth working towards, and it is worth fighting for things to get better.

Megan Lopp Mathias brings a strong voice to the progressive cause and vision of NDFA.  Her passion is representing and finding solutions for underserved communities of women, people of color and children. Megan is an attorney and also a founder of an education technology startup that is owned by women and minorities. She grew up in a small town and is a first generation college student. Megan is excited about NDFA and brings a fresh perspective and new ideas to the Steering Committee.  Megan hopes to bring her passion for supporting underserved communities to the political arena by helping to elect strong, progressive leaders.









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