Steering Committee

Northisde DFA Steering Committee 2018 - 2020


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. 


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.)

Sophia Olazaba  Growing up in both Back of the Yards South Chicago and parts of Indiana (East Chicago and Crown Point) exposed Sophia to the realities in both urban and rural communities. In high school she was 1 of 10 people of color in a graduating class of 1000 students, but it was in college where Sophia noticed not only disparities but the lack of discourse around inequality. Sophia wanted to work on campaigns that challenged the nature of machine politics, and being introduced to NDFA became that shining light of opportunity. NDFA not only has committed members but shares those same values that ensure people are well-represented by those who are voted into office to serve them.  As a field director and campaign manager in several local campaigns, Sophia found mentors in NDFA. Sophia is committed to the responsibility that the Steering Committee has to its NDFA members and much like her work on campaigns, Sophia is energized and eager to bring forward more progressive members to further push for the systems of change that NDFA commits itself.  







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