The Better Government Association has announced that three new members are joining its board of directors. With backgrounds in media, finance, and communications, the new board members bring years of experience and leadership to help the BGA move into its second century of fighting for greater transparency, equity and accountability in government in Chicago and across Illinois.

Founded in 1923, the Better Government Association will celebrate its 100th anniversary of serving Illinois residents in June 2023. The BGA publishes the Illinois Answers Project, an investigative and solutions-focused news outlet launched in 2022, as well as BGA Policy, which advocates for more transparent, accountable and equitable government through public policy reform.

The new board members include:

  • Jorge Cabrera, BMO Harris, Head of Corporate Communications at BMO Harris
  • Phil Calian, Founder and Managing Partner of Kingsbury Partners
  • Nykia Wright, Former CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times

“The new BGA board members bring a diverse array of professional experience and a devotion to the BGA’s mission that will contribute directly to our work,” said David Greising, President and CEO of the Better Government Association, which publishes the Illinois Answers Project. “They join a board that is guiding the BGA’s strategic growth at a time our work is of utmost importance, and we’re grateful that Jorge Cabrera, Phil Calian and Nykia Wright are willing to serve the BGA, our city and state in this important way.”

Jorge Cabrera is a career communications professional, and since May of 2022 has served as head of U.S. corporate communications at BMO Harris. Jorge also has served in leadership communications roles for Collins Aerospace, ComEd and others. 

Jorge has served on the board of the Center on Halsted and during his professional and volunteer career has demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. He has an MBA from Iowa, a master’s in international policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and a BA from UC Santa Barbara. 

Phil Calian is Founder and Managing Partner of Kingsbury Partners, a private equity firm that focuses on providing capital and ownership skills to distressed companies. Currently, Phil owns and oversees a hardware manufacturing company (Hudson Lock), a mineral well brine producer (Michigan Chloride Sales) and a community newspaper group (Lewis County Press). 

Prior to starting Kingsbury Partners, Phil was CEO of American Classic Voyages Co. and worked for more than 10 years with Equity Group Investments, Inc. Phil also worked as a reporter for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Pittsburgh Press and as a chemist/researcher at Gulf Oil Research and Development Co. 

Phil is currently Lead Director and Chair of the Audit Committee for Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc., and a Director of CC-Development Group., Inc.

Phil is a graduate of Brown University where he obtained a BA in Chemistry and is a 2000 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.  

Nykia Wright was the CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times until February 2023 and was the first African American CEO of a major metropolitan news organization in the country. Nykia is a recognized leader in the journalism industry and is responsible for managing significant disruption, driving change, and charting a new direction for sustainable local journalism. 

Nykia’s professional experience includes strategic advisory and growth planning, operational turnarounds, change and transformation, and process design and improvement for private equity acquisitions.  

Nykia was a member of the 2020 Urban League IMPACT Class and was a 2022 Leadership Greater Chicago Burnham Fellow. She was honored last year as YWCA’s outstanding business leader in Chicago for 2022. 

Nykia has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. 

Kathryn Dugal (she/her) joined the BGA in 2022 as the manager of audience engagement. Most recently, Kathryn served as the development and engagement specialist at the Center for Michigan, the nonprofit...