Rep. Keicher recognizes local leaders at Emerging Women Leadership event 


A crowd of women smile at a presenter during the Emerging Women Leaders conference. State Rep. Jeff Keicher honored two local women for their service.(Courtesy of Rep. Jeff Keicher)

By Rachel Cormier, News Reporter

DeKALBLocal leaders Lesli Melendy, executive director of the Metro West Council of Government, and Jonelle Bailey, executive director of the Sycamore Park District, represented female leadership at the prestigious Emerging Women Leaders event with State Rep. Jeff Keicher of the 70th district.

Melendy and Bailey were two of nearly 50 women selected across the state to represent female leaders throughout IL. Keicher was proud to recognize both women at the event for their service to the DeKalb, Kane, and McHenry Counties.

“It was my honor to recognize Lesli and Jonelle,” Keicher said. “In their respective roles, both of them have demonstrated a passion for service and leadership in our communities, and it was a privilege to recommend them for selection at this year’s Emerging Women Leaders event.”

Melendy serves a population of more than 750,000 as executive director of the Metro West Council of Government where she leads a council of municipalities and works throughout Kane, DeKalb and Kendall county. Along with her current position, she has served as Chief of Staff for state senators, worked with the McHenry County Mental Health Board and her local school board.

“It was an honor to be nominated for this recognition with other leaders from across the state,” Melendy said. “Spending the day with other women was empowering and a reminder of the strength in supporting each other as women leaders.”

Bailey has put her dedication into the Sycamore Park district as the Executive Director, where she has promoted community wellness through green spaces and recreation. Additionally, Bailey has aided the Salvation Army and was recently named to the board of the DeKalb County History Center.

“It was certainly an honor and a surprise to be recognized,” Bailey said. “We greatly appreciate Jeff’s support of local parks and recreation. That support helps us to continue to provide accessible opportunities for health and well-being in our community for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.”

Attendees participated in a brunch with Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White, and sat into a discussion and listening session where they were recognized by House Minority Leader Tony McCombie and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton.