FY 2015




Lanterns Partners lands a new CTO for the State of Illinois
Chris Morgan & Paul Maranville
Managing Partners

Lantern Partners has a reputation for recruiting highly qualified C-level executives for growth-stage companies and leadership for a wide variety of consulting firms. So when Civic Consulting was asked to help recruit a new chief technology officer (CTO) for the State of Illinois, CEO Brian Fabes placed his first call to Lantern Partners founders Paul Maranville and Chris Morgan.
"We believe in the reinvention and transformation of government," said Maranville. "This project was an opportunity to help put people in place who can drive that effort. We recruit these types of leaders all the time, so it was natural for us to jump in."
However, finding quality candidates willing to take a pay cut to work in state government is not always easy. "Working for the public sector is not a way to get rich," said Morgan. "So we have to find individuals who not only have the right skill set and the ability to navigate large, complex organizations; they also need to be driven by the mission, rather than financial gain."


The search resulted in the hire of Michael Wons, a former private-sector executive who was eager to lend his services to the public sector -- and whom Maranville and Morgan describe as a "great match" for the state.
"The candidates who are finalists in this role have the same philosophy that we have for doing this project on a pro bono basis," Maranville added. "I think the mind-set to get involved in the community, to use your skills and experience and network to cause positive change, is part of the DNA of our firm. And it aligns very well with the mission of Civic Consulting."
Prior to this assignment, Lantern Partners had worked through Civic Consulting to assist in the recruitment of a new chief information officer for Cook County and a chief of staff for City Colleges of Chicago. Those experiences all but ensured the firm would be back to help again. "We know when we get a call from Civic Consulting, it's a serious project, it is one of very high priority, and we are going to get the support and access we need to recruit the right person," said Morgan.

Win-win-win: Examining strategies for Chicago's economy, its workers, and the public sector
Over the years, Civic Consulting Alliance has worked with our partners and clients to make significant improvements in the region's education and workforce systems.  Examples include revamping career and technical education at Chicago Public Schools, creating the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, and Reinvention at the City Colleges of Chicago. Successful initiatives such as these have made a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the region.  Yet the median wage in Illinois is 11 percent lower than it was 15 years ago, overall job growth lags national figures, and the vast majority of regional job growth has been in low-wage positions.
To understand how we can make more progress in providing economic mobility for workers, drive economic growth for the region, and reduce public sector expenditures, on October 2 Civic Consulting Alliance, along with the Joyce Foundationthe Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, and Women Employed, hosted a roundtable discussion on "win-win job strategies." Attendees included leaders from the State of Illinois, Cook County, and the City of Chicago; private sector and foundation leaders; and academics and practitioners from the Aspen Institute, Georgetown, and MIT.
The goal: to understand how we've arrived at a "new economy" labor market, characterized by high growth in low-wage jobs and continued decline in middle-wage jobs, and the impact of this labor market on the regional economy, the public sector, and workers. The group explored solutions to improve job quality, employer success, and overall regional growth simultaneously, and discussed what the Chicago region might do to change the trajectory of the labor market.

The New Economy Labor Market
Growth in high- and low-wage jobs is not offsetting the loss of middle-wage jobs.

The conversation was wide-ranging, yet resulted in several points of consensus, for example that (1) the labor market and associated problems are structural, having taken years to develop, and will take years to fix; and (2) the problems have resulted from, and solutions must come from, both the supply and demand sides of the labor market. While addressing the challenges of the new economy will take many different organizations and significant time, the roundtable highlighted several initiatives that Civic Consulting might pursue with our partners and clients.  These include:
  • Gaining a better and ongoing understanding of the regional labor market, its trajectory, what is already under way to effect change, and what will be necessary to create the economy we all desire;
  • Continuing to advance critical supply-side initiatives, such as helping Reinvention at the City Colleges of Chicago achieve its ambitious goals;
  • Working with employers, nonprofit providers, and the public sector to make low-wage jobs more stable and a potential platform for advancement, for not just workers but also for their families;
  • Experimenting with new ways to integrate our education and workforce systems with employers, with the goal of each system improving the other.
Civic Consulting looks forward to working with participants and others across the region to develop these and other initiatives that will make our region more competitive and a better place for everyone to live, work, and do business.

In other news...
  • We are excited to announce the launch of our newly redesigned website. The new, mobile-friendly site is the result of much hard work and dedication from our pro bono partners: Thirdwave LLC, who developed the site; Dovetail Communications, Stakeholder Strategies, and Exelon, who supported the writing and messaging; and Jim Pitroski, who designed the visuals. We hope you enjoy the new website!

Questions? Comments? Interested in writing a guest article? Please email Stuart Henige with any newsletter feedback.

Civic Consulting Alliance is an affiliate of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.