Leonard F. Amari

Leonard F. Amari is a founding, co-managing partner of Amari & Locallo, a law firm that focuses exclusively on real estate tax assessment issues. He is a J.D. recipient from The John Marshall Law School, with honors. Amari has been a John Marshall trustee since 2000 and was elected president of the board in 2007. He is past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, a member of the Chicago Bar Association’s State and Local Taxation Committee, and a member and past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers. He has received numerous honors from many organizations recognizing his service.

DePaul University Law School Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea

DePaul University has selected a nationally recognized leader in legal education as dean for the College of Law. Jennifer Rosato Perea, an accomplished scholar in family law, bioethics and civil procedure, will join DePaul July 1. When Rosato Perea became dean of the Northern Illinois University College of Law in July 2009, she also became the first Italian-American female dean of any law school in the country. It should be mentioned that she also treasures her Latino ancestry on her mother’s side. Rosato Perea came to NIU from Drexel University in Philadelphia, where she was part of the administrative team …

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Acclaimed architect John Vinci

This month we highlight the distinguished career of architect John Vinci. Subjects for this column come to the attention of the author in various ways. An article in the Chicago Tribune about the controversial three sets of copper-clad wood exterior doors at the cost of nearly $670,000 in our state capitol brought this month’s subject to our attention — John Vinci. The article read as follows: “Revenge is sweet, but winning design awards isn’t bad either. Just ask the architects of the much-maligned restoration of the Illinois Capitol’s west wing. “A year ago, citing the state’s pension funding crisis, Gov. …

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Family law trailblazer Gemma Allen

This month we highlight the career of a female trailblazer of the family law practice in the state of Illinois and throughout the country – Gemma B. Allen. Gemma B. Allen is a partner in Ladden & Allen, Chartered, a family law firm she established in 1999 to offer professional, caring and accessible representation in the areas of marriage, divorce, mediation, financial settlements, and custody matters. Prior to starting this firm, she was a partner in the notable Chicago law firms McDermott, Will & Emery, and Pretzel & Stouffer, where she was co-head of the divorce division. Not only is …

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Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri

  First and foremost a lawyer as well as a leader of our Italian-American community in the Chicago area, Peter N. Silvestri serves as a role model for our nieces and nephews, sons and daughters, cousins and others from our community who aspire to be successful in the legal field and/or the political arena. I first met Pete more years ago than either of us cares to remember while attending a regular monthly meeting of the Justinian Society of Lawyers, something he rarely misses. He takes being active in the ethnic bar association very seriously, as he obviously does in …

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River Forest President Catherine M. Adduci

In April of this year, after having served for four years as an elected village trustee, one of the brightest stars in our local political firmament, and a lady of our ethnicity, was elected by 64 percent of the vote as president of River Forest. This month we highlight the political career of Catherine M. Adduci, a woman who quietly has made her mark both professionally and politically. Those of us who know this outstanding professional are aware of her history as an accomplished senior executive with 30 years of outstanding achievements with UNISYS Corp. A Fortune 500 global information …

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Mortgage pioneer Victor Ciardelli

The name Ciardelli is very well known in our ethnic community, and certainly in the legal community. Victor Ciardelli, now an elder and highly respected lawyer and statesman, has been a leading litigator for decades. This month we highlight the career and successes of his son, Victor. It seems lately that we are highlighting the careers of the children of our leading lights. I guess that old adage has merit: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Victor Ciardelli, CEO and founder of Guaranteed Rate, is an innovative entrepreneur who is revolutionizing the mortgage industry. After graduating from Columbia …

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Non-profit CEO Emilia DiMenco

This month, we highlight the distinguished career of a rising star in the Chicagoland community, and a proud and contributing member of the Italian-American community, Emilia DiMenco. Although Emilia DiMenco has never owned a business, she has spent her entire professional career helping them grow. One of her most satisfying achievements was to lead BMO Harris N.A., as an executive vice president. There, she developed initiatives to support and empower women-owned businesses. In 2010, she became chief operating officer at the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) and was recently promoted to president and CEO of the 28-year-old organization, selected by …

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Former Mayor Ronald Oppedisano

This month we highlight the career of a very charismatic, highly respected and active Italian-American community leader: Ronald Oppedisano. A successful property appraiser, Oppedisano is also former elected official, revered and respected in that role, and a wonderful family man. He’s the former president (mayor) of the Village of Norridge, Illinois in Cook County – the small community his parents moved to in 1961 after leaving the 4300 block of West Adams Street in Chicago. Oppedisano began his public service career in 1991 as a member, and later chairman, of the Norridge Zoning Board of Appeals. He was appointed to …

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Attorney Joseph Garofalo

When an individual is suggested for highlighting in this column, a letter is sent requesting background information, ancestral background and the like. From time to time, the subject will provide a narrative, and on occasion one so compelling, so touching, oftentimes familiar, that with slight editing we produce this column in the subject’s own words – such as this month. “My name is Joseph Garofalo and I’m going to tell you my story. My Mother, Lorraine (nee Aigner) Garofalo was born to Joseph and Myrtle Aigner. Myrtle was born in Sweden and immigrated to the USA in the early 1900s …

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Sicilian American Cultural Association
20th Anniversary Retrospective

The 20-year-old entity, the Sicilian American Cultural Association (SACA), announces its 2015-2016 officers, elected at its regular meeting of its Board of Directors on August 14, 2014. Succeeding the wonderful year prominent family law attorney Samuel Cannizzaro had as president, beginning in January 2015, is long time member and director, Katherine (Amari) O’Dell. Other officers include Ro Pagano, 1st V.P. and retired Circuit Court judge, Gloria Coco, 2nd V.P. Continuing on as treasurer is Dino Porto, founding member, and as secretary, Martha Monastero. All were elected by unanimous vote. O’Dell, the new president, will assume her responsibilities after the first …

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