Meet Our New Board Members!

Disability Lead
September 1, 2022

On August 25, Disability Lead’s Board of Directors elected and welcomed two new members: Azeema Akram and Natae Eaves.  

Their elections raise the number of Disability Lead’s active board members to thirteen — six identify as having a disability and five are people of color. Azeema and Natae will play a vital part in moving our ambitious agenda forward.  

“Azeema and Natae bring a wealth of legal, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) advancement, and strategic experience to our Board and organization,” says Disability Lead ’s Board President Ann Manikas, “and we are so fortunate to have access to their knowledge and expertise.”

Executive Director of Disability Lead Emily Blum looks forward to working closely with Azeema and Natae. “I know their strong commitment to disability inclusion and equity in Chicago will make our organization better and more impactful,” she says.

About Azeema and Natae:

Azeema Akram, 2018 Disability Lead Fellow and Member, is an Administrative Law Judge at the Illinois Human Rights Commission (“IHRC”), where she presides over claims of unlawful discrimination pursuant to the Illinois Human Rights Act.  Prior to joining the IHRC, she was an Administrative Law Judge at the Illinois Commerce Commission. As a deaf/hard-of-hearing attorney, Azeema is passionate about accessibility in legal proceedings.  She presents regularly to attorneys and judges on accommodating people with disabilities in court. Azeema has been published in the American Bar Association Journal and was awarded the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Arts & Science 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of her accomplishments.  She is a Community Representative on the Regional Transportation Authority’s Paratransit Certification Formal Appeals Program Eligibility Review Board.  Azeema is the Secretary on the Board of Directors of Red Clay Dance Company, Chicago’s premier Afro-contemporary dance company. She previously served as Co-Chair of Disability Lead’s Program Committee, and with her election to the Board of Directors, Azeema will serve as Chair.  

Natae S. Eaves serves as Vice President, Program Manager for the Business Solutions Team (BeST) at JP Morgan Chase. BeST is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative with a focus on expansion of the talent pool to include neurodivergent colleagues centric to the intellectually and developmentally disabled community. Natae is responsible for driving the BeST Program to expand geographically and cultivate relationships with community partners to source talent. Prior to JP Morgan Chase, Natae worked at Goldman Sachs, The Chicago Board Options Exchange and The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Natae is a PRIDE Illinois Membership Co-Chair and a member of the Learning Culture Council at JP Morgan Chase. Residing in Chicago, Natae earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. She received a Master of Public Administration degree from the City University of New York’s Austin School of Public and International Affairs. Natae is a proud National Urban Fellow alum and recently graduated from the Chicago Urban League’s IMPACT Leadership Development Program.