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Webinar | Impact of Current Public Policy and Political Environment on Business
Thursday, March 04, 2021, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM CST
Category: Chicago

12:00 PM - 01:30 PM (Pacific)
01:00 PM - 02:30 PM (Mountain)
02:00 PM - 03:30 PM (Central)
03:00 PM - 04:30 PM (Eastern)

Zoom invitation will be shared the day before the event.


Join our group of experts when they share their insights and perspectives on the Impact of Current Public Policy and Political Environment on Business.  The foundation of the program will be a 20-25 minute presentation by Robert Shea, National Managing Principal, Public Policy, at Grant Thornton, during which he’ll explore the following:

  • What Biden’s and Harris’ backgrounds mean for Executive/Congressional collaboration over the next four years.
  • How the nomination and appointments process is going.
  • Congress – the benefits and challenges of dealing with a closely divided Senate (and House)
  • The 2022 elections and why they matter.

This will be followed by a 30-minute panel discussion moderated by Grant Thornton Audit Partner Mick Rennick that will expand on Robert’s comments and explore how the convergence of politics, public interests and the business agenda is impacting organizations and what their Boards can be doing about it.

Join a Washington insider to one of the top women in Middle Market M&A and from the leader of a small business advocacy group to an advisor on innovation and disruption, for their practical and pragmatic insights and perspectives into the current state of affairs that will help the attendees be more effective in their roles as board members and leaders of organizations.

Thank you to our Webinar and Silver Chapter Sponsor!


Thank you to our National and Gold Chapter Sponsors!



Venita E. Fields
Pelham S2K Managers, LLC

Ms. Fields is an experienced independent corporate board director and has also served on numerous company boards as an investor.  She has more than thirty-five years of financial management in banks and investment firms, and serves as a financial expert on boards.  Ms. Fields is a NACD Board Leadership Fellow.

In 2015 Ms. Fields joined the board of Derry Enterprises, Inc. (“Derry”) as an Independent Director.  Derry is a family-owned distribution company providing inventory management and supply chain services for fasteners and other Class C items in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  In January 2018, Ms. Fields joined the board as an Independent Director for LifeSpace Communities, Inc., a provider of fifteen (15) senior care living communities in the United States. In January 2019, Ms. Fields joined the boards of David’s Bridal Inc., (“DBI”) and Superior Group of Companies (NASDAQ:SGC).  DBI is an international clothier that specializes in bridal dresses, formal wear and bridal accessories. DBI operates more than 300 stores in 45 states, Canada and the United Kingdom.  SGC, established in 1920, is a combination of companies that helps customers unlock the power of their brands by creating brand experiences for customers and employees.  SGC has operations in the United States, Brazil, China, Jamaica, Haiti and India.  In April 2019 Fields was appointed to the board of IMA Financial Group, the 5th largest privately held, employee owned insurance broker in the U.S.

In her career, Ms. Fields is Partner for Pelham S2K Managers, LLC (“Pelham S2K”), providing junior capital and private equity investments for privately held middle market companies. Formed in 2016, Pelham S2K is the Manager and General Partner of Pelham S2K SBIC, a $100 million Limited Partnership.  She manages the Firm’s Illinois office, where she generates investment opportunities in the Midwest. 

Ms. Fields has a Master of Management degree from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a B.A. degree from Northwestern University.  In addition, she joined the faculty at Kellogg as a Guest Lecturer teaching Entrepreneurial Finance from 2010-2012.

For the fifth consecutive year (2017-2021) Ms. Fields was nationally recognized in the annual edition of Mergers & Acquisitions Magazine as one of “The Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M & A”.   Ms. Fields was also recognized in the August 2019 edition of Directors & Boards Magazine as “A 2019 Director to Watch”.


Elliott Richardson
Founder and President
Illinois Small Business Advocacy Council (ISBAC)

Elliott Richardson is the Founder and President of the Illinois Small Business Advocacy Council (ISBAC), a non-partisan organization dedicated to passing legislation and moving policy initiatives forward that will help small and local businesses thrive.  ISBAC is also focused on helping each of its members succeed through marketing and networking.

As a commercial litigation attorney with the Chicago-firm of Korey & Richardson, LLC, Elliott represents business owners in commercial and business matters.  He’s also of-counsel at Kralevoc, Jambois & Schwartz, a leading medical malpractice and Plaintiffs law firm.

Elliott serves on numerous boards including the YMCA Alliance Board, a Chicago-based job training agency affiliated with the YMCA, Childserv, and the Chicago Bar Foundation’s Young Professional Board.

Elliot received his law degree from the University of Dayton and received the University of Dayton School of Law Pro Bono Publico Service Award.  He graduated from Bradley University with a degree in sociology and criminal justice, with a minor in history.


Robert Johnston Shea
National Managing Principal, Public Policy
Grant Thornton

As National Managing Principal, Public Policy, Robert Shea serves as Grant Thornton’s primary liaison with members of Congress. He represents the firm’s policy positions with the accounting profession’s standards-setters, regulators and other policymakers. Robert also serves as the chair of Grant Thornton’s political action committee.

Robert Shea is also a principal in Grant Thornton Public Sector LLC.

Robert has been working to improve government performance for 25 years — including 10 years at Grant Thornton and 15 years in the federal government. Most notably, he served for six years as the associate director for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While at OMB, he led an initiative to measure government programs using its Program Assessment Rating Tool. The effort received an Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University.

At OMB, he oversaw programs to implement large-scale personnel reform at the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security; and he launched a federal government-wide effort to measure and reduce improper payments.

Prior to his time at OMB, Shea served as senior management counsel for the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and, before that, as the legislative director for Congressman Pete Sessions. In addition, he has served as a professional staff member for the House Committee on Government Reform.

Shea is a leading proponent of evidence-based policymaking: He is a fellow and former chairman of the National Academy of Public Administration and he served on the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking.

Shea received a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College and a law degree from the South Texas College of Law. He has won a range of awards, including twice receiving a Fed100 award. He has also won the Andy Barr award and the Elmer B. Staats Award for Public Accountability.



Mick Rennick
Consumer Industrial Products Industry Service Line Leader
Certified Public Accountant
Grant Thornton

Mick serves as an Audit Partner and Consumer Industrial Products Industry Service Line Leader in Grant Thornton’s Chicago office. He has more than 20 years of experience providing a wide range of accounting and auditing services to both publicly-traded and privately held companies including those with extensive international operations. He is experienced in assisting publicly held companies with fulfilling their requirements for the Securities and Exchange Commission, including compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Prior to joining the firm, Mick worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers where he started his work for multi-national clients. He joined Grant Thornton’s Southfield (Detroit), Michigan office in 2004, then transitioned to the Chicago office a few years after.

Mick has provided services to clients in a wide range of industries in the United States, Europe and Asia. He specializes in providing audit services to clients in the manufacturing, retail, and professional services industries. Mick’s clients are multi-national and have operations requiring coordination of services in countries such as Germany, Czech Republic, Brazil, France, Portugal, India, Mexico, Romania, UK, Sweden, and China.