Protecting our Wellbeing in the Age of Coronavirus


Jodi Adams left the corporate world in 2012 and took a bold leap of faith to make it as a professional skydiver, freelance photographer and yoga instructor. A skydiving injury in 2015 offered Jodi a very real experience of coping with chronic pain and loss and ultimately influenced her decision to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant. In addition to leading yoga and mindfulness classes, workshops and retreats, she currently works at the University of Illinois at the Division of Disability, Resources and Educational Services. As an OTA, she helps students with disabilities participate fully in the college experience.

Jodi is passionate about living life to its fullest and knows that in order to do so, one must have good health in mind and body. Through her own personal experiences with trauma, she believes that mindfulness and yoga are powerful forces in one’s life to maintain that health. As a well-respected teacher in her community, she offers a practical and insightful approach. Her intention as a teacher is to guide you on your own journey to achieve strength, maintain balance, and unify the mind/body connection.


Karla Altmayer advances a multidisciplinary, community-driven model to transform individuals, neighborhoods, and broader communities to shatter the silence of gender-based violence. Raised on Chicago’s South Side by a fierce single-mother from Mexico, Karla is driven by her family’s experience with poverty, violence, and incarceration to fight with survivors, and uses her legal expertise to organize and lift the voices of survivors to lead the labor and anti-violence movements. As an attorney, Karla represented farmworker women survivors of workplace sexual violence, survivors seeking asylum in the U.S., and survivors in immigration custody fighting to stay in the U.S. Karla is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, and Northern Illinois University, College of Law.


Dr. Susan Buchanan is a Family Physician with additional board certification in occupational and environmental medicine. She is an Associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. Her research has included the work hazards among Latino day laborers in Chicago and she consults with companies on occupational health issues, including work conditions during the COVID-19 outbreak.


Dr. Stephanie Fortado is a Lecturer at the University of Illinois Labor Education Program, providing workshops and extension programming for unions and the general public on the Champaign-Urbana campus and throughout Illinois. As part of her job, Stephanie is the Co-Director of the annual Regina V. Polk Women’s Labor Leadership Conference.

Before joining the University, Stephanie served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Labor History Society (ILHS), the oldest state-wide labor history not-for-profit in the United States. She is currently a board member for ILHS, as well as for the Mother Jones Heritage Project.  She is a proud member and treasurer of her union NTFC Local 6546, part of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.


Judy Simpson is a fellow Polk Sister who first attended the Regina V. Polk Women’s Labor Leadership Conference in 2011 and was the 2016 Polk Alumna of the Year. She is a 16-year member of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 773, the daughter of a Southern Baptist Preacher and a CWA member, the granddaughter of a Teamster, an Avon Lady, a well driller and a domestic servant. Prior to becoming a Business Representative at Local 773, Judy help organize Southern Illinois University Libraries and served as Chief Steward. She currently serves on the Boards of the Illinois Labor History Society and the Mother Jones Heritage Project.


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