Oct. 2018
When   Kim Foxx was sworn in as Cook County’s State’s Attorney two years ago,  the County faced an unprecedented level of violence and distrust between criminal justice institutions and communities of color. Determined to change this, SA Foxx set out to create a State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) that seeks the fairest outcomes in the pursuit of thriving, healthy, and safe communities. This vision has led the State’s Attorney to focus on more effectively prosecuting individuals accused of serious crime, while also identifying individuals who would benefit from support instead of jail time.
Over the past two years, the State's Attorney has undertaken a series of projects to translate that vision into action. With pro bono support from the Civic Consulting Alliance, CIBC , BCG , Deloitte and Mayer Brown, the SAO's leadership team developed a two-year strategic plan. The plan broke the vision down into seven priorities, ranging from strategies to address violent crime to promoting accountability and integrity. Civic Consulting Alliance and pro bono partners Baker McKenzie, KPMG and Deloitte then developed internal mechanisms, such as performance management, to ensure successful implementation of each strategy in the plan.

To fully implement SA Foxx's vision, more than 1,100 staff need to understand  how her vision applies to the work they each do. With the support of the Civic Consulting Alliance and pro -bono partner Zeno Group , SAO leadership recently developed communication tools to accomplish that goal.
"Civic Consulting Alliance and its pro bono partners have been important collaborators in implementing our vision. With their help, we have enhanced the capability of our leadership team and staff to articulate our core principles and achieve our mission." - State's Attorney Kim Foxx
SAO staff are spread out among multiple locations in Cook County, with many different roles and practice areas. This meant that it was critical that leadership at all levels were able to effectively and consistently communicate, advocate and reinforce the mindset and behaviors embodied in Foxx’s vision.

The work began by convening staff members across the Office to translate the vision into a tangible mission and values that resonated throughout the organization. From there, the Zeno Group worked with the SAO executive team to create a strategic and flexible explanation of the vision that would anchor office-wide messages. The team then hosted trainings to help senior leadership communicate and influence change based on the vision, mission and values. Additionally, they developed a new framework for more effective internal communications that would regularly reinforce the vision, increase transparency, and foster two-way dialogue among all staff members.

While the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is progressing toward its new vision , the need to  reduce violence in Chicago and rebuild trust in the criminal justice system continues. The SAO's enhanced leadership and communications efforts will help support everyone’s work towards this critical goal. 
Nikki Labaschin worked with the Civic Consulting Alliance team this summer as a Fellow from Crowe LLP.

What project work were you involved in during your time at the Civic Consulting Alliance?

Nikki Labaschin: I worked with the Mayor’s office to create recommendations for the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) newly formed Audit Department and Risk Manager role. My team and I conducted interviews across sectors, departments, and academic institutions to provide best practice research and recommendations to assist risk management functions across the city.  

What will you take away from your time at Civic Consulting Alliance?

NL: Working here reminded me how vital it is to work with a diverse group of professionals. The different types of experience on Civic Consulting Alliance’s team, from both the private and public sector, enabled us to tackle large problems across the city in a more effective and efficient way. 

What was your most memorable experience during your time at Civic Consulting Alliance?

NL: In working with the City and the Chicago Police Department, I was really impressed by the willingness of public safety organizations from across the country to share their experiences and insights candidly with us. For example, an expert from Seattle shared with us what type of dashboard technologies are being utilized by the city's police department to better inform the public.

How has your time at Civic Consulting Alliance helped you develop professionally?

NL: My time here was one of the most stimulating experiences of my professional career. Civic Consulting Alliance provides its fellows and employees with a tremendous amount of developmental opportunities. From networking to speakers to feedback, I was constantly learning. I walked away with more confidence in my ability to jump into a difficult project. I was also reminded of my unique strengths and how they translate well into complex questions and issues.

Civic Consulting Fellowships are full-time positions that last between three months and a year. In every case, Fellows are integrated into project teams for a unique professional development opportunity. Please visit the  Fellowships page on our website to learn more.
Last month, Civic Consulting Alliance released our 2018 Impact Report, outlining the impact of more than $10 million in services our collaboration provided in FY2018. The report can be found  here .

  • One of Civic Consulting Alliance's 2018 Summer Associates, Emily Fletcher, tied for first place in the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy's pitch competition. Her pitch focused on her experience this summer at Civic Consulting Alliance. See her video here. Congratulations, Emily!

Questions? Comments? Contact Shoham Geva

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