This summer has been an exciting time of growth here at Mikva. We are delighted to share that we’ve expanded our leadership team: along with a new Managing Director of IL Programs, four champions of youth voice have joined our IL Advisory Board of Directors. Please join us in celebrating these important additions to the Mikva Challenge family, and the bright future ahead thanks to the expertise, vision, and commitment that they bring to the work!


Carla Rubalcava joined Mikva Challenge as Managing Director of IL Programs where she will set the vision and direction for Mikva Illinois’ youth-facing programs, elevate the work of the youth program facilitators, and oversee Mikva’s school-based classroom initiatives. Carla held previous roles at Harold Washington College; Chicago Public Schools (CPS); Association for Child Development; Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL); and Holy Trinity High School. In addition to her work at Mikva Challenge, Carla serves on the associate board of Erie Family Health Centers. 

We are honored to welcome the following leaders onto the Mikva Challenge Illinois Advisory Board of Directors:


Rachel Graham
Director of Programs at the Lefkofsky Family Foundation Chicago

In her role she oversees all of the Foundation’s education grantmaking and runs the foundation’s middle grades direct intervention program, Success Bound. With a deep focus in the middle grades the foundation believes that students in this developmental stage are ripe for learning and determining who they want to be in the social, economic and civil world.

Farissa Knox
Founder and CEO, RLM Media

Farissa’s personal and professional focus has been on the education and exposure for young, black people, with an emphasis on women. She is a successful business owner and entrepreneur with a specific focus on marketing, advertising, and content creation. In her work, Farissa believes in embracing the differences between individuals especially within the workplace. 

Andrew Vail

Partner, Jenner & Block

Andrew spends his days counseling businesses and individuals on complex legal matters. He is a first-chair litigator who also co-Chairs Jenner & Block’s Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants Practice and currently serves as the pro bono General Counsel for the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. In his own pro bono practice, Andrew has successfully represented five individuals in challenging their wrongful convictions or arrests, assisted clients in obtaining asylum, fought to protect civil rights and the rule of law, led a transgender clients name change clinic, among other matters.  He frequently researches, testifies, and writes on criminal justice issues. 

Ryan Dunnigan

Chief of Staff to the Chief Legal Administration Officer of Corning Incorporated

Ryan is an attorney who works at the intersection of law, business, and government interacting with business leaders, government entities, and key stakeholders. Throughout his law career, Ryan has worked to address challenging legal issues impacted by government intervention and enforcement and also the advocacy of people and organizations.