As the son of a pastor and one of ten siblings, Brandon Johnson was raised on a foundation of hard work, faith and service. Brandon began his career as a public school teacher, first at Jenner Academy in Cabrini-Green and then at Westinghouse College Prep on the West Side, where he experienced firsthand how school closures, unemployment and gun violence impacted his students and their communities. Brandon went on to become an organizer with the Chicago Teachers Union, where he led multi-racial coalitions to defend neighborhood schools from privatization, reduce high-stakes standardized testing and expand access to state funding. In 2018, Brandon was elected commissioner of the 1st District of Cook County, where he led the effort to pass the Just Housing Ordinance, which prohibited housing discrimination against formerly incarcerated people. As commissioner, he also collaborated with colleagues to eliminate the gang database, secure legal representation for immigrants facing deportation and advance recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brandon convened a statewide “Save Our Seniors’’ response to the crisis in low-income nursing homes. In the wake of civil uprisings in the summer of 2020, he organized the Cook County Board to commit to the “Budget for Black Lives,” bringing new investments in health care, public transportation, internet access, and affordable housing. Brandon and his wife Stacie live in the Austin community, where they are raising their children Owen, Ethan and Braedyn.
Sean M. Connolly is President and Chief Executive Officer of Conagra Brands. Sean joined Conagra Brands in March 2015. Prior to joining Conagra Brands, Sean was President and CEO of The Hillshire Brands Company from the time of its formation as an independent company in 2012 to its sale to Tyson Foods in August 2014. Before leading Hillshire Brands, Sean was CEO for Sara Lee North American Retail and Foodservice, as well as President, Campbell Soup North America. He also managed numerous brands in the food and beverage division at Procter & Gamble. Sean has used his general management, marketing and innovation skills to improve business performance across a diverse range of food and beverage categories and channels of trade, with a focus on innovation and disciplined execution. Sean earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Vanderbilt University and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. Sean is a member of the board of SC Johnson, and is active on several non-profit boards, including Consumer Brands Association, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Vanderbilt University.