Master of Science, Cultural Geography - University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Bachelor of Arts, Government and International Relations - University of South Carolina
Sessy Nyman joined EverThrive Illinois in March 2017 as Executive Director with more than 25 years of experience in advocacy, legislative strategic development, and non-profit leadership. Sessy most recently served as the Vice President for Policy and Strategic Partnerships at Illinois Action for Children (IAFC), directing state and federal legislative strategy for the organization, overseeing a team of community, research and policy professionals.
Sessy first joined IAFC in 1999 as a Community Organizing Associate and served as Director for Public Policy before becoming Vice President in 2001 where she managed strategic direction and fiscal growth for the department, and successfully expanded its staff size and annual operating budget through private foundation support. In addition to negotiating legislative outcomes and spearheading administrative advocacy to state agencies, she managed statewide campaigns for policy change and increases in fiscal expenditures; created partnerships with community organizations, parents and faith-based initiatives to expand and deepen legislative strength of IAFC. Under Sessy’s leadership, grassroots membership has expanded, leadership across the early childhood field was developed, and the organizational strength of Illinois Action for Children grew. Most importantly, Illinois’ early care and education program grew in the numbers of children served as well as in the state’s investment and focus on quality care for the state’s most vulnerable children. Sessy served on multiple early childhood task forces and committees to influence the development and implementation of statewide policy and programs.
Prior to joining Illinois Action for Children (then called the Day Care Action Council of Illinois), Sessy worked as the Director of the Violence Prevention Project for the Alliance for Logan Square Organizations, where she created community collaborations with local stakeholders to effectively implement violence prevention strategies. While serving as the Director, she served asa primary spokesperson to represent the project to Chicago’s greater not-for-profit community and other citywide institutions working on violence prevention issues. From 1990-1992 she was National Coordinator for the Chicago-based Mozambique Support Network, a national network of state affiliate organizations advocating for change in Southern Africa.
Sessy earned her M.S. in Cultural Geography from The University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and holds a B.A. in Government and International Relations from The University of South Carolina. Her community involvement includes: 2006 Alum of Leadership of Greater Chicago, Board President of Lifeline Theater located in Chicago’s Rogers Park community, and is a member of the Concordia Place Early Childhood program Advisory Board. Sessy lives in Chicago’s Rogers Park community with her 13 year old daughter, and their dog Webster.