Roderick Hawkins leads Advance Illinois’ Communications team. Roderick previously held the role of Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Engagement in the office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, where he led the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement and worked to connect Chicago residents to the Mayor’s Office through direct outreach, cultural events, and community forums on issues that impact the city. Prior to the Emanuel administration, Roderick was Vice President of External Affairs at the Chicago Urban League, one of the region’s largest civil rights and economic development organizations.While at the Urban League, Roderick led a rebranding of the organization as well as a strategy to increase its social media presence, stakeholder outreach and special event marketing. In addition, Roderick represented the Urban League in the Illinois Unites for Marriage campaign, an effort that secured marriage equality in Illinois prior to the historic 2015 Supreme Court ruling.
Prior to the Chicago Urban League, Roderick was the Director of Communications for the Louisiana Family Recovery Corps, an agency created to restore the lives of families affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. From 2004 to 2006, he was the Deputy Press Secretary to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, where he played a key role in the communications response Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Roderick was a Communications Associate at The Chicago Community Trust from 2001 to 2004. While there he helped launch the Trust’s philanthropic initiatives in the African American and Latino communities.
Hawkins’ civic engagement includes serving on the national board of directors of Lambda Legal, the nation’s largest legal organization serving the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV and the iHEART Media Chicago Local Advisory Board.
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Hawkins is a graduate of Louisiana State University.