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Active Transportation Alliance has selected Amy Rynell as its next executive director

For Immediate Release

Kyle Whitehead
Managing Director of Public Affairs

Jennifer Mathews
Marketing and Information Manager

Active Transportation Alliance has selected Amy Rynell as its next executive director

Chicago, IL — The Board of Directors of Active Transportation Alliance (Active Trans)—a coalition of people working to make walking, biking, and transit safe and easy options for getting around Chicagoland—has chosen Amy Rynell as the organization’s next Executive Director.

“My career has been focused on tackling the root causes of social problems to move toward a more just, equitable society,” says Rynell. “The core beliefs of Active Trans resonate deeply with that experience, my values, and how I live my life. Having safe, viable transportation options is so vital for livability, access to opportunity, community connectedness, and beyond. Mobility matters. I began my career writing about why social workers should care about transportation planning; it is an honor to pivot back to support bold change in this arena.”

Amy Rynell is an experienced nonprofit leader with a demonstrated commitment to effecting social change. Most recently, she served as the Senior Director of Research & Policy at Heartland Alliance, working to advance human rights and champion human dignity by providing services and promoting solutions to achieve a more just global society.

Rynell has held a variety of roles at Heartland over her 20-plus year tenure with the organization, including Interim Executive Director. She is passionate about leading diverse, talented groups of people towards shared social change goals. As the next Executive Director at Active Trans, Rynell looks forward to the opportunity to blend her advocacy background with her strategic systems-level approach to address our most pressing social justice issues.

Rynell holds a Master’s degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame. She has served as an Obama Foundation Scholar, Mentor, and Strategist, and served on the State of Illinois Hunger Commission and the Human Services Commission. She is an avid user of public transit, an active cyclist, and loves to hike.

After Active Trans’ Board of Directors hired KEES as its executive search partner in Fall 2019, a comprehensive national search was launched, attracting many qualified candidates, both from Chicago and nationwide. The board’s search committee recommended Amy Rynell from an exemplary group of finalists to the full board, where unanimous approval was given to Rynell.

“Active Trans’ advocacy for walking, bicycling, and public transit lies at the intersection of the most critical issues of our day, including climate change, equity, and health,” says Peggy Reins, President of the Active Trans Board of Directors. “The speed of change and disruptive factors impacting the transportation sector pose both challenges and opportunities. Amy is a leader who will help our organization continue to build a movement for the positive changes that will create more equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities.”

“Active Trans took great strides forward in advancing its mission by the approach and depth of the search. The search committee made an excellent choice in Amy. Amy is poised to lead Active Trans and the communities it serves forward with a steadfast commitment to promoting sustainable transportation in a fair and equitable manner,” says Heather Eddy, co-founder and President/CEO of KEES.

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About the Active Transportation Alliance
The Active Transportation Alliance is a not-for-profit advocacy organization that promotes walking, bicycling, and public transit to create healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities. The organization works to build a movement around active transportation, encourage physical activity, increase safety, and build a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance has more than 20,0000 members and supporters in the Chicago region. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit or call 312-427-3325.

About Kees
KEES is a retained executive search and consulting firm that builds transformative teams and leaders. Founded in 2013 as an expansion of Alford Executive Search, KEES partners specifically with nonprofit organizations to provide an array of executive search, leadership development, interim staffing and human resources support. For more information, please