Leadership 2019

We are Proud to Share The Lincoln Series'

Leadership Class of 2019

Vasavi Chakka

DuPage County -- Vasavi is the first Indo American who served at the leadership level in local and state Republican Women’s organizations in the state of Illinois. She utilizes her passion for public service, teamwork building and leadership skills to build strong alliances to benefit her community.

Vasavi’s interest in public service is part of her DNA, stemming from her family’s multi- generational involvement in public service and community leadership. Her political leadership is built from her passion to serve a purpose for the greater good.  She learned the value of freedom from her grandfather’s struggle for the India’s independence movement during British rule in India; selfless service from her physician father who served the tribal, poor and needy in the remote rural areas after giving up his lucrative urban practice, and courage from her great grandmother, grandmother, mother and aunts.

As a civic leader, Vasavi is committed to the development of value-based leadership in politics and invests her time in youth leadership and women empowerment. She believes this will help to build a stronger community and better nation. Vasavi’s mission is to advocate for value-based education; promote self reliance and individual responsibility; as well as influence the policies on topics such as: affordable healthcare, lower taxes and public safety.

She is an active member of the Will and DuPage County Republican organizations. She also served as president and treasurer of a Naperville area of Republican women's organization, and currently serves as the 2nd Vice President on the International Federation of Republican Women (IFRW) executive board.

She has volunteered in various campaigns at the local, state and national levels, including: local municipal elections since 2013; Illinois gubernatorial elections in 2014 and 2018; as well as, the 2016 Presidential elections.

Vasavi’s value-based beliefs prompted her to start her own consulting firm called  Araala Inc. to coach leadership skills, project management, youth leadership development, and women empowerment. She also serves on several boards in the Naperville community.  Prior to entering public service, Vasavi was a seasoned senior Information Technology management professional with more than 23 years of experience working with global organizations, such as IBM Watson Research center, Getronics, and Siemens/Atos.

Vasavi is married to Dr. Sudhakar Chakka, Ph.D. They have two children: her daughter, Siri, is a business strategist, with a MBA, and her son, Prahith, is teaching STEM education in Seattle charter schools.

Madeline Herrman

McLean County -- Madeline Herrman has dedicated much of her life to the study and development of public service. Since she was 10 years old, Madeline became an active participant in family conversations about government and soon realized she wanted to play a role in serving others.  During these conversations she began to see ways to create opportunities for success in her community.

Madeline became involved in politics and government throughout her high school and collegiate years. Madeline’s first ventures into the politics included serving on campaigns. She successfully worked to help elect Jon Sandage as McLean County Sheriff and Bruce Rauner as Governor of Illinois in 2014, respectively. These experiences gave Madeline a perspective into the fast-paced environment of local and statewide campaigns and campaign strategy.

During college Madeline learned new leadership skills  by participating on Illinois State University’s mock trial team and pursuing several opportunities to serve as an undergraduate teaching assistant. These opportunities placed Madeline in leadership roles where she was tested and challenged to better herself and her leadership capabilities to serve others.

In her last semester of college, Madeline was offered the opportunity to intern for local State Senator Jason Barickman after volunteering for his campaigns the previous five years. This internship opened new doors for her, allowing her to gain experience in the legislative branch of state government. This internship with Senator Barickman was the springboard to her post-undergrad career as Madeline was offered a position to serve as one of Senator Barickman’s legislative aides in May of 2018, where she continues to serve today.

Madeline most enjoys helping the Senator’s constituents and getting to meet citizens from all across Illinois. Through her work, Madeline is also learning first-hand the ins and outs of Springfield and the exciting work that can be accomplished at Illinois’ State Capitol on behalf of taxpayers.  As a legislative aide, Madeline assists Senator Barickman in a variety of tasks. Madeline organizes and drafts a large variety of communications, analyzes Illinois policy, and develops multiple outreach plans to better serve the families of the Senator's district.

The Bloomington-Normal area has been Madeline’s home for more than ten years. In her spare time, Madeline enjoys spending time with her family; keeping an active lifestyle; and reading a new book whenever she has the chance.

Autum Jones

Woodford County -- Autum Jones is a constituent service representative for Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18). In this role, Autum assists people in the community to find solutions they need within the federal government. Specifically, Autum helps people find affordable healthcare coverage through the Marketplace, apply for Social Security disability, and locate federal grants for community projects.

Autum’s interest in government began in high school while attending a program called Illini Girls State, a program run by the Americans Legion Auxiliary to teach young women about our democratic processes and how government works at the state level. During the program, Autum ran for Governor. Although she unfortunately lost her race, it sparked a passion for the industry and helping people in a new capacity.

Since then, Autum has served in many roles to help her fellow community members and Illinoisans alike. She was a legislative liaison for the Illinois Department of Revenue during the 99th Assembly. Autum also served as a precinct committeewoman for the Peoria County GOP organization and as a deputy field manager during former Governor Rauner’s 2014 election campaign.

Autum earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and social sciences, majoring in economics and political science, and a master’s degree in public administration, both from DePaul University. She currently resides in Eureka, IL with her husband, daughter and their dog, a Yorkie.


Laurie Nehring

Jackson County -- Laurie Nehring is a public servant who serves her neighbors as a Jackson County Board member and Somerset Township clerk. Additionally, Laurie works for her party serving as Somerset 1 precinct committeewoman, and was recently named a 2019 fellow of The Lincoln Series, a leadership program that mentors up-and-coming Republican women in Illinois.

During her time in public service, Ms. Nehring is a leader in the fight for limited government, fiscal responsibility, the lowering of property taxes, and second amendment rights.

Ms. Nehring is married to 4th generation farmer, Jarrett Nehring, and together they have two daughters. Laurie is the communications director for the American Red Cross, and is a previous Southern Illinois television news reporter. Ms. Nehring holds a master's degree in Business Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Communications.

“I am honored to serve Jackson County taxpayers,” says Ms. Nehring. “In the best interest of our county’s residents, I work diligently to carefully consider their values, beliefs and opinions and work to make our communities a better place to live and raise our families.”


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please click here or contact us at: LSGovernors@LincolnSeries.com