Rody Abdelrahman

Director, Digital Marketing

LinkedIn Profile

Rody Abdelrahman, PCM, CDMP, is the Director of Digital Marketing at Intersect Illinois. As a certified digital marketing professional, Rody has 16 years of educational and professional experience around developing compelling cross-channel campaigns that encompass web marketing, programmatic and display advertising, organic and paid social media marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing and retargeting across all digital channels to maximize impressions, engagements and conversions. He also has led the management and strategy behind multiple websites at multiple organizations, ensuring logical customer journeys and high conversion rates, while implementing SEO and usability best practices.

Rody is a DePaul University “double demon” where he earned his MA in New Media Studies (with distinction) and BS in Computer Graphics and Motion Technology (magna cum laude).

Kaitlyn Ezeocha

Vice President, Administration & Operations

LinkedIn Profile

Kaitlyn Ezeocha is Intersect Illinois’ Vice President of Operations and Administration, leading the organization’s operations and human resources functions. Kaitlyn joined Intersect Illinois as Chief of Staff during the organization’s formation in 2016.

Prior to her roles at Intersect, Kaitlyn served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the State agency focused on economic development. She started her career in economic development and communications as an intern for the State and has since excelled in multiple leadership roles.

Kaitlyn received her bachelor’s degree in communications from University of Illinois at Springfield. She currently resides in Berwyn with her family.

Merrill Holden

Manager, Business Development

LinkedIn Profile

Merrill Holden is a Business Development Manager at Intersect Illinois. Before joining Intersect, Merrill worked for the Ames Chamber of Commerce as an intern project manager. Originally from Chicago, Merrill earned his master’s degree in Community & Regional Planning from Iowa State University and his bachelor’s from Louisiana Tech University in General Studies. Merrill also spent his time playing collegiate basketball at both universities and later went on to play professional basketball abroad in several different countries. During his time abroad he took a passion in global development and international relations, which he leverages in his position at Intersect.

Sasha Hover

Operations and Administrative Associate

LinkedIn Profile

Sasha Hover is Intersect Illinois’ Operations and Administrative Associate, assisting Vice President of Operations and Administration in the organization of operations, human resources and team support. Sasha joined Intersect Illinois in 2022. Prior to her role at Intersect, Sasha worked as an Internal Operations Coordinator for the sports marketing agency, Paragon Marketing Group, where she handled administrative duties and company operations.

Dustin Ingram

Business Development Director

LinkedIn Profile

Dustin Ingram is a development practitioner with experience in project management and building regional economies.  Before joining Intersect Illinois, he served as a director at the Ames Chamber of Commerce and worked with over a dozen communities to attract and retain residents, jobs, and businesses.  Prior to Ames, he was the Economic Development Director for Ackley, Iowa where he worked with neighboring communities on regional revitalization strategies.  He received his master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University and bachelor’s degree in Philosophy & Religion from Piedmont College, located in his home state of Georgia.

Chaitanya Kore

Research Manager


Chaitanya brings a broad range of public and private sector experience to Intersect Illinois. This experience includes working on novel analytical products and public-private initiatives in key Intersect focus industries (e.g. advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, and logistics) throughout the Western United States. He employs his understanding of international trends impacting these focus industries to help Illinois remain competitive in the global economy.

Reece Kuhart

Marketing Coordinator/Graphic Designer


Reece Kuhart is a Graphic Designer specializing in brand development and marketing. Prior to joining Intersect Illinois, Reece worked as Lead Designer for the Fifty/50 Restaurant group, refreshing the look and feel of their numerous brands, creating menus and event collateral, and much more. A graduate of University of Wisconsin-Parkside, he was the first ever design student chosen to represent the Arts program in a research focused student showcase. Reece continues this research heavy approach within his graphic design and personal art as an illustrator.

Dominique Ndome

Business Development Director

LinkedIn Profile

Dominique has over 15 years of experience working internationally in economic development, focusing on trade and foreign direct investment attraction strategy and implementation with both growing companies and government agencies.

Before joining Intersect Illinois,  Dominique worked as the Managing Partner of Invest Shepherds LLC, a consulting firm she created in 2010 whose mission is to favor foreign direct investment of US and European businesses into french-speaking West Africa. The firm helps private, and public companies achieve their international business development goals by fostering straightforward, transparent, and direct business relationships across more than ten West African markets and facilitating relationships with federal and local governments.

Earlier in her career, Dominique served as Vice President of Business Development with Business France, the French government agency in charge of attracting and encouraging international investment into France. Her work with the agency resulted in dramatic increases in industry relationships, the development of a robust project pipeline, and a record of investment success in France. Dominique also worked as a business development manager with Invest in Quebec Agency, promoting foreign investment into the province of Quebec. She is a graduate of the University of Houston and holds a bachelor’s degree in International relations.

Paulina San Millan

Vice President, Business Development

LinkedIn Profile

Before joining Intersect Illinois, Ms. San Millan worked for Newmark Knight Frank as a Senior Consulting Analyst on their site selection team. Paulina moved recently from New Mexico where she worked in several positions related to economic development for the past 10 years.

Robert Stephan

Vice President of Downstate Relations

LinkedIn Profile

Robert Stephan has nearly twenty years experience in government, politics and the private sector. For the last nine years he has advised clients on governmental relations and communication issues in the education, healthcare and transportation industries, among others.

Robert is a is a leader on Downstate Illinois issues. His prior experience includes working as the Downstate Director for former Comptroller Dan Hynes, Deputy Downstate Director for U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Special Projects Director for former U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello. He also served as an Advance Associate for the Obama-Biden White House.

Robert is a 1999 graduate of Illinois State University and has completed Masters coursework at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He was appointed by Governor J.B. Pritzker to the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority in 2020. Robert resides in Godfrey, Illinois with his wife, Beth. They have two children, Alex and Maya.

Karley Sweet

Sr. Director, Marketing Communications

LinkedIn Profile

Karley brings a wide range of experience to Intersect Illinois, after working in communications at World Business Chicago for nearly 13 years. Prior to WBC, Karley worked for the City of Chicago, spearheading communications and marketing around the city’s marquee events. She also has agency experience, having worked at Edelman on major consumer, healthcare and technology clients. Karley holds degrees in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Josh Weidenaar

Director of Research

LinkedIn Profile

Josh Weidenaar is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Sustainability with a minor in economics. At Michigan State, he became interested in community and economic development and with EDA funding was able to research economic development tools for focused cluster development around particle accelerator technology transfer businesses.