It’s been nearly five years since I’ve written a commentary. Not that there haven’t been times when I wanted to, but my Public Service responsibilities took precedence. Now that I’m no longer serving in that capacity, I have the time and the liberty to resume sharing my thoughts and opinions; and as I write this, I’m realizing how much I missed it!
So, let me begin by saying I love what social media can do. And I regret what it has done. I like that it can connect and/or reconnect people and entertain with funny videos. But I don’t like how it has changed our attention span. We no longer must wait for what comes next. We expect instant gratification. If we don’t see what we want, we keep scrolling until we do. Or we fast forward the video.
Colleen Callahan is eager to announce a new opportunity to be a trusted advisor to Mercury - a leading global, bipartisan public strategy firm.
“As I return to my consultancy, I could not be prouder to have the opportunity to work with my cousin, Cheri (Callahan) Bustos and her son, Nick at Mercury Public Affairs. As Mercury expands into Illinois and focuses on agricultural issues, I’m looking forward to sharing my insights based on my ag and communications background and my leadership responsibilities at USDA Rural Development and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.”
Read the full press release by clicking the text "read more" and learn about Colleen's involvement in this group.
In March of 2019, Colleen began her appointment as director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. She “paused” her C3 consulting activity and led the agency for nearly four years managing, conserving and protecting Illinois’ natural and cultural resources.
During that time, Colleen guided the agency through a global pandemic, which resulted in millions of visitors seeking to nurture their physical and mental health in the outdoors at Illinois’ nearly 400 state parks, natural areas, and historic sites.
Colleen oversaw efforts to develop a strategic plan for the agency, with a focus on positioning IDNR as a leader on reducing the state’s carbon footprint and mitigating the effects of climate change.
Colleen also ushered the agency into a new era of diversity, equity and inclusion, and she led the launch of Copi – a new brand name for invasive carp designed to spark consumer interest in the plentiful fish found in Illinois waterways. Since IDNR’s Enhanced Contract Fishing Program was established in 2019, commercial fishers have removed more than 9.4 million pounds of invasive carp from the Illinois River.
In 2022, Colleen advocated for IDNR to receive its largest state budget in 20 years to address long overdue improvements at state sites and to offer the largest round of Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grants in the history of the agency.
Also during her tenure at IDNR, Colleen was named president of the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA) and vice president of the national Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). Read more by clicking the text below.