Cory L. Thames was appointed to the Metra Board of Directors in January 2019 by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Mr. Thames is the deputy director of community engagement at the Obama Foundation where he is responsible for cultivating and managing stakeholder relationships and strategic partnerships across the city.
Before joining the Obama Foundation, Mr. Thames served as deputy chief operating officer for the City Clerk of Chicago. Prior to that role, he served as assistant to the mayor for government affairs acting as a liaison between Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration and the city council.
Mr. Thames has also held leadership roles in several education/youth serving organizations including Mentor Illinois, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships for children and youth in Illinois, where he served as associate director and as project manager for Chicago Public Schools.
Mr. Thames is a lifelong Chicagoan who proudly represents his community as chairman of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. In that role, he is passionate about ensuring that South Shore's business community has the resources necessary to thrive. He also continues to advocate for young people, having served a term as the elected community representative for the O’Keeffe School of Excellence Local School Council in the South Shore community and by mentoring young people through both the Chicago Scholars and Year Up Chicago programs.
Mr. Thames received his bachelor's degree in political science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and his master’s degree in public affairs from Indiana University.