Brent E. Adams

Senior Vice President of Policy and Communication

Brent Adams is an experienced financial and social justice advocate with background in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. In 2015 he joined Woodstock Institute. As Senior Vice President of Policy and Communication, Brent leads Woodstock’s policy advocacy and government relations work at the local, state, and national levels. He collaborates with the Research Director in setting the organization’s research agenda and develops and disseminates the policy positions. Brent leads state and national coalition work, builds relationships with colleague organizations, and assists with fundraising.

A licensed attorney since 1997, Brent has worked as a litigator, lobbyist, political organizer, teacher, and policy advocate.  Brent began his career as a litigator for one of Chicago’s largest law firms. In 2002, he pursued his passion for not-for-profit advocacy and became a policy associate for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and later, became the Policy Director for Citizen Action/Illinois.  At Citizen Action, he authored the Payday Loan Reform Act.  Furthering his work within the financial services arena, he became an attorney for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in 2006.  In 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn appointed Mr. Adams the Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation.  In that capacity, Mr. Adams served as the State's top regulator, overseeing most of the state's professions.  He chaired the Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which, under his leadership, disciplined more than 100 entities and assessed fines in excess of $2 million; he also coordinated the Mortgage Relief Project, a statewide program that helped thousands of struggling homeowners.  In 2012, Mr. Adams pursued an interest in teaching and became a teacher and debate coach for a private school in Brooklyn, New York.

Brent received his B.S. and M.A. in Rhetoric from Northwestern University and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.