Ike Saunders

Ike Saunders is the Executive and Personal Assistant to Christopher G. Kennedy and his wife, Sheila Berner Kennedy. Ike provides professional support across their respective business and professional endeavors as well as personal support, including household, estate, project, and event management, for Chris and Sheila directly as well as for members of the Kennedy and Berner families.

Ike began working with the Kennedys in 2009 as Chris’ Executive Assistant at Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI), where Chris was President. Under Chris’ leadership, MMPI managed The Merchandise Mart and 350 West Mart Center/Chicago Apparel Center in Chicago; The Washington Design Center and Federal Center Southwest in Washington, D.C.; The Architects & Designers Building and 7W New York in New York City; Market Square, the Suites at Market Square, Plaza Suites, Furniture Plaza, Hamilton Market and the National Furniture Mart in High Point, NC; the L.A. Mart in Los Angeles, CA; and the Boston Design Center in Boston, MA. MMPI owned, operated, and produced tradeshows and consumer shows across various industry segments ranging from men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel to concrete, ceiling and flooring systems, from art and antiques to contract and residential furnishings, and beyond.

In February 2017, Chris announced his campaign for governor for the state of Illinois, and during his 13-month campaign, he led the charge on critical issues such as addressing racial and socioeconomic inequalities, systemic gun violence and crime, the need to improve funding for and the quality of social service programs, the importance of government reform, the need to improve the state funding model for public schools, and the unfairness of property tax racket that dramatically affected communities of color.

Ike is a founder of Regional Executive Assistants’ Cocktail Hour (REACH) and has led the organization and the resources it offers since 2013.  He is also a member of New York Celebrity Assistants (NYCA) and an alumnus of Be the Ultimate Assistant (BTUA). He was the first recipient of the Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence at the inaugural Chicagoland Admin Awards, which is The Admin Awards’ most prestigious honor. The award celebrates the professional who best embodies the “spirit” and proficiency of the administrative profession. Ike has participated in panel discussions, led workshops, and guest spoken on a variety of assistant-related topics at various conferences, including Behind Every Leader and the Executive Support Leadership Forum.

I​n his free time, Ike plays both indoor and outdoor volleyball and enjoys cooking. Prior to his current role, he led a progressive career as an Account Executive and Recruiter at a full-service staffing firm, AppleOne.

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