Paul Stewart leads Iluminara Public Affairs, a Chicago-based firm providing targeted community relations strategies and effective public affairs campaigns on behalf of clients spanning all sectors of commerce, government and industry. Paul and his team of public affairs and media relations specialists manage corporate strategy, community engagement and media awareness needs of clients based on years of proven and effective strategy execution.
A graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Paul began his career as a City Planner in the Chicago Department of Planning & Development (DPD), managing community and business outreach initiatives for major redevelopment projects throughout the city. As a Program Development Manager, and later as Deputy Director of Operations for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), Paul coordinated pre-development activities for construction of new mixed-income housing. In this role he also served as the CHA lead on City of Chicago capital improvement and infrastructure projects in support of the CHA Plan for Transformation revitalization program.
In 2004 Paul transitioned from the public sector to the private sector, working for a Chicago-based public affairs consulting firm. Paul has worked with community, civic, and corporate institutions, providing strategic planning and government relations consulting, along with his aptitude to create order in bureaucratic settings, creating a competitive edge for his clients. In 2016 Paul launched Blackbear Group, a full-service transportation and logistics firm specializing in transportation planning, freight forwarding, and warehousing activities.
Paul returned to the public sector in 2018 as a civilian member of the Chicago Police Department. Working in the Office of the Police Superintendent, Paul was assigned responsibility managing a portfolio of federally mandated reforms within the Department, ranging from officer-involved shooting and misconduct investigations to school resource officer training. Later as a Policy Advisor in the Office of the Mayor, Paul coordinated all policy development and implementation for Chicago’s roll out of legalized recreational cannabis sales which commenced in January 2020. Organizing an effort that involved multiple city agencies, Paul was responsible for ensuring the development of all regulatory and enforcement polices, as well as public engagement activities necessary to successfully introduce recreational cannabis sales into the Chicago market.
Before leaving the Mayor’s Office as Assistant Deputy Mayor for Infrastructure, Paul oversaw city infrastructure and operational departments on behalf of the Mayor, including the Departments of Fleet & Facilities Management, Transportation, Streets & Sanitation, and Water Management, as well as the Public Building Commission of Chicago, where he was appointed to serve as Secretary to the Board of Commissioners.
Paul and his wife Kristian are very active in numerous civic and community organizations in the Chicagoland area where they are raising their two teenage sons.