Two Econ198 classes of about 100 undergraduate students had the privilege of learning about the value of their economics degrees from the University of Illinois. Panelists for this class were Juli Bark, Joseph Burden and Represenative Rick Winkel. Their profiles are below. The panelists shared with the class their career path, experiences and lessons learned since gradating from the UI Economics program. A very valuable experience for our students! Thank you so much to these amazing alumni!



Ms. Bark

Ms. Bark is best known for being a builder and architect of brands, business growth and highperformance teams across a diverse industry
portfolio; she has a broad skill set which includes digital marketing, thought leadership and social media. She is a progressive and inventive
marketing professional known for translating strategies into unparalleled results. She is recognized for a unique ability to think broadly about complex business issues while using innovative approaches to deliver in fast‐paced, dynamic environments. She has a demonstrated record of creating and galvanizing highperformance sales and marketing teams to achieve measurable revenue and profit objectives.

Career highlights:

Marketing Advisor ‐ JB Consulting
EVP, Marketing and Strategic Development ‐ Computershare
Senior Marketing Manager, Healthcare Tax, Audit and Consulting ‐ KPMG
Director of Marketing, IBA, ENN, and Chefwear
Various Sales and Marketing Positions ‐ Baxter Healthcare

Educational Path:

Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management, MM/MBA
University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign, BA, Economics
Harrington College of Design, AAS, Photography, Summa cum Laude



Joe Burden

Joe Burden began his career as an agent in the life insurance business in 1977 at age 26 in Champaign, Illinois. He joined the Robert E. Castelo Agency for Northwestern Mutual Life after being an apprentice for three years in the Professional Golfers Association of America.

Mr. Burden graduated in June, 1973 from the University of Illinois, Urbana campus, with a B.A. degree in economics. In 1972, he was named to the Coaches of America All America team for varsity golf at the Division I NCAA level. He was Captain of the men's varsity golf team at the University of Illinois during the 1971‐1972 and 1972‐1973 seasons.

Mr. Burden's areas of business focus and professional expertise include the personal high net worth market and the closely held private sector business market. Mr. Burden designs life insurance solutions for clients to meet their objectives. On the client's estate planning team, Mr. Burden combines his technical expertise in life insurance products with proven gift, estate and income tax strategies to achieve goals the client has set forth for efficient wealth transfer of assets and bequests to beneficiaries. 

Mr. Burden is a Life and qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table and is a member of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting ("AALU"), a national association of the leading life insurance professionals who advocate favorable life insurance product taxation with the U.S. Congress. 

Mr. Burden resides in Chicago, Illinois with his wife, Melinda. The Burdens have three adult daughters, Elizabeth, who lives in Los Angeles, Anna, who lives in Montreal and Casey, who lives in Chicago, Illinois.



Richard J. Winkel

Former senator Richard J. Winkel is the director of IGPA's Office of Public Leadership, which coordinates education and training opportunities for state and local government officials in Illinois. The Office of Public Leadership provides leadership and management training, mentoring and other learning opportunities for elected and appointed government officials, primarily at the municipal, township and county levels. The office also consults with units of government interested in improving their leadership education and in other matters of policy and procedure. It is one of four centers of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. Professor Winkel has served as a visiting senior fellow of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) and an adjunct professor in the College of Law at the University of Illinois, where he teaches a course on legislation and legislative process. He also hosted the popular weekly radio program, "Government Insight," a joint partnership with the College of Law, IGPA, and WDWS-AM 1400 and served as an analyst on the extensive WDWS-AM 1400 Election Night coverage team.

Professor Winkel was an Illinois state senator from 2003 to 2007, and an Illinois state representative from 1995 to 2003. From 1992 to 1994, he was a member of the Champaign County Board, where he served as chairman
of the policy, procedures, and appointments committee. Professor Winkel practiced law in the Champaign-Urbana area for 23 years in civil litigation and, while serving in the Illinois General Assembly, a general civil practice. He was of counsel at Meyer Capel Law Firm while in the legislature, and before that a partner at Harrington, Porter & Winkel, in Champaign. He earned his law degree at DePaul University, College of Law in 1982.

Winkel is a co-author of a book entitled Illinois Politics, published by University of Illinois Press in January 2010. He was a contributing author for the following reports published by the Institute of Government and Public Affairs:

  • Opportunities for Reforms and Culture Change in Illinois Politics (The Illinois Report 2010, IGPA);

  • Challenges and Opportunities: On the Road to Reform in Illinois (IGPA, March 27, 2009);

  • Multiplicity of Governments; Paucity of Money: A Look at Options for Local Government Consolidation and Streamlining in Illinois (IGPA, October 27, 2008);

  • Is There a Con-Con in Illinois' Future? (The Illinois
    Report 2008, IGPA).

He was a contributing editor for two publications: "Covenants Not to Compete: A State-By-State Survey," American Bar Association, 1991; "Employee Duty of Loyalty: A State-By-State Survey," American Bar Association, 1995.

In 1979, Professor Winkel earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.A. , Economics), where he was a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, Omicron Delta Kappa, and an Edmund J. James Scholar.



Interested in becoming an alumni panelist? or getting involved in other ways?