Shelly Weiss Storbeck and our firm's partners and associates have conducted successful searches on behalf of many college associations and consortia, and whether the client is the Five Colleges (Amherst, Hamphire, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and UMass Amherst) or the Five Colleges of Ohio (Denison University, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, and the College of Wooster), our team works closely with each consortium to find individuals with the right mix of skills, tact, and vision to assume these exciting and challenging leadership positions.
In 2017 we partnered with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) to identify its next leader. Shelly Weiss Storbeck and Ethan Dubow, assisted by the Media, PA, team, developed a strong pool of candidates, from which Sonya Malunda was selected by the consortium’s Board of Directors to be ACM’s eighth president.
Announcing Malunda’s selection, Steven G. Poskanzer, President of Carleton College and Chair of the ACM Board of Directors, said, "Sonya is an exceptional leader who will make a superb next president for the ACM. She will bring to this new leadership post deep intelligence, vision, charisma, and a rare ability to forge connections across organizations and between groups in pursuit of educational excellence."
A Leader in Chicago
Malunda comes to the role from the University of Chicago, where she served for nearly 20 years, most recently as Senior Associate Vice President for Civic Engagement. In this role, her work focused on building community and civic partnerships. She specialized in developing college pipeline programs, forming connections to faculty-led community research projects, cultivating student engagement opportunities, and managing local and state government relations. Many of the projects Malunda spearheaded were designed to improve the quality of life on the South Side of Chicago and across the city in areas of education, housing, public safety, business diversity, arts and culture, job creation, civic leadership, non-profit capacity building, and engagement planning for university development projects.
Among Malunda's many accomplishments, she served as one of the architects of the University of Chicago's model of civic engagement, which leverages the institution as an anchor for local neighborhoods and a global center for education, research, and innovation. She led the community engagement campaign along with university senior leaders, community partners, and other key stakeholders to secure the siting of the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago's South side. Malunda provided leadership in the creation of the UChicago Promise program, which helps Chicago high school students gain access to and succeed in top-tier colleges and universities. She also co-led the creation of America's Urban Campus, a consortium of 21 higher education institutions in the city of Chicago.
Previously, Malunda served at the University of Chicago as Associate Vice President for Community Engagement, Assistant Vice President and Director of Community Affairs, and Director of Community and Government Affairs.
Reflecting on her appointment, Malunda said, "I am honored to serve as the next president of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. For almost 60 years, ACM has helped its member colleges create and sustain a strong set of collaborative relationships and programs. Building on this rich history, I look forward to continuing ACM's consistent record of success and to moving ACM ahead in new, creative ways."
Prior to joining the University of Chicago, Malunda was the First Deputy Commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Housing (DOH), where she worked to develop programs and policies to create and preserve affordable housing and expand home ownership opportunities for Chicago residents. Before her DOH appointment, she had a career in commercial real estate finance at the former First National Bank of Chicago and Continental Bank.
Malunda holds a B.A. in Economics from Spelman College, and a Masters of Management degree in Finance from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management with a concentration in Real Estate and Organizational Behavior.