Janel L. Forde is the Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS). CMS is the operational engine enabling the State’s more than 80 agencies, boards, and commissions to deliver efficient, reliable services to all Illinois residents. CMS oversees administrative services for Illinois’ executive agencies with an annual budget of nearly $7 billion. These services include human resources, benefits for employees and retirees, facilities management, diversity leadership for public contracting and State hiring, joint purchasing coordination, fleet management, surplus property administration, communications services, internal audits, and administrative hearings.
At CMS, Janel has focused on expanding and improving administration and operational outcomes through a program called Rapid Results. The program builds the leadership and management skills that enable State executive agencies to continuously improve service processes internally, by identifying and eliminating waste and building service value to the end customer. Rapid Results, to date, has trained more than 2,400 State employees in 35 agencies. These agencies together have identified and eliminated unnecessary costs totaling some $14 million each year, while capturing and reallocating more than 800,000 hours of previously wasted time, annually.
Prior to her CMS leadership appointment by Governor JB Pritzker, Janel served in several leadership roles for the City of Chicago (City), most recently as Chief Operating Officer. As the Mayor’s lead for City operations, Janel also handled human and infrastructure investments. She also served as Deputy Commissioner in the City’s Department of Fleet and Facility Management (2FM), overseeing the procurement and management of energy-related commodities and leading the City's fleet- and facility-related performance improvement activities. At 2FM, Janel oversaw the nation’s largest municipal aggregation program, serving more than 2 million Chicago residents and representing 6 billion milliwatts of 100 percent green power.
Earlier in her career, Janel focused her leadership skills on primary and secondary education, first as a Director, in the Office of the CEO for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the nation’s third largest school district. At CPS, she helped lead its Office of New Schools, overseeing accountability for 100-plus charter and contract schools. Later, she served as Chief Operating Officer for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), where she oversaw Human Resources and Labor Relations, Information Technology, and Facility Management at the agency responsible for 850-plus school districts.
Before entering the public sector, Janel worked as a consultant in the Boston Consulting Group’s Chicago office, where she specialized in the financial services sector. Originally an East Coast native, Janel worked in marketing and business development at American Express, and as a consultant with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, all in New York.
She holds a Master’s in Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Economics with a dual concentration in Marketing and Management from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Janel lives in Chicago and enjoys traveling, baking, and all types of arts and crafts.