Andrea Raila, Interview with Melissa Newman, 2022


Andrea Raila (Photo provided by interviewee)

Interview Transcript


Andrea Raila, Interview with Melissa Newman, 2022


Andrea Raila was a Social Economics major and graduated from Mundelein in 1983. Andrea remembers starting out as a Fine Arts major for her first three years with a minor in English, but after taking micro- and macroeconomics with Sister Mary Paul Frances Bailey, BVM, Andrea knew that was what she needed to be studying. Andrea was greatly influenced by the impassioned stances she saw her professors advocating for. She talks about memorable moments with Sister Irene Meyers, Bill Hill, Dan Vaillancourt, and Sister Ann Harrington. Andrea talks about getting into cartooning and becoming an anonymous cartoonist for an elected official for 25 years. This official went on to become Governor of Illinois. She had remarkable experiences through the influential speakers that the faculty brought to give lectures at Mundelein, including Mother Theresa and Cesar Chavez. Andrea talks about how Mundelein has shaped the person and businesswoman she is today.

Content Note: These collections may include language or descriptions of events that may be upsetting to some users.

Date Created

February 17, 2022


Andrea Raila was born in 1959 in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. She is one of eight siblings to Catholic parents. She is one of eight children in a strong Catholic family. Both of her parents went to Loyola to become doctors, which is how they met, and encouraged their children to go there. Andrea decided on Mundelein because of their impressive emphasis on women’s issues, social justice, service, and the arts.

Notable speakers came to Mundelein such as Mother Theresa, Cesar Chavez, Kath Kelly, and Pat Quinn, all of whom had a large impact on what Andrea as to what one is capable of and what one can do for their community. Each faculty member seemed to have a cause he or she was passionate about, and it influenced Andrea to either take up the cause herself or search for causes about which she was passionate. This has been a lifelong pursuit, leading to her working on political campaigns, starting her own company, building foundations for homes in Guatemala, and serving on educational boards to continue the spirit of education, service, leadership, and research in the young minds of today. All of these things stemmed from the foundation of incredible scholarship, knowledge, and compassion she experienced at Mundelein.

She was the second woman to ever become a commercial tax analyst. She opened up her own company for tax consulting to help people to reduce their property taxes and changing legislation to make laws better for property owners. As a conscious choice in leading her company, sixty-five percent of her employees are women and seven languages are spoken. Her company won the BBB Torch award for market-play ethics. The company also offers paid internship programs to Ann Ida Gannon Scholars to pay it forward and keep the Mundelein spirit alive. Andrea has worked with and helped improve circumstances for many interesting people throughout her career, a passion that was rooted in Mundelein’s values of education, leadership, advocacy, social justice, service, and compassion.

Interviewer Biography

Melissa Newman was a graduate student at Loyola University Chicago and a graduate assistant at the Women and Leadership Archives in 2020-2022.

Time Log

0-5 Minutes: Raila’s family, religious, and educational background and her decision to attend Mundelein.

5-10 Minutes: Raila’s experience with Mundelein faculty, their activism, and their impact on her own activism and career.

10-15 Minutes: Raila’s job as a cartoonist, her time on the staff of the Mundelein Review magazine, human rights lectures on campus, and her class trip to Russia.

15-20 Minutes: Raila’s time in Russia including students smuggling in goods for Russian Jews, her world travels, and media that influenced her.

20-25 Minutes: Raila’s post-graduate career, starting her own business and her work with Gannon Scholars.

25-30 Minutes: Raila’s campaign for Cook County Accessor, her volunteer work, her marriage, and her relationship with Sister Mary Paul Frances Bailey.

30-35 Minutes: Raila’s parents, her siblings, her children, Loyola, and her high school education.

35-40 Minutes: Raila reflects on choosing her major, her time as a commuter, and her experience with students in the weekend college.

40-45 Minutes: Raila’s political views, relationships with other students, how she kept in touch with fellow Mundelein alumni, and balancing work and college.

45-50 Minutes: Raila reflects on attending lectures by Cesar Chavez and Mother Teresa, the effects they had on her activism, and her international travel.

50-55 Minutes: Raila’s time in Russia, trying to learn Russian, getting lost in Russia, her trip to Germany, and her relationship with Mundelein faculty.

55-60 Minutes: Raila’s time in Germany, her trip to Guatemala, and working on a mayoral campaign.

60-66:47 Minutes: Raila’s time working in politics, her arrest, and final reflections on her time at Mundelein and its lasting impact.


Andrea Raila and Associates, AR 20-25,

Bailey, Mary Paul Frances (Sister), AR 15-20, AR 25-30, AR 30-35,

Basic Educational Opportunity Grant, AR 0-5, AR 30-35,

Better Business Bureau, AR 20-25

Becker, Gary, AR 15-20, AR 25-30,

Berlin Wall, AR 15-20

Boston University, AR 30-35,

Brazil, AR 45-50,

Carrigas, Mary, AR 40-45,

The Catholic Worker’s Movement, AR 25-30,

Chavez, Cesar, AR 10-15, AR 30-35, AR 35-40, AR 40-45,

Chicago, IL., AR 0-5, AR 5-10, AR 15-20, AR 20-25, AR 40-45, AR 50-55,

Chicago Legal Advocates, AR 5-10,

China, AR 45-50,

Citizen’s Utility Board, AR 15-20,

Coalition for Political Honesty, AR 15-20,

Cook County Assessor’s Office, AR 25-30,

Cook County Board of Review, AR 20-25,

Cook County Jail, AR 5-10,

Cook County Women’s Commissioner, AR 20-25,

Crowley, Frances (Sister), AR 10-15, AR 15-20, AR 45-50, AR 50-55, AR 60- 66:47

Dubuque, IA., AR 20-25,

Dubuque Iowa Council, AR 20-25,
Facebook, AR 40-45,

Farrell, Carollyn (Sister), AR 20-25,

Gannon, Ann Ida (Sister), AR 0-5, AR 5-10,

Germany, AR 15-20, AR 50-55, AR 55-60,

Grimly, Cathy, AR 35-40,

Guatemala, AR 10-15, AR 25-30, AR 55-60,

Habitat for Humanity, AR 25-30, AR 55-60,

Haddock, Granny D., AR 25-30,

Hammond, IN., AR 40-45,

Harrington, Ann (Sister), AR 5-10, AR 45-50,

Heartland Café, AR 55-60,

Hill, Bill, AR 5-10, AR 60- 66:47

Hogan, Katie, AR 55-60,

Immaculata High School, AR 25-30,

James, Michael, AR 55-60,

Johnson, Tom, AR 60- 66:47

Kelly, Kathy, AR 10-15, AR 60- 66:47

Latvia, AR 50-55,

Lithuania, AR 50-55,

Loyola Phoenix, AR 5-10,

Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, AR 0-5,

Loyola University Chicago, AR 0-5, AR 10-15, AR 25-30, AR 30-35,

Martin de Porres Church, AR 30-35,

Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, AR 10-15, AR 25-30, v

Mother Teresa, AR 10-15, AR 40-45, AR 45-50,

Mundelein Center for Fine Arts, AR 10-15,

Mundelein College, AR 0-5, AR 5-10, AR 10-15, AR 15-20, AR 20-25, AR 25-30, AR 30-35, AR 35-40, AR 40-45, AR 45-50, AR 50-55, AR 55-60, AR 60- 66:47

Mundelein College Gannon Center, AR 5-10, AR 20-25, AR 30-35, AR 60- 66:47

Mundelein Review, AR 10-15,

Myers, Irene (Sister), AR 5-10,

North Side Catholic Academy, AR 25-30,

Palatine, IL., AR 0-5

Panama Canal, AR 30-35,

Page Break

Pell Grant, AR 0-5, AR 30-35,

Pontes, Dulcinha (Sister), AR 45-50,

Preckwinkle, Toni, AR 20-25,

Quinn, Pat, AR 5-10, AR 15-20,

Resurrection Hospital, AR 0-5,

Rodriguez, Melbo, AR 40-45,

Romero, Oscar (Bishop), AR 10-15, AR 25-30,

Russia, AR 10-15, AR 15-20, AR 45-50, AR 50-55,

Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL., AR 10-15,

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), AR 5-10, AR 30-35,

St. Frances Catholic Worker House, AR 25-30,

St. Gregory’s High School, AR 30-35, AR 35-40,

Stern, Phillip M., AR 15-20,

Terkel, Studs, AR 15-20, AR 25-30,

Training, Research, Advocacy, and Education Network, AR 20-25,

Ukraine, AR 50-55,

University of Chicago, AR 15-20, AR 30-35

Vaillancourt, Dan, AR 5-10, AR 10-15, AR 50-55,

Washington D.C., AR 60- 66:47

Washington, Harold, AR 60- 66:47

Women and Leadership Archives, AR 30-35, AR 60- 66:47

Women Justice Insititute, AR 5-10,


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