Paula Basta was appointed Director of the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) in March of 2019, becoming the 13th director, and seventh woman to lead the agency. As a lifelong advocate for the care and treatment of senior citizens, Paula brings her institutional knowledge of senior services, policy, and social justice to lead the Illinois Department on Aging.
Paula has over 40 years of experience working with Older Adults. The first 20 years of Paula’s career was spent in the field of Aging for not-for-profit organizations such as Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.). While at H.O.M.E, Paula was named Executive Director following the retirement of its founders and remained in that role for five years before embarking on a 20-year career in Government.
Paula’s most recent 20 years has been in government with the City of Chicago’s Department on Aging as the Director of Information and Assistance. Paula then transitioned within the City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services – Senior Services division, to begin a 14-year career as the Regional Director of the Northeast (Levy) Senior Center. Her most recent position prior to joining IDoA was with the Chicago Housing Authority as the Director of Senior Services and Health Initiatives. While serving as Director of Senior Services and Health Initiatives, Paula oversaw social services for 54 senior buildings and 10,000 seniors throughout Chicago.
She received a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio and a Master of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. She has been an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University in Chicago and mentored students through the Chicago Bridge program, focusing on the field of Aging. Paula was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2009 and is a graduate from the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership Class of 2010. Paula has dedicated much of her free time to serving on several not-for-profit boards.
She currently lives in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois.