July 15, 2021

Chicago United Announces 2021 Business Leaders of Color

Corporate membership and advocacy organization presents accomplished executives as candidates for corporate directorships

CHICAGO – July 15, 2021 – Chicago United has announced its 2021 Business Leaders of Color, 50 diverse, influential and accomplished individuals ready for corporate board directorships. Chosen from a highly competitive field of close to 100 nominees, the individuals selected demonstrate a broad range of professional experiences and proven track records of success in numerous industries.

Chicago United presents this group every other year to expand the pool of diverse, board-ready candidates for corporate boards. Since 2003, there have been 420 individuals to receive this honor who have dispelled the myth that there are not enough qualified, dynamic, visionary and talented executives of color to step into corporate board directorships in Chicago and beyond. Currently, there are Business Leaders of Color who fill more than 300 directorships.

Past Business Leaders of Color include former First Lady Michelle Obama; Manuel Cuevas-Trisán, Vice President, Human Resources, Harvard University; Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments; Gery Chico, lawyer and public official; Nancy Andrade, Commissioner for the Chicago Commission on Human Relations; Don Thompson, retired Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Corporation and CEO and Founder of Cleveland Avenue, LLC; Dr. Karen Eng, President and CEO of CSMI; and Andrés Tapia, Global Diversity and Inclusion thought leader at Korn Ferry.

“Chicago United’s mission is about advancing multiracial leadership,” said Tiffany Hamel Johnson, President and CEO, Chicago United. “We are thrilled to honor these individuals and welcome this cohort into an assembly of history-making trailblazers who have been named bi-annually for almost 20 years. We will honor them along with one company that is a driving force in diversity, equity and inclusion at our upcoming Bridge Awards Dinner.”

Chicago United’s Bridge Awards Dinner, “A Movement, Not a Moment,” will be held Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, at the Hilton Chicago at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit https://awards.chicago-united.org/

2021 Business Leaders of Color

Verneda Bachus, CEO, Friend Health

Regina Cross, Vice President, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC

Dr. Roberto Curci, Vice Provost and Dean, Brennan School of Business, Dominican University

Melissa B. Donaldson, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Wintrust Financial Corporation

Jose Flores, President & Chief Operating Officer, Wynndalco Enterprises, LLC

Steve Flores, Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP

Michelle Flowers Welch, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Flowers Communications Group

Jose Garcia, President/CEO, Northwest Community Credit Union

Cristy Garcia-Thomas, Chief External Affairs Officer, Advocate Aurora Health

Darius A. Gill, Senior Vice President, National Practice Executive, Northern Trust

Jeanne M. Gills, Esq., Partner, Vice Chair, IP Department, Foley & Lardner LLP

Jesus Gonzalez, Deputy Global Practice Leader, Intangible Assets, Aon plc

Denitra Griffin, President, AGB Investigative Services Inc.

Jasmine Guy, Director of DE&I/Corporate Social Responsibility, Major, Lindsey & Africa

Nickol Hackett, Chief Investment Officer, Treasurer, The Joyce Foundation

Erik Hall, Executive Director, GCM Grosvenor

Douglas E. Harrell, Chief Financial Officer, Office of Special Deputy Receiver

Lisa M. Harrell, Chief Human Resources Officer, Cleveland Avenue

Stephen Harris, President, Medicaid, Health Care Service Corporation

Glenn Harston II, President, The Gemini Group LTD

Anuradha Hebbar, Partner, HR & Talent Advisory, Global DE&I Solutions Leader, KINCENTRIC, a Spencer Stuart Company

Lee Henderson, Assurance Partner and Americas EY Private Leader, Ernst & Young LLP

John O. Hudson III, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nicor Gas

Julieta LaMalfa, Director, Stout

Gordon C.C. Liao, Founder & Managing Partner, Promise Holdings

Gregg Lunceford, SVP, Wealth Advisor, Mesirow Financial

Suzet M. McKinney, DrPH, MPH, Principal, Director of Life Sciences, Sterling Bay

Samara Mejia Hernandez, Founding Partner, Chingona Ventures

Deidra Merriwether, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, W.W. Grainger, Inc.

Lourdes Mesa Gonzalez, Senior Vice President, Primera Engineers

Martín Montes, Vice President, Large Customer Services, ComEd an Exelon Company

Reginald Moore, Vice President & General Manager, Newell Brands

Tracie Morris, Chief Human Resources and Inclusion Officer, BMO Harris Bank N.A.

Marisol Pantoja, SVP, Chief Audit Executive, TransUnion

  1. Todd Phillips, CEO, Parson Partners

Nadia Quarles, Esq., Assistant Vice President, Office of Business Diversity, University of Chicago

Sumant Ramachandra, President, Pharmaceuticals and Chief Science & Technology Officer, Baxter International

Sendhil Revuluri, Managing Director, PEAK6 Capital Management

Craig Richey, Senior Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Accenture

Derreck James Robinson, Managing Director, National Sales Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Louis Sandoval, President & Chief Executive Officer, Knnected Inc. Dba SupplyHive™

David Segura, CEO, VisionIT

Anne Shaw, President, Shaw Legal Services, Ltd.

Thurman “Tony” Smith, Senior Vice President, Community Development Banking – Market Manager, PNC Bank

Sunitha Thomas, Senior Vice President, National Portfolio Advisor, Northern Trust

Cedric D. Thurman, Executive Vice President/Chief Diversity Officer/ Group Head, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago

Edna Uribe, VP Director of Sales, Univision Chicago

Lizette Williams, Head of Global Vertical Solutions Marketing, Facebook, Inc.

Suzanne Yoon, Founder & Managing Partner, Kinzie Capital Partners LLC

Weifang Zhou, EVP, President of Testing, Inspection & Certification (TIC), UL


About Chicago United

Chicago United is a corporate membership and advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve parity in economic opportunity for people of color by advancing multiracial leadership in corporate governance, expanding the talent pipeline for executive-level management, and growing minority business. Founded in 1968, the organization is focused on transforming the Chicago region into the most inclusive business ecosystem in the nation by engaging the top publicly and privately held corporations in leading talent management and inclusive diversity practices. Chicago United’s signature programs include its Business Leaders of Color publication, which showcases a diverse pool of corporate director candidates, the Five Forward Initiative™, designed to invigorate job creation in communities of color by increasing the scale of large Minority Business Enterprises in the Chicago region, Inside Inclusion featuring the Corporate Diversity Profile, and the Corporate Inclusion Institute, the first-ever citywide business talent development program. www.chicago-united.org