November 30, 2022

Leading in Color Newsletter

November 2022

Chicago United - Leading in Color Newsletter
November 2022

The Power Unleashed!

The 2022 Bridge Awards Celebration … What A Night! I am overflowing with gratitude – for your support, participation, and encouragement! Together, we demonstrated “The Power of Inclusion,” united Chicago’s most influential business and civic leaders, and honored exemplary diversity within corporate governance.

There are so many to thank! Our Presenting Sponsor, BMO Harris Bank. Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Illinois, our Chairman's Circle level sponsor. Our Member Companies and individuals who provided sponsorship at various levels. ABC7 Chicago, our Media Partner, and Weekend Anchor and Reporter Ravi Baichwal who served as a wonderful emcee. The Chicago Sinfonietta’s delightful performance, continuing our long-standing relationship. Our event management team, PJH & Associates, designer Greg Smith of Re:Design Visual Communications, and the Hilton Chicago’s staff…amazing! It was an honor to spend the evening with Robert MacGregor, Chicago United’s first Executive Director and to see so many Chicago United members and friends together, celebrating this work. And our incredible Board of Directors and Staff … thank you!

Once again, I must extend congratulations to our honorees: PwC, led by Laura Thonn, Chicago Office Managing Partner, the 2022 Bridge Awardee; David Andalcio, Founder and CEO of Wynndalco Enterprises, LLC, and the recipient of the inaugural CU Impact Award; and David Namkung, Founder and Managing Partner of Clarity Partners, a 2017 Chicago United Business Leader of Color, and the recipient of the inaugural BLC President’s Award. As these awardees noted in their acceptance speeches, our work is important as we build coalitions and engage in inclusive dialogue to create true, lasting impact.

Nearly 600 guests attended this year’s Bridge Awards Celebration because we have a shared vision. Chicago United will continue to use its Power to lean in harder and work with a greater sense of urgency. We will work harder to bring people to the table, continue to ask the difficult questions, reach out to share ideas, and remain dedicated to leading those courageous conversations around advancing equity in the workplace, providing the required tools, fulfilling our role as a convener and thought leader in this space.

The Bridge Awards Celebration highlighted that we can do this if we all work together. Let’s harness our Power and continue to build upon it! That’s The Power of Inclusion!



CII Closing Reception

Chicago United Holds CII Cohort V Closing Reception

Chicago United held the CII-V Closing Reception in November. This reception marked the culmination of a nine-month inclusion journey for the program’s Corporate Guides and Fellows, who were presented with a Certificate of Completion.

The reception was hosted by KPMG, a Chicago United Member Company. Presentations during the ceremony included messages on the impact of CII from Sam Pambah, Principal at KPMG and a Chicago United Board Member; Nichole Owens, Vice President of Customer Channels at ComEd and Chicago United Board Secretary, and Charmon Parker Williams, Ph.D., President of Parker Williams Consulting.

CII-Cohort VI is now open for registration. CU member organizations and companies are encouraged to contact Doris Salomon, Vice President of Programs and Initiatives, at, to learn how to enroll team members. 
Business Leaders of Color

Business Leaders of Color 2023
Nominations Now Open

Over the last two decades, Chicago United's Business Leaders of Color has identified 470 board-ready candidates of color who have served in over 300 corporate directorships. In 2023, Chicago United will name 50 new board-ready candidates of color as BLCs. Nominations are now open until February 28, 2023.

Download the Award Criteria and Nomination Worksheet →
ABC News Segment

Chicago United President and CEO Featured on ABC7’s “Our Chicago”

Tiffany Hamel Johnson, Chicago United’s President and CEO, was featured on ABC7’s “Our Chicago” Sunday, November 13. During the segment, Tiffany discussed race and equity following the murder of George Floyd, creating a pipeline of the next generation of leaders, and the progress of Chicago-area businesses towards DE&I. ABC7 was the Media Sponsor of Chicago United’s 2022 Bridge Awards Celebration presented by BMO.

View the segment →
Chicago United Appears on Wintrust Digital Billboard

Chicago United Appears on Wintrust Digital Billboard

Wintrust Financial, a Chicago United Member Company, hosted Chicago United on the Wintrust Digital Billboard located along the Kennedy Expressway at North Avenue. The Billboard demonstrated diversity and leadership by featuring Chicago United Business Leaders of Color. The digital billboard will be visible through December 1.
Chicago United Illuminates The City

Chicago United Illuminates The City

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, a Chicago United Member Company, displayed CU’s message across Chicago on November 16. The visual message served as an excellent backdrop to the Bridge Awards Celebration, held later in the evening.

Chicago United Board Member Andrea Sáenz was appointed as President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust. She is the Trust’s eighth leader and first Latina to serve in this role.

Chicago United Board Member Kathy Scherer, Managing Partner at Deloitte (a Chicago United Member Company), was named to Crain's Chicago Business' 2022 Notable Nonprofit Board Leaders.

Debbie Cortez, Director of Minority Business Partnership at Chicago United, was appointed to serve on the State of Illinois Procurement Task Force, working to ensure that the procurement process for minority-owned businesses is equitable, efficient, and flexible for success.

PwC, a Chicago United Member Company, led by Laura Thonn, Chicago Office Managing Partner, received the 2022 Chicago Bridge Award during the 2022 Bridge Awards Celebration.

Wynndalco Enterprises, LLC, a Chicago United Member Company, and David Andalcio, Founder and President, was recognized as the recipient of the inaugural 2022 CU Impact Award during the 2022 Bridge Awards Celebration.

David Namkung, Founder and Managing Partner of Clarity Partners (a Chicago United Member Company) and a 2017 Business Leader of Color received the inaugural Chicago United BLC President's Award during the 2022 Bridge Awards Celebration.

2015 Business Leader of Color Brenda Battle, Senior Vice President, Community Health Transformation, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at UChicago Medicine, was honored with the 2022 Outstanding Community Leader Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP Global).

Eric S. Smith, Vice Chairman at BMO Harris Bank and a 2015 Business Leader of Color, received the Association for Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) Executive Leader Award.

Adrienne Pitts, Managing Director at Loop Capital and 2007 Business Leader of Color, was named to the 2022 Forbes and Know Your Value 50 over 50 list.

The following programs are open only to employees of Chicago United Member Companies. Please click here to view our Community Calendar for additional details and registration links.

Minority Business Partnerships
End-of-Year Meeting

Monday, December 12 | 11 am – 12 pm

This is a Virtual Event

Attend if you are:

  • Five Forward MBE
  • Five Forward MBE Admin
  • Five Forward CC
  • Five Forward CC Admin
300 East Randolph Street, Suite 40.200, Chicago, IL 60601-5075
312-977-3060 •