April 15, 2022

Leading in Color Newsletter

April 2022

The Great Reemergence

When I was named President and CEO two years ago, no one could’ve imagined the forthcoming culture shift that would come. It is still hard to fathom that one month before my tenure began, the Chicago United office was already working remotely adhering to safety mandates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the COVID crisis scorched our country and the world, bringing so many underlying issues to the surface, we could not ignore the unfiltered views of social inequities and injustices we still needed to conquer. 

In this New Reality, the pandemic’s wrath only exacerbated the disproportionate effects of issues that already existed within communities with people of color.

Out of the most challenging of times I have ever experienced in my professional life, I am truly proud to say the Chicago United team adapted, maintained—often surpassed—our standards of excellence and productivity over these past two years as we kept a laser focus on our work of driving inclusion within corporate America.  

Now like most of the country, as we return to work in-person, the Chicago United team has initiated a hybrid return to the office and this return to work, this re-emergence, has given me and the team even more resolve… with a laser focused view on the task at hand. There is much work to do.

Be well,

Chicago United Holds Annual Meeting

Chicago United welcomed members and invited guests to its Annual Meeting, held virtually Wednesday, March 30. Honoring the 2022 theme, A Movement, Not A Moment, the meeting featured a welcome messages from Chicago United President and CEO Tiffany Hamel Johnson, and Chicago United Board Chairman John C. Robak, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Greeley and Hansen, a moment to honor retiring Board member James P. Kolar, PwC Board Member and Former Central Market Managing Partner, PwC LLP, and the introduction of the 2022-2023 Board of Directors and Elected Officers. Newer Board Members since last year’s Annual Meeting include: Aurora Austriaco, Shareholder, Valentine, Austriaco & Bueschel P.C.; Nidhi Kapoor, President, RK Management Consultants, Inc.; Katherine Scherer, Vice Chair, Central Region Marketplace Leader and Managing Partner, Chicago Office, Deloitte; and Manika Turnbull, Divisional Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Health Care Service Corporation/Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.

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Welcome To
Chicago United

Chicago United welcomes two new team members. Maria (Lupe) Guevara joins the team as Executive Assistant to the President and CEO, and brings vast experience in supporting senior executives as well as serving as Board liaison. Tori B. Robinson is Chicago United’s new Marketing and Communications Manager. Tori adds a stellar background in digital marketing, public relations and social media management to our team.

Chicago United Member Companies BMO Harris Bank and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois were named to Forbes magazine’s and Statista Inc.’s list of Best Employers for Diversity in 2022.

Working with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Abbott, a Chicago United Member Company, expanded equity in the healthcare industry with a $37.5 million initiative to provide diverse small-business owners with the tailored solutions, support and resources they need to grow, compete and create a more diverse healthcare industry. 

Kevin Johnson, a 2019 BLC and CII Cohort I Corporate Guide, has been promoted to Regional Chief Operations Officer for Aon's US Retail Central Region.

A 2021 Business Leader of Color, Lou Sandoval held a launch event in celebration of the release of his new book, “Tenacity for Life.” 

James Shurman Williams Jr., a Leaders Council Member and a member of the Diversity Officer Roundtable, was named Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, at the University of Chicago Medicine.

An easy-to-use Community Calendar with details and registration links is live on our website. Please click here to view.

CEO Roundtable Series

Hosted by Carrie Steyer, General Manager,
Slalom Chicago


May 10, 2022 | 9:00-10:30 AM

200 E. Randolph Street, Suite 3700
(proof of vaccination required for entry) 

Members of Chicago United’s CEO Council only


Diversity Officer Roundtable

Hosted by: Emeka Igwilo, Chief Data Officer
and VP Operations Support Nicor Gas

May 24, 2022 | 8:30-10:00 AM

Hybrid - 1844 W. Ferry Road, Naperville, Illinois

Human Resources Executives, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officers, and business leaders responsible for inclusive talent development.


CEO Roundtable Series

Hosted by Helene Gayle, President and CEO,
The Chicago Community Trust


June 14, 2022 | 9:30-11:00 AM

33 S. State Street, Suite 750, Chicago, Illinois

Members of Chicago United’s CEO Council only


Emerging Leader Series

Making the Net Work Reception
Presented by: Billy Dexter, Partner and the Americas Regional Diversity Leader, Heidrick & Struggles

June 22, 2022 | 5:00-7:00 PM

The Metropolitan | 233 S. Wacker Drive, 67th Floor, Chicago, Illinois  

CII Fellows, Employee Resource Group Members/Leaders, Member Company Employees


300 East Randolph Street, Suite 40.200, Chicago, IL 60601-5075
312-977-3060 • www.chicago-united.org