September 15, 2021

Leading in Color Newsletter

September 2021

Introducing our newest change agents  

Extraordinary people who are ready to lead. That’s a fitting description for our Business Leaders of Color, and the newest group of 50 executives are no exception. Chicago United is proud to announce our 10th cohort of individuals who are ready to serve as dynamic, exceptionally qualified corporate board directors. 

Each has walked into the hallowed halls of the corporate world as one of a few like them to do so. Despite being members of under-represented groups, each has overcome their own obstacles to contribute to business performance and become a role model. Their careers have blazed trails, and their potential to have impact is tremendous.

I can think of none better than these Business Leaders of Color to help companies take on the challenge of transforming the corporate culture to be more inclusive at the board, C-suite and executive levels. These leaders uniquely possess the tenacity, curiosity, self-motivation, empathy and courage that’s required to navigate a business’ growth and to increase its innovation and shareholder value.

Please join me in applauding the inspirational and transformational individuals we present as our 2021 Business Leaders of Color. You will also be able to join us at the Bridge Gala Celebration on November 18, 2021, as we officially honor these 50 incredible leaders. I hope to see you there!

On November 18, Chicago United will host the Bridge Awards Celebration, the premier diversity and inclusion event in Chicago, celebrating excellence in diversity within corporate governance and fostering multiracial leadership at the highest levels of corporate America. Chicago United will recognize inclusive leadership with this year’s Chicago Bridge Award, and salute 2021’s Business Leaders of Color.

This year’s theme is “A Movement Not A Moment.” 

The celebration will occur at the Hilton Chicago at 5:30 PM. Please mark your calendars and make plans to join us! For information, visit the Bridge Awards site.

Event Recap: 2021 Business Leaders of Color Reception

On Thursday, September 23, Chicago United gathered virtually to announce this year’s 50 Business Leaders of Color. It was a marvelous evening, bringing together some of Chicago’s best and brightest for a night of networking and recognition. Congratulations to all 50 of CU’s new BLCs. Be on the lookout for the Business Leaders of Color publication, coming soon, and follow Chicago United on social media where we’ll be highlighting this year’s class!

Crain's 2021 Notable Black Leaders and Executive Now Accepting Nominations

Nominations for this year’s Crain’s Notable Black Leaders and Executives is still open! Chicago United urges all to submit nominations to highlight individuals and organizations dedicated to raising awareness of socially conscious issues, and hiring Black Americans. The deadline is Friday, October 8. To learn more and nominate someone, visit the Crain’s site!

The business case is clear: Study after study has shown a direct, positive correlation between a company’s level of diversity, equity and inclusion and its problem-solving capacity, creativity and team cohesion.

In an effort to help businesses harness the power of inclusion and deliver cultural transformation, Chicago United created the Corporate Inclusion Institute (CII), the first city-wide talent development program that builds an organization’s capacity for inclusion by bringing together four professionals from various levels of an organization.

Enrollment for the 2022 Cohort is now open! For more information, contact Doris Salomón. And, help us share the word about this opportunity with others in your network and on social media!

Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month! Chicago United is proud to salute our Latinx board and team members, and supporters, for their invaluable contributions and leadership. Friends like:
  • CU Board of Directors Treasurer and 2017 Business Leader of Color George Burciaga, Chief Executive Officer at IGNITE CITIES.
  • 2021 BLC and CU Board Member Cristy Garcia-Thomas, Chief External Affairs Officer at Advocate Aurora Health
  • CU Board Member Andrea Sáenz, Chief Operating Officer at The Chicago Community Trust.
  • 2003 Business Leader of Color and current CEO Council Member Martin Cabrera, Jr., Founder and CEO of Cabrera Capital Markets.
  • And Cesar Davolina, Jr., Founder and President, Cristina Foods, who was recognized by Chicago United with a 2017 Chairman’s Award for his leadership in the Five Forward Program.
To see and learn more about CU’s Latinx colleagues, join us in September and October on our social media feeds as we celebrate and recognize Hispanic voices, and friends of CU.

CEO Roundtable Series

Hosted by Mellody Hobson, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Ariel Investments

Wed., Oct. 6, 2021 | 8:00 - 9:30 AM

Virtual program (link provided with registration)

Five Forward

Five Forward Committed Corporations – Program Update, with Chicago United’s Director of Minority Business Partnerships Debbie Cortez and CEO and President Tiffany Hamel Johnson

Thu., Oct. 7, 2021 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM

Virtual program (link provided with registration)

Corporate Inclusion Institute

Cohort IV – Closing Ceremony

Tue., Nov. 9, 2021 | 5:00 - 7:00 PM

In-Person at Hyatt Corporate Offices

300 East Randolph Street, Suite CL920, Chicago, IL 60601-5075
312-977-3060 •