April 15, 2021

Leading in Color Newsletter

April 2021

Priorities For Our Future

I can’t believe it has been a year since I joined the organization. None of us could have foreseen what awaited us in 2020, as the effects of dual pandemics—the coronavirus and systemic racial inequities—spread across the nation and affected our lives in such challenging ways.

There was no rule book for someone taking on the role of President and CEO during such an unprecedented time.  For me, the first priority was to fortify our small but excellent staff.  And, as we moved through the last year together, taking care of ourselves and our loved ones, we were focused on the work at hand. Social unrest and a broader societal focus on system inequities heightened the urgency of our work.  

I started my tenure knowing that a great foundation had been laid by Gloria Castillo. And, last year was a time to assess and analyze our strengths, our areas of opportunity, and where we sit as an organization. During the assessment, as the staff, the board and I unpacked our current state, it became clear that brand and reputation, organizational capacity, and programming would be our three areas of focus.

We started our strategic planning process at the end of the year.  Today, we are close to finalizing the Strategic Plan, which will place emphasis on five strategic priorities for guiding the organization: advocate for access and opportunity; accelerate inclusive leadership; cultivate a thriving minority business community; be the thought leader; and build our brand.  Additionally, we are welcoming new staff members into new roles,  and we have attracted new members while providing value to our existing ones.

The support you’ve given me and the staff and Chicago United as a whole over the last 12, extraordinary months has been remarkable, and it leaves me grateful and filled with excitement about the future. I sincerely thank you for joining us on our journey to help Chicago’s business community leverage the power of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Our work continues

Introducing the 2021-2022 Chicago United Board of Directors and Officers

At Chicago United's Annual Meeting we introduced the slate of Board of Directors for 2021-2022 as well as elected the Officers. Meet your Board of Directors who will help guide the organization over the coming year.

View The Board of Directors >

2021-2022 Program Guide Now Available

We are proud to announce that the programming guide for 2021 is now available. Download the guide today to view the programs we have planned for the year.

The Chicago United Team Is Growing

The Chicago United team is growing. We are currently hiring for the following positions: Director of Minority Business Partnerships, Manager of Research and Evaluation, and more. For complete job descriptions, please visit the Careers section on our website.

Three of our members were recently named on Crain’s Chicago Business’ Best Places to Work in Chicago list. Congratulations to Mesirow Financial, Clarity Partners, LLC and SDI Presence LLC, and thank you for helping to make Chicago a strong, equitable market for business. 

BMO Harris Bank's commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace was recognized by Forbes Magazine, which named our member one of the Best Employers for Diversity for the third consecutive year. We salute BMO for its holistic commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!

Wynndalco Enterprises, LLC was recently named one of the fastest-growing companies in the Midwest as part of Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 Regionals Midwest list. Congratulations on being selected to this exclusive list of Midwestern companies.

Greeley and Hansen was recently included on the Engineering News-Record (ENR) list of the "Top 500 Design Firms” and among ENR’s “Top 20 Design Firms” in the Sewer and Waste category for 2021. We salute you for being an industry leader and a model DE&I champion.

Diversity Officer Roundtable, featuring Carl H. Davis II, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion & Corporate Recruitment, Mesirow Financial

Thurs., May 13, 2021

1:00 - 2:00 PM

Virtual program (link provided with registration)

ERG Symposium IV – Power of ERGs in Advancing Corporate Community Engagement

Tues., May 18, 2021

9:00 - 10:30 AM

Virtual program (link provided with registration)

BLC Author Series featuring Kevin Johnson, North America Growth Enablement Leader, Aon plc

Weds., June 23, 2021

1:00 - 2:00 PM

Virtual program (link provided with registration)

300 East Randolph Street, Suite CL920, Chicago, IL 60601-5075
312-977-3060 • www.chicago-united.org