February 23, 2023

Leading in Color Newsletter

February 2023

Chicago United - Leading in Color Newsletter
February 2023

From A Month To A Day

Black History Is American History.


As we celebrate the dynamic heritage of African Americans this month and honor those who broke through barriers to bring substantive change to this city, country and the world, let’s remember: We cannot rest on our laurels. 

We Still Have Work To Do.


Black history inspires us to greater achievements; we stand on the successes of others. It is our responsibility to pay it forward and create a new generation of history makers. I understood my purpose early on and dedicated myself to transform my experience as an African American woman in corporate America into my power to lift up the next generation—those Young Professionals of Color we will someday honor during Black History Month. 

We must work to evolve the labors and struggles of those who came before us into equitable opportunities that sustain our future leaders. How we use our platform is important. It is our responsibility to create access and working together, we will make a difference.

We Make Black History Every Day.



Chicago United President and CEO Tiffany Hamel Johnson (far right) was recognized as one of Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s (center) Black History Month Celebration honorees along with (from far left) Britney Robbins, Founder & CEO, The Gray Matter Experience; Gilbert Allen, Clinical Director, Shelter; and Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt, City of Chicago.

Chicago United President and CEO Receives Honors

Tiffany Hamel Johnson, Chicago United’s President and CEO, was honored during Comptroller Susana Mendoza's Black History Month Celebration. The annual event honors leaders of color who have had a great impact on Illinois and in local communities.

Chicago United’s 2023 Annual Meeting

Chicago United will hold its 2023 Annual Meeting Wednesday, March 29—Save the Date! Beginning at 8:30 a.m. at 300 E. Randolph Street, Lower Level, Auditoriums B and C, the Annual Meeting includes the installation of the 2023-2024 Board of Directors and Executive Committee members, a featured Fireside Chat conversation, and honors our Members’ mission-advancing contributions in 2022. 
Learn More →

Final Call:
Business Leaders of Color 2023 Nominations

Biannually since 2003, Chicago United’s Business Leaders of Color honor has identified 470 talented executives of color who are prepared to serve on corporate boards. This year, Chicago United will name 50 new board-ready candidates of color as BLCs. Nominations are open through February 28. 

Download the Award Criteria and Nomination Worksheet →

Corporate Inclusion Institute - Cohort VI Holds Opening Breakfast

Chicago United’s Corporate Inclusion Institute-Cohort VI kicked off February 10 with a well-attended Opening Breakfast at the ComEd Chicago Training Center. Presenters during the event included Tiffany Hamel Johnson, Chicago United’s President and CEO, Nichole Owens, Vice President, Customer Channels, ComEd, An Exelon Company and a Chicago United Board Member; and Charmon Parker Williams, Ph.D., Principal Consultant, Parker Williams Consulting. The Breakfast’s Featured Speaker, Manika M. Turnbull, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Health Care Service Corporation and a Chicago United Board Member, delivered an inspiring message entitled, “What It Means To Be An Inclusive Leader.” Sponsors of CII-VI include: Platinum Sponsors—ComEd, An Exelon Company and The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; and Gold Sponsor—Peoples Gas.

Chicago United Board Member Tim Crane, President of Wintrust Financial Corporation, will assume the additional role of Chief Executive Officer effective May 1, 2023, and was appointed to the Wintrust Board of Directors, effective immediately. 

Chicago United Board Member and 2021 Business Leader of Color Cristy Garcia Thomas, Chief External Affairs Officer, Advocate Aurora Health, was named to The Milwaukee Business Journal's 2023 Power Brokers listing.

Chicago United Board Member Andrea Sáenz, President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust; 2003 Business Leader of Color Mellody Hobson, President and Co-CEO of Chicago United Member Company Ariel Investments; Roz Brewer, CEO of Chicago United Member Company Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Jenny McColloch, Chief Sustainability Officer at McDonald’s, a Chicago United Member Company, were named to Crain’s Chicago Business’ 2023 Women of Note, recognized for their bold moves in Chicago’s business and nonprofit world.

Debbie Cortez, Chicago United’s Director of Minority Business Partnership, presented during the “Changing the Face” program hosted by Brian Ortiz of Trinidad Construction, a Chicago United Five Forward initiative Minority Business Enterprise. In a separate event, Cortez collaborated with Chicago United Member Company California American Water for the virtual Partnering Forward for Success (PFS)-2023 Update. Chicago United’s Minority Business Partnership program, which includes The Five Forward Initiative, is the basis for PFS and is supported by CU Member Company SDI Presence.

Ariel Investments Co-CEO and President Mellody Hobson, a 2003 Chicago United Business Leader of Color, initiated a new private equity fund, Project Black, focused on getting more Black executives into the upper tiers and C-Suites by connecting them with customers and capital.


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.

CEO Roundtable Series

Hosted by Laura Thonn
Chicago Office Managing Partner, PwC

March 16, 2023 | 9:00 am - 10:30 am  

One N. Wacker Drive, 9th Floor, Chicago  

Learn More →

Business Leaders of Color Series

Creating an Impressive Corporate Board Bio
Sponsored by Deloitte

Featuring Caroline Schoenecker, Experience Director, Center for Board Effectiveness, Deloitte

March 17, 2023 | 9:00 am - 10:30 am

This is a Virtual Event

Learn More →

Diversity Officer Roundtable Series

Hosted by Alethia Jackson
Chief Diversity Officer, Walgreens

March 21 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. 

Old Post Office Building, 433 W. Van Buren Street, Chicago

Learn More →

Mid-Level Manager Series

Inclusive Leadership in a Hybrid Workplace

Presented by La Toya McClellan, Senior Director – Global Head of Engagement, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Astellas US

March 22 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

This is a Virtual Event

Learn More →

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