January 15, 2021

Leading in Color Newsletter

January 2021

Reflections and Renewed Determination

Today, we reflect on the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who stood for justice, peace and higher moral ground. We do so with a renewed understanding that we simply must have more compassion for each other and more regard for our shared interests.  The celebration of Dr. King’s birthday reminds us how much more we could and should do for each other—not just out of charity, but out of necessity. We have to be determined to live out the ideals he preached, and follow the power of his example. When we do that, centering our policies and practices on equity, we can claim victories like the one we recently saw when a federal judge blocked an executive order restricting the federal government and its contractors from offering diversity training.

How are you determined to celebrate MLK Day?

What are you determined to do to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion, not just on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day but every day? Our call to action to honor Dr. King is to be of service to others. In that spirit, here are some resources for you to consider for volunteer opportunities.


Enroll in the Corporate Inclusion Institute

Enrollment is open now for Cohort IV of Chicago United’s Corporate Inclusion Institute (CII). Join Chicago’s leading corporations who are building relationships, fostering understanding and creating inclusive cultures.


Nominate A Business Leader of Color Today

Since 2003, the Business Leaders of Color publication has featured 420 board-ready candidates who have served in more than 300 corporate directorships. Nominations for the 2021 Business Leaders of Color are due by Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2021.


Welcoming new faces & elevating our people

The Chicago United Board of Directors is pleased to welcome two new members. Joining from Wintrust is Timothy S. Crane, the company’s President and Treasurer. And, Sam Pambah comes to Chicago United from KPMG LLP, where he is a Principal/Partner within the Economic & Valuation Services (EVS) practice, serving as co-leader for Markets as well as Major Market Leader for the Chicago Metropolitan business unit. 

Also, our staff is pleased to introduce our new Vice President of Membership and Development, Melanie Sillas. Prior to joining Chicago United, Melanie served as Vice President of Development for World Business Chicago. She brings extensive experience across the nonprofit, higher education and government sectors, most recently in nonprofit fundraising.

And, our own Gail Arrigo has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations, and Luz Maria Vargas has been promoted to Senior Program Manager. Congratulations, Gail and Luz Maria, and thank you for your dedication to Chicago United!

Congratulations to 2003 BLC Martin Cabrera, Chairman and CEO of Cabrera Capital Markets, 2003 BLC Mellody Hobson, President and Co-CEO of Ariel Investments, and John Rogers on being named to Crain’s Power 25 List in The Book 2021.

Aurora Abella Austriaco, Parnter and Shareholder at Valentine, Austriaco and Bueschel, P.C., was recently named as one of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s Top 50 Exceptional Women Lawyers and the inaugural Salute! Women in Law Award honoree. She is a 2019 Business Leader of Color.

Mark Hands, Chicago United Leaders Council member, was appointed Director of Supplier Diversity and Associate Director in the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

JGMA has been recognized by the 2020 Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards in two categories: Design Company of the Year, and two projects won for Spaces and Places. JGMA President Juan Gabriel Moreno is a 2017 Business Leader of Color.

Diversity Officer Roundtable, “Building an Inclusive Culture at Advocate Aurora Health”


1 - 2 PM

Virtual Program (link provided with registration)

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