July 27, 2022

Leading in Color Newsletter

July 2022

Building A Talent Pipeline of Young Executives of Color

During this summer I have had the distinct honor of speaking at two events specifically designed for young professionals of color. First was Chicago United’s “Making the Net-Work” Emerging Leader Reception with Billy Dexter, Partner and The Americas Regional Diversity Leader at Heidrick & Struggles’ Chicago office, and a 2009 Business Leader of Color. And I participated in the Fireside Chat segment of EY’s Chicago Black Executive Roundtable with Stephen Beard, President and Chief Executive Officer at Adtalem Global Education. The up-and-coming young professionals who attended both events were smart, purposeful and passionate about their career goals. 

The feedback from both events deepened my resolve to ensure that our younger executives of color have a seat at the table where decisions are made. Their voice matters. They bring innovation and fresh insight, and of course expertise.

Under the guidance of our newly implemented Three-Year Strategic Plan, Chicago United refined its programming to include young professionals and launched the Emerging Leader Series specifically for early careerists. Even more, our Corporate Inclusion Institute is preparing to open enrollment for Cohort 6 in September. Both serve as opportunities provided by Chicago United so our young professionals of color can to take control of their careers and be prepared for the opportunity to advance through their organization’s talent pipeline.

Indeed, the future of a more equitable landscape lies in the work we do now to build a sustainable foundation of career advancement for our young professionals of color. If we don’t create a pipeline of these talented professionals who are able to fill our boards, C Suites, and Executive ranks, then we all have failed them and our mission. It is our job to make sure they have the access and the opportunity! 

What are YOU doing to make sure this happens?


Save the Date: Chicago United’s 2022 Bridge Awards Celebration

Please join us on November 16, 2022 for Chicago United’s Bridge Awards Celebration: The Power of Inclusion. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Gail Arrigo.

Enrollment Opening Soon: Corporate Inclusion Institute - Cohort VI

Applications for Cohort VI will open soon. Member organizations and companies are encouraged to enroll their team members. Please contact Doris Salomón for additional information.

Melanie Sillas, Vice President of Membership & Development, announces her resignation from Chicago United to take the position of Executive Director at Chicago State Foundation. Melanie’s last day with Chicago United is July 29, 2022.

During her tenure, Melanie’s impact with Chicago United has been exceptional. From sourcing and cultivating new members, to planning and executing the Bridge Awards Celebration, Melanie has demonstrated leadership, served as a professional ally, and added great insight to Chicago United’s initiatives.

We congratulate and thank Melanie for her dedicated service. We look forward to the great achievements to come as she continues her leadership journey.

CEO Council Members and Business Leaders of Color were recognized by Negocios Now as part of the 50 Most Powerful Hispanic Businesses in Illinois feature: George Burciaga, Managing Partner, IGNITE CITIES, Chicago United Board Treasurer and 2017 BLC; David Andalcio, Founder & CEO, Wynndalco Enterprises, LLC, CEO Council Member and 2009 BLC; Martin Cabrera, Founder & CEO, Cabrera Capital Markets and Cabrera Capital Partners, CEO Council Member and 2003 BLC; Samara Mejia Hernandez, Founding Partner, Chingona Ventures, and 2021 BLC; Juan Gabriel Moreno, President, JGMA, 2017 BLC; Arthur Zayas Miller, President & CEO, MZI Group Inc. and CEO Council Member; Maria Prado, Co-Founder, Prado & Renteria Certified Public Accountants, CEO Council Member and 2017 BLC; Manuel Sanchez, Founder and Managing Partner, Sanchez Daniels Hoffman, and 2007 BLC.

Maurice Grant, Principal of Grant Law, LLC, a 2013 Business Leader of Color and Chicago United Board Member was named by The National Law Journal as a 2022 Elite Boutique Trailblazer.

Michelle Blaise, Senior Vice President at ComEd and a 2015 Business Leader of Color, was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as a Notable Leader in Sustainability.

Chicago United congratulates 2011 Business Leader of Color David Arenas on joining James Drury Partners as Managing Principal.

Natalie A. Brown has been appointed CEO of Member Company Mesirow Financial, making her the sixth CEO of Mesirow and the first woman to serve in this role.

Mary Smith, CEO Council Member and President of the Caroline and Ora Smith Foundation, will become President-elect of the American Bar Association on August 9.

Eileen Chin, President of R.M. Chin & Associates, Inc., a 2015 BLC and a Five Forward Initiative™ MBE, was named to the Board of Directors of The Chinese American Service League.

Regina Cross, Vice President, Goldman Sachs and a 2021 BLC; Nickol R Hackett, Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer, Joyce Foundation and a 2021 BLC; and Suzanne Yoon, Founder and Managing Partner at Kinzie Capital Partners and a 2021 BLC, were named Crain’s Chicago Business’ Notable Executives of Color in Finance.

Congratulations to Chicago United members recently announced to Leadership Greater Chicago’s 2023 Class of its Signature Fellows Program: Alison Bodor, Executive Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, The Options Clearing Corporation; Clarita Santos, Executive Director, Corporate and Civic Partnerships, Health Care Service Corporation; and Sahr Sweiss, Director of Business Development, Greeley and Hansen LLC.

Chicago United Board Vice Chairman Darrel Hackett, President, BMO Wealth Management-U.S.; Tracie Morris, U.S. Chief Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion Officer, BMO Financial Group and a 2021 BLC; Reginald (Reggie) Moore, Vice-President and General Manager, Outdoor & Recreation, Newell Brand and a 2021 BLC; and Karriem Shakoor, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, UL and a 2019 BLC, were named to Savoy magazine’s list of 2022 Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America.

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

Chicago United’s Minority Business Partnerships Program

Presented by Jeffery Allen, Director, Economic Equity Advisory Group, BMO Harris Bank with Letticia Flores Poole, Vice President, Co-Head, BMO for Black and Latinx Businesses, and Javier Gonzalez, Vice President, Commercial Banking, BMO Harris Bank


September 15, 2022 | 11:00AM – 12:00PM

This is a Virtual Event

Attend if you are a Minority-owned Business


CEO Roundtable Series

Presented by Natalie Brown, CEO, Mesirow Financial

September 20, 2022 | 8:00 – 9:30AM

353 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL

This event is open to CEO Council Members only


Diversity Officer Roundtable

Presented by Reginald J. Miller, Vice President, Global Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, McDonald’s Corporation

September 28, 2022 | 8:30 – 10:00AM

110 North Carpenter Street, Chicago, IL

A Human Resources Executive, A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, A business leader responsible for inclusive talent development

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