June 15, 2021

Leading in Color Newsletter

June 2021

At Mid-Year: Progress and Potential

At Chicago United, we are in the midst of completing a mid-year temperature check on our progress towards our organizational goals. We are pleased to report positive momentum, which we’ve maintained as we return to an in-person environment.

Our progress this year includes a significant increase in participation in our programs that include the CEO and Diversity Officer Roundtable Series, Employee Resource Group Symposiums and our Business Leaders of Color Author Series; new member recruitment; and the addition of amazing new staff and board members who help guide our efforts. Additionally, we are finalizing our three-year strategic plan, and we continue to raise awareness of our thought leadership and expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) as seen in news coverage and social media.  

Our member companies and their leaders are taking important steps in being transparent about their representation numbers, intentional about filling their corporate governance and middle-management pipelines with diverse candidates, and equitable in their relationships with diverse business partners. This progress is encouraging, but we have a long way to go to achieve better representation and inclusion in business, locally and nationally.

For the rest of the year, companies must continue to demonstrate that diversity, equity and inclusion aren’t just concepts that received urgent, but short-lived discussion in the aftermath of 2020’s racial unrest.  We have to make sure we maintain the momentum, for this is not just a moment, it is a movement.

Chicago United’s members are in the company of those who are serious about progress and accountability. We will keep our foot on the gas to strengthen our commitment to our members and their incredible work in transforming Chicago into the most inclusive business ecosystem in the nation. 
Are you doing your part?

The board of directors of Chicago United is pleased to announce the election of Manika M. Turnbull, Ph.D., to the board. Manika is Divisional Senior Vice President, Workforce Strategy & Chief DEI Officer for Health Care Service Corporation. She will replace Opella Ernest, M.D., EVP and Chief Operating Officer at Health Care Service Corporation. We welcome Manika and thank Opella for her service.

Welcome, Debbie Cortez

Chicago United is pleased to introduce Debbie Cortez, MBA, as our new Director of Minority Business Partnerships. She will direct our Five Forward Initiative.

Debbie has over 20 years of professional experience leading and managing national and international projects in government, corporate, higher education and non-profit organizations. She worked for eighteen years at Aon, providing high-value competencies in sales operations, legal and compliance environments, and finance.

!Coming soon

Stay tuned for announcement of the 2021 Business Leaders of Color! Chicago United will present 50 executives of color who are prepared to serve in C-suites and corporate board rooms.

Black Enterprise recently featured AGB Investigative Services, a Chicago United Five Forward Committed Corporation and MBE Partner, for investing $500,000 to expand its new cybersecurity operation.

Wynndalco Enterprises, LLC was recently named No. 29 on the Crain’s Chicago Business list of Chicago’s fastest-growing companies. Wynndalco is a Chicago United member, Five Forward Committed Corporation and MBE Partner.

Several Chicago United supporters are among those named to Crain’s recent list of 39 notable DE&I executives. They include: Leaders Council members Erickajoy Daniels of Advocate Aurora Health, Carl Davis of Mesirow Financial, Melissa Donaldson of Wintrust Financial Corp., Jessica Kimbrough of United Airlines, and Amalia Pallares of UIC; Business Leaders of Color Graham Grady of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, and Connie Lindsey of Northern Trust; and Namrata Yadav of Bank of America, a member of Chicago United’s Diversity Officer Roundtable.

Congratulations to the 2019 Chicago United Business Leader of Color Manuel Cuevas-Trisán on his recent appointment to Vice President for Human Resources at Harvard University. Cuevas-Trisán joins Harvard from Northwestern University, where he served as Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer and worked to make Northwestern University more inclusive through social justice initiatives and other university-wide programs.

Two Chicago United Business Leaders of Color (BLC) were cited as notable general counsels on Crain's Chicago Business 2021 Notable General Counsels list. 2007 Chicago United BLC Adrienne Banks Pitts, Managing Director & General Counsel, Loop Capital Markets and 2005 Chicago United BLC Pedro DeJesus, Head of International Business and Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Tampico Beverages were among 51 general counsels hailing from multinationals, real estate firms, nonprofits, and universities.

CEO Roundtable Series, featuring Zain Raj, Chairman and CEO, Shapiro+Raj

Tues., August 10, 2021

8:00 - 9:30 AM

Virtual program (link provided with registration)

BLC Author Series featuring
Virginia (Ginny) Clarke

Weds., September 22, 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