March 28, 2024

Leading In Color Newsletter

March 2024


Faced with organized assaults and pushbacks, it is urgent we band together and use our collective voice to propel our work – to implement strategies and education that transition to lasting change in Corporate America. The Attack on DE&I was the focal point of Chicago United’s 2024 Annual Meeting, where we welcomed Members and business leaders committed to the work for diversity, equity and inclusion.

I thank PwC, a Chicago United Member Company, for hosting the Meeting, which unpacked key focal points. I thank our featured panelists – Mary Smith, President of the American Bar Association; Aurora Austriaco, Shareholder at Valentine, Austriaco and Bueschel; and Maurice Grant, Principal of Grant Law, LLC – for a robust discussion, “The Attack on DE&I,” assessing the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down affirmative action admissions policies in higher education and the indirect consequences for private employers and their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

I congratulate our award-winning honorees, confirming we have allies and partners dedicated to working alongside Chicago United in the challenges we must face. Even more, the installation of the Officers and Members-at-Large of Chicago United’s 2024-2025 Board of Directors propels the organization to continue the courageous conversations and dig deeper into this work. As we welcome three new Board Members, I remain optimistic we will achieve our mission and this work will make corporate equity a reality.

As I told the Meeting's audience, I reiterate my call to action: Stay. The. Course! Refute the naysayers … do not allow them to deter us, to derail this work. This work is important. This work is impactful. This work is still about creating access and opportunity for the underrepresented – those who do not have a seat at the table in Corporate America.   Do. Not. Forget. That.

Be well,

Chicago United's 2024-2025 Board Officers
and Board of Directors

Officers and Members-at-Large of Chicago United’s 2024-2025 Board of Directors were installed during Chicago United’s Annual Meeting, held Thursday, March 21, and hosted by PwC, a Chicago United Member Company:


Chairman: Santino Bibbo
Managing Director and Head of Corporate Finance
Cabrera Capital Markets

Treasurer: Sam Pambah

Secretary: Nichole Owens
Vice President, Distribution Operations, Chicago Region
ComEd, An Exelon Company

Membership Chair: Katherine Scherer
Vice Chair, Central Region Marketplace Leader and Managing Partner,
Chicago Office
Deloitte LLP


Kimberly Evans
Executive Vice President, Corporate Sustainability, Inclusion and Social Impact
Northern Trust

Sylvia Garcia
Chief Operating Officer
The Chicago Community Trust

Kam Kniss
Executive Vice President, Digital Channels and Transaction Banking
Wintrust Financial Corporation


Aurora Austriaco
Valentine Austriaco & Bueschel, P.C.

Kimberley Goode
Chief Communications and Social Impact Officer
BMO Financial Group

Maurice Grant
Grant Law, LLC

Torrence Hinton
Peoples Gas/North Shore Gas

Tony Robinson
US Central Region Tax Managing Partner/Principal

Laura Thonn
Chicago Office Managing Partner

Manika Turnbull
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Health Care Service Corporation

Chicago United Receives Support From
The Nicor Gas Foundation

In March, Wendell Dallas (left), President and CEO of Nicor Gas (a Chicago United Member Company) and a 2023 Business Leader of Color, presented a one-time operational grant from the Nicor Gas Foundation to Chicago United’s President and CEO Tiffany Hamel Johnson. The presentation was hosted by The William Everett Group, a Five Forward MBE, part of Chicago United’s Minority Business Partnership Program, which includes the Five Forward Initiative™, where Ellen Rozelle Turner (second, left), Founder and CEO, and Carlton McGee, Jr. (right), President, explained the history and successes of the organization, and its partnership with Chicago United.

Corporate Inclusion Institute - Cohort VII
Holds Opening Breakfast

Chicago United’s Corporate Inclusion Institute-Cohort VII launched March 6 with a well-attended Opening Breakfast. Hosted by Wintrust, a Chicago United Member Company, presenters during the event included: Tiffany Hamel Johnson, Chicago United’s President and CEO; Norah Larke, Chief Human Resources Officer,  Wintrust Financial Corporation; and Charmon Parker Williams, Ph.D. (shown right), Principal Consultant, Parker Williams Consulting. The breakfast’s Featured Speaker, Kevin Johnson (shown center), Global Function Chief Marketing Officer at Aon (a Chicago United Member Company), delivered a rousing message entitled, “What It Means To Be An Inclusive Leader.” “At the end of the day, we have to remember we each have to take personal responsibility for being an inclusive leader,” Johnson told the audience. Sponsors of CII-VII include: Platinum Sponsors—ComEd, An Exelon Company, and The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; and Gold Sponsor—Peoples Gas.

Chicago United's MBP Program Reports 2023 Spend

Chicago United’s Minority Business Partnership Program, which includes the Five Forward Initiative™, completed 2023 with over $91 million in total spend. This year-end number shows a $15 million increase from 2022’s reporting. Through the program, Chicago United collaborates with strategic partners to provide Minority Business Enterprises programming, workshops and advice on capacity building. To learn more about the Minority Business Partnership Program, please click here.

Gail Arrigo, Executive Vice President of Chicago United, was quoted in a March 18th feature by Crain

Gail Arrigo, Executive Vice President of Chicago United, was quoted in a March 18 feature from Crain's Chicago Business, discussing the attack on DE&I and how consultants remain relevant.

Clemente Nicado, Publisher and CEO of Nicado Publishing Company and a 2023 Chicago United Business Leader of Color, released the ninth annual “40 Under 40” feature in Negocios Now, highlighting the outstanding leadership of young Latinos in the Chicago metropolitan area.


The following programs are open only to employees of Chicago United Member Companies. Please click here to view our Event Calendar for additional details and registration links.

Minority Business Partnership Virtual Kick-off Meeting
Tuesday, April 2 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm


Learn More →

Diversity Officer Roundtable
Presented by: Kimberley Goode, Chief Communications & Social Impact Officer, BMO Financial Group

Tuesday, April 23 | 9:00 am – 10:30 am

320 S. Canal Street, Conference Room 17-W-02, Chicago, IL

Learn More →

Mid-Level Manager Series: Leading with Emotional Intelligence

Hosted by: Wintrust
Presented by: Lisa Harrell, Chief Human Resource Officer, Cleveland Avenue

Thursday, April 25 | 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Wintrust Financial, 9700 W. Higgins Rd., Room A, Rosemont, IL 60018

Learn More →