November 30, 2021

Leading in Color Newsletter

November 2021

November 2021


As Chicago United puts a stamp on another Bridge Awards Celebration, and in the spirit of the season, I just wanted to take a moment to say ‘thank you.’

Thank you to the nearly 600 guests who attended this year’s Bridge Awards Celebration in person at Hilton Chicago, where we recognized change-makers like Bridge Award winner
Ariel investments, and our 50 amazing Business Leaders of Color. I was honored to see Chicago United’s many members and friends come together, not just to celebrate the BLCs and Ariel,
but to show their support of CU’s mission.

We would not have been able to reach our $900k stretch goal without our event sponsors such as Presenting Sponsor BMO Harris Bank, our Chairman’s Circle Sponsors, BlueCross
BlueShield of Illinois and Greeley and Hansen, our incredible Board of Directors, and so many of our member companies and individuals that contributed to Bridge. THANK YOU!

Behind the scenes, the night of The Bridge Awards was the sum of many hard-working people coming together to make it happen and be the joyous event it was. So to our event
management team, PJH & Associates, designer Greg Smith, writer David Rudd, our emcee Aurora Austriaco, and the Hilton Chicago’s marvelous staff, we could not have made the amazing
night happen without you!  And of course, I owe a deep thanks to the Chicago United staff. They are a small team, but they work day in and day out in support of our enormous

I am so thankful for ALL of you! Nothing is impossible to accomplish when you have a coalition of like-minded people working together to achieve great things and ignite a meaningful
movement for change. I am grateful we could all gather and truly be united. It makes me proud and thankful to be CEO and President of Chicago United.


Event Recap: The 2021 Bridge Award Celebration

On Thursday, November 18, Chicago United and its members, supporters, and friends, gathered in-person to give the Bridge Award to Ariel Investments and Co-CEOs Mellody Hobson and John
W. Rogers Jr., as well as recognize this year’s 50 Business Leaders of Color.

It was a marvelous evening, bringing together Chicago’s most influential business executives and civic leaders, who share the value of advancing inclusion and leading the charge
in their organizations and communities. Thank you to everyone that came out. We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2022!

Stay tuned for more updates on our site. To learn more about the Bridge Award, this year’s Business Leaders of Color, and more, visit


Event Recap: The Corporate Inclusion Institute Cohort IV Closing Ceremony

Congratulations to Corporate Inclusion Institute Cohort IV graduates!

On Tuesday, November 9, CII business professionals came together in-person and online to be recognized by Chicago United for their commitment to creating inclusive cultures.
Thank you to everyone that took part. We couldn’t be more proud of this group’s efforts.

Enrollment for Cohort V is now open! To learn more or sign up for an information session, contact Doris Salomón, Director of Programs, at for more information.

Learn how CII is driving business performance through inclusion by attending an upcoming information session:
Wednesday, December 8, 12 p.m. CST

The business case is clear. It’s been shown time and again with emerging data: Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity see financial returns above
national industry medians. The time is now for business leaders to take action and create a corporate culture that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.As you know, we enhanced the curriculum to include learning opportunities for all Inclusion Cluster members, which is proving to have an impact on the cross-cultural competency
and self-awareness of business leaders from across the organization.Cohort IV’s satisfaction with the program is high with CII faculty, content, and applicability, averaging a 4.7 rating on a 5-point scale. In addition, all aspects of the coaching
relationship were deemed extremely valuable, averaging a 4.8 rating on a 5-scale.Based on new data from Cohorts I-III:

  • More than 72% of Corporate Guides and Fellows who graduated from the program, showed significant improvement in their cultural competency scores from the Intercultural Development
  • 45% of participants who responded to CII surveys have been promoted within their companies.

For additional information on Cohort V’s curriculum and session schedule, please click on the links below:


Show your support for Chicago United on Giving Tuesday, November 30. 

Chicago United is the premier thought leader that helps companies envision a more inclusive culture. Your advocacy and support of Chicago United’s role in our city’s business community is deeply important.

Your donation will support our signature programs, initiatives, and research that provide the tangible tools companies need to deliver cultural transformation.

All donations are greatly appreciated!

Make a Donation

Does your employer match your donations? Increase the impact of your donation by submitting Chicago United Inc. to your employer for a matching gift.

The power of diversity exposes new perspectives and rich ideas. To learn more about Chicago United’s important initiatives, click here.


For National Native American Heritage Month, Chicago United appreciates its Native American members, supporters, and friends for their contributions and leadership.

Today we are recognizing Chicago United member company, the Caroline and Ora Smith Foundation. Chicago currently has a Native American population of over 65,000, and this Chicago-based foundation recognizes the importance of Native American voices and representation. They work to promote, sponsor, support, and train Native American girls and women around the country in the STEM fields in programs that are evidence-based, culturally appropriate, and supported by the community and tailored to what works best in each specific community. We’re proud to have the Caroline and Ora Smith Foundation as a member company at Chicago United.

Learn more about the Foundation at, and read about Chicago United member companies and more at

Recently, Chicago United’s President and CEO Tiffany Hamel Johnson was highlighted in Crain’s Chicago Business in an article on the new normal of work, and the spirit of coming together safely during the holidays. Read the full story, “A holiday gift: The chance to be together again,” at

Recently, member company Grant Law, LLC, founded by CU Board Member Maurice Grant, was a Featured Firm in UChicago’s 2021 Professional Services symposium. Congratulations to Maurice and Grant Law, LLC. 

And, on November 17, the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council hosted their 2021 MBEIC General Meeting, where Five Forward MBE Inter-City Supply Co. received the Minority Business Advocate award.

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