December 15, 2021

Leading in Color Newsletter

December 2021

December 2021

Moving Forward to 2022

Like many of you, I await 2022 eager to see what is next. At Chicago United, we have so much to look forward to with new and expanded programming, in-person events, and speaking engagements!

I can’t help but look back at 2021, and take stock in everything we’ve accomplished in the past year.

With a new team and strategic plan in place, Chicago United unveiled five strategic priorities at our Annual Meeting early in 2021. There, we outlined our goals to be advocates for access and opportunity, accelerate inclusive leadership, cultivate a thriving minority and business community, be thought leaders, and continue to build our brand. I am pleased to say, we got straight to work. Here are a few highlights:

Our CEO Roundtable and Diversity Officer Series and Business Leaders of Color Author Series flourished with speakers from Advocate Aurora Health, Nicor Gas, United Airlines, Mesirow Financial, Greeley and Hansen and other companies leading the push for increased diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). We enrolled new corporate members, including Amazon, CDW, Delta Dental of Illinois, LDK Advisory Services, Caroline and Ora Smith Foundation, and other businesses. We continued to build our Minority Business Partnerships program, and we held the Employee Resource Group Symposium in July. I also had the honor of introducing my first cohort of Business Leaders of Color, 50 board-ready executives we honored at this year’s in-person Bridge Awards gala. There, we also recognized Ariel Investments with the Bridge Award. I was beyond humbled to see nearly 600 people gather for the gala, which shows Chicago’s passion and readiness for positive change in business.

And, I’m proud to share that this year, the Corporate Inclusion Institute’s (CII) fourth Inclusion Cluster saw over four dozen graduates—bright new voices, ready to drive their businesses to more inclusive and prosperous futures. Cohort V begins in February, and enrollment is still open!

Still, this is only a fraction of what we were able to achieve in 2021. Add highlights in Crain’s Chicago Business, awards and recognition for our staff’s efforts, over 2,400 new followers on social media, and so much more to the list! Be on the lookout for our Year in Review. In the New Year, follow our website, and our social media feeds, for all the exciting work, advocacy and recognition of DE&I leaders you’ve come to expect from Chicago United.

We couldn't have done this without you, members and partners in this movement. We are grateful for your continued commitment and support. Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season!

Enrollment is still open!

Cohort V of the Corporate Inclusion Institute starts February 4! 

Join organizations like Abbott, ComEd, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Health Care Service Corporation, Nicor Gas, Options Clearing Corporation, and Wintrust Financial. Enroll the next community of transformative leaders in Cohort V of the Corporate Inclusion Institute (CII) now!

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:

Thursday, January 8, 12 p.m. CST
Wednesday, January 12, 12 p.m. CST
Enroll now in Chicago United’s game-changing diversity, equity and inclusion program. 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 emotional intelligence of business leaders from across the organization. 

The program has had real impact on graduates from Cohorts I through IV:
  • Satisfaction with the program is high with CII faculty, content, and applicability, averaging a 4.5 rating on a 5-point scale;
  • Coaching relationships averaged a 4.7 rating on a 5-point scale and deemed extremely valuable; and,
  • Approximately 70% of Corporate Guides and Fellows who graduated from the program, showed significant improvement in their cultural competency scores from the Intercultural Development Inventory.
Based on new data from Cohorts I-III:
  • 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:

Crain's Chicago Business has unveiled its 2021 list of Notable Nonprofit Black Leaders and Executives, a cohort of 71 individuals dedicated to making a difference in business and the Black community. Chicago United is proud to share that CU Vice Chairman and 2007 Business Leader of Color (BLC), and BMO Wealth Management - U.S. President, Darrel Hackett was recognized. Congratulations, Darrel!

In addition to Hackett, Crain’s recognized over a dozen of Chicago United’s BLCs, and CEO Council Members Kimberly Moore and Ralph G. Moore, CPA as well. Featured 2021 Black Leaders and Executives include:

  • 2021 BLCs Regina Cross, Tracie Morris, Nadia Quarles, Craig Richey, and Lizette Williams
  • 2017 BLC Ann Marie Mitchell Wright
  • 2015 BLCs Michael J. McMurray and Eric S. Smith
  • 2013 BLC Patricia Brown Holmes
  • 2011 BLC Gerald Pauling
  • 2009 BLC Sheila Talton
  • 2007 BLC Melody Spann-Cooper
  • 2005 BLCs Ralph G. Moore and Roxanne Ward
  • 2003 BLC Mellody Hobson

Congratulations, everyone! Visit to learn more about this year’s Leaders and Executives. And, be on the lookout for Crain’s list of 25 largest minority-owned firms, which added CU member companies Cabrera Capital Markets LLC and SDI Presence LLC!

Walker’s Legacy announced its newest Legacy Makers Award recipients, and Chicago United President and CEO Tiffany Hamel Johnson was recognized as a 2021 honoree. Congratulations, Tiffany! Learn more at

2005 BLC and CEO Council member Ralph G. Moore, CPA received the Chairman’s Award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) at their annual conference. Chicago United applauds Ralph for his recognition.

Chicago United (CU) is pleased to share that CU Board Member and 2019 Business Leader of Color Manika M. Turnbull, Ph.D., was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC). Congratulations, Manika!

2009 BLC Shundrawn Thomas was recently named one of Savoy Magazine's Most Influential Black Corporate Directors.

And lastly, enjoy photos from recent Chicago United events on our website’s Community Photo Gallery. Between the CII Graduation Ceremony and Bridge Awards, CU is pleased to share over 200 new photos of CU members, partners, and friends, coming together to celebrate.
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