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CWIP Annual Luncheon
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Chicago Women in Philanthropy Annual Luncheon

April 10, 2019, Connie L. Lindsey, Executive Vice President, Northern Trust

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Chicago Women in Philanthropy (CWIP) was founded in 1981 as a community for philanthropic, corporate-giving, and nonprofit women. Our members are passionate about helping other women advance in society. Our mission is to advocate and encourage philanthropy by facilitating dialogue and uncommon connections that positively impact the lives of women and girls.

Each year, our annual luncheon recognizes one outstanding woman who has gone above and beyond for her community with the Making a Difference Award. This year’s event, which takes place on April 10, will honor Connie L. Lindsey.  Ms. Lindsey has dedicated her life to improving the lives of women and girls. Her exceptional service record in Chicago’s public and philanthropic sectors inspire us all to lead impactful lives.

Connie L. Lindsey is Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity & Inclusion at Northern Trust. She oversees the global Corporate Social Responsibility, Community Development and Investments, and Global Diversity and Inclusion strategy for Northern Trust. In addition, Ms. Lindsey provides oversight and leadership to the firm’s response to environmental matters as well as social issues, within the marketplace, workplace, and the community.

Ms. Lindsey is the former National Board President of Girl Scouts of the USA. She joined the Girl Scouts board in 2005 and was elected National Board President, the highest-ranking volunteer of this 2.5 million-member organization, in 2008 and 2011. In this role she provided guidance in policy, fundraising, and leadership. She was a key part of the Girl Scout transformation, committed to building and sustaining membership growth and ensuring girls receive leadership development and experience.

Ms. Lindsey is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, Executive Leadership Council, and Vision 2020’s Leadership Circle. She also serves on several civic and charitable boards that include the Executives’ Club of Chicago; Friends of Prentice Board at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Vice President, Philanthropy Co-Chair); Global Reporting Initiative; Leadership Greater Chicago (Board President, Fellow); McCormick Theological Seminary (Trustee); Obama Foundation Inclusion Council (Co-Chair); and YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

Ms. Lindsey received her BA in Finance at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has completed the Harvard Business School Executive Education Corporate Social Responsibility program, and is also a licensed Qualified Administrator of The Intercultural Development Inventory®. She is a public and motivational speaker on topics of diversity and inclusion, corporate responsibility, leadership, and personal and professional empowerment.

Ms. Lindsey has been recognized for her leadership professionally and in the community by the Anti-Defamation League’s Woman of Achievement Award, Chicago Defender Women of Excellence Award, Chicago United’s Business Leaders of Color Award, Leadership Greater Chicago’s Distinguished Fellow Award, Life Directions-Guiding Light Award, National Diversity Council’s Most Powerful and Influential Women Award, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois-Advocacy Award, and YWCA’s Outstanding Leader Award in Community Leadership. In 2011 Ms. Lindsey was honored with the Spirit of Achievement award by Loretto Hospital Foundation. She was the first woman to receive the award in its eight-year history. The recognition established the Connie L. Lindsey, Cancer Resource Center at Loretto Hospital in Chicago. She is an Inroads, Inc. Alumna and has been inducted into the Inroads Alumni Hall of Fame.

Ms. Lindsey’s dedication to leadership and empowerment for young women, as well as her work within our community make her an ally to us all and we are privileged to be honoring Connie L. Lindsey with CWIP’s annual Making a Difference Award for her exceptional service record in Chicago’s public and philanthropic sectors and her commitment to advancing so many causes that impact the lives of women and girls. 

CWIP’s annual luncheon has grown each year and continued to attract nonprofit and philanthropy professionals throughout Chicago. Last year, we hosted more than 350 attendees at the Standard Club. We have outgrown that space and are excited to report that we are moving the luncheon to the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile. We look forward to welcoming everyone in this beautiful location as we continue to expand CWIP’s audience through this event.

Previous awardees include:

2018 - Grace Hou, President, Woods Fund Chicago

2017 - Elizabeth Dozier, Managing Director, Chicago Beyond

2016 - Evelyn Diaz, President, Heartland Alliance

2015 - Dr. Melissa Gilliam, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Pediatrics and Chief of Family Planning at the University of Chicago, 2015

2014 - Julia Stasch, Vice President of U.S. Programs, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

2013 - Maria S. Pesqueira, President & CEO of Mujeres Latinas en Acción, 2013

2012 - Aurie Pennick, Executive Director and Treasure of the Field Foundation of Illinois, 2012

2010 - Adele Simmons, Metropolis

2009 - Amina Dickerson, Kraft Foods

2008 - Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company (previously President of Peoples Gas)

2007 - Anna Roosevelt, Boeing Company

2006 - Gigi Pritzker

 


 
Notes and Review from the 2018 CWIP Annual Luncheon provided by Anne Zender

“You Have to Search for the Truth”

“I feel so lucky to do a job that I love and gives me purpose,” Grace Hou told a roomful of fellow philanthropy professionals during the Chicago Women in Philanthropy (CWIP) Annual Luncheon in March. Hou, president of Woods Fund Chicago, is the 2018 Making a Difference Honoree and was keynote speaker during the luncheon.

Hou talked about her early life as the daughter of immigrant parents from Taiwan. The family moved to Chicago when she was eight and she has worked her whole life in Chicago, which gives her a “shared history” with many of her colleagues. “Chicago is a beautiful place, a sweet home for many, but not for all,” Hou said.

“In my bones, I’m a journalist. I like hearing other people’s stories….The only thing that separates us as strangers is story,” she said. That love for story, plus a quest for the truth, guides her, she said. “You have to search for the truth; it’s often unintentionally hidden,” Hou said. She is now the mother of two boys and said she occasionally reads them the young people’s edition of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. She does this not to make them sad, she said, but because “sad is part of the journey to the truth.”

Much of Hou’s work at Woods Fund Chicago, a foundation that draws on the power of communities to fight poverty and structural racism, is driven by the need to “begin to unravel structural racism and force it to be a thing of the past,” she said. At Woods Fund, Hou said, “we fund organizations to unearth racism at the roots. We know racism has consequences. The question is how to move from knowledge to action.” The goal, she said, is “a time when we all now and completely reject racism.”

How can CWIP members help? Hou’s guidance to CWIP members is:

  • Attack at the roots: allow those most impacted to lead
  • Change the narrative in your world; challenge racist notions and comments
  • Be friendly and kind to strangers; share stories
  • Read, learn, and be willing to be uncomfortable
  • Learn about the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Partnership, the Kellogg Foundation Process that Woods Fund Chicago leads in the Chicagoland area, to proliferate healing and equity within individuals, neighborhoods, and communities

The Annual Luncheon also highlighted the CWIP’s Women’s Leadership and Mentoring (WLMP) program, now in its 10th year. WLMP co-chair Debra Walker Johnson noted that in that time the program has served approximately 350 women, both mentors and mentees. But there is still a gender gap in nonprofits that highlights the continued need for the program. The data shows that women want to be leaders, Johnson said.

The audience also heard from mentee Melanie Sillas, who said her experience with a mentor was helpful as she was trying to break into the field and then get a new role. “I’m grateful to have been connected with my mentor, and we remain connected,” Sillas said.

The event also featured a performance by Still Point Theatre Collective, “The Power of Grace,” which was created in partnership with Grace House, a home for women exiting the Illinois prison system.

CWIP past board chair Maricar Ramos updated the audience on the association’s work in the areas of racial equity and social justice, which has been a programmatic focus for the last year and a half. CWIP has presented two events to educate and support those working toward racial equity and social justice, as well as a training for its board. One more event is being planned for this year, Ramos said.

 

Click here to see pictures from 2018's Annual Luncheon

 

 


 

Notes and Review from the 2017 CWIP Annual Luncheon provided by Anne Zender

“Build Bridges and Throw Down Ropes”

“When women wake, mountains move,” is one of Elizabeth Dozier’s favorite quotes. Dozier, Chicago Women in Philanthropy’s Making a Difference honoree, cited that quote during her keynote speech at CWIP’s Annual Luncheon on March 2. 

Dozier is managing director of Chicago Beyond, a privately held organization that seeks to create opportunity and access for Chicago’s young people. The group invests in and analyzes ideas and programs to address youth violence and educational attainment. 

Dozier is a former Fenger Academy High School Principal who was featured on the 2014 CNN documentary series “Chicagoland.” She told the story of a student who was shot in the head during her time at Fenger. From that experience, she learned “to realize that every moment is precious, we never know when people will be there and when they won’t…Treat people with dignity, humanity, decency, even when it is hard.”

She said Chicago Beyond is particularly interested in organizations that “are getting to the very core of what we are trying to disrupt.” The CWIP luncheon featured a performance by Changing Voices, a program that serves court-involved juveniles and young adults. In 2016, Changing Voices was one of three winners in Chicago Beyond’s first-ever innovation challenge. 

Dozier urged her listeners to “look more to see the potential in those who exist on the perimeters of Chicago. How are we building bridges and throwing down ropes?” She urged the audience to “see people not as caterpillars but as butterflies. It is incumbent that we unleash that ability within ourselves.” 

“Our collective liberation is bound together one to another,” Dozier said. “We are all connected. You can believe you can’t change the things you don’t like, but the day you see that for a lie is the day your world opens up.” 

The luncheon also featured remarks by Lindrea Reynolds, mentee participant in CWIP’s Women’s Leadership Mentoring Program and marketing manager for After School Matters, and Sandra Abrevaya, president and chief impact officer at Thrive Chicago, a citywide collective impact initiative.

Click here to see pictures from 2017's Annual Luncheon

 

In the years past, the following prestigious women have been honored for their contribution to philanthropy in Chicago:

    • 2018 - Grace Hou, President, Woods Fund Chicago
    • 2017 - Elizabeth Dozier, Managing Director, Chicago Beyond
    • 2016 - Evelyn Diaz, President, Heartland Alliance
    • 2015 - Dr. Melissa Gilliam, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Pediatrics and Chief of Family Planning at the University of Chicago, 2015
    • 2014 - Julia Stasch, Vice President of U.S. Programs, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
    • 2013 - Maria S. Pesqueira, President & CEO of Mujeres Latinas en Acción, 2013
    • 2012 - Aurie Pennick, Executive Director and Treasure of the Field Foundation of Illinois, 2012
    • 2010 - Adele Simmons, Metropolis 
    • 2009 - Amina Dickerson, Kraft Foods
    • 2008 - Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company (previously President of Peoples Gas)
    • 2007 - Anna Roosevelt, Boeing Company
    • 2006 - Gigi Pritzker
 

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