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Kate Bensen Named President, CEO of The Chicago Network
Promotion reflects achievements as Executive Director
October 25, 2013 – Kate Bensen, who has been Executive Director of The Chicago Network since 2010, has been promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer by the Board of Directors. “The Board is thrilled to name Kate to this newly-created position,” said Suzanne Bettman, Chair of The Chicago Network and Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer at R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company. “This appointment recognizes the significant gains in growth, awareness, and influence The Chicago Network has achieved under her leadership.”
Over the past three years, Bensen has spearheaded a number of important initiatives, including overseeing development of a new strategic plan and co-branding with Deloitte the annual Chicago Network Census of women in key leadership positions – board members, executive officers and top earners – at Chicago’s top 50 public companies. Under Bensen's leadership, The Network, Chicago's premier organization of senior-level professional women, also has introduced new branding, a new website, innovative new technology, and new programming. At the annual Women in the Forefront Luncheon, a signature event which has drawn record crowds over the past several years, The Network launched a mobile app allowing attendees to network, provide feedback and tweet. Next year’s conference will be preceded by a conference for emerging women leaders, and, in 2014, the Network will pilot a job shadowing program for first generation women college students to expose them to career possibilities in several industries well represented by employers in Chicago.
Before being named Executive Director of The Network in April, 2010, Bensen had more than 20 years’ experience in leadership positions in the nonprofit and legal sectors. She led the nonprofit capacity building practice for Conlon Public Strategies, and practiced law at Schiff Hardin LLP, one of Chicago’s leading law firms, serving as a partner in the firm’s Finance and Public Finance Groups, where she structured and managed complex, multi-party financing projects.
Bensen is involved with many civic and philanthropic organizations. She recently was appointed a director of eighth blackbird, a leading contemporary classical chamber music ensemble, and serves as a director of the Fortnightly of Chicago. She is a member of the Economic Club, Executives’ Club, Chicago Finance Exchange (Past President), International Women’s Forum, Emergency Fund Honorary Council, Women’s Board of the University of Chicago (Past Chair) and the Arts Club of Chicago. She also serves on the President’s Advisory Council for St. Xavier University and Governors State University. In 2008 she received the University of Chicago’s Alumni Service Medal for her work in securing an Alumni House for the University.
Bensen received her AB in economics from the University of Chicago and her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
About The Chicago Network:
The Chicago Network (thechicagonetwork.org) is an organization of Chicago’s most distinguished professional women. Founded in 1979, TCN creates empowering relationships for women leaders that enable its members to increase their impact on their organizations and the community at large through peer networking, mutual support and issue awareness. Our more than 400 members are the leading women of Chicago’s business, professional, cultural, nonprofit and educational communities.