How We Began
“We are calling together women distinguished by their achievements in business, the arts, the professions, government and academia…” read the letter mailed the summer of 1979 inviting 113 exceptional Chicago women to the first meeting of what became The Chicago Network.
Ninety-seven women accepted the invitation to meet for the first time. The Chicago Network was off and running. During the early years, members forged friendships, supported each other in professional and community work, gathered at dinner meetings and networked, networked, networked. Open to each other’s thinking and apolitical. Empowering each other to lead.
40 Years Later
Today, our members—now more than 500 of the city’s most senior women leaders—still do this. Corporate executives, entrepreneurs, leaders at professional and financial service firms, heads of cultural institutions, universities and major law firms, art conservators, scientists, musicians, architects, and chefs, supporting each other but also looking toward the horizon with a focus on our city’s future women leaders. We empower women to lead. This is our purpose.
We are intentional about bringing our purpose to life and creating ongoing opportunities for Chicago Network members to connect with and mentor early-career Millennial women. We partner with area universities and host day-long leadership exposures at TCN member organizations as part of our Future Leaders Program. We hold Ask Me Anything sessions, allowing aspiring leaders to gain insights and lessons learned from Chicago Network members. We host an annual Women in STEM series featuring leading female scientists from across our city’s institutions who share professional expertise and life experiences with young women interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. And, in partnership with the Executives’ Club of Chicago, our Executive Women’s Mentorship Initiative pairs 25 mentees with Chicago Network mentors annually.
We will continue to create programming and resources to support the women’s leadership community here in Chicago—past, present and future. We will continue to use our voice and influence for the betterment of our city’s women leaders. We invite you to work together with us as we empower women to lead.