Sheila Johnson, Michele C. Meyer-Shipp, Shawna Thomas
Sheila Johnson is Founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts. As Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Ms. Johnson is the only African American woman to have ownership in three professional sports teams. In 2016, she lead the formation of WE Capital, a venture capital consortium to support and invest in female-led enterprises. She served on the board of the Greater Washington Partnership (GWP), which seeks to strengthen the region’s position as a center for commerce and innovation. Currently, she is Co-Chair of GWP’s Inclusive Growth Council. Ms. Johnson serves as chairman of the College of Performing Arts and Board member of The New School in New York. The Sheila Johnson Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School supported 50 fellows. She is a board member of the Metropolitan Opera, Jackie Robinson Foundation, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the NeuroArts Blueprint: Advancing the Science of Arts, Health, and Well-Being Advisory Board. Ms. Johnson has long been influential in the entertainment industry, starting with her work as co-founder of Black Entertainment Television. She has served as executive producer of documentary and feature films and is founder and chair of the Middleburg Film Festival.
Michele C. Meyer-Shipp leads Dress for Success Worldwide’s 144 affiliates in 23 countries on its mission to help women achieve economic independence. She previously served as Chief People & Culture Officer for Major League Baseball, and a senior advisor to the Commissioner and leaders across 30 major league baseball teams and multiple Minor League teams. Ms. Meyer-Shipp was Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at KPMG LLP, Global Chief Diversity Officer for Prudential Financial, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. She spent the first decade of her career practicing employment law in both the private and public sectors, where she advised clients on optimizing talent and implementing equitable workplace initiatives. Ms. Meyer-Shipp served as a Yahoo! Finance News Contributor and been featured in top media outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, The Economist, Forbes, Fortune, Business Insider, and more. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Network Journal’s “25 Influential Black Women in Business” (2021), Core Magazine’s “100 Most Influential Blacks Today” (2021), Black Enterprise’s “Portraits of Power” (2020) and Business Insider’s “38 Power Players of Consulting” (2020).
Shawna Thomas is the Executive Producer of CBS Mornings. Before this position, she was a Content Development Executive for Quibi. Ms. Thomas also spent time as an on-air political contributor for MSNBC and NBC News. Previously she served as Washington, DC Bureau Chief for VICE News and oversaw politics and DC-based policy coverage for VICE News Tonight on HBO, winning an Emmy for the show’s coverage of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing where Christine Blasey Ford testified. Ms. Thomas was also a senior producer on VICE News Tonight’s “Charlottesville: Race and Terror.” As a correspondent for VICE News Tonight, Ms. Thomas covered President Trump and Kim Jong Un’s summit in Singapore and the Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki. She has interviewed a number of the biggest newsmakers of the day, including South Carolina Senator Tim Scott after the unrest in Charlottesville. Before opening VICE News’ DC Bureau, Ms. Thomas served as senior producer and senior digital editor of NBC’s Meet the Press. While at NBC, she also covered the White House, Capitol Hill, helped plan NBC’s Decision 2008 coverage and reported on the detainee trials in Guantanamo Bay. Ms. Thomas’ work has been widely celebrated with four Emmy wins, a Peabody Award, a Gracie Award, two Scripps Howard Awards and more.
Jaime Faulkner with Special Guests Kendall Coyne Schofield and Dionne Miller
Jaime Faulkner was named President of Business Operations for the Chicago Blackhawks on December 16, 2020. Her bold leadership, passion for analytics and customer-focused strategy have positioned her to be one of the brightest leaders in the industry. For her impact on the industry and development of her team, in 2015, Jaime was named one of Sports Business Journal’s Women Game Changers, and she was also named to their 40 Under 40 list in 2016. In 2019, she was named one of SBJ’s Sports Power Players of the year, and the following year, she was recognized by VenuesNow as an industry All-Star. She currently serves on the board of directors for both ASM Global and VenueNext.
Kendall Coyne Schofield
Player Development Coach and Youth Hockey Growth Specialist
Sports Reporter and Anchor, ABC7 Chicago
Carla Hayden & Cathy Engelbert
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert featured as our keynote speakers at the first virtual, two part Women In The Forefront event in the history of the luncheon.
The first woman and first African American to lead the national library, Dr. Carla Hayden was nominated to the lifetime position by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016, and she was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016. She began her career with the Chicago Public Library as the young adult service coordinator from 1979 to 1982 and as a library associate and children’s librarian from 1973 to 1979. Dr. hayden became Deputy Commissioner and Chief Librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1991 to 1993. She served as president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004. Prior to her latest post, from 1993 to 2016, she was CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1995, she was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library.
The first-ever Commissioner of the WNBA, Cathy Engelbert is responsible for setting the WNBA’s vision and overseeing the league’s day-to-day business and basketball operations. Previously, Engelbert was the first female CEO of Deloitte from 2015 – 2019, where she led more than 100,000 professionals. A strong supporter of diversity and inclusion, Engelbert was the first woman to serve as chair of the Catalyst Board. A veteran of the Fortune Most Powerful Women stage, Engelbert was listed as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women for four consecutive years. She is ranked on Glassdoor’s annual Employees’ Choice Awards honoring the 100 Highest-Rated CEOs, among Crain’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York and just recently, was selected as one of Crain’s Notable Women in the Business of Sports.
Gail K. Boudreaux, Mary N. Dillon, & Christine A. Leahy
The Chicago Network’s 30th annual Women in The Forefront Luncheon featured three speakers who gave aspiring women leaders and accomplished women leaders alike advice and insight in a conversational, unmoderated format.
Gail K. Boudreaux—President and Chief Executive Officer, Anthem, Inc.:
Since joining Anthem in 2017, Gail Boudreaux has been focused on improving lives, simplifying health care and being the most innovative, valuable and inclusive health care partner. Named #12 on Forbes World’s Most Powerful Women 2018 list, Gail has been a member of The Chicago Network since 2004.
Mary N. Dillon—Chief Executive Officer, Ulta Beauty:
As CEO of Ulta Beauty since 2013, Mary Dillon and her team have doubled the company’s revenues and vaulted Ulta Beauty to the Fortune 500. She leads through the lens of culture and brings her passion for leveraging consumer insights and the perspectives of her diverse team to build brand engagement. In 2018, Mary was named Fortune’s #9 Business Person of the Year. She has been a member of The Chicago Network since 2010.
Christine A. Leahy—Chief Executive Officer, CDW:
Chris is a 17-year veteran of CDW, a Fortune 200 company, and assumed the CEO role in January 2019. CDW advises, deploys, and manages IT solutions to help organizations achieve their goals and accelerate success through technology. CDW benefits from strong female leadership across its executive team (40% female) and board of directors (30% female). Chris has been a member of The Chicago Network since 2008.
The Chicago Network featured Jane Pauley as the keynote speaker at the 29th Annual Women in the Forefront Luncheon on April 20, 2018. Jane was in conversation with her former colleague, Carol Marin, Political Editor, NBC5 Chicago and Director, DePaul University Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, College of Communication.
On April 15, 2016, Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson spoke with Kellogg School of Management Dean Sally Blount. The theme of taking control – of your career path, your financial future, and diversity in the workplace – was central to a wide-ranging conversation between the two members of The Chicago Network.
On April 13, 2015, The Chicago Network featured Maurice Lévy, Chairman & CEO of media powerhouse Publicis Groupe in conversation with Dana Anderson, Chief Marketing Officer of Mondelēz International. They discussed leading by example – the number of women in leadership positions will not materially change without commitment from management at the top, who are often men.
On Monday, April 28th, Arianna Huffington urged the crowd that it was time to redefine the meaning of success – a metric that was “designed by men.” How to define success was the central theme of the luncheon.
Ilene Gordon, Chairman, President and CEO of Ingredion Incorporated (formerly Corn Products International) speaks to The Chicago Network and guests at the Women in the Forefront Luncheon on April 19, 2013.
Chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods, Inc. Irene Rosenfeld speaks to guests of The Chicago Network’s 23rd WIFL event on work-life harmony and her tips to the top on April 27, 2012.
ABC World News Anchor Diane Sawyer in conversation with ABC-7 Chicago co-anchor Kathy Brock at The Chicago Network’s WIFL event on April 7, 2011.
The Minow Sisters
Martha Minow, Professor at Harvard Law School, Mary Minow, attorney and adjunct professor at San Jose University Library of Information Science, and Nell Minow, editor of thecorporatelibrary.com sit on a panel moderated by Linda Wertheimer, Senior Host for WBEZ’s show, All Things Considered, for The Chicago Network’s 12th Annual Women in the Forefront Luncheon on June 6, 2001.
Patricia Aburdene and John Naisbitt
Authors and futurists, Patricia Aburdene and John Naisbitt, addressed The Chicago Network members and guests at the 4th Annual Women in the Forefront Luncheon on October 13, 1992.