Lori Lightfoot

Senior Consultant, Forensic Practices Group

Charles River Associates

Lori Lightfoot served as the 56th mayor of Chicago, making history as the city’s first African American female mayor and first member of the LGBTQ+ community to ever serve as mayor of the city.

During her term as mayor, which ended May 15, 2023, Lightfoot led a coordinated, citywide response across government, business, and community organizations to safeguard public health and minimize economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lightfoot Administration’s pandemic response also included the most equitable testing and vaccine distribution system in the country. Among other steps, she created a Racial Equity Rapid Response Team, a collaboration between government and community leaders, to address the adverse impacts of COVID -19 on residents of color. Lightfoot also convened the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force which produced the first in the nation economic and social/emotional recovery plan for Chicagoland, and Chicago became the first big city to safely open following the height of the pandemic.

Lightfoot also championed generating inclusive economic growth across the city’s neighborhoods and specifically those that had historically suffered from decades of disinvestment. Through her signature economic development plan, Invest South/West, the Lightfoot Administration partnered with the private sector and philanthropy to invest approximately $3 billion dollars into Black and brown neighborhoods on the city’s south and west sides. Lightfoot’s administration also led many wealth building initiatives for Chicago residents which freed them from tens of millions of dollars in city debt. In August of 2021, Lightfoot secured a $15 minimum wage for most workers in Chicago, including domestic workers, years ahead of the state’s planned phase-in of a living wage.

Her accomplishments also include landmark ethics and good governance reforms, worker protection legislation, and historic investments in youth, education, public safety, and the environment.

Lightfoot is a lawyer by training and graduated from the University of Chicago Law School. She practiced law for many years at Mayer Brown LLP in the litigation and conflict resolution group. Lightfoot also served as an Assistant United States Attorney here in the Northern District of Illinois. Lightfoot is also a proud undergraduate alumna of the University of Michigan from which she graduated with honors.

Before taking office as mayor, Lightfoot also held several other leadership roles in city government both as an employee and an appointee, including a number of roles addressing police reform and accountability, emergency management and procurement.

More recently, Lightfoot taught a graduate level leadership class at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health as a Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow. She is a contributor to the Harvard Public Health Magazine. Lightfoot was also recently a Fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

Lightfoot is a founder of Chicago Vibrant Communities Collective, a not-for-profit focused on strengthening Chicago neighborhoods through investing in community-based, social impact organizations in historically disinvested in communities.

Lightfoot has also recently joined the global consulting firm, Charles River Associates, as a Senior Consultant in the Forensic Practices group. Lightfoot is based in the Chicago office.

The Chicago Network