‘Chicago Defender’ Women of Excellence at Hyatt Regency Chicago – today

The Chicago Defender annually recognizes high achieving women of color for their contributions to the quality of life in and beyond the city limits of Chicago. From doctors to senators and artists to lieutenant governors – they encourage and inspire. Color them bosses … they insist on living their best lives and supporting others in their efforts to do the same.

These exceptional honorees make their mark daily and are tangible success stories, accomplished and unparalleled in business, civic involvement, and philanthropy. The Honorable Toi W. Hutchinson a political powerbroker admired for her ethics joins WOE honorees this year, as well as Patrice A. Harris, the first woman African American president of the American Medical Association.

The scope covered by the 50 women in the Class of 2019 ranges from educational development in Southland to increasing diversity in C-Suites, these bosses are moving the needle in community and cultural development.

“Each year in character, in manner, and in style; the Chicago Defender celebrates phenomenal women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, unwavering conviction, and extraordinary grace,” said Hiram E. Jackson, president and CEO of Real Times Media and publisher of the Chicago Defender. “In grand fashion, we will honor these inspirational women at our Women of Excellence event on Friday, May 3.”

The 2019 Class of Chicago Women of Excellence will join an elite group of uncompromising influencers and honor these inspirational women at the Chicago Women of Excellence event on Friday, Nov. 15, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago Regency Ballroom.

Tables, tickets and sponsorship packages to Women of Excellence are available now. For more information, on tables and sponsorship packages, please call 312-225-2400.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Hyatt Regency Chicago
Grand Ballroom

2019 Women of Excellence
Induction Ceremony 6pm-9pm


Alaina M. Anderson, CFA, Partner & Portfolio Manager, William Blair
D’Andrea M. Anderson, Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Chase
L. Marie Asad, Community Relations Coordinator, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois
Kyra D. Barnes, DDS Senior Dentist & Owner, Barnes Walton Dental Associates
Nichole Barnes Marshall, Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Limited Brands
DeShunn O’Shea Bray, President, Blue Code Specialized Security Services
Shelly Burke, Esq., Senior Counsel, Director Community Engagement & Diversity Compliance, Sterling Bay
Ramona Burress, Senior Medical Science Liaison, Jansen Pharmaceuticals
Monica Christmas, MD. Director of Menopause Program, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Chicago Medical Center
Hon. Melissa Conyears-Ervin, Treasurer, City of Chicago
Helen Crawley-Austin, Founder & CEO, Beyond Consulting Solutions
Danyele L. Cheatham Davis, Senior Vice President, Flowers Communications Group
Blondean Y. Davis, PhD, Founder & CEO, Southland College Prep Charter High School
Leslie J. Drish, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago
Lakshmi Emory, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Director, Illinicare Health
Julie Felix, Assistant Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion, Human Resources Mesirow Financial
Melissa Ford, Chief Human Resources Officer Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
LeShem Kates-Graham, President, Kates Security & Detective Services, Inc.
Tasha Green Cruzat, President, Voices for Illinois Children
Patrice Harris, MD, President, American Medical Association
Nicole L. Harvey, Director of Constituency Development Program & Operations, Office of Congressman Danny K. Davis 7th District
Astin Hayes, Key Account Manager, Remy Cointreau USA
Petrina Haynes, Assistant Principal, Chicago Public Schools
Tammy Hicks, PhD, Founder, Chicago “300” Black Women
Hon. Toi W. Hutchinson, Senator, State of Illinois
LaVon M. Johns, Attorney Partner, Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A.
Michelle Mason, President and CEO, Association Forum
Natalie E. Mason, Media Operations Manager, ABC 7 Chicago
Nannette McCullough, Agent, American Family Insurance
LaTanya D. McDade, Chief Education Officer, Chicago Public Schools
Meagan McNeal, Entrepreneur/Vocalist
Jamell Meeks, Director of Women’s Ministry, Salem Baptist Church
Annette Nance-Holt, 1st Deputy Commissioner, Chicago Fire Department
Michele Paino, Owner, Divinity Luxe Beauty Bar
Karilyn Palmer-Paschal, University Development Counselor, Grand Canyon University
Angel Perez, External Affairs Director, ComEd
Nadia M. Quarles, Esq., Assistant Vice President of Business Diversity, University of Chicago
Rev. Gloria J. Randolph, Founder & Executive Director, Giving God the Glory Ministries, Inc.
Toi Salter, President, Salter Financial Management
Nakia L. Samuels, SVP of Operations, Chicagoland Fat Loss Camps
Hon. Juliana Stratton, Lieutenant Governor, State of Illinois
Phyllis J. Swain, Engineer III Small Cells Network, Verizon Wireless
Dorothy Tucker, Investigative News Reporter, CBS 2 Chicago
Debra Vines, Founder/Executive Director, The Answer Inc. Autism Awareness & Support Agency
Katrina Waddy, Director of Communications, One Chicago Fund
Davina Ward, Lieutenant of Police, Chicago Police Department
Sarah L. Ware, Principal and Managing Broker, Ware Realty Group LLC.
Marquisha Washington, Owner, Sultry Steps Boutique
Charise Williams, Director of External Affairs, Chicago Federation of Labor


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