The 2021 Women of Excellence honorees were inducted and celebrated Friday evening in a virtual ceremony on the Chicago Defender’s Facebook page. Normally, the Women of Excellence awards are held in person and attract over 1000 attendees however, this year’s event was virtual due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Hosted by, special correspondent, Kenneth Sean Daly the virtual ceremony featured tributes and special acknowledgments to each of the nominees. The 14th annual Women of Excellence awards celebrate women who have demonstrated vision and leadership.
Through exceptional achievements and community service, the 2021 Women of Excellence represent champions of economic empowerment, entrepreneurs, diversity, politics, faith, and the educational community. President of the 2021 class of Women of Excellence nominees, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, said, “As the 1st black president to serve as Chicago’s mayor, one of my highest priorities has been to uplift the voices of and put a seat at the table for those who come from historically unrepresented backgrounds. To me, making this effort is essential to being a Woman of Excellence.”
Honored posthumously was comedian, Erica Faye Watson. Erika was remembered for her life, her legacy, and for touching the hearts of so many in Chicago. Please see the complete list of 2021 Women of Excellence nominees below:
Now in its 14th year, the Chicago Defender recognizes black women for their contributions to their communities and for their excellence in their respective professions. The 2021 Class join an elite group of influential and inspirational women positively affecting their communities through their leadership.
Danielle Sanders is a journalist and writer living in Chicago. Find her on Twitter @DanieSanders20.