Flourish Conference Agenda 2017

Friday: 8:30am – 4:30pm

8:30a – 9:00a Registration and Breakfast

9:00a – 09:15 Opening Ceremony

Morning Keynote: Women in Leadership: The Aspiration vs. The Reality.

The Science of Flourishing: Exploring the Six Dimensions of Flourishing and the trends and insights regarding the impact of women in leadership.

9:45a – 11:45 Executive Fireside Chat: Intimate discussions in assigned small groups with the top executives and entrepreneurs in their industries. This is a unique element of the Flourish Conference Day.

11:45a – 12:00p Break

12:00p – 1:30p Luncheon Keynote and Flourish Awards Ceremony: Flourish Keynote Conversation: How Women Lead in Dynamic Environments. We also recognize the Flourish Executive of the Year and Flourish Entrepreneur of the Year.

1:30p – 3:00p The Art of Flourishing: Women will either join the Flourish Forward group for those who have participated in Flourish to design their 3-year plans, or first-time participants join together to understand the domains of flourishing.

Collaborative exercises. Career and Work-Life Assessments. Continuing through Flourish 100-Day Action Plans™ while working with Executive Coaches and Flourish Accountability Partners.

3:00 – 3:15 Break

3:15 – 4:30 The Mastery of Flourishing: Leveraging insights learned throughout the day for positive impact in the future. Participants strategize their top three (3) professional and personal priorities – and the impact these will have on their lives over next 100 days.

Participants will be scheduled to record a customized Flourish Letter-to-Self stating what they commit to accomplish in the next 100 days.

4:15 Closing Ceremony 

4:30 – 6:00p VIP Champagne Toast: Featuring special guests, champagne and appetizers and a Flourish Spa Experience (makeovers, massages and mingling).


Welcome to Flourish Chicago!

We know that when women flourish, we change the world….Well, this will be the resounding mantra of the powerful women executives who gather at the Radisson Blu Aqua on September 22 for the Flourish Conference for Women in Leadership. Women leaders from public, private and nonprofit sectors will join forces to learn the art and science of flourishing, helping them attain the highest levels of excellence in their careers, businesses and lives.

Each conference is focused on the region it serves. Flourish Chicago is focused on issues related to the advancement of women in the Windy City, and the surrounding area.

We are so excited to bring Flourish Conference for Women in Leadership to the great city of Chicago! According Forbes (2012), Chicago ranks 3rd in Top Cities for Women in Business.

In fact, Chicago has a fabulous ecosystem for women leaders. According to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015, the number of female entrepreneurs is now significantly higher than in previous years. It is still lower than the number of men starting new businesses. In 2012, approximately 12 percent of global startups had a female founder and this increased to 18 percent in 2015.

When it comes to the top global cities for female entrepreneurs, four of the top ten are in the United States. Chicago grabs top spot with women accounting for 30 percent of new startups.

The Facts about Flourishing Women Leaders:

You are a leader who values the advancement of women – for your organization’s culture, its brand, and importantly, its bottom line. You’re in great company, recent research suggests that when examining the financial returns of companies with three or more women on the board, those companies outperform companies with homogenous boards by 60 percent in return on invested capital, 84 percent in return on sales, and 60 percent in return on equity.

About Chicago

Chicago has the third largest gross metropolitan product in the United States—about $630.3 billion according to 2014-2016 estimates.[9] The city has also been rated as having the most balanced economy in the United States, due to its high level of diversification.[137] Chicago was named the fourth most important business center in the world in the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index.[138]Additionally, the Chicago metropolitan area recorded the greatest number of new or expanded corporate facilities in the United States for calendar year 2014.[139] The Chicago metropolitan area has the third largest science and engineering work force of any metropolitan area in the nation.[140] In 2009 Chicago placed 9th on the UBS list of the world’s richest cities.[141] Chicago was the base of commercial operations for industrialists John CrerarJohn Whitfield BunnRichard Teller CraneMarshall FieldJohn FarwellJulius Rosenwald and many other commercial visionaries who laid the foundation for Midwestern and global industry.

Chicago is a major world financial center, with the second largest central business district in the United States.[citation needed] The city is the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (the Seventh District of the Federal Reserve). The city has major financial and futures exchanges, including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the “Merc”), which is owned, along with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) by Chicago’s CME Group. The CME Group, in addition, owns the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the Commodities Exchange Inc. (COMEX) and the Dow Jones Indexes.[142] Perhaps due to the influence of the Chicago school of economics, the city also has markets trading unusual contracts such as emissions (on the Chicago Climate Exchange) andequity style indices (on the U.S. Futures Exchange). Chase Bank has its commercial and retail banking headquarters in Chicago’s Chase Tower.[143]

The city and its surrounding metropolitan area contain the third largest labor pool in the United States with about 4.48 million workers, as of 2014.[144] In addition, the state of Illinois is home to 66 Fortune 1000 companies, including those in Chicago.[145] The city of Chicago also hosts 12 Fortune Global 500 companies and 17 Financial Times 500 companies. The city claims one Dow 30 company: aerospace giant Boeing, which moved its headquarters from Seattle to the Chicago Loop in 2001.[146][147] Two more Dow 30 companies, Kraft Foods and McDonald’s are in the Chicago suburbs, as are Sears Holdings Corporation and the technology spin-offs of Motorola. The headquarters of United Continental Holdings, are in the United Building and its operations center and its United Airlines subsidiary are in the Willis Tower in Chicago. In June 2016, McDonald’sconfirmed plans to move its global headquarters to Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood by early 2018.[148]

2020 Conference Speakers

Ken Bouyer

Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting

Ernst & Young

Anita Padilla


Fox 32 News Chicago

The Honorable Bridget Gainer

Cook County 10th District Commissioner, and VP Global Public Affairs

Aon Corporation

Jenny Fortner

Managing Director

Goldman Sachs & Co., Chicago

Dr. Nivine Megahed


National Louis University

Michele C. Meyer-Shipp

Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President

Prudential Financial, Inc.

Kathleen M. Buck Holst



Carina E. Sánchez

Executive Director

Public Building Commission of Chicago

Heather Fine

Managing Director

Major, Lindsey & Africa

2020 Co-Chairs

Tasha Ransom

Associate Producer

Fox 32 Chicago

Rashada Whitehead

President & Chief Transformation Officer


Olga Camargo, AIF®

Managing Partner

TOROSO Investments LLC

Jennifer Mason

Vice-Chancellor for Legislative and Community Affairs

City Colleges of Chicago

Frenchye M. Bush Harris

Public Relations Manager

Neiman Marcus

Michele Howell

Vice President


Dawnyell Bowen

Executive Advertising and Marketing Leader

Dawnyell Bowen, LLC

Alicia T. Vega

Executive Director

Changing Worlds

Ken Bouyer

Title: Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting

Company Ernst & Young

As EY Americas Director of Inclusiveness, Ken is responsible for developing and implementing the global EY organization’s recruiting strategy to build diverse and inclusive talent pools for member firms in the Americas. Fostering an inclusive work culture where all individuals are valued for their differences and can achieve their full potential is a global priority for EY. Ken frequently serves as an EY industry spokesperson on both diversity and recruiting trends at a range of events and with leading media outlets.

Prior to his current role, Ken was a Director in the firm’s Advisory Services practice and continues to serve the firm’s clients today. Ken currently serves as the Chairman of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) National Commission on Diversity & Inclusion and the Chairman of the Audit Committee for the American Accounting Association. He also serves on North Carolina A&T’s Dean’s Advisory Council, Arizona State University’s Accounting Advisory Board and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Corporate Advisory Partners, as well as several national Corporate Advisory Boards.

Ken has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York and is a Certified Internal Auditor.

Anita Padilla

Title: Reporter

Company Fox 32 News Chicago

Anita Padilla is an Hispanic-American television journalist best known as an anchor reporting on stories that impact the lives of Chicagoans. As a field reporter for the early morning news on Fox 32 Chicago, she is excellent at performing breaking news and handling 40 live shots each week with new nuggets of information for every hit. In addition to writing anchor leads, teasers and live reports, she also writes reports for the web.

Anita began her journalism career in radio at WXLC/WKRS in Waukegan as an anchor and at Shadow Traffic where she was a traffic editor. She was also a full-time intern for broadcaster Bill Kurtis at WBBM TV, Channel 2 before she headed to the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa where she served as a general assignment reporter at WHBF-TV. Anita then headed to Orlando, Florida where she ran a news bureau and was a reporter. Finally, before coming back home to Chicago, Anita worked as a reporter in New York for WNYW-TV/FOX 5. Upon her return to the Chicago market, Anita worked at WMAQ Channel 5 as an anchor and reporter for 10 years before returning to the FOX Network at WFLD 32 as a general assignment reporter, and then most recently as a part of their FOX Good Day Chicago Morning News Team.

Anita has won two Emmy Awards during her career. Her first came in 1995 while she was in Florida and was awarded for her Breaking News Coverage of an armed robbery and carjacking in Orlando by a murderer, with Anita being the first reporter to go on air with the story. Five years later she earned another Emmy in 2000 for her role in a New Year’s Eve Millennium celebration while at WMAQ Channel 5 in Chicago.

Anita received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

The Honorable Bridget Gainer

Title: Cook County 10th District Commissioner, and VP Global Public Affairs

Company Aon Corporation

Bridget Gainer brings a unique perspective to civic life with over 25 years of experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. She is the Vice President of Global Public Affairs for Aon and a Commissioner on the Cook County Board. Her career at Aon has spanned finance and strategy. Most recently, Bridget has led the effort to bring apprenticeships to the financial services sector through the launch of Aon’s Chicago Apprenticeship Program. In January 2017, Aon partnered with Chicago City Colleges to hire 26 young men and women from neighborhoods across the city as apprentices in Aon’s Chicago office, where they receive a competitive salary and on-the-job training.

Bridget was elected to the Cook County Board in 2010 and has brought both finance credentials and a strong commitment to Chicago to lead on several fronts. Bridget’s first act as a County Commissioner was to create the Cook County Pension Committee. As Chairman, Bridget has led the charge to find a pension reform solution that was fair to both taxpayers and the workforce. She also started and Chairs the Cook County Land bank, the region’s most comprehensive response to the foreclosure crisis. The land bank is a social enterprise with 400 homes in development and works with over 100 community-based developers.

A native of Chicago, Bridget lives in Chicago with her husband and three children. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana and has an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She serves on the board of the Big Shoulders Fund and the Archdiocese of Chicago school board. Most recently, and with the support of United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Bridget launched a Chicago chapter of Off the Sidelines here in Chicago to encourage more women to ‘take their ideas to action.’ She has quickly grown the organization to 2,500 members.

Jenny Fortner

Title: Managing Director

Company Goldman Sachs & Co., Chicago

Jenny is a Managing Director in the Investment Management Division (IMD) of Goldman Sachs in Chicago. She and her team specialize in advising high net worth families, privately held business owners, and foundations on holistic wealth planning.

Jenny joined Goldman Sachs in 1998. Prior to joining the firm, she worked at a brokerage firm where she traded futures, options, and commodities. She graduated with Phi Beta Kappa Honors from The University of Chicago. In the community, she is Vice Chair of Special Olympics Illinois, a Board Member of Special Olympics Illinois Foundation, a Board Member of Big Shoulders, an Advisory Board Member for Arzu, a member of The University of Chicago’s Women’s Board and a past member of the Visiting Committee for the
University of Chicago.

In 2008, Jenny won the Highest Leaf Award for leadership and entrepreneurship from the Women’s Venture Fund. Jenny is also the co-head of the Goldman Sachs Chicago Diversity Network, founder and past co-chair of the Goldman Sachs Chicago Women’s Network, steering committee member for the Goldman Sachs Firmwide Women’s Network, and divisional recruiting Team Captain for the Booth School of Business.

Dr. Nivine Megahed

Title: President

Company National Louis University

Dr. Megahed has worked in higher education for over twenty years.  She has served as a faculty member, a dean, and a president. In addition, she has overseen the administration of operations of multiple campuses for a number of proprietary institutions.   Megahed has demonstrated a track-record of success relative to institutional growth and development.  Her passion is building student centered organizations focused on student success and empowering our most underserved to achieve social and economic mobility through education.

Since 2010, Megahed has served as the 11th president of National Louis University, a 130 year old institution recognized for its leadership in professional preparation, most notably teacher preparation, and for its commitment to closing the post-secondary attainment gap through innovative cost effective scalable models of education.   Prior to this role, she served as President of Kendall College in Chicago.

Dr. Nivine Megahed earned her bachelor degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1981, graduating summa cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  Her master and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology were earned at the University of Rochester in 1984 and 1987 respectively.

Megahed has been sought out internationally to present on issues related to the democratization of education, women in leadership, innovation in education and closing the achievement gap.  She has also consulted internationally on program development.  Currently, Megahed sits on the board of Tricoci University, The Partnership for College Completion, the Association of Urban School Leadership (AUSL), and New York Kids Club.  She is a member of The Economic Club of Chicago and The Commercial Club of Chicago.

In addition to her passion for higher education, Megahed enjoys time sailing, kayaking, reading, and watching movies, and spending time with her husband and dog, Chubaka.

Michele C. Meyer-Shipp

Title: Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President

Company Prudential Financial, Inc.

Michele C. Meyer-Shipp has been Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President at Prudential Financial, Inc. since October 2012. Ms. Meyer-Shipp is responsible for leading and directing all diversity and inclusion initiatives and for ensuring ongoing compliance with federal and state equal employment opportunity/affirmative action laws and requirements. She has a unique blend of experience in the diversity and inclusion and EEO/affirmative action space, as well as a recognized passion for work. Ms. Meyer-Shipp joined Prudential in April 2010 as Vice President and Counsel in the Employment and Labor Law Group, where she provided legal advice, counsel, training and investigative support to several lines of business on a variety of employment and human resources related matters. Prior to Prudential, Ms. Meyer-Shipp served as General Counsel of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. She served four years at Merrill Lynch. She led the diversity and inclusion efforts of the Global Wealth Management business. Ms. Meyer-Shipp has been a Director of GLSEN, Inc. since May 2013. She served as Director of the State of New Jersey’s Division of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action. Ms. Meyer-Shipp was in private practice with the law firms of Collier, Jacob & Mills, P.C. and Lowenstein, Sandler, P.C. in Roseland, N.J. She also served as an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall University School of Law. She served as Law Clerk to the Honorable James H. Coleman, Jr. of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Ms. Meyer-Shipp is an active Member of several professional associations including the Association of Corporate Counsel, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Corporate Counsel Women of Color, National Employment Law Council Conference, and Society for Human Resource Management. She was honored as one of the “Most Powerful & Influential Women of the Tri-State Area” by The Tri-State Diversity Council. Ms. Meyer-Shipp graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1995.

Kathleen M. Buck Holst

Title: President/CEO

Company RCMS, LLC

Kathleen M. Buck Holst (Kathi) is the President/CEO of RCMS, LLC, a firm specializing in providing consulting services to clients in the highway construction, technologies markets as well as small business and start-ups. Kathi founded this business in 2012. Previously, she was the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President for Business Development and Strategic Initiatives for RoadSafe Traffic Services, Inc. a provider of traffic control and pavement marking services nationwide. RoadSafe was begun in 2007 when NES Traffic Safety was divested by National Equipment Services (NES) and previous to that, NES acquired ACCi, a firm which Kathi founded in 1988, serving as its President.

Kathi has been very involved in the advancement of roadway safety at the local and national levels, and in many cases has been the first woman to serve in various board roles. Her current and past board membership and chair roles include: American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, Construction Safety Council, and the American Traffic Safety Services Foundation.

Kathi has received several honors, including the Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, the Industry Achievement and Presidential Awards from ATSSA and the Ethyl S. Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award by ARTBA for her career efforts in promoting the interests of the roadway industry. She has also been recognized her alma mater, Bradley University, with the Distinguished Alumni Award and was inducted into its Centurion Society. She now serves as a Trustee on Bradley’s Board of Trustees.

Kathi earned her CPA certificate and was a graduate of Bradley University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting. She has attended the Strategic Business Leadership Program at the University of Chicago’s Booth School.

Carina E. Sánchez

Title: Executive Director

Company Public Building Commission of Chicago

Carina E. Sánchez serves as the Executive Director of the Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC), a full-service public development organization created by state legislation for the sole purpose of planning, designing and constructing municipal buildings.

Appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in January 2017, Ms. Sánchez oversees the construction and renovation of neighborhood anchors that help to make the communities of Chicago and Cook County better and safer places to live. From parks to branch libraries, modern schools built for 21st century learning and public safety initiatives, Ms. Sánchez leads a team that is developing buildings that have helped to stabilize neighborhoods and serve as a catalyst for more development that is reshaping and revitalizing Chicago’s and Cook County communities.

Prior to her appointment to the PBC, Ms. Sánchez served as the Deputy Clerk for the Office of the Chicago City Clerk where she managed a $10 million operating budget, supervised more than 100 employees and oversaw the historic transition from seasonal sales of Chicago Vehicle Stickers to a year-round sales program which generated $35 million in new revenue. A dedicated public servant with over 15 years’ experience in government, Ms. Sánchez has served in various positions for the Cook County Board President, Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the Illinois House of Representatives.

As a native Chicagoan and eldest daughter of Mexican immigrants, Ms. Sánchez has helped to organize task force hearings for Immigrant Access to Higher Education and lobbied to pass the legislation that resulted in a state law that allows in-state tuition for undocumented students in Illinois. She has worked closely with state elected officials to increase penalties for gun violence, petitioned for the protection of children from violent video games and worked on initiatives to curb racial profiling.

Ms. Sánchez is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies. She also holds a Master’s in Business Administration from National Louis University. She lives in Chicago’s Uptown community with her husband, son and dog.

Heather Fine

Title: Managing Director

Company Major, Lindsey & Africa

Heather Fine is a Managing Director at Major, Lindsey & Africa in the Chicago In-House Practice Group. She specializes in placing attorneys in corporate legal departments, at all levels, and in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, higher education, consumer products, telecommunications, retail, technology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, professional services and financial services. Over the last several years, Heather has handled searches for public and private companies of all sizes (including several Fortune 500 companies). She also regularly speaks and writes on a variety of topics involving legal recruitment and the legal market.

Prior to joining MLA, Heather worked for several years at the Children’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. representing children and families involved in the foster care system. She also served as counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Special Investigation into Hurricane Katrina. Heather began her legal career in a boutique firm in the D.C. metro area. She is a graduate of Colby College and received her JD from the Penn State Dickinson School of Law.

Tasha Ransom

Title: Associate Producer

Company Fox 32 Chicago

Email: [email protected]

Tasha E. Ransom is an award-winning producer.  Tasha joined Fox 32 Chicago in 2001 and is dedicated to sharing the truth through television.

Tasha has worn many hats at the Fox, including assistant to the news director, satellite coordinator, assignment editor, and operations manager, and field producer.

Currently, she is an Associate Producer at Fox 32 Chicago. One of her notable accomplishments is producing a weekly public affairs show, “Perspective,” that aired on WPWR, Fox’s sister station every Sunday. For her TV work, she received three  Peter Lisagor Awards.  One for One for Best Science, Health, Technology, Environmental Reporting for the show entitled “There is More to Being Gluten-Free”.  Two for Best TV Public Affairs Programming for the shows entitled “ Experts Talk About Sexual Assault and How to Defend Yourself” and “Living with ADHD.”    

Illinois Associated Press Broadcast Awards

Illinois News Broadcasters Association April 12 in Peoria.
On April 12, 2014, I received to Associated Press Broadcast Awards.  One for Best Hard News Feature for the story, “Rowing to Recovery”.  One for Best Light Feature for the story ” Babies Taught Self-Rescue Water Survival”.

The Chicago Bar Association Herman Kogan Media Awards 
25th Anniversary 
Celebrating 25 Years of Chicago’s Outstanding Legal Journalism 
On Tuesday, May 6, 2014 I received a Meritorious Achievement for the story ” Ex Sitter Fights To Get Conviction In Infant Overturned” in the Broadcast Category of the Herman Kogan Media Awards. 

The story is about Jennifer Del Prete, a daycare worker was convicted in 2005 and sentenced to 20 years in prison for shaking Isabella Zielinsky an infant who stopped breathing while in her care. The infant died nearly a year later.  

Carol Marin was the keynote speaker and Rick Kogan, Herman Kogan’s son provided remarks before presenting the awards.  The Chicago Bar Association President, Timothy Eaton hosted the luncheon and Kogan Committee Chair, Dennis Culloton emceed the awards presentation.   The awards luncheon was held at the Standard Club in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1989 the Herman Kogan Media Awards Competition was established to honor local journalists and legal affairs reporting. Named in honor of Herman Kogan, a true friend of the Chicago Bar Association who’s career spanned more than 50 years and included experience as a reporter, feature , editor, author, historian, biographer, literary critic, radio host, and television executive. The Kogans have been given out every year by the Chicago Bar Association since 1989.   

Youth Freedom Fighter Award

On June 9, 2014 for my community work I received the 2014 Youth Action Ministry Award-NFP Youth Freedom Fighters Award during their Juneteenth Celebration.The award was given to me for my commitment to bringing important issues to my community.

In 2009 she received an award from the Probation Challenge court-mandated program for her efforts to highlight the organization’s work to rehabilitate former incarcerated individuals.

She is an active member of the North Shore (IL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. In 2012, Tasha graduated from the Scott Hawkins Leadership Institute, an intense two-year leadership development program created by The Links, Incorporated where only 50 women nationally are selected to participate every two years.

Tasha is also a community board member for Metropolitan & Family Services at its Evanston/Skokie Valley location, is active in the Chicago chapter of The Sophisticates, and The Chicago Chapter of the Society, Incorporated.

She received a master’s degree in Media Management from Columbia College in 2002 and her undergraduate degree from Drake University, majoring in Finance and Insurance.

Tasha’s life has been inspired by a quote from Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Rashada Whitehead

Title: President & Chief Transformation Officer


Email: [email protected]

Phone: 312-720-1749

Rashada Whitehead is the change leader and Chief Transformation Officer of KGBERRY, a company she started because of her passion to create more meaningful connection between organizations and their constituents. The firm works with purpose-driven companies to infuse conscious strategies into their business models. Her mission: to shift the culture of business around the world from transactional to transformational.

Prior to taking the helm at KGBERRY, Rashada was President and CEO of an award-winning, national public relations firm. She previously held other leadership positions including a role of Vice President at top global PR agency GolinHarris, where she led national and global communication initiatives for McDonald’s, including the activation of its sponsorship in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. She is an advocate for diversity, inclusion and intercultural relations. Through her work at KGBERRY she partners with organizations, institutions and high-profile individuals for sustainable reputation management outcomes.

A recipient of more than 50 industry honors, she was recognized by PRWeek with its coveted “40 Under 40” award, and featured in Essence, Diversity Journal (Women to Watch), and other national media as a rising thought leader.

A native of Chicago’s west side, Rashada graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She holds a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University, where she currently teaches at the graduate level. She serves on the boards of Chicago Scholars and ColorComm.

Outside the office, Rashada enjoys writing and traveling. Her self-proclaimed indulgences are French fries, sweet potatoes and biographies. She focuses her time on family, community and using her entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen to help others.  Rashada believes there should be a blurred line between work and life, and everything we do should be part of a comprehensive, joyful experience.

Olga Camargo, AIF®

Title: Managing Partner

Company TOROSO Investments LLC

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 773-972-5653

Olga Camargo, AIF® is Managing Partner at TOROSO Investments, LLC, a registered investment advisor firm. Olga provides investment advisory and retirement plan advisory services to clients that include: high net worth individuals, business owners, public and private corporations, public sector entities, and not-for-profit entities and foundations. Olga holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) professional designation from Fiduciary 360, and is able to effectively implement a prudent investment process for all of her clients.  

Olga has 18 years of financial services experience. Prior to joining TOROSO Investments, she was a Senior Vice President at Mesirow Financial co-leading an investment advisory practice where she provided culturally-relevant financial services. Before that, Olga was at JPMorgan Chase and Thomson Reuters.

Olga has received national recognition for her professional work as a retirement plan advisor as related to helping the Latino community/workforce become retirement ready. She advocates on the community’s behalf and guides plan vendors to better serve it. Olga is frequently called upon by some of the fastest growing businesses and policymakers to provide her unique perspective.  

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Olga to The Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority Board. She serves on the IL State Treasurer’s Advisory Council; The Metropolitan Planning Council Board of Governors and its investment committee; the finance committee for Frances Xavier Warde School; a member of The Rotary Club of Chicago; and, a member of New America Alliance’s American Latina Leadership Caucus—an aggregation of 100 influential Latinas across sectors in the U.S. Olga was previously  previously served on The Chicago Plan Commission, and as treasurer for the Chicago Cook Partnership Workforce Investment Board.

Linda Hsu

Title: Chief Operating Officer

Company Chico & Nunes, P.C.

Linda Hsu has worked in the legal field for the past 11 years.  She is a Certified Legal Manager (CLM), and currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Chico & Nunes, P.C., a boutique law firm in Chicago specializing in government and regulatory issues, procurement, land use, MBE/WBE/DBE certifications, and strategic business counseling.
Prior to her time in the legal industry, Linda worked in campaign politics and government on the local, state, national, and international levels.  She has been involved in aldermanic, gubernatorial, and U.S. Senate races in various roles, and has worked on a Democratic National Convention and a Presidential Inauguration.
Linda is a spiritual and life adventurer.  She is a graduate of Psychology of Vision’s transformational 100 Day Program, has journeyed to India to become a Oneness Blessing giver, and studies the works of J. Krishnamurti.  Linda lived in Asia for several years while working in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, and has traveled extensively throughout China, witnessing first hand its incredible economic transformation.  She loves the green pastures of the English countryside, plans to visit Alaska and Antarctica in the next decade, and hopes to retire to the beaches of Belize with a Rat Terrier named Hemingway.

Jennifer Mason

Title: Vice-Chancellor for Legislative and Community Affairs

Company City Colleges of Chicago

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202­596­7381

Jennifer Mason is a native of Chicago, Illinois. She has spent almost 20 years in public service on the Federal, State and Local levels. She currently serves as the Vice-Chancellor for Legislative and Community Affairs for the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) where she works to maintain positive relationships with government offices and work collaboratively with community groups to improve the educational experience of the CCC students. Jennifer’s career in public service began in 1998 with then State Senator Barack Obama where she served as his District Director. When he was elected U.S. Senator she came on board as the Acting State Director. After Obama was elected President of the United States she relocated to Washington DC where the White House appointed her Deputy Chief of Staff for the US Office of Personnel Management. Jennifer also represented OPM on the White House Council for Women and Girls and was a member of the White House Equal Pay Task Force. Jennifer sits on the Board of Directors for Sit Stay Read Inc. which works to improve literacy skills and foster love of learning for children in low-income neighborhoods. She is a member of the Junior League of Chicago and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. where she holds leadership roles in both organizations.

Frenchye M. Bush Harris

Title: Public Relations Manager

Company Neiman Marcus

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 630.418.9165

Frenchye M. Bush Harris, M.A. is the Public Relations Manager for Neiman Marcus in Oak Brook, IL. Frenchye developed a passion for fashion at an early age and since has worked in the industry as a model, fashion show producer, magazine style consultant and columnist, adjunct college professor, television style personality, and founding partner in a fashion public relations agency. A recent Chicago transplant and true #girlboss, Frenchye is an earnest believer in female empowerment and has developed a curriculum for girls ages 9-13 titled, “Fashionably You” that teaches fashion and style to encourage self-awareness, esteem, and acceptance and love for oneself and others.

Frenchye has been featured in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, Northern Ohio Live Magazine, and Inside Business Magazine as one of the 2010 NEO Top 25 Under 35 Cleveland Mover and Shaker, Fox 8 News (Cleveland, Ohio) and Cleveland Magazine.

Frenchye earned her bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising from the Ohio State University and master’s degree in Communications Management from John Carroll University.

Michele Howell

Title: Vice President

Company Aon

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 317-447-4326

With over twenty years professional industry experience and various Board engagements, Michele Howell has created both market and community impact. Michele presides as VP Business Development, Aon Cornerstone, leading business development efforts across the US central region.  In this role, Michele is responsible for creating innovative three-way partnership opportunities between: minority / small business firms, private / public sector entities and Aon’s risk and human resource solution experts.  Michele’s efforts foster expanded visibility and economic gains for under-utilized diverse firms in the professional services arena while enabling clients to engage suppliers in a new spend vertical with high-value outcomes:  utilization of top talent diverse firms, project savings / efficiencies, economic impact to local communities and enhanced social sustainability.

Michele has maintained a long-standing commitment to driving a cultural shift that embraces diversity and inclusion.  Prior to joining Aon in 2014, Michele held senior management roles across both private sector and non-profit organizations, including Johnson Controls, Bristol Myers-Squibb and the Indiana Minority Supplier Development Council. Michele’s leadership activities resulted in expanded supplier participation, meaningful supplier / procurement programs, greater organizational and marketplace engagement through diversity education / training, the creation of new markets / channels, and increased revenue potential through expanded industry relationships. Through a business approach centered on integrity and a “partnership win-win” strategy, Michele has implemented forward-thinking joint venture models, exceeded business targets and consistently delivered strategic and operational value within a national and global framework.

Dawnyell Bowen

Title: Executive Advertising and Marketing Leader

Company Dawnyell Bowen, LLC

Dawnyell is an 18-year veteran of marketing and advertising, and began her career at Leo Burnett in 1999. Her career experience reaches both above and below-the-line with extensive knowledge in shopper marketing. Dawnyell has brought strategic and focused business leadership to many blue-chip brands such as Intel, General Motors, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kraft Heinz, P&G (Clairol Hair color) and Kellogg’s. She has also worked in a client side capacity as Global Brand Director for Claire’s and Icing retail accessory stores.

Dawnyell and her team have won “Design of the Times” awards for innovation and design on the Clairol hair color brand.  In addition, she has focused on strategic initiatives like “Future of Color” to help position Clairol as a leader in the hair color category. She has also received honorable mentions from Kellogg’s leadership for breakthrough shopper focused work for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Dawnyell is currently completing her Ph.D. in Organizational Management and Business Behavior. In her free time she enjoys traveling, interior design and finding the hidden restaurant treasures in Chicago with her dinner club. Her one true passion is Zumba, she is a true aficionado.