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Chicagoans lead the charge at Wall Street Project Economic Summit

Chicagoans take the lead among hundreds of corporate executives, minority entrepreneurs and community leaders expected to attend the Wall Street Project Economic Summit, which will take place in New York City February 16-18, 2016.

The Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, who with the Citizenship Education Fund founded the Wall Street Project in 1996, says the Project encourages Corporate America to recognize the value that minority entrepreneurs, vendors and consumers bring to the marketplace and ensure equal access and opportunities for culturally diverse companies, consumers and employees.

“The Wall Street Project is not an end in itself, or a means to an end, but an evolutionary process,” says Reverend Jackson. “The road to shared economic security travels through two-way trade, where all are included and none is left behind. Just as America did not realize how good professional sports could be until athletes of all colors could play, American business will not maximize its growth potential until all businesses have an equal opportunity to compete on an even playing field, where the rules are public and the goals are clear. That is the goal of the Wall Street Project.”

Wall Street veteran Maxine Leftwich of Chicago was named executive director of the Wall Street Project 2016. “Maxine understands the issues and challenges that African Americans and other minorities face on Wall Street and throughout the corporate world, for the finance industry has been her life and career,” says Reverend Jackson. “She is ideally suited to guide us in tackling today’s relevant issues so we can forge ahead and break through the barriers that we as a people face.”

Says Ms. Leftwich: “Reverend Jackson, PUSH and the Citizenship Education Fund have done an incredible job with the Wall Street Project. I am pleased to offer my services to help take the effort to the next level. We are already taking our vision forward to the Wall Street Project’s 20th Anniversary in 2017. The enormous opportunities available on Wall Street and at major corporations must be shared with our diverse communities. That’s what the Wall Street Project is all about – opening doors and providing access.”

Ms. Leftwich is a founding principal of LS Financial Group, a financial advisory and management consulting firm that was based in New York and served private corporations, cities, states and public authorities throughout the country. She also worked closely with the Clinton Administration on the North American Free Trade Agreement Bill that was passed into law. In addition, Ms. Leftwich served as financial advisor to the City of Chicago, the City of Denver, the City of Kansas, the City of East St. Louis, and the District of Columbia’s Housing Finance Agency. During the administration of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, she served as liaison between the Mayor and 12 governmental agencies.

In addition, Lucille R. Dobbins, a veteran CPA, was named Deputy Executive Director of the Wall Street Project. Ms. Dobbins, Partner in Goodall, Kenner & Associates, P.C., was the First Deputy Commissioner in the Department of Planning and then Chief Financial Officer for the City of Chicago during the administration of Mayor Harold Washington.

Among the speakers and session leaders from Chicago are: the Honorable Michael Frerichs, Treasurer for the State of Illinois; Kurt Summers, Treasurer for the City of Chicago; John Rogers, President, CEO and Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments; Les Bond, CEO, Attucks Asset Management; James Reynolds Jr., Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Loop Capital; Bishop John R. Bryant, Senior Bishop and Presiding Pre-late, Fourth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Jay Rowell, Deputy Treasurer, State of Illinois; Keith Horton, General Counsel, Illinois Treasurer’s Office; Gwendolyn L. Butler, Vice Chairwoman and Chief Marketing Officer, Capri Investment Group; Rodrigo Garcia, Chief Investment Officer, State of Illinois; Charles H. Childress, Financial Advisor, Waddell & Reed; Helen Crawley-Austin, CEO, Mastering Money and Beyond Consulting; and Karen L. Caldwell, CPA.

Other prominent speakers confirmed for the Wall Street Project Economic Summit include U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY; U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, D-CA, ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services; and the Honorable Scott Stringer, Comptroller for the City of New York. Also confirmed to participate are John Thompson, chairman of Microsoft; Sheila Johnson, CEO, Salamander Hospitality and co-founder of Black Entertainment Television; Suzanne Shank, President and CEO, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co.; Johnny C. Taylor, President and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund; and Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Senior Pastor, Abyssinian Baptist Church. Black Enterprise is media partner for the Wall Street Project Economic Summit 2016.

A highlight of the Summit will be the Wall Street Project Gala Fundraiser on Wednesday, February 17, which will feature a “Fireside Chat” with Microsoft Chairman John Thompson and a special performance by Philip Bailey, lead singer of the legendary group Earth, Wind & Fire.

The Wall Street Project 2016 Steering Committee includes: John Rogers, CEO/Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments; William Dickerson, Chairman, Citizenship Education Fund; Johnny C. Taylor Jr., President and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund; John Mitchell, Chief of Staff, RainbowPUSH; Les Bond, CEO, Attucks Asset Management; Carra Wallace, Chief Diversity Officer, New York City Comptroller’s Office; James Parks, President and CEO, The Parksonian Institute; Jay Rowell, Deputy Treasurer, State of Illinois; Keith Horton, General Counsel, Illinois Treasurer’s Office; Rodrigo Garcia, Chief Investment Officer, State of Illinois; John F. Philbert, Senior Associate, Chaldon Associates; Edith L. Bartley, JD, Vice President of Government Affairs, Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Jervis B. Hough, Chief Compliance Officer, IFS Securities; James Gomez, Director for International Affairs, RainbowPUSH; R. Fenimore Fisher, Deputy Commissioner, Chief Diversity & EEO Officer – NYC DCAS; Marianne C. Spraggins, CMO, Bond Factor; Arthur E. McClearin, Principal, Director of Marketing, The Williams Capital Group; James F. Haddon, Managing Director and Head of Marketing, Ramirez Asset Management; James Reynolds Jr., Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Loop Capital; Karen L. Caldwell, CPA; and Jineea Butler, Hip Hop Union NYC.

For registration information on the Wall Street Project Economic Summit 2016, go to





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