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ComEd celebrates 25th Anniversary of EAARA

As ComEd, one of America’s largest energy companies, pursues innovation, it does so knowing the more inclusive and diverse ComEd is the more successful they will be in the pursuit of excellence.

Twenty-five years ago a small group of Black leaders at ComEd started the Exelon African American Resource Alliance (EAARA) to support the recruitment, retention and professional development of African Americans. Although they met with resistance, today, there are 36 chapters supporting employees throughout the Exelon Corporationand giving Exelon a competitive and strategic advantage.

The EAARA recently honored the founding members of the first chapter at its 25th Anniversary Gala held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. Pictured from L-R: Kevin Brookins SVP, Strategy & Administration; EAARA Chicago Sponsor Wayne Morgan – Received award on behalf of Harold Hill (Founder); John T. Hooker – Founder; William Harris – Founder; Shani Cole – Received award on behalf of Jerome Cole (Founder); Natasha Salas – Received award on behalf of Diane M. Lewis (Founder); Charles Walls – Founder; and Sandor Williams – EAARA President.
The EAARA recently honored the founding members of the first chapter at its 25th Anniversary Gala held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. Pictured from L-R: Kevin Brookins SVP, Strategy & Administration; EAARA Chicago Sponsor Wayne Morgan – Received award on behalf of Harold Hill (Founder); John T. Hooker – Founder; William Harris – Founder; Shani Cole – Received award on behalf of Jerome Cole (Founder); Natasha Salas – Received award on behalf of Diane M. Lewis (Founder); Charles Walls – Founder; and Sandor Williams – EAARA President.

EAARA recently gave awards to the founders of this employee-driven organization during its elegant 25th Anniversary Gala on Saturday, October 22 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

“Honoring Our Legacy, Celebrating Our Present and Powering Our Future” was a theme that was well-defined in the remarks, speeches and spirit of the evening. Listeners became aware of the dedication and commitment the founders and others made to reach this quarter century milestone.

The Welcome was presented by the current president of EAARA Illinois, Sandor Williams. Williams, like his predecessors, will have the very important task of continuing the mission of EAARA with the support of ComEd.

With an emphasis on African Americans, the group assists members by creating organized opportunities for them to engage with all levels of African Americans at ComEd, who become a network of resourceful partners to them. The annual events hosted by the employee-driven organization include the Diane M. Lewis Golf Outing and Scholarship Luncheon, as well as a mentoring program.

WVON Radio Personality Matt McGill was the emcee for the lavish affair which included on the program remarks by the Executive Sponsor, Kevin Brookins, ComEd SVP, Strategy Administration; a Founder Recognition Video and dinner before the introduction of the keynote speaker.

Anne Pramaggiore, president & CEO of ComEd introduced the keynote speaker, Arin Reeves, president of Nextions. Reeves is an expert in leadership and inclusion in workplaces who praised the accomplishments of ComEd and the EAARA in the area of inclusion and diversity. The relevance and impact of employee programs like EAARA on the productivity and innovation of a company’s growth was powerfully made by Reeves during her keynote.

COMED PRESIDENT AND CEO Anne Pramaggiore with members of the Musical Arts Institute of Chicago.
COMED PRESIDENT AND CEO Anne Pramaggiore with members of the Musical Arts Institute of Chicago.

As everyone’s attention was shifted to the purpose for the event, introductions were made one by one of extraordinary people who accomplished remarkable things in the pursuit of diversity and inclusion.

The eight founders were honored with an elegant blue swirl glass award in recognition for their contribution to diversity and inclusion in establishing the first EAARA chapter at ComEd. These exceptional individuals were Jerome Cole, William “Bill” Harris, Harold Hill, Tonie Holbert-Nelson, John Hooker, Diane Lewis, and Charles “Chuck” Walls.

Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to two recipients; Kevin Brookins and Cordell Reed. Both were engineers who started their careers with ComEd and worked their way through the ranks to become senior vice presidents. Both these men were also active in the pursuit of diversity at ComEd.

Membership Awards were given to two very exceptional individuals: Leroy Barnes for a life dedicated to service that includes being the chairman of the Membership Committee of EAARA and his ability to motivate others to become active memebers; the second recipient, Myron T. McCullough, is a passionate and active member of EAARA, who was elected vice president of the organization in 2010 and who developed a successful mentoring program for young men on the West Side of Chicago.

EAARA also recognized several community partners; Project Syncere, Kappa Leadership Institute Chicago and Millennium Solar Electric.

The sponsors were Loop Capital, Jack Thayer, Anne Pramaggiore, Kevin Brookins, Chuck Walls, Infrastructure Engineering Incorporated, William “Bill” Von Hoenne, Isaac Akridge, and Melissa Washington.

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