The Crusader Newspaper Group

International Women’s Day celebrated at Bulls Game

Female BMO Harris and Chicago Bulls leadership mentor young women from local nonprofit

BMO Harris Bank and the Chicago Bulls partnered with community organization Youth Guidance to celebrate International Women’s Day with a speed networking event and tickets to the Bulls game. The students are part of Youth Guidance’s Working on Womanhood (WOW) therapeutic program, which mentors female students from Chicago’s under-resourced communities.

At the event, young women from WOW met with mentors from BMO and the Bulls for an evening of food, fun and awareness building in celebration of International Women’s Day, which coincided with BMO’s “Bench Your Card” takeover of the United Center for one night. Programming focused on possible future career paths, and advice for resiliency as the young women look forward to college and careers.

After the mentoring session, students were invited to watch the Bulls game in 100-level seats.

WOW Panel 29 1
PARTICIPANTS IN A Women’s Day celebration from Youth Guidance Working on Womanhood (WOW) therapeutic program are photographed wearing their purple t-shirts after a networking event with mentors from BMO Harris and the Chicago Bulls leadership.

“Most of our students have never been to the United Center or a Bulls’ game, and this went above and beyond their expectations,” said WOW Program Manager Hilda Hernandez. “What really amazed them was meeting women executives and leaders who look like them. They also shared that they did not know you could be a woman and work in sports at the professional level. By their accounts, this was their first time meeting female leaders in such impressive industries. It made them realize what they could achieve one day with hard work.”

Mentors from BMO Harris included Leslie Anderson, SVP Treasury Management, Metropolitan Banking; Corliss Garner, VP Enterprise Resource Groups, Office of Inclusion; and Yoly Valencia, AVP Corporate Real Estate and National Chair, Latino Alliance. The Chicago Bulls participants were Michelle Chambers, Assistant Controller, and Hillary Thomas, Senior Manager, Community Relations.

Garner said, “We were honored to sit down with the students from WOW and have one-on-one conversations to learn more about them and their future goals.”

About Youth Guidance

Youth Guidance creates and implements school-based programs that enable children to overcome obstacles, focus on their education and ultimately to succeed in school and in life. WOW, a program of Youth Guidance, is a multifaceted, school year-long group counseling and clinical mentoring program. WOW works to improve social-emotional competencies for girls in 7th-12th grade exposed to traumatic stressors in under-resourced communities. WOW targets young women with significant risk factors for dropout or delinquency.

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