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State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza to headline Quad County Urban League’s Women’s Empowerment Summit (WES)

6th Annual event to focus on women mentoring women

State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza, Illinois Appellate Court Presiding Justice Cynthia Y. Cobbs, State Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, Illinois State Representative Stephanie Kifowit, Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller and Sylvie Legere, president of the Policy Circle are among the headliners for the Quad County Urban League’s (QCUL) sixth annual Women’s Empowerment Summit (WES) on Friday, March 13th  at the Chicago Marriott Southwest Hotel in Burr Ridge. The theme of this year’s WES is Women Being Heard and Giving Voice: 100 Years of Disruption. Registration opens at 7:15 a.m. and there will be a closing reception at 3:00 p.m.

The daylong event includes dynamic keynote addresses, Fireside Chats and panel discussions featuring national, regional and local women leaders. The Summit was created to bring together seasoned professionals and emerging leaders to interact and share career-enhancing advice. This year’s event will have a unique focus on women mentoring, supporting and empowering each other, and be a nod to the 100 years since women first obtained the vote.

Comptroller Mendoza was sworn in as Illinois Comptroller on Dec. 5, 2016 and serves as Illinois’ chief fiscal and accountability officer. Now in her third year as comptroller, she has initiated a transparency revolution in state government, working with legislators of both parties to introduce and pass several transformative measures that make state financial information more publicly available than ever before. Mendoza was the first Hispanic independently elected to statewide office in Illinois after her historic win as the first woman elected Chicago city clerk in 2011.

“100 years ago women came together with a singular goal – to obtain the right to vote  – and in that same vein of solidarity and support we’ve formulated this year’s Women’s Empowerment Summit,” said Theodia Gillespie, president and CEO of the QCUL. “We wanted to acknowledge how women mentor, support and work together, and this amazing assemblage of women leaders are exemplars of that ethos.”

This year’s event will feature three “Fireside Chats.” “How to Engage, Influence and Provoke Change,” with Commissioner Miller, Representative Kifowit and Chakena Simms.  The session will be moderated by Kaleshia Page, Government and Regulatory Affairs Manager Comcast, Trustee of Woodridge IL and QCUL Board Member. “How to Scale and Pitch Yourself,” with Shari Wilson, JoAna Garcia Sohovich and Kristin Malek, Sr. Manager, Supply Diversity. The session will be moderated by LaSandra Pierce, senior VP Consumer Banking, National Performance Executive Bank of America. “The Power of a Mentor” will feature Shelia Caldwell, and Judge Cobbs and will be moderated by Shannon Pierce, vice president of operations Nicor Gas.

During the WES, the QCUL honors women leaders who are making an impact in their field of endeavor. The 2020 Women’s Empowerment Summit Honorees are: Sheila Caldwell, Chief Diversity Officer Wheaton College; Judge Cobbs; Dr. Hadiyah Green, founder and president Ora Lee Cancer Foundation; Illinois State Representative Kifowit; Cynthia Latimer, board member ISBE; Jade Lee, founder Supply-Chain Services, Irma Lopez, BEP, VEP, CMS Outreach Manager State of Illinois; Kristin Malek, CDW; Cook County Commissioner Miller; Vickie Morcos, president & CEO Dunham Fund; Trustee Page; Shannon Pierce, Nicor Gas; Chakena Sims, Chair, Cook County Young Democrats and Board President for Chicago Votes Action Fund; Amy Yu, founder Antlia Displays; Illinois Comptroller Mendoza; JoAna Sohovich, CEO of Chamberlain Group; Pierce; and Candace C. Moore, Chief Equity Officer-City of Chicago.

As in past years, there will be an entrepreneur’s Pitch Competition, a select group of vendors offering their products and services, and a reception to cap off the day. Emceeing the event will be Devorah Crable. Sponsors for this year’s event are CDW, Comcast, Fox River Valley Community Foundation, UPS, Waubonsee Community College and the Dunham Fund.

Tickets for the WES are $125/$50 for students and sponsorships are welcome. Vendor booths are $100 each. For more information or to purchase tickets e-mail [email protected] or call 630-851-2203. Follow the QCUL on Facebook.

About  The Quad County Urban League

Founded in 1975, the Quad County Urban League (QCUL) helps secure equal opportunities for all disadvantaged persons and people of color, including African Americans, women and persons with disabilities. Quad County Urban League is an affiliate of the National Urban League and is a United Way member agency. The QCUL serves DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties in Illinois. Visit for more information.

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