I seek to inspire, engage, counsel, and advocate for women and girls in all my work. Every day, I take inspiration from our foremothers; hence, my belief in the power of herstory.
I began my public life as a campus leader advocating for women’s reproductive health services. After graduation, I became a community organizer, studied herstory and received my M.A., and moved to Chicago, where I continued my advocacy for women and girls. I have founded and led organizations; led and organized movements; and advised celebrities, business leaders, public officials, political candidates, philanthropists, and organizational leaders. A seasoned political analyst and strategist, I was among the national decisionmakers who developed women’s issues agendas for presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and a leader of the campaign to elect Chicago’s first Black mayor, Harold Washington.
My professional career has spanned executive positions in philanthropy, the not-for-profit sector, and corporate America, as well as in government; in the latter as a founding gubernatorial appointee to the Illinois Human Rights Commission, which adjudicates matters of discrimination — among other executive governmental appointments. I am the recipient of numerous awards for my public leadership, including from the Illinois General Assembly, the University of Illinois, and Carleton College, my alma mater.
My avocation is supporting the work of women artists. I collect their art; promote it through my writing and speaking; and advocate for its inclusion in institutional collections and exhibitions. “Powerbroker” was the word used to describe my avocation in an article featuring my collector story in American Craft magazine.