Image to illustrate women leadership.
The organization continues to invest in and empower female leadership. Photo: Pixabay.

How Women Lead opens its third regional chapter in the U.S.

Chicago's is the org's first Midwestern outpost.


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With the goal of strengthening its support programs for senior women executives, How Women Lead, which already has more than 15,000 successful executives working to redefine women leadership in the 21st century, recently opened a Chicago chapter — it's third overall in the U.S. Like in the regions where its other chapters operate, the organization will create a powerful executive board to propel women to higher positions and influence in the region.

Julie Castro Abrams, founder and CEO of How Women Lead, noted:

How Women Lead has gathered together some of the most powerful leaders in the city and has partnered with regional organizations to support Chicago’s women in senior leadership.

Welcome to Chicago

Hosting its first in-person meeting of investors, board directors and C-Suite leaders on Oct. 2, 2022, the Chicago chapter of How Women Lead set a goal of reaching 10,000 women leaders in Chicago by 2027.

Focusing on corporate board programming, investing, senior women's leadership, raising its own brand, philanthropy, and impact, the organization has also engaged with IWF Chicago and other organizations to promote events and development activities that support these goals.

“I am excited for the Chicago chapter to mobilize our movement and help change the gender and racial equity equation in all areas of work and community,” added Castro Abrams.

Upcoming events

There are two upcoming opportunities to network in-person and learn more about How Women Lead's efforts in Chicago. The organization invites those interested in joining to register here for additional information.

  1. Feb. 16 at 5-8 p.m. CST (Senior women leaders)
  2. Feb. 15 at 12:30-2 p.m. CST (Venture Capitalists)

Hoping to emulate the dynamics of the California chapter, the Chicago chapter is already working on legislative efforts in Illinois to require public companies to have racial and gender diversity on their boards.

“Asset management firms and other financial leaders have made it very clear through requirements that it is a financial imperative to have board diversity for good governance. In order to protect shareholders and Illinois companies, it is essential that Illinois establish legislation requiring the good governance practice of diversity in boards,” said Castro Abrams.

The Executive Board

The Chicago Region Executive Board is led by Kimberley Goode and Amalia Rioja.

It is complemented by a cadre of impressive local female executives, including:

  • Amalia Rioja, Partner at Hoke LLC
  • Debra Clary, AVP at Humana
  • Jaclyn Jackson, SVP and Chief HR Officer at National Equity Fund, Inc
  • Jennifer Lee, Board Member at Enzyme by Design
  • Jessica Patton, Co-Founder and Principal at 5th Century Partners
  • Kimberley Goode, Chief Communications and Social Impact Officer at BMO Financial Group
  • Lizette Williams, Global Head of Vertical Solutions Marketing at Meta
  • Lori Igleski, Founder, Heart-Led Ventures LLC and Senior Advisor, Bravanti
  • Racquel Harris, Board Director at Bader Rutter
  • Sarah Glavin, Head of Community Affairs at Amazon
  • Stacie Selinger, Managing Director and Head of Investor Relations, GCM Grosvenor
  • Stephanie Gaffin, Managing Partner and Co-Founder SLS Capital Advisors
  • Violet Clark, Of-Counsel at Laner Muchin, Ltd.

The executive board represents a cross-section of government, business, and nonprofit organizations.

“With advice from Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, the California legislator who successfully implemented legislation, How Women Lead is once again tackling this initiative in Illinois,” said Castro Abrams.

Get to know: How Women Lead

Founded in 2011 and with more than 15,000 senior women executives at the top of their careers, this organization is changing the definition of female leadership by helping talented and experienced women leaders, particularly women of color, reclaim their positions in the c-suite and corporate boardrooms, and as limited partners in venture capital firms.


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