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Patricia Hemingway Hall, Bruce Gordon and 45 Business Leaders of Color Featured at Chicago United's 8th Annual Changing Color of Leadership Conference and Bridge Awards Dinner Senior Leaders Convene to Share Diversity & Inclusion Strategies that Work

CHICAGO, Nov. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicago United announced today that it will present Patricia Hemingway Hall, president and chief executive officer of Health Care Service Corporation, with the 2011 Bridge Award and will honor the 45 individuals featured in the 2011 Business Leaders of Color publication during the Bridge Awards Dinner.  Bruce Gordon, former president and chief executive officer of NAACP and retired president, Retail Markets Group, Verizon Communications Inc., will serve as the keynote speaker at the Diversity Leadership Luncheon which opens the Changing Color of Leadership Conference on November 16 at the Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan.

Companies and executive leaders looking for successful strategies to drive diversity and inclusion don't have to look any further. Chicago United, a business organization that promotes multiracial leadership in business to advance parity in economic opportunity, will equip senior executives with strategies for professional development, growing the multiracial leadership pipeline, and advancing inclusive practices in national and global business environments during its highly-regarded annual event.

This year's conference features two high-level plenary sessions from which attendees will gain thoughtful insights from effective business leaders responsible for enhancing an inclusive corporate culture. Each session will feature a diverse group of senior executives who will examine diversity and inclusion practices in today's business environment.  Plenary Session One, "Frontline Perspectives from Business Leaders of Color" will feature a panel of Chicago United's 2011 Business Leaders of Color who will share their unique perspectives from frontline experiences in corporate leadership roles. Plenary Session Two, "Stewarding a Unified Diversity and Inclusion Vision" will feature a panel of C-Suite leaders who will share their insights and visions on personal leadership development and their efforts to drive organizations success. Marsha Jones, senior vice president and chief diversity officer of PNC Financial Services Group, will moderate the panel to include Anne Pramaggiore, president and chief operating officer of ComEd, Al Grace, co-founder and president of Loop Capital Markets, and Terry Mazany, president and chief executive officer of  The Chicago Community Trust.

Those attending the Diversity Leadership Luncheon will hear from telecommunications veteran Bruce Gordon who will serve as the keynote speaker. Gordon retired in 2003 after a 35-year career where he last served as president of the Retail Markets Group for Verizon Communications where worked since 1968. He also became the first business executive to head the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and led the 500,000 member organization from 2005 to 2007.

The Bridge Awards Dinner will conclude the conference, and this year's award will be presented to Patricia Hemingway Hall for her efforts to support a vibrant and richly diverse business community.  The dinner will also honor 45 individuals profiled in the 2011 Business Leaders of Color Publication which biennially features viable candidates for Fortune 1000 companies' boards of directors. The Business Leaders of Color publications provide a talent showcase of individuals eminently qualified to serve our nation's corporations.  Through their identification, Chicago United aims to accelerate the rate of change of diverse representation in corporate governance.

"Talented professionals today are looking to work for corporations that clearly have a range of diversity in their senior leadership.  Tangible confirmation of an opportunity for advancement demonstrates that corporations have a commitment to inclusion," said Chicago United President Gloria Castillo. "This year's theme "Driving the Inclusionary Vision" will be a unique opportunity for business professionals to measure their progress and set new goals toward improving diversity and inclusion on all levels."

The annual Changing Color of Leadership Conference and Bridge Awards Dinner is Chicago's premier event for networking with the most diverse group of business leaders in the region. For more information about the conference or to register, please call 312-553-2000 or visit www.chicago-united.org.

About Chicago United

Chicago United promotes multiracial leadership in business to advance parity in economic opportunity. Chicago United supports the business community's need to maximize the use of corporate and entrepreneurial talent and brings together diverse senior business leaders to break through barriers to realize the benefits of diversity and inclusion.

Chicago United is the premiere organization creating an environment where racially diverse CEOs and executive level management can share common experiences to promote multiracial leadership in governance, management, and business partnerships while delivering best practices for diversity practitioners and building relationships among leaders who share common values.

SOURCE Chicago United



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