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posted: 9/24/2012 9:15 AM

Three high-achieving women to speak at Benedictine summit

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  • A retired U.S. Army colonel who opened doors for other women to follow, Jill Morgenthaler will be among three guest speakers Friday, Sept. 28, when Benedictine University's College of Business presents its 2012 Greater Chicago Women's Leadership Summit.

      A retired U.S. Army colonel who opened doors for other women to follow, Jill Morgenthaler will be among three guest speakers Friday, Sept. 28, when Benedictine University's College of Business presents its 2012 Greater Chicago Women's Leadership Summit.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • Linda Yang, co-founder and executive director of the Xilin Association and the director of Xilin Asian Community Center of Naperville, will speak at the summit.

      Linda Yang, co-founder and executive director of the Xilin Association and the director of Xilin Asian Community Center of Naperville, will speak at the summit.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
By Ryan Blackburn
Benedictine University

Patricia Harris, Jill Morgenthaler and Linda Yang will be the featured speakers at the 2012 Greater Chicago Women's Leadership Summit presented by the College of Business at Benedictine University.

The summit begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 28, on the second floor of the Krasa Student Center at Benedictine, 5700 College Road, Lisle.

The leadership gathering is a regional conference held to address the issues of working women and includes nationally recognized female executive leaders who speak on topics such as financial literacy, work-life balance, culture and innovative leadership.

Harris, the vice president and global chief diversity officer for McDonald's Corporation, is responsible for developing and implementing diversity strategies for 31,489 restaurants in 118 countries. Under her leadership, McDonald's has been widely recognized for its commitment to inclusion and diversity and has been featured in Fortune magazine's "Top 50 Places for Minorities to Work."

Harris is also the founder and member of the Women's Foodservice Forum, and founder and past chairwoman of the MultiCultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance. She continues to work with nonprofit organizations such as the Women's Leadership Board at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, the Roosevelt University board of trustees and the United States Tennis Association's Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Morgenthaler is a retired U.S. Army colonel who opened doors for other women to follow. She was one of the first women to train as an equal with men in the collegiate Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship program at Penn State University, the first woman battalion commander in the 88th Regional Support Command and the first woman brigade commander in the 84th Division of the U.S. Army Reserves.

She also was the first Homeland Security adviser in Illinois.

Morgenthaler's varied military experiences include working as a peacekeeper in Bosnia, conducting evacuation operations for Kosovar refugees, and handling disaster recovery during the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. She received the Bronze Star for her leadership performance in Iraq in 2004, and the Legion of Merit for her 30 years of extraordinary service in the Army.

Today, Morgenthaler is a motivational speaker, exhilarating audiences with tales of her famous stare down with deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein while he was on trial for war crimes. Her presentation, "Winning at Work: 21 Secrets to Lead and Succeed," is in high demand.

Linda Yang is the co-founder and executive director of the Xilin Association and the director of Xilin Asian Community Center of Naperville. Since the association's founding in 1989, she has helped the Chicago area's Chinese community maintain its heritage through educational and cultural arts programs.

In 1997, Yang founded the Xilin Art Center, teaching more than 1,000 students traditional Chinese and Asian dance. She also established Xilin Association's Senior Services to ensure the special medical needs of Asian seniors were being maintained.

Yang has received several awards including the Secretary of State Jessie White Community Leadership Award in 2005 and the YWCA Community Leadership Award in 2004, and was recognized among Today's Chicago Woman magazine's 100 Top Women Who Make A Difference in 1998.

Yang also serves on the boards of the Chinese School Association in the United States and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, and was appointed by former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley as a member of the China Sister City Committee of Chicago.

The summit begins with registration and a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and continues with speakers and lunch until 1:30 p.m. Registration is $30. Expo tables are $250. Table sponsorship opportunities are available.

Register online at www.ben.edu/wls or call the College of Business at (630) 829-6206.

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