Jill Blanchard, recently named president of the SPAR Group Inc., an international supplier of retail merchandising and other marketing services, will head the 13th annual celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to be held Jan. 17, 2014 at the Northwest Chicago Marriott Hotel in Hoffman Estates.
Hosted by the Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations, the dinner will mark the 85th anniversary of Dr. King's birth.
Last year, as senior vice president for HAVI Global Solutions, she was honored for outstanding leadership in promoting women in the marketplace. Prior to joining HAVI, Blanchard was vice president of business development at Nielsen, a 1$ billion global market research company.
In announcing her chairmanship of the dinner, the Rev. Clyde H. Brooks, chairman of the commission, said the commission board considered a number of outstanding leaders to head this event.
"However, given Ms. Blanchard's outstanding leadership qualities and her demonstrated commitment to the ideals of Dr. King, she was selected," he said.
Blanchard said she looks forward to working with mayors, business leaders and others to bring the community together as an illustration of unity, an ideal advocated by Dr. King.
"We want to remember Dr. King's achievements and the work that needs to be done to fulfill his dream of justice, equality and unity," she said, "and celebrate individuals who have demonstrably contributed to this cause. I urge everyone to join us on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014."
Blanchard will work with local mayors and business leaders to plan a "world class" remembrance of the work of Dr. King, celebrate his 85th birthday and recognize leaders who continue to work to improve the quality of life for our citizens.
This event brings together 500 business, government, religious and community leaders annually.
Prior chairmen and women of this event have included: Mayor William McLeod of Hoffman Estates; former Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder; former Mount Prospect mayor Skip Farley; Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson and John Eilering, president of the Mount Prospect State Bank.
To register for this event, visit www.icdhr.com or email ICDHR at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (630) 771-1707.