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posted: 9/21/2016 1:14 PM

Benedictine hosts Women's Leadership Summit

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By Elliott Peppers
Benedictine University

The national board president of Girl Scouts of the USA, a state representative and the CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago are the featured speakers of the 2016 Greater Chicago Women's Leadership Summit hosted by the College of Business at Benedictine University in Lisle.

The conference, which focuses on topics of work-life balance, culture and innovative leadership, will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, in the Goodwin Hall Auditorium on Benedictine University's main campus, 5700 College Road, Lisle. The networking event provides an opportunity for professional development as well as building business connections.

Speakers include Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, national board president of Girls Scouts of the United States of America; State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, a Democrat from Aurora; and Dorri McWhorter, chief executive officer of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago.

A 2016 graduate of Benedictine's doctoral program in Values-Driven Leadership, Hannan is the global lead partner at KPMG and the first woman of Native American ancestry to become president of the Girl Scouts. At KPMG, Hannan founded the Women's Advisory Board and became the first female national managing partner of diversity and corporate responsibility.

Recognized as an advocate for women in the workplace, Hannan received the Most Powerful and Influential Women Award from the Illinois Diversity Council, the Outstanding Business Leader Award from the YWCA and Diversity Woman magazine's annual Mosaic Woman Leadership Award.

Chapa LaVia represents the 83rd House District, which includes all or part of Aurora, Montgomery and North Aurora. She is the chairwoman of the House Elementary and Secondary Education and Veteran's Affairs committees.

Chapa LaVia has served on numerous task forces including the Illinois Joining Forces Foundation, Commission for High School Graduation Achievement and Success, Enhance Physical Education Task Force, Teacher Recruiting and Retention Task Force, Task Force on Charter School Funding and Young Adults Heroin Use Task Force.

In June 2015, Chapa LaVia announced a run for mayor of Aurora in 2017. She intends her campaign will focus on education, business development and job creation.

A leader in corporate and social change sectors, McWhorter is the CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and has been an active member of Chicago's civic, business and philanthropic communities. McWhorter has helped lead YWCA into the digital age by relaunching the TechGYRLS program, which focuses on STEM awareness for girls age 9 to 14. In 2014, McWhorter was honored by the Chicago Tribune's Blue Sky Innovation program and included in the inaugural list of The Blue Network, which is made of the top 100 innovators in Chicago.

She serves on the board of directors for several organizations including the Chicago Finance Exchange and Chicago Child Care Society, and is a member of the Mayor's Commission on a Safer Chicago and the executive council of Ms. Tech, an organization that provides women in technology ventures and innovative companies the inspiration, knowledge and connections to reach their full potential.

McWhorter has received numerous awards including Chicago United Business Leader of Color, Diversity MBA Magazine's Top 100 Under 50 Executive Leaders and the Illinois CPA Society's Outstanding Leader in Advancing Diversity Award.

Tickets are $30 per person, or $25 before Friday, Sept. 30.

The summit begins with registration and a continental breakfast at 9 a.m., and continues with speakers and lunch until 1:30 p.m. The event is open to the public, but space is limited.

For information, visit ben.edu/wls or contact Nicole Placek at (630) 829-6406 or nplacek@ben.edu.

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