Where in the World is Women Employed

Women Employed
6 min readApr 27, 2023

March may have been our busiest month to date, but as Winter turned into Spring, Women Employed (WE) has continued blooming and blossoming. Whether it was speaking at a conference, doing outreach, or sharing our commentary on the recent mayoral election, WE came, WE saw, and WE conquered every stage, panel, and television appearance. Picking up where we left off, we closed out the month of March with our very own President & CEO, Cherita Ellens receiving the Impact Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women, and finished April strong with Senior Coalition Manager, Starr De Los Santos speaking on workplace and equal pay policies with ARISE Chicago. We even found time to have a little fun by celebrating the next generation of Women Employed in the form of a joint baby shower for our moms-to-be, Director of Business Development, Ibie Hart, and Communications Coordinator, Racquel Fullman, proving that Women Employed isn’t just all work.

Need a recap of what we’ve been up to? Read ahead to learn more about where in the world is Women Employed and find out where we’ll be next, so you don’t miss out!

Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Awards

On March 29th, our very own, Cherita Ellens, was honored by the Chicago Foundation for Women at their annual Impact Awards. The awards ceremony recognized the top women leaders in Chicago for their dedication to expanding economic security, ensuring freedom from violence, and enhancing access to health services for women and girls. As the President and CEO of Women Employed, Cherita is currently leading the organization’s new strategic plan, focusing on growing the economic power of women — particularly women in low-wage roles — and Black and Latina/x women. As an organization, we are proud to celebrate her work in closing the wealth gap at the intersection of gender and race! To hear Cherita’s moving acceptance speech, click here.

Jane Addams Resource Corporation’s Women in Manufacturing

Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC) and Freedman Seating co-hosted their Women in Manufacturing networking event on March 29th! The event featured WE’s Director of Business Development, Ibie Hart and Senior Career Pathways Manager, Tara Driver. Guests enjoyed an evening filled with fun and opportunities, and highlighted JARC’s incredible female graduates who spoke on how their careers in manufacturing changed their lives and led them to financial stability. JARC and Freedman recruitment teams were on hand to answer questions and share the benefits of participating in the program, leaving attendees feeling empowered.

Binny’s Women in Beer

Women Employed was selected as the nonprofit partner organization for Binny’s Women in Beer event. Taking place on March 30th, attendees sampled from a large selection of local, national, and international producers while also getting to know the women who work behind the scenes to make it happen. In addition to receiving 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales, WE raised nearly $1500 with our Deluxe Door Prize Packages! Women Employed sponsor, Southwest Airlines, even donated two flight vouchers. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of Binny’s vendors who donated $1000+ value in beverages, swag, wearables, gift cards, tour vouchers, signs, gear, and more!

Leading for Good Panel “Entrepreneurs & Intra-preneurs Needed: New Ways to Impact”

Cherita Ellens, WE President & CEO, moderated Loyola University’s Leading for Good Panel, “Entrepreneurs & Intra-preneurs Needed: New Ways to Impact,” on April 5th. The event highlighted the accelerating change across the economy, both inside organizations and through new entities, and invited speakers from multiple different roles to talk about the skills and approaches they used on the path to greater impact.

CAN-TV Post-Mayoral Election Commentary

Also on April 5th, Cherita participated in CAN-TV’s post-mayoral election discussion, providing reactions and commentary. Following the announcement of Brandon Johnson being named as Chicago Mayoral Elect in the run-off election, Cherita joined Andrea Zopp and Sylvia Snowden for a comprehensive Election Analysis to help Chicago residents understand their meaning. In case you missed CAN-TV’s Election Analysis, you can watch Cherita Ellen’s remarks here.

Congratulations Ibie and Racquel!

While April showers bring May flowers, it also brings baby showers! Women Employed is currently expecting, times 2. On April 10th, WE held a joint baby shower for our moms-to-be, Ibie Hart and Racquel Fullman. The afternoon celebration included lunch sponsored by Naf Naf Grill, fun games, a onesie shaped strawberry shortcake baked by Senior Research Analyst, Corinne Kodama, and even a gender reveal. We are excited for the next generation of Women Employed and send our congratulations to both moms as they enter this next chapter!

Advocacy Council Meeting

Women Employed’s Advocacy Council is an informed group of volunteers who organize and advocate to advance WE’s goals of expanding educational and employment opportunities for America’s working women. Advocacy Council members are from diverse backgrounds with a strong commitment to women’s issues and social change with a range of skills and interests including leadership, marketing, organizing, and fundraising.

At our April 19th gathering the group heard timely legislative updates out of Springfield from WE’s Director of Advocacy and Policy, Sarah Labadie, took action to advance WE’s fundraising efforts around The Working Lunch, and learned the latest about WE’s new consultancy from Chief of Staff, Mary Kay Devine and Director of Business Development, Ibie Hart, while participating in a sample workshop!

You can learn more about the Advocacy Council and how to get involved here!

The Village Legal and Community Project and Project Evolve Small Business Expo

On April 22nd, Ibie Hart, Director of Business Development, promoted the Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE) Hub at The Village Legal and Community Project and Project Evolve Small Business Expo. The expo featured breakout sessions, from Huntington Bank on business loans, Creative Impact Consultants on being “grant ready,” and from the Director of Supplier Diversity at Walgreens on how to do business with Walgreens and companies like them.

ARISE Chicago

WE’s Senior Coalition Manager, Starr De Los Santos spoke at ARISE Chicago’s Facebook live event on April 26th. Along with representatives from the Illinois Department of Labor, the event focused on the latest in workplace and equal pay policies that have been implemented over the past couple of years for Illinois workers. Attendees learned about their rights and the resources available to them should they experience any issues at their place of employment, and left learning how advocate for themselves and fellow workers in the fight for fair and just workplaces. Catch the replay here.

Don’t miss out on the next event! Visit the events page on our website so you can be kept in the loop about where Women Employed is going next and how to be involved.



Women Employed

WE relentlessly pursue equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to education, & advocating for fair, inclusive workplaces.