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Women At The Top: Making It Happen For You

Thursday, January 29, 2015, 5:30 PM until 8:30 PM
Gleacher Center Room 621
450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive
Chicago, IL  

Ruta M Gaizutis
708.600.6171 (p)
General Event
Registration is required before Thursday, January 29, 2015
Payment In Advance Only
Cancellation Policy:
Cancellations will not be accepted after January 22, 2015.
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UCWBG Annual Meeting "Women at the Top: Making It Happen for You"

The University of Chicago Women’s Business Group is proud to host its Annual Meeting with an impressive panel of University of Chicago alumni—both women and men—who are currently sitting on CORPORATE BOARDS—from NYSE listed major companies to NASDAQ listed firms to privately held companies’ advisory boards—and NONPROFIT BOARDS, from local to major national organizations.


These alumni will be available to talk one on one with you during the reception and plus you are highly likely to have one of these BOARD LEADERS SITTING AT YOUR DINNER TABLE. After dinner, the focus of the panel will discuss the latest findings and trends that are causing an escalating demand for more women on corporate boards. This demand is being driven by mounting evidence that greater gender diversity in boards is associated with higher returns on equity, higher price/book valuations, superior stock price performance, and higher dividend payout ratios.


This panel will ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS ON CORPORATE AND NONPROFIT BOARD INVOLVEMENT…and any unanswered questions will be addressed via an email sent by UCWBG to all attendees. In this new environment, this event is designed to provide you with PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR WOMEN AND MEN who want to:

  • Gain new insights on improving nonprofit and corporate boards.

  • Be recruited to join a Board…and understand exactly what the differences are between NYSE, NASDAQ, private corporate advisory boards and the various nonprofit board options.

  • Know how to leverage your background/profile/demographics to enhance your Board choices and experience.


Preview Discussion Topics

Here are three brief clips of our panelists highlighting the points they'll talk about: Clip1, Clip2, Clip3


** Special Feature **

Honored table guests will be available throughout the evening to discuss any issues you may have about board service. Among them are UChicago alums sitting on major corporate & nonprofit boards, including: David Vitale, MBA, President, Chicago Board of Education, United Airlines, Wheels, Inc., and Ariel Investments board member; Kimberly Hunter, MBA, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago board member;  Adela Cepeda, BMO Financial, UBS Funds, Mercer Mutual Funds board member; Jill Goodman, JD, CBOE Holdings;  Isabelle Goossen, MBA, Methode Electronics, Columbian Financial Group, Knox College, Cook County Hospital Foundation ; and Carmen Heredia-Lopez, MBA.


Read more about our table guests.


Our Panel Includes:

Moderator Kathy Graham MBA'00, is the founder of The HQ Companies, Inc., a group of four firms focused on positioning the right people in the right places to enhance corporate growth and career progression. She recently published a white paper, “More Women on Corporate Boards” that discovered two structural shifts in the composition of U.S. corporate Board of Directors, which was followed by career advice to professionals on how to position themselves for corporate Board involvement based upon these new dynamics. 


Panelist Eileen Kamerick MBA'93, JD'94 is a strategic executive known for driving growth and profitability (see full bio below for details) and enhancing stakeholder value through quick complex problem-solving and expertly executed initiatives at public and private firms. She currently sits on two NYSE listed corporate Board (Legg Mason and Associated Banc) and one NASDAQ listed corporate Board (Westell Technologies), plus three nonprofit Boards, including a large national nonprofit.  


Panelist Margaret McCoy MBA'83, is Director of Financial Consulting Services at Lumity, a nonprofit capacity builder, where she brings her extensive financial management and technology experience to nonprofit Boards, senior management, and staff to enhance their governance, financial literacy, and organizational acumen. For several years, she also has been—and is currently—teaching Nonprofit Finance classes for the University of Illinois in their College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. Before transitioning into the nonprofit sector, Maggie worked for most of her career at CNA Insurance Companies where she held a variety of financial, operations, and strategic planning roles including: Accident and Health Claims Educator; National Accounts Controller; VP and Regional Director for a 13-state region, VP, Strategic Planning; and Chief of Staff, Technology Divisions. Maggie serves on a number of nonprofit boards and will focus on the career benefits of nonprofit board membership. 


Panelist Jesse Ruiz JD'93, is a Partner in DrinkerBiddle’s Corporate and Securities Group, serves as the Firm’s Marketing Partner, and is a member of the Firm’s Client Service Committee (see full bio for more background). Since 2006, Jesse has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Commonwealth Edison, an Exelon Company. In 2011, the Walmart Legal Department awarded Jesse its inaugural Walmart Legal Spark Award for “outstanding client and community service and dedication to diversity in the legal profession; the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appointed Jesse to the U.S. Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission; and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Jesse the Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education. Jesse also sit on the Board of Directors for the following nonprofit organizations: Past Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois; Chicago Bar Foundation; Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc.; Illinois Association of School Boards; Metropolitan Planning Council; Museum of Science and Industry; National Museum of Mexican Art; and Rush University Medical Center. 



      5:30 - 6:00 pm      Registration and cash bar
  6:00 - 6:45 pm      Buffet dinner 
  6:45 - 7:00 pm   Annual Meeting with presentation of the UCWBG board
  7:00 - 8:00 pm      Panel discussion 
  8:00 - 8:30 pm      Networking with dessert buffet and cash bar 


More About Our Panelists


Kathleen “Kathy” Graham,  MBA'00, is a career strategist who owns four businesses that focus on different aspects of career development for professionals.  After working for several search firms where she was a top national award-winning recruiter, Graham co-founded in 1997 HQSearch, Inc.. a retained executive search firm specializing solely in senior financial services positions (total compensation in the six-seven figure range) globally.  For the last eight years Graham has issued an annual overall economic trends forecast that to date has been completely accurate.  Facing her bleak prediction for 2008, Graham decided to use her recruiting expertise to create the Your Career Strategist™ series of services, workshops, and products to help professionals grow their careers themselves.  These offerings have received tremendous positive feedback due to the high rate of success that individuals are experiencing in securing their ideal career goals, even in this challenging economic climate.  These professionals are in fields as diverse as marketing, legal, healthcare, consulting, accounting, and finance.  Their current positions range from entrepreneurs to mid level corporate to C-suite Fortune 500 executives.


Graham earned her MBA in Analytical Finance, Econometrics, and Statistics from The University of Chicago and a BA in Business Administration and Marketing from North Central College. She is a frequently requested speaker and writer nationally on topics regarding human capital and career development, including presentations given for The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, The Chicago Tribune, Financial Research Associates, Managed Funds Association, New York Society of Security Analysts, The CFA Society of Chicago, The Boston Security Analysts Society, and Northwestern University’s Alumni Association.


Graham has written two career related books:

  • Manual of Style for Resumes and Cover Letters, a resume-writing how-to guide

  • Bullseye: Graham’s Six Steps to Career Success, a new book that details the success stories and mechanics of her Your Career Campaign™ career development program.

Kathy has also written a children’s book, The Land of Lemons and Nuts, published in 2008, to teach economics to children ages four through nine. It is available in English, French, and Spanish.


Eileen Kamerick, MBA'93, JD'94, is a strategic executive known for driving growth & profitability & enhancing stakeholder value through quick complex problem-solving & expertly executed initiatives at public & private firms. Eileen started her career as a securities & M&A LAWYER at SKADDEN ARPS before joining AMOCO where she led >30 successful chemicals & oil & gas financings, acquisitions, joint ventures, & divestitures globally before being named CFO OF THE AMERICAS.


  • As CFO for PRESS GANEY ASSOCIATES, a leading healthcare informatics & analytics firm, Eileen significantly increased the profit margin.
  • As MD & CFO for HOULIHAN LOKEY, a boutique investment bank, she established SOX controls, instituted standalone financials, & executed enhanced financial & operational metrics dashboard reporting, plus led the negotiation, execution, & integration of 3 accretive acquisitions.
  • As CFO & LEGAL OFFICER for TECTA AMERICA, the country’s largest commercial roofing firm, Eileen successfully restructured operations & refinanced debt to address the unprecedented construction downturn.
  • As EVP, CFO, & CAO for HEIDRICK & STRUGGLES INTERNATIONAL, a retained provider of executive level search/leadership services, she successfully completed a turnaround, doubling revenue & stock price & significantly increasing EBITDA.
  • As EVP & CFO for LEO BURNETT/BCOM3 Group, a $2B global advertising/media firm, Eileen partnered with others to increase margins by 500+bps, prepared Firm for IPO &, as part of negotiating team, concluded the successful sale of Firm to Publicis, Inc.

Currently Eileen is the AUDIT COMMITTEE CHAIR on 3 public companies' boards:

  • ASSOCIATED BANC-CORP, a $25B banking franchise
  • LEGG MASON’s closed end mutual funds


Click here for a complete listing of Eileen's activities and accomplishments.  


Maggie McCoy, MBA'83, brings more than 30 years of financial management experience to her Financial Consulting practice. She has worked with nonprofit and for-profit entities; with staff, management and boards of directors; and on issues from desk-level accounting and financial planning to board-level strategic questions.


For-profit work included a career at CNA Insurance where she held a range of increasingly responsible positions including Controller for National Accounts, then Regional Vice President of National Accounts Sales and Service. She held positions as well in Corporate Strategic Planning and was Chief of Staff for CNA’s Technology Division.


After leaving the corporate world, she was an independent management consultant and currently works for Lumity, a Nonprofit Capacity builder. At Lumity, she is the Director of Financial Consulting Services. These services are targeted at small nonprofits who need hands-on support for a range of accounting and financial policy and procedural issues.


Maggie earned an MBA in Finance and Economics from Chicago Booth. She has also served as a director in several local non-profits including UCWBG. 


Jesse H. Ruiz, JD'95, is a partner in the firm's Corporate and Securities Group, and is a member of the firm's Client Service Committee. For over 17 years, Jesse has focused his practice on business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private equity investments, equity and debt offerings, financings, the purchase and sale of assets from bankruptcy estates and a variety of commercial transactions. Drawing on his experiences in business and management consulting, and his work in the public sector, Jesse also counsels public and privately-held companies and entrepreneurs on strategic initiatives and transactions. Jesse also counsels clients on corporate finance issues; negotiation of consulting and other commercial agreements; reorganizations; corporate compliance; corporate governance issues; employment matters; and the formation of business entities in the United States, Latin America and Europe.


Additionally, Jesse serves as the relationship partner for a major firm client and supervises and manages all aspects of the firm's legal services, including those in contract, corporate, compliance, customs & trade, environmental, labor & employment, intellectual property, land use & zoning, litigation, real estate and regulatory matters.


In 2011, the WalMart Legal Department awarded Jesse its inaugural WalMart Legal Spark Award for "outstanding client and community service and dedication to diversity in the legal profession.”


Since 2006, Jesse has served as a member of the board of directors of Commonwealth Edison, an Exelon Company.


Click here for a complete listing of Jesse's activities and accomplishments.  


More About our Honored Table Guests

The evening also features eight other alumni corporate and/or nonprofit board members who, with the panelists, attendees will have one-on-one opportunities to talk to during dinner and the TWO networking receptions. These honored table guests include:



HONORED TABLE GUEST ADELA CEPADA,MBA, has been a finance specialist since 1980 and, as President of A.C. Advisory, Inc., manages the structuring and execution of transactions in the capital markets for corporations and municipalities.  Previously she worked on Wall Street for over 10 years as a corporate finance executive at Smith Barney, Harris Upham (see full bio).  She serves on the boards of UBS Funds, Consulting Group Capital Markets Mutual Funds, and is the Chair of the Mercer Mutual Funds.  She is also a director of BMO Financial Corporation, the US holding company for BMO Harris Bank.


CBOE HOLDINGS, INC. (NASDAQ) with a $.5.B market capitalization

HONORED TABLE GUEST JILL R. GOODMAN, JD, is a Managing Director with Foros, a strategic and M&A advisory boutique in NYC.  Her transactional expertise is in special/independent committee advisory assignments and activist defense situations (see full bio).  Prior to Foros, she was a Managing Director first at Lazard and then at Rothschild for over 10 years at each firm. 
JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION (JDFR), the leading global organization for Type 1 Diabetes 
 HONORED TABLE GUEST JOYCE M. STERK, MBA, is the Managing Director for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and a Board member of JDFR and Brother Rice High School.  She has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry.  Prior to BCBS, she was with CNA Insurance starting in actuarial roles and progressing to an appointment as an officer of the company.

HONORED TABLE GUEST ISABELLE C. GOOSEN, MBA, is the CFO for The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world with a $78M operating budget and $323M net assets.  She currently serve on the Board of Directors of Methode Electronics, Inc, Columbian Financial Group, Cook County Hospital Foundation, and the Polish Scouting Organization – Girls Division, where she is the National Treasurer.



HONORED TABLE GUEST CARMEN A. HEREDIA-LOPEZ, MBA, IS Director of Investments for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the fourth largest US foundation with $8B in assets.  Previously she was the CIO for Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, managing a $10B investment program (see full bio).  She sits on nonprofit Boards of CFA Society Chicago, The National Society of Hispanic MBAs, The National Society of Hispanic MBAs Foundation, and The Robert A. Toigo Foundation, who recognized her with their 2013 Leading By Example Award.



HONORED TABLE GUEST DAVID J. VITALE, MBA, is the Chairman of Urban Partnership Bank, a newly formed bank serving the financially underserved neighborhoods of Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit.  He was appointed to the position of President of the Chicago Board of Education and served previously as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Chicago Public School System from 2003-2008 (see full bio). He serves on the Boards of Directors of United Airlines, Wheels Inc., DNP Select Income Fund (Chairman), and Ariel Investments.  He also serves on numerous nonprofit boards, including The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, Partnership for New Communities, and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.



HONORED TABLE GUEST KIMBERLY A. HUNTER, MBA’88, is an experienced, versatile finance leader with an enterprise-wide view, who most recently served for over 10 years as global Corporate Treasurer of a publicly traded spin-off entity in the food and beverage sector that grew organically and through acquisitions to enter the Fortune 500 (see full bio).  She is immediate past President of the National Association of Corporate Treasurers, where she continues on their Board, and is also on the Board of the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago.



HONORED TABLE GUEST JINNIE CRISTERNA, AM’99, is a seasoned mental health expert and President & CEO of International High Achievers, a counseling firm offering psychotherapy, executive and personal coaching, including a significant focus on sports performance enhancement techniques.  She provides sports psychology for the entire USA Taekwondo organization and was herself the 2008 National Gold Taekwondo Medalist and the 2012 National Bronze Taekwondo Medalist.

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