2010 Impact Awards

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Join Chicago Foundation for Women as we
celebrate 25 years of making a difference
in the lives of women and girls and
recognize 25 visionary women and men
whose leadership and achievements are improving their
Chicago-area neighborhood, community or workplace.

View photos and watch our tribute video of the honorees.

Recognize an honoree with a tribute gift.

Announcing the 2010 Impact Awards Honorees

Gaylon Alcaraz
Veronica I. Arreola
Tracy Baim
Marca Bristo
Salome Chasnoff

Fay Clayton
Joyce Coffee
Terry Cosgrove
Patricia Crowley, OSB
Melissa Gilliam, MD, MPH

Samir Goswami
Joan M. Hall
Anne Ladky
Sharmili Majmudar
Soo Ji Min

Brenda Myers-Powell
Maria S. Pesqueira
Wendy Pollack
Diane Primo
Hedy M. Ratner

Daphnee Rene
Janice E. Rodgers
Ruth M. Rothstein
Jane M. Saks
Deirdre Joy Smith

Read bios of the honorees below. Press release available.

2010 Impact Awards
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Chicago Cultural Center - Preston Bradley Hall


Thanks to the following people for nominating this year's honorees:
Jean Albright * Joanne Archibald * Veronica I. Arreola * María C. Bechily * Prudence Beidler * Ellen J. Benjamin * Khadine Bennett * John Bouman * Cinnamon Cooper * Tara Dabney * Stephanie Daniels-Wilson * Vicky DiProva * Representative Julie Hamos * Mellody Hobson * Ralph Hughes * ICAH Board of Directors * Mariame Kaba * Gerri Kahnweiler * Janine Landow-Esser * Marcena W. Love * Gail Ludewig * Grace Allen Newton * Mary Ann Pitcher * Gigi Pritzker Pucker * Jody Raphael * Angela Rogensues * Gabrielle Sigel * Karen Singer * Deborah L. Thorne

2010 Impact Awards Selection Committee
Marjorie Craig Benton * Don Cooke * Sunny Fischer * Iris J. Krieg * Lucia Woods Lindley
Nicole R. Robinson * Patrick Sheahan * Sharmila Rao Thakkar * Kelly White



2010 Impact Awards Sponsors
List as of March 23, 2010

Impact Sponsors


The Advisory Board of ESBI

Jenner & Block logo
Joan M. Hall and George Cotsirilos

Personal PAC


Action Sponsors
Quarles & Brady LLP logo
UBS logo


Advocacy Sponsors
Marjorie Craig Benton
The Crowley Family in honor of Deborah's Place
Cliff Jensen
Andrea S. Kramer
Marcena W. and Norris Love
Gail Ludewig
Sylvia Neil


Tribute Sponsor
Prue and Frank Beidler
Vicky DiProva
Isa Ellis
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law


In-Kind Contributions
Four Door Films
Painted Light Photography & Framing Gallery
Vinic Wine Co.




Meet the Honorees

Gaylon AlcarazGaylon Alcaraz 
is an activist, organizer and champion of human rights. As executive director of Chicago Abortion Fund, she works within the reproductive health movement to overturn economic barriers to reproductive choice. Gaylon is a founding board member of Affinity Community Services, a community organization that advocates for rights of black lesbian and bisexual women in the Chicago area. Gaylon is a published writer and poet, whose first book, "tales of a woojiehead," was released in 2002. In 2009, Gaylon was honored with Choice USA's Steinem-Waters Legacy Award for her leadership in the reproductive justice movement.


Veronica I. ArreolaVeronica I. Arreola is the Assistant Director of the Center for Research on Women and Gender and directs the Women in Science and Engineering Program at UIC. She has worked with numerous feminist organizations including the Chicago Abortion Fund, National Organization for Women and Women In Media & News. She is a veteran blogger who contributes to a handful of sites including Kenneth Cole's AWEARNESS blog, Girl w/Pen and Chicagonista. Veronica's writing has appeared in Chicago Parent, Bitch, Ms., Alternet, RH Reality Check and in the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Motherhood. She has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times as well as on WFLD TV and WGN Radio. She was featured in an Emmy Award-winning story on WGN TV, "The B-Word." Veronica has received the UIC Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Women's 2007 Woman of the Year, and she is a graduate of the Women's Media Center's Progressive Women's Voices training program.


Tracy Baim
Tracy Baim
is the publisher and managing editor of Windy City Media Group. In May 2009, Tracy marked her 25th anniversary in Chicago LGBT media, having started at GayLife newspaper in 1984. Tracy is founder of Windy City Times, as well as the Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. She was recognized as one of Crain's Chicago Business 40-Under-40 leaders, received the 2005 Studs Terkel Award, and has been inducted into Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. She served as vice co-chair of Gay Games VII. In 2008, she edited "Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Community." In 2009, she produced "Hannah Free," a film based on the award-winning stage play by Claudia Allen.


Marca BristoMarca Bristo is a nationally and internationally acclaimed leader in the disability rights movement. She currently serves as president and chief executive officer of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago. Marca is the recipient of three presidential appointments and one congressional appointment to disability policy positions. She has received the Distinguished Service Award of the President of the United States; the Americans with Disabilities Act Award for her role in the creation and passage of the law; the Henry B. Betts Laureate; and the 1993 United Way of Chicago Executive of the Year Award. She has been named one of Chicago's 100 Most Influential Women by Crain's Chicago Business, one of the Chicago Sun-Times' 100 Most Powerful Women and one of Chicago Magazine's 2007 Chicagoans of the Year.


Salome ChasnoffSalome Chasnoff has been creating media workshops and public forums to bring the voices and issues of Chicago's women and girls to audiences worldwide for over two decades. As a filmmaker, installation artist, educator and founding executive director of Beyondmedia Education, she has worked with women and girls in the highest-need communities. Chasnoff was recently named one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century and the winner of the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism by Women's eNews. These prestigious awards are bestowed upon "visionaries who are committed to improving the lives of women and girls." Not a single-issue organization, Beyondmedia uses the power of media to amplify all women's voices and issues. "Our work meets women and girls at many levels," Chasnoff says, "individuals, workshop groups, communities, and the world of viewers we'll never meet. It's not just about teaching skills. Through first-person storytelling, we hope to create a more compassionate, humane world."


Fay ClaytonFay Clayton is a senior partner in the litigation boutique Robinson Curley & Clayton, P.C. In her more than 30-year career, she presented arguments before state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Prentice Marshall identified her as one of a few "great lawyers" who tried cases before him during his many years on the federal bench. She is a frequent speaker on topics including employment law, women's issues and civil rights, and since 1991 has served as an administrative hearing officer for the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. Her legal work has been recognized by the Illinois State Bar Association, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, the Independent Voters of Illinois, Women Employed and YWCA Evanston/North Shore among many others.


Joyce CoffeeJoyce Coffee serves as executive director of Family Rescue, where she has spent the last 25 years transforming a 19-bed shelter into a comprehensive domestic violence organization which annually serves 2,000 survivors at five sites, providing supportive housing, child care, legal advocacy, crisis intervention, violence prevention education, counseling services and financial recovery and literacy. In 1995 she was honored with the Victim's Advocate Award by President Bill Clinton. She currently serves as President of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, who previously honored her with their Human Dignity Award.


Terry CosgroveTerry Cosgrove is President and CEO of Personal PAC, where, since 1989, he has been instrumental in developing strategies for electing pro-choice candidates. This strategy incorporates an intensive paid telephone program that has identified nearly half a million pro-choice voters in Illinois, plus a direct mail campaign and comprehensive campaign consulting. In addition to consulting on and managing political campaigns, Terry has lent assistance to NARAL, Planned Parenthood, NOW, National Pro-Choice Resource Center, Voters for Choice, Women's Campaign Fund and the Emergency Abortion Loan Fund. In 1992, Terry played a pivotal role in restoring abortion services for poor women at Cook County Hospital. He has been honored with the "Freedom of Choice" award by the Chicago Abortion Fund.


Patricia Crowley, OSBPatricia Crowley, OSB has been a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago since 1958. For 13 years, she served as Executive Director of Deborah's Place, which under her leadership became the largest provider of permanent supportive housing and services for women who are homeless in Chicago. She then became executive director for the Chicago Continuum of Care, where she oversaw Chicago's 10-year plan to end homelessness. In 2007, she was elected as the Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago. She serves on the National Board for the Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR) and is a member of the board of the Chicago Religious Leaders Network.


Melissa Gilliam, MD, MPHMelissa Gilliam, MD, MPH is Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and Chief of Family Planning at the University of Chicago, where she trains doctors and provides health care to children, adolescents and young women. She also conducts innovative, high-impact research to improve the lives of women and girls. She is dedicated to decreasing rates of teen pregnancy, promoting healthy youth development, and decreasing rapid repeat pregnancy, which carries health risks for the mother and her family. She currently leads a study of first-time adolescent mothers to increase understanding of risk and resiliency. Dr. Gilliam is president-elect of the Society for Family Planning, and is the immediate past chair of the Board of the Guttmacher Institute. She is a consultant editor for Obstetrics and Gynecology, serves on the editorial board of Contraception and is an advisor to the FDA.


Samir Goswami (photo by Joel Balasingham)Samir Goswami is currently policy director at Chicago Alliance Agaist Sexual Assault (CAASE), where he brings extensive organizing, media advocacy and public policy advocacy experience on the issues of criminal justice reform, workforce development, affordable housing and sexual and domestic violence prevention. Previously, Samir served on the policy staff of Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, where he founded the Prostitution Alternatives Round Table to advocate for policy reforms to assist persons involved in prostitution and trafficking. He has helped pass the Cook County Residential Treatment and Transition Center for Women, the Criminal Record Sealing Act and the First Offender Probation Act, as well as the Predator Accountability Act, Rental Housing Support Act and the Homelessness Prevention Act. Samir is a board member of Career Advancement Network and Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers. (Photo by Joel Balasingham)


Joan M. HallJoan M. Hall is the co-founder and immediate Past President of the Young Women's Leadership Charter School of Chicago, the only all-girls public school in the city, serving 350 girls in grades 7-12. She is a retired partner in Jenner & Block's Chicago office, where she practiced mainly in the field of commercial litigation, and was also very active in the Firm's pro bono practice, leading landmark class action litigation on behalf of inmates in protective custody at Stateville, alleging that conditions of confinement constituted cruel and unusual punishment. In 1982, Ms. Hall was elected the first female chair of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. She has served on the Federal Judiciary Committee, which screens all applicants for federal judgeships in the United States at the district court, circuit court and U.S. Supreme Court levels. She was the third woman ever to be elected as a fellow to the American College of Trial Lawyers.


Anne LadkyAnne Ladky is Executive Director of Women Employed, a 35-year-old organization whose mission is to improve women's economic status and remove barriers to economic equity. Anne was a founding member of Women Employed, joining the staff in 1977. Anne is a nationally recognized expert on women's employment issues, equal opportunity, workforce development and career advancement. She is the author of numerous reports, articles, and testimony on economic issues. She holds appointments with the Illinois Workforce Investment Board, the Chicago Workforce Board, and has chaired the Governor's Transition Task Force on Workforce Development. She serves on the National Policy Advisory Council of the Center for Economic Progress, and was recently named a Visiting Social Activist at the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan.


Sharmili MajmudarSharmili Majmudar is the Executive Director of Rape Victim Advocates, an organization committed to ensuring that survivors of sexual assault are treated with dignity and compassion, and dedicated to affecting changes in the way the legal system, medical institutions and society as a whole respond to survivors. She has worked for the liberation of communities from domestic and sexual violence for 18 years. She has been involved with Incite!, Transforming Silence Into Action, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network, and the Color Triangle. She was a founding member of Khuli Zaban, a South and West Asian lesbian, bisexual and transgender women's group. She recently retired from Mango Tribe, a multi-city Asian/Pacific Islander American (APIA) women and genderqueer interdisciplinary performance ensemble. A published poet, her work appears in journals and anthologies including the award-winning "Contours of the Heart: South Asians Map North America." In 2009, she was chosen as one of Community Renewal Society's 35 under 35 Leadership Award honorees.


Soo Ji MinSoo Ji Min is executive director of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH), a policy and advocacy organization that works in partnership with youth to advocate sound policies and practices that promote a positive approach to adolescent sexual health and parenting. Since joining ICAH, Soo Ji has focused the agency’s programming to develop leadership among youth ages 14-20 from underrepresented and underserved communities of color; advocate for community, institutional, societal, and policy changes impacting low-income and marginalized communities; and build a grassroots network of allied social justice organizations. In 2010, she was named a Chicago Community Trust Fellow and was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn to the Illinois Human Services Commission. She is treasurer of Chicago Women in Philanthropy.


Brenda Myers-PowellBrenda Myers-Powell is a co-founder and the chief operating officer of The Dreamcatcher Foundation, a survivor-driven agency founded in 2007 to meet the needs of girls and young women who are subject to physical, emotional and psychological abuse and want to improve their circumstances and community. Brenda uses her experience as a runaway teenager survivor of the sex trade to mentor at-risk youth and encourage them to reach their full potential. Additionally, Brenda has done extensive research on the trafficking of young girls in the city of Chicago and the metropolitan area.


Maria S. PesqueiraMaria S. Pesqueira is the President and CEO of Mujeres Latinas en Acción, one of the longest standing Latina nonprofit organizations in the nation, providing a comprehensive array of social services and advocacy initiatives that promote nonviolence and leadership development. Maria is also co-founder of Latinos in Development, which advocates for increased philanthropic support of Latino communities. Maria has been appointed to the Illinois Human Services Commission, the Governor's Advisory Council on Domestic Violence and the Mayor of Chicago's Advisory Council on Domestic Violence. Maria has been recognized as a Crain's Chicago Business 40 Under 40 leader, Accento Magazine's 2002 Woman of the Year and one of Chicago Magazine's 2006 Chicagoans of the Year. She has also been honored by the National Organization for Women, the Illinois Latino Caucus Foundation and the American Institute for Public Service. She serves on the boards of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Community Memorial Foundation and La Raza.


Wendy PollackWendy Pollack is the founder and director of the Women's Law and Policy Project (WLPP) at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. The WLPP draws on the experiences of women and girls to inform their analysis of poverty and their solutions to end it. Wendy has worked extensively on public benefits and work supports, workforce and economic development, education, employment, family law, violence against women and girls and gender equity in schools on the local, state and federal level. She is the editor of WomanView, a newsletter on legal issues affecting low-income women and girls. Previously, Wendy worked on the welfare law team at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, as a neighborhood staff attorney and as a union carpenter. She co-founded Chicago Women Carpenters in 1979 and Chicago Women in Trades in 1982.


Diane PrimoDiane Primo is Chief Executive Officer of Hope's Chance, a business opportunity for homeless women and self-supporting young adults. She founded Hope's Chance in May 2009 to employ homeless women, working age orphans and others in dire straits. Half of the company's net profits will be donated to charities like Primo Center for Women and Children (PCWC), where Diane serves as Chair of the RedHot Board, the fundraising arm of PCWC. The mission of the PWCW is to empower women and children to become productive, responsible and independent members of their communities.


Hedy M. RatnerHedy M. Ratner is founder and Co-President of the Women's Business Development Center, the largest, oldest and most comprehensive women's business assistance center in the U.S. An advocate and activist for women's issues for more than 40 years, Hedy was appointed by President Clinton to the National Women's Business Council; by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to the Illinois Economic Recovery Commission; by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to the Affirmative Action Council; by Illinois Governors Edgar and Ryan to the Illinois Women's Business Ownership Council and the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois. Her many honors include the University of Chicago Diversity Leadership Award, the Network of Women Entrepreneurs Women Who Dare Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Rainbow PUSH, and the University of Chicago Alumni Public Service Award. She has been named the Governor's Women Business Advocate of the Year, and the National Association of Women Business Owners Public Policy Advocate of the year, both locally and nationally.


Daphnee ReneDaphnee Rene, as a high school freshman in 2003, helped to found the Rogers Park Young Women's Action Team (YWAT), a youth-led, adult-supported social change project that empowers women to take action on issues that affect their lives. The YWAT believes that through collective action, consciousness-raising and organizing they can end violence against girls and young women. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "For girls who are in abusive dating relationships, tired of being groped by unfamiliar men on the CTA or dreading the walks to and from school for fear of boys and men who harass them, Daphnee Rene is a champion." Daphnee has been recognized as a "Champion of Change" by Women Employed, and one of "50 People Who Make Chicago a Better Place" by the Chicago-Sun Times. She currently attends DePaul University, where she plans to obtain a degree in Sociology and Philosophy.


Janice E. RodgersJanice E. Rodgers is a partner with Quarles & Brady, where she concentrates on representing and advising not-for-profit organizations, including private and public foundations, charitable and educational institutions, and other tax-exempt entities. Throughout her career, Janice has used her voice to bring about systemic change on policy issues impacting women and girls. Janice has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America and was named one of the Top 50 Lawyers in Illinois by Super Lawyers. She is the recipient of the Chicago Mel Tracht Outstanding Volunteer Award (Donors' Forum), and has received the Star Mentor Award from Quarles & Brady for her mentorship of the women in her group. Janice serves on numerous board and advisory groups, including Chicago Women in Philanthropy, Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Foundation for Women and Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, where she is the immediate past Chairperson, Board of Directors.


Ruth M. RothsteinRuth M. Rothstein is a national leader in the field of public health. During her tenure as Chief of Cook County Bureau of Health Services, the third largest public health system in the nation, Ruth not only resuscitated the system's flagship hospital, but also established thirty neighborhood outpatient clinics. Her career began as a union organizer, where she participated in pickets, organized women factory workers, and documented cases of corporate racial and sex discrimination. With no college degree and few female role models, Ruth had difficulty convincing male employers of her abilities. As an applicant at Mt. Sinai Hospital in the 1960s, she was told that they would rather have a man, and needed someone with a master's degree. She not only got the job, but six years later was president of the hospital. She helped Mt. Sinai transition from a Jewish hospital isolated from its increasingly African American and Latino neighborhood into an integral part of its West Side community and a beacon for area residents.


Jane M. SaksJane M. Saks is the founding Executive Director of the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, Columbia College Chicago. She is a feminist activist, cultural advocate, writer and educator who challenges and champions issues of gender, sexuality, human rights, race and power within the worlds of arts and culture, politics and civil rights, academia and philanthropy. She serves on several advisory boards, including: Co-Chair, Chicago Foundation for Women's Lesbian Leadership Council, Radio Dairies of National Public Radio, US Friends of the South Africa Constitutional Court Architecture and Art Programme Committee and Chicago Committee of the African Women's Development Fund. She is a published poet and lecturer and recipient of several awards and honors including: 2008 Women of Valor, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest "40 Who Have Made A Difference Award," a 2005 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellowship and 2009 inductee to the City of Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.


Deirdre Joy SmithDeirdre Joy Smith is the founder, president and visionary behind POWER: Opening Doors for Women. The program provides a platform for women in C-level and senior management positions and connects them with high-potential women. Under her leadership, POWER has grown from 250 participants in Chicago to more than 4,500 women in three markets: Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit. In 2010, the program will expand to Atlanta, Grand Rapids and San Francisco. Deirdre won the Kimpton Group's "Women Making History" award and was featured in the 2008 edition of Who's Who in Black Chicago. Recently, she received the "Women on the Rise" award at Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias' "Smart Women, Smart Money" conference. Prior to creating POWER, Deirdre was principal of DJS Consulting LLC. In 2000, she was the Midwest Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee.



For more information on the Impact Awards or other CFW events, contact Mariah Pearl Cunnick at mcunnick@cfw.org or (312) 577-2827.


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