WLC Hero

Women's leadership council


The Women's Leadership Council collaborates with other groups at Roosevelt as well as the community to identify the critical issues women face. The Council hosts programming, provides mentorship and gives back to initiatives that facilitate real solutions to close the gender gap. All women and men who know and support Roosevelt University are welcome to join.

Support the women's leadership council


The Women's Leadership Council advisory board provides leadership and direction to the Women's Leadership Council membership and to Roosevelt. This select group of individuals will strengthen the Roosevelt legacy by addressing the issues faced by current and aspiring women leaders, leveraging an inclusive network to seek improvements and solutions.

The advisory board provides advice and counsel on the University's efforts to support the women of Roosevelt: current students, alumni and friends of the University. The advisory board builds awareness of important and relevant issues and shares their expertise and talents. 


  • Ann Ford, Roosevelt Board of Trustees Member, Partner of Hall Prangle & Schoonveld LLC
  • Larissa Herczeg, Roosevelt Board of Trustees Member, Managing Director and CIO of Oak Street Real Estate Capital


  • Marian Azzaro, Retired Associate Professor of Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Melissa Bean, Roosevelt Alumna (BA '02) and CEO of Mesirow Wealth Advisors, Mesirow Financial, Former U.S. Representative 
  • Sariah Bolden, Roosevelt Alumna (BA '22) and AP World History Teacher, Western School of Science and Technology, Teach For America 22' cohort member, and former Joan Deutsch Herczeg scholar
  • Julia Brady, Senior Director, Employee Communications, Abbott
  • Terri Brax, Roosevelt Alumna (MSMC '93) and Founder of TeacherCare and CEO at Women Tech Founders
  • Tameeka Christian, Roosevelt Alumna (MA '05) and Program Officer, J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation
  • Elizabeth Connolly, General Counsel, Sinai Health System
  • Mirlene Dossous, Roosevelt Alumna (BA '94) and Director, Englewood Portfolio, Robert R. McCormick Foundation
  • Ana T. Fuentes, Senior Partner, Fuentes Palmisano PC
  • Vicki Fuller, Roosevelt Alumna (BS '79) and Board of Trustees Member, Board Member of Fidelity Investments and The Williams Companies, Inc., Former CIO of the New York State Common Retirement Fund
  • Sarah Guernsey, Deputy Director and Senior Vice President for Curatorial Affairs at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Catherine McNeil, Robert Morris Alumna (BA '07) and Principle Career & Workforce Development Consultant for CHBM Services
  • Lyvette Medina Jones, Robert Morris Alumna (BA '08) and Project Specialist, Diversity Programs, Chicago Transit Authority
  • Kristy Kotek, Roosevelt Alumna (BA '14) and Senior Vice President, Alumni Services, Teach for America
  • Margaret Price, Ethics and Compliance Officer, Medical Devices at Abbott
  • Clarita Santos, Executive Director of Corporate and Civic Partnerships at Health Care Service Corporation
  • Rian Spencer, Roosevelt Alumna (MBA '07) and Private Wealth Advisor, Bernstein Private Wealth Management 
  • Joyce E. Tucker, Roosevelt Board of Trustees Member, Former Vice President of Global Diversity and Employee Rights for The Boeing Company

Staff members

UPcoming events


Roosevelt Family Day at the Chicago Cubs

Sunday, August 18, 2024 at 1:20pm

Chicago's Wrigley Field at 1060 W Addison St.

Please join Roosevelt University for an Alumni & Friends gathering at the Chicago Cubs game! Sit together with Roosevelt University families and Women's Leadership Council members at Chicago's Wrigley Field at 1060 W Addison St. during the Cubs vs. Blue Jays game.

Register here by Wednesday, May 22 to guarantee this price and your spot and among the Roosevelt families. $40 per adult and $25 per child age 12 and under.


Women's Leadership Council 2024 Holiday Luncheon

Thursday, December 5, 2024 from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

The University Club of Chicago

Please save the date for the WLC 2024 Holiday Luncheon with keynote speaker Karina Ayala-Bermejo, President & CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino.

Check back soon for registration to open! For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Britney Risley at brisley01@roosevelt.edu.


past events 


Alumni Happy Hour Honoring the 2024 Alumn Award Winners

Thursday, April 25 from 6:00pm - 8:00 pm

The Emily Hotel in the West Loop

Congratulations to Roosevelt University’s 2024 Alumni Award honorees! We gathered at the Emily Hotel in the West Loop to celebrate. It was energizing to hear what Laker alumni are doing after graduation. Read more about the honorees here.

At this event, we also celebrated the Joan D. Herczeg Leadership Scholars are graduating this week. Many Women's Leadership Advisory Board Members were in attendance to wish them well. We give special thanks to WLC member and Roosevelt Trustee Larissa Herczeg for introducing the awardees.



Women's Leadership Symposium on Economic Empowerment

Thursday, February 29, 2024 from 4:00pm - 6:00 pm

Roosevelt University

The 2nd annual Women’s Leadership Symposium will focus on economic empowerment. Natalie Moore, WBEZ Reporter on Race, Class and Communities, will moderate a panel discussion at Roosevelt University’s Chicago campus. The symposium will address economic topics like barriers to accessing capital, juggling multiple identities such as primary household earner and caregiving, building wealth and generational wealth, entrepreneurship, and the Illinois pay transparency law. Panel participants include:

  • Moderator Natalie Moore, WBEZ Reporter, Race Class and Communities
  • Collete English Dixon, Executive Director of the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate
  • Maria Chavez, Managing Director, Payments Head, Midwest Region at J.P. Morgan
  • Sharmili Majmudar, Executive Vice President of Policy, Programs, and Research at Women Employed



Women's Leadership Holiday Luncheon

Thursday, December 13, 2023

University Club of Chicago


Join us as we honor Melissa Conyears-Ervin, City Treasurer of Chicago and 2023 Alumna of Influence, at the Women’s Leadership Council Holiday Luncheon. Melissa and Dorri will explore their personal experiences through topics of women’s economic empowerment, and how education and community-based programs enhance economic growth and access for women in Chicago’s communities.


Women's Leadership Council Spring Book Read

Wednesday, April 26 | 7pm CST



Join the Women's Leadership Council for the Spring Book Read, where we will discuss 

Jane Against the World: Roe V. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights.


Jane Against the World provides a riveting look at the tumultuous history of abortion rights in the United States leading up to the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, by award-winning author and journalist Karen Blumenthal.


ymposium on Women’s Health Equity
Thursday March 23 | 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM CST, Roosevelt University

Join Roosevelt’s Women’s Leadership Council on Thursday, March 23 from 3 – 7 p.m. CST at the Roosevelt University Chicago Campus for its inaugural special-topics symposium. We will discuss the evolving landscape of equity and access to healthcare for women. 

Moderated by Sadhana Jackson, MD, equity advocate and investigator at the National Institutes of Health, the panel of health experts will include Maureen Benjamins, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow at Sinai Urban Health Institute, and Amy Whitaker, M.D.; Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood of Illinois and other leaders in the field. Registration is free and open to all. 

Thank you to all who attended our inaugural special-topics symposium. Watch the recording here.




Annual Holiday Luncheon

Thursday, December 1 | 11:00 AM - 1 PM CST 
Roosevelt University

Join us for networking, lunch and an inspiring conversation with Dorri McWhorter, President and CEO of YMCA Metropolitan Chicago.
Tuesday, November 8 | 7 p.m. CST

In Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, comedian and television personality Trevor Noah gives a heartfelt and funny recounting of his experiences growing up in South Africa as an oppressed person. Stories of Noah's life are interspersed with insights into South Africa's culture, systems, and history.
Women Making History 2022
View our virtual panels held over Women's History Month.

Roosevelt Women Making History Panel | View Recording
Alumnae shared how they found career success, address compassion fatigue, and explore challenges and opportunities for women in STEM.
Phyllis Cavallone (MA ’99), Executive Director for Ladder Up
Dr. Jo-Ann Jose (BS ’08), Board-Certified Infectious Disease Physician at St. Louis University, Expert in HIV Infection
Dr. Antu Segal (MA ’12, PsyD ’15), Board Certified Clinical Health Psychologist at the Transplant Institute of Henry Ford Hospital

Women in Business


Women in Business Panel | View Recording
Prominent business leaders talk about the roots of their success, the importance of diversity in the business world, and offer advice to future businesswomen. The discussion will be moderated by student Deutsch Herczeg Scholar and Chair of the Women in Business Club, Maria Rivera.

Terri Brax
(MSMC '93), Founder of TeacherCare and CEO at Women Tech Founders
Vicki Fuller (BS '79), RU Board of Trustees Member, Former CIO of the New York State Common Retirement Fund





JoIn the council

Become a member of the Council and begin receiving invites to our events and programs. You'll also benefit from our quarterly newsletter, where we share resources and updates.

To become a member, email alumnirelations@roosevelt.edu.

Joan DEUtsch Herczeg

Women Leaders Scholarship Program

The Joan Deutsch Herczeg Women Leaders Scholarship Program helps to inform and empower future women leaders. The program provides ambitious female students with a $5,000 scholarship to develop leadership skills through workshops, events, and mentorship. Learn more

Scholars 2021Roosevelt welcomed its first cohort of Deutsch Herczeg Scholars to the Women's Leadership Council this year. 
Meet our inaugural group of nine scholars!