November 2017 Print

President's Update

A Message from IWF Chicago President, Mary Lee Montague

Dear IWF Chicago,

The following are excerpts from of my remarks given at the November 6th Signature Event:

“We welcome all of you to the International Women’s Forum Signature Event. We are proud to be the IWF Chicago forum, a part of a global organization with 74 forums worldwide in 33 countries. Our newest forums from all corners of the globe include: Ghana, Chile, Finland and France.

As a membership driven organization our mission is to build better global leadership across Careers, Continents and Cultures by Connecting the world’s most preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement.

As a global organization, the IWF Charitable arm, The Leadership Foundation, invests on an international level in the future of women by empowering high-potential women through mentoring and leadership development programs.

The Leadership Foundation conducts two central programs: The Fellows Program: trains, mentors and connects women leaders from around the world and is produced in partnership with Harvard and INSEAD. INSEAD is considered the leading international business school and located outside of Paris (photo below is the 2017-18 Fellows Class).

There is the opportunity for companies to nominate one of their leaders for the Fellows Program which includes a wide range of companies from all over the world with the average age being early to mid-40.

The second program of our Foundation is The Women Athletes Business Network (see photo below)better known as ‘Waa Bin’! This is a very special program developed in partnership with EY …who are well represented here this evening.

The program provides the necessary support and guidance elite athletes from all over the world require as they transition from sports to new career paths or advance further into their post sports professions.

As a global organization we host 2 conferences yearly in cities critical to the future. This spring our Cornerstone Conference was held in Stockholm and just a few weeks ago over 800 women from around the world including 27 Chicago members attended the IWF World Leadership Conference in Houston (see photo below) to engage on global issues such as the one presented by IWF Chicago member, Julia Stasch, President of the MacArthur Foundation, who spoke on INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

IWF member Hilary Clinton was our 2017 International Hall of Fame Inductee…she was introduced by her childhood friend from Park Ridge and our IWF Chicago member, Ann Drake! 

Locally IWF Chicago continues to ‘build bridges’ via events such as tonight and throughout the year by providing our members platforms for global citizenship.”

The evening was a wonderful opportunity to engage in dialogue supporting IWF Chicago’s new theme of Together…Building Bridges and for those of you not able to join us we look forward to seeing you at one of the many 2018 events.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. 

Mary Lee Montague
IWF Chicago President and Board of Directors, IWF Leadership Foundation
Managing Partner Nonprofit Practice, DHR International


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IWF World Leadership Conference Houston

The world leadership conference was a very memorable conference firstly because it was successfully held in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.  And secondly...IWF Houston put on a grand show!

There were many fabulous behind the scenes programs but the majority of IWF Chicago went behind the scenes at NASA Johnson Space Center where we had the privilege of watching the Space Station Astronauts doing their daily routine while it was explained to us what was happening by a female astronaut who had just spent 6 months on the Station.

The Dine Arounds were also amazing and we all came back to the hotel with stories after having made new friends.

Several IWF Chicago members prepared some headlines from a session they attended.  Thank you to each of you for sending those in to share with the Chicago members.  Please CLICK HERE to view the session highlights as described by IWF Chicago members.


   IWF Chicago members having a blast in Houston!  

The sessions were full and the topics
were spot on!

IWF Chicago member Ann Drake introducing
her life-long friend and Hall of Fame Inductee
Hillary Clinton.
    IWF Board Members and Leadership Foundation Board Members
with IWF Hall of Fame Inductee Hillary Clinton
Included in picture are Chicago Members Laurel Bellows and Mary Lee Montague



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Welcome New Members

The IWF Chicago Membership Committee is excited to announce the newest members of the Forum.  Please join us in welcoming these amazing women; they would enjoy hearing from a local member.


Evelyn Diaz
Heartland Alliance



Cherryl Thomas
Ardmore Associates, LLC
President / CEO



Janice Corley
RE/MAX Premier


Amanda Signorelli



Emily Reynolds
Commercial Excellence, Xerox Corp
SVP, Global Account Strategy



Laurette Rondenet
Edlong Dairy Technologies
CEO / President



Patricia Werhane
Big Questions Productions
Co Producer

The Membership Committee is continuously reviewing member prospects and endorsing candidates for the IWF Chicago board's approval.  If you know of a qualified prospect and would like to sponsor her, please complete the online sponsor form. It just takes a few minutes - the form is found under the Candidates tab or click hereA prospective member must have two member sponsors before the prospect will be requested to complete the membership application. Once all three required items are received (the two sponsor forms and the candidate application), the membership committee will review and present the candidate to the IWF Chicago board.

If you have questions about the membership process, please contact Michelle at the admin office: or the IWF Chicago Membership Co-Chairs:  Amy Dordek Dolinsky or Collete English Dixon

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Women Who Make a Difference Signature Event

The annual ‘Women Who Make A Difference’ event was held on November 6th at the Standard Club.  The event was attended by a diverse group of individuals including IWF members, many guests including sponsors, young women leaders and about five brave men!

A big thank you to the event co-chairs Amy Dordek Dolinsky, Dixie Adams and Janet Malzone and their committee…the event was truly outstanding. 2017 Signature Event Committee Members include: Sarah Bader, Sidney Dillard, Sylvia Jenkins, Cathleen Johnson, Marilyn Lissner, Lisa McClung, Kimberly Meek, Lynn Osmond, Kathleen Yosko.

 Pictured left to right: Dixie Adams,
Amy Dordek Dolinsky, and Janiet Malzone
   Pictured left to right: Sylvia Jenkins, Kimberly Meek,
Marilyn Lissner, Dixie Adams,
Amy Dordek Dolinsky,
Janet Malzone,
and Mary Lee Montague

The evening began with a cocktail reception that included guest participation in an interactive artist interpretation exercise. During the reception, guests were randomly asked about their business creed/mantra, the image that defines them as a business person, and their most global connection made in business.  The artist, Kate Lewis, created an artistic summary with the responses received throughout the reception.  The final piece is inspirational!   See photos below.

 To view all of the photos from the 2017 Signature Event, CLICK HERE.


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Amazing Women News



Bets Lillo provided enterprise transformation insights on the interdependencies of technology and operations as a part of two panels for HfS Research. Ltd, at their FORA (Future of Operations in the Robotic Age) Council and Global Operations Summit meetings September Bets highlighted operational considerations for global processes and legacy technology on the “Automation Big Issues Customer Panel”, and provided recommendations for leveraging artificial intelligence and robotics in conjunction with outsourcing and shared services in “The Power of AND not OR!”.


Chicago Members Aleksandra Efimova, Ann Seagren, and Beth Treacy along with Galina Melnikova from IWF Moscow had the opportunity to connect with two LvBS MBA students from Ukraine (the LvBS is a post-grad, Masters Program for business professionals) that visited Chicago October 21-28.  This opportunity arose as an outreach from IWF Northern California member Anne Chermak Dillen. 


Merrill Lynch wealth management advisor Sharon Oberlander recently was recognized by Forbes magazine on its "America’s Top 250 Wealth Advisors" list for 2017. 

In the past, Sharon previously was named to the Barron's Top 1,200 Advisors list in 2014 - 2017 as well as the Barron's "100 Women Financial Advisors" list every year since its inception in 2006, among other industry accolades.

Share your amazing news with us!.  Send your news to and we will include your submission in an upcoming newsletter. 


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Upcoming Events





Tuesday, December 5
5:30pm to 7:30pm
Hosted by Member
Kate Coleman 


 The holiday gathering is currently sold out. However, there is a wait list so please register online and
be placed on the wait list. If a cancellation is received, we will contact you immediately.

Other Events of Interest

IWF Chicago is pleased to share local events of interest with our members.  Please send information to  We will include these events in our newsletter and on the IWF Chicago website. 

NACD: Putting the Lens on Private Equity and Director Effectiveness
February 8, 2018

The Standard Club
3:00pm to 6:00pm

CLICK HERE to learn more 

The Chicago Network: Women in the Forefront
April 20, 2018

Chicago Hilton and Towers
8:00am to 1:30pm

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IWF Global News

2017 World Cornerstone Conference Pre and Post Tours - Australia

We are looking forward to the 2018 IWF Cornerstone Conference in Melbourne, Australia next May 2-4. IWF and IWF Australia are pleased to release the Pre and Post Tour information. IWF is proud to partner once again with Abercrombie & Kent to provide exclusive tours for the IWF membership.

An array of tours ranging from ½ day up to 5 days will showcase the best of Australia, from the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef, to the giant ancient monolith - Uluru, to Sydney and one of the world's most recognizable harbors with its famed Bridge and Opera House.

To make your reservations and access IWF's special rates, please visit the IWF member portal or email your IWF dedicated representatives at: with inquiries or by phone at: +61 (3) 9536 1800.

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News You Can Use from the Admin Office

Member Profile Update Assistance is on its way!

New fields have been added to the IWF Chicago member profile and we need your information.  With the updated member information we can analyze the make up of our forum membership and share that with our members.  The industry classification choices have been changed, new fields have been added about the other associations you belong to, demographic info, etc. 


During December, we will be reaching out to each member to update your member profile. It will just take a few minutes over the phone to go through the fields and provide accurate information. 


If you would like to view and/or update your member profile, you simply need to login to the Members section and click on the Member Information Editor.  CLICK HERE for detailed instruction on how to login and update your profile.

Login Credentials - Members Section on Chicago Website
If you do not recall your login or password for the Chicago website, visit and choose the Members tab on the top menu bar.  Then click on the Forgot Username/Password? and provide your email address (the email that is on file with IWF).  You will receive an email with your login information and directions on how to reset your password.  If you continue to have problems email Michelle Fowler at or call 815.806.4908.

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Job Postings

If you have a job posting you would like to share with the membership, please provide the general description and the contact information to the IWF Chicago administrator's office.  The posting will be included in an upcoming newsletter and will be listed in the Classified section in the Members Only section of the IWF Chicago website.    Send job postings to 

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