Chicago United names Tiffany Hamel Johnson as its new President and CEO

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Executive brings 20 years of experience in Chicago’s business and non-profit sectors.

The board of Chicago United, the city’s leading advocacy organization for multiracial leadership in business, today announced that Tiffany Hamel Johnson will become the new president and chief executive officer of the 52-year-old organization. Hamel-Johnson joins the organization from World Business Chicago, where she is the organization’s second-in-command as executive vice president of strategy and administration.

Hamel Johnson will take the helm on April 13. She will be the first African-American woman to fill the role. As president and CEO, she will direct programs and facilitate connections that support Chicago United’s corporate members as they advance diversity and inclusion across their enterprises. She succeeds Gloria Castillo, who announced her retirement in May 2019.

Previously, Hamel Johnson has served as the City of Chicago’s deputy chief neighborhood development officer under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel; chief of staff at the Chicago Urban League; and, the chief executive officer of Windy City Harvest.

Among her accomplishments, Hamel Johnson helped direct the launch of the IMPACT Leadership Development Program at the Chicago Urban League; she directed sales and marketing of a $200 million, mixed-income residential development on Chicago’s South Side for Granite Development Company, and; she was the project manager for the efforts to bring The Boeing Company’s corporate headquarters to Chicago during her tenure at World Business Chicago.

“It is an understatement to say that I’m excited to step into this role,” said Hamel Johnson. “I’m thrilled about this opportunity. I have worked across a variety of sectors, and I have seen the impact that diversity and inclusion strategies can have on Chicago. Chicago United has long stood for opening access and opportunity and elevating business leaders who are committed to making Chicago a city that works for everyone. I’m eager to build on this legacy and do my part to help our city move forward.”

Hamel Johnson was the unanimous choice of a search committee comprised of members of Chicago United's board of directors. The committee conducted a national search in partnership with Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in placing CEOs in mission-driven roles and is a leader in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We are excited to announce Tiffany as the new leader of this special organization,” said Kip Kelley, chief executive officer of Aon Affinity USA and chairman of the Chicago United board. “The entire board believes Tiffany’s experience in Chicago’s corporate, civic, non-profit and government realms makes her uniquely qualified for this role. I thank our search committee for conducting a robust search. Lastly, I give my deep thanks to Gloria Castillo for her standard-setting leadership for more than 15 years and her assistance in the leadership transition in the next few months.”

John C. Robak, chief executive officer of global engineering firm Greeley and Hansen and vice chairman of the Chicago United board of directors, led the board’s executive search committee. He said the process yielded a number of strong candidates from the city and beyond. Hamel Johnson, he said, presented a vision for Chicago United informed by her familiarity with the business and non-profit landscape and her accomplishments as a strategist for inclusive economic growth in the region.

“Tiffany is a lifelong Chicagoan who has assumed progressively demanding responsibilities throughout her career,” Robak said. “The search committee recognized her as someone with a calling to advocate for inclusive opportunity for all Chicagoans. Chicago United will benefit from her unique view of the city, and the board looks forward to supporting her plans to drive corporate diversity and inclusion.”

About Chicago United
Chicago United is a corporate membership and advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve parity in economic opportunity for people of color by advancing multiracial leadership in corporate governance, executive-level management, and business partnerships. Founded in 1968, the organization is focused on transforming the Chicago region into the nation’s most inclusive business ecosystem by engaging the top publicly and privately held corporations in leading talent management and inclusive diversity practices. Chicago United’s signature programs include its Business Leaders of Color publication, which showcases a diverse pool of corporate director candidates; the Five Forward Initiative™, designed to invigorate job creation in communities of color by increasing the scale of large Minority Business Enterprises in the Chicago region; Inside Inclusion featuring the Corporate Diversity Profile, the region’s only longitudinal study of inclusion on the boards of directors and executive ranks of the top 50 publicly held corporations in Chicago; and the Corporate Inclusion Institute, the first-ever citywide business talent development program.

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Kimberly Crooms
Chicago United
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