27th Annual Women’s Forum Breakfast

2013 Forum Moderator:

Terry Savage

Best-Selling Author of The Savage Truth on Money
President, Terry Savage Productions, Ltd.

Terry Savage is a nationally recognized, award-winning financial authority, television personality and the author of best-selling books on personal finance.  Her most recent book is a new edition of The Savage Truth on Money, which was named one of the ten best money books of the year by Amazon.com in its first edition.  Her most recent book The Savage Number: How Much Money Do You Really Need to Retire? was published in Fall, 2009 and deals with issues in retirement planning and investing.

A nationally known expert on personal finance, the markets and the economy, Terry is a regular blogger at the Huffington Post and a frequent guest on radio and television networks including CNN and CBS.  Terry’s financial expertise comes from experience.  A founding member and the first woman trader on the Chicago Board Options Exchange, she is also the president of her own company, Terry Savage Productions, Ltd.  Terry has won numerous awards, including two Emmys for her television work; the National Press Club award for Outstanding Consumer Journalism; and the Outstanding Personal Finance Columnist award given by the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.  You can read her columns and post questions on her blog at www.TerrySavage.com or follow her on Twitter at @TerryTalksMoney.

2013 Forum Panelists:

Emilia DiMenco
President & Chief Executive Officer
Women's Business Development Center

Emilia DiMenco
joined the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) as chief operating officer in July 2010 after completing a 30-year career as an executive vice president with the Harris Bank’s Corporate and Commercial Banking team. Emilia had P&L responsibility for 80% of her career and managed budgets in excess of $200 million. Her responsibility included serving up to 600 commercial employees.

Emilia served on the board of the WBDC for several years prior to accepting a position as acting chief operating officer in July 2010, a position that became permanent in 2012. In that position, she has been responsible for all aspects of non-profit leadership including program management, fundraising, succession planning, management restructuring and strategic planning. Among her accomplishments, she launched two WBDC microloan programs with a pool of nearly $1 million in loans. Her initiative to automate all internal monitoring and reporting has led to a significant increase of financial contributions. In August 2013, Emilia was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the WBDC.

Carol Dougal
Co-Founder & Co-President Emeritus
Women's Business Development Center

Carol Dougal
is co-founder and co-president emeritus of the Women's Business Development Center (WBDC).  Additionally, she is a founding board member and member of the executive committee of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the premier certification agency for women business enterprises in the U.S. and the major national advocate for women’s private sector procurement.  She is currently a board member of the City’s Sister City for Durban, South Africa and advisor to many small businesses.  She has also formerly served as a member of many boards including Chicago Public School Vocational Education Group and the Economic Development Board of the State of Illinois.

A lifelong advocate of civil rights, women’s equality and economic development and has received numerous awards including the U.S. Small Business Administration Illinois Choice Award (2009); Women’s Business Advocate from the Governor’s Small Business Summit (2000); WBENC Applause and Advocacy Award (2000); Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young and Merrill Lynch (1993); and Rosary College Small Business Advocate of the Year (1998).  

Debra Jennings-Johnson
Chair of the Board of Directors, WBDC
Director, Supplier Diversity, BP America, Inc.

Debra Jennings-Johnson
, Director of Supplier Diversity at BP America, has worked with all levels of management to integrate supplier diversity into the procurement process and corporate objectives. Her professional experience encompasses over 20 years as an advocate for minority and women owned businesses.  Whether through work with organizations focused on the growth of diverse companies or strategically working with corporate leadership to embed supplier diversity within the procurement processes, her advocacy and influence has created change.  In Debra’s tenure as Director of Supplier Diversity at BP, the inclusion of minority and women owned businesses increased from less than $200 million in 1999 to over $800 million in 2008.

Supplier diversity is her passion, and she combines “old school” spirit and intent of minority business development with current practice skills and competencies of procurement operations, which makes her value unique and balanced as an advisor.  Debra is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Women’s Business Development Center and has served in this capacity since 2002.  She also served in a leadership capacity on the Board of Directors for the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and the Chicago Minority Business Development Council, Inc. (CMSDC).  Debra is also actively involved with the Chicago United, Chicago Urban League and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Hedy M. Ratner
Co-Founder & Co-President Emeritus
Women's Business Development Center

Hedy M. Ratner
is founder and co-president emeritus of the Women’s Business Development Center.

An advocate and activist for women’s empowerment issues, civil and human rights and women’s business development for more than four decades, Hedy was appointed by President Clinton to the National Women’s Business Council; by Illinois Governor Quinn to the Illinois Economic Recovery Commission, the Illinois Business Enterprise Council and the Governor’s Women’s Advisory Council; by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the Mayor’s Affirmative Action Council and by Cook County Board President Preckwinkle to the Cook County Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise Council.   Hedy helped to advocate for, create and was appointed 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.   Hedy was appointed as Co-Chairperson of the Women’s Health Task Force by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.  She was a board member of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and The Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau; was a founding member of the Alliance of Minority and Female Contractors Association and continues to be a member of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

Click here to learn more about the Women's Forum Breakfast. 

27th Annual Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon

Keynote Presenter:

Laurel Bellows

Principal of The Bellows Group P.C. and Immediate Past President, American Bar Association

Laurel Bellows, principal of The Bellows Law Group, P.C., represents executives, in the United States and internationally.  Laurel is an internationally recognized business lawyer counseling senior executives and corporations on employment matters, employment and severance agreements, executive compensation and workplace disputes.  
Her expertise in executive compensation matters also includes mid-level management compensation and benefit plans and matters involving incentives, pension, retirement and workforce restructuring. The Bellows Law Group, P.C., offers transactional, counseling and litigation services to entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, and large corporations.  Client matters range from commercial litigation to business start-ups.
 Laurel is President of the American Bar Association and its nearly 400,000 members. She has served as chair of the ABA’s policy-making House of Delegates (2006-2008), the second highest elected office in the ABA.

Please click here for more information on the Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon.

Speaker Opportunities

If you are interested in becoming a speaker at the 2013 Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference, or in our regional programming activities, please contact Mia Delano directly at mdelano@wbdc.org.  

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