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Meet Some Exceptionally Talented Leaders that Happen to Have a Disability

It has been documented that Chicago is one of the best diversity and inclusion cities in the United States regarding all facets of disability. Recently, the Chicago’s Mayor's Office for People for People with Disabilities has focused on bringing together disability leadership through the Chicago Community Trust with the program ADA25 Leadership Institute.

On December 7th, 2017, Helene Gayle, CEO of The Chicago Community Trust alongside Karen Tamley, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, announced the 2018 ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Fellows Class. The initiative is composed of three facets:

ADA 25 Advancing Leadership members represent emerging and established leaders from the Chicago region. Members include individuals who were selected for leadership training (Fellows), and individuals selected for illustrated leadership and civic service throughout their career.


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The ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Institute year-long program provides:

  • Training for emerging leaders through an annual Fellows Retreat.
  • Programs that provide opportunities to move individual leadership plans forward, continue education, network, and connect.

The Fellows are competitively selected emerging leaders from all walks of life and with diverse disabilities who come together in an immersive, transformative experience exploring leadership skills and opportunities to connect as a class.

Our Fellows who self-identify as having a disability represent Chicago’s diverse professions in areas including: finance, legal, public affairs, health and hospitals, digital media, community organizing, education, and non-profit. Advancing Leadership Fellows are passionate about growing as leaders, and becoming part of Chicago’s civic landscape. Employers of 2017 Fellows acknowledge the high level of value this unique program provides and employers fully sponsored half of the 2017 Fellows participation.

Fellows continue to become connected to new opportunities and pursue new goals collectively and individually, as a result of this program.

Applications for the next Fellows class will be open later in 2018. If you have any questions, contact Bill O’Connor at 630-909-7444 or at [email protected].