"Last Friday I was able to have coffee and conversation with one of my modern day female heras, Felicia Blakely, CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women. I first saw Felicia speak on a virtual panel during the pandemic as she lifted up the needs and impact of the pandemic on women and specifically women of color.
An impact we all know that led to terms like the "Shecession" and the "Great Resignation." Felicia was honest, real and even a bit provocative as she explained the myriad impacts the pandemic has had on women. What's more she followed this up by laying out priorities for getting us back on track, and better yet, moving forward. Priorities that have formed the pillars of the Foundation's Initiative called the "Shecovery:" Because we also know the pandemic, in some cases, shone a light on inequities already existing in our communities for women and women of color - inequities in caregiving responsibilities, healthcare, etc.
I sat at my zoom screen and nodded, cheered on every word she spoke. I had a new she-ro!
So when I learned that Felicia had moved to my hometown of Evanston, I pushed past my comfort zone and reached out to invite her to coffee. She accepted! We had a wonderful conversation about the intersectionality of gender and race in the systemic bias in our businesses and organizations. We also talked about how we need to acknowledge these a not either, ors but both ands. As she said, "there will be no gender equity, until there is racial equity."
So here is to a very Fierce Woman who is also generous with her time and wisdom! I hope she knows she has a new friend in Evanston."