The Executives' Club Of Chicago

The Flame


Volume 1, Issue 1


July 2017


“Diversity is about counting heads; Inclusion is about making heads count". Just a few weeks ago, we had three successful CEOs discussing Diversity in the C-Suite. The interest and energy surrounding that conversation are encouraging and indicative that, in a time where our country and most of the world are divided around so many issues, pushing the D&I agenda continuously to be core to The Club’s mission. Whether through our Board and membership composition, the Forum workshops and discussions or the speakers we bring to the stage, we are committed to our D&I focus.


Our recently formed Diversity Leadership Council is discussing D&I metrics and best practices which we will continue to share with all of you. Just think about the extent to which diversity is used to develop new products and services and the business impact derived from these efforts or the power of Employee Resource Groups for attraction, engagement and retention of high caliber employees.


As we kick-off the upcoming season, I would like to invite you to get involved: come to our Diversity Leadership Series program, join the discussion through the Forums and the Diversity Leadership Council or share your best practices and point-of-view on MY ECLink. Moving the needle on D&I will require courageous conversations and decisive action. We are here to partner with all of you, our members, in this exciting journey. To a fabulous 2017-2018 season!


Ana Dutra

Chief Executive Officer

The Executives' Club of Chicago






Member Spotlight

Christopher Begy

U.S. Country Head and CEO

BMO Financial Corp.

Chairman, The Executives Club

What/who inspires you?

I gain my inspiration from the people that I meet and interact with every day.


What do you enjoying doing outside of work?

I read – typically history and biographies of historical figures. I believe that our future path is influenced by the course of history.


In one word, describe yourself.



What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?

He was a compassionate friend.


What is the best way to communicate effectively in the workplace?

Face to Face – Clear, concise and memorable.


Melissa Ballate


Blue Daring


What is your favorite quote or motto that you live by?

To exist in a constant state of discovery.


What/who inspires you?

Philosophy. Currently Sartre and Seneca.


What do you enjoying doing outside of work?

Playing with my kids and travelling the world.


In one word, describe yourself.



What is the best way to communicate effectively in the workplace?

Position what you say through the lens of what matters to your audience (be it a person or your team). It’s the best way to connect.

Diversity and Inclusion

Below are a collection of articles submitted by Executives' Club members on how their companies are on the cutting-edge of diversity and inclusion.

Gender and Pay Equality – We can and must do more


As a husband and father, I am fortunate to have three strong women around me: my wife Elsa who was a trader and money manager, my oldest daughter Caity who is a lawyer in Chicago, and Kelsey, who will be attending college this year. When I reflect on the equality challenges that Elsa faced in the marketplace, and those that my daughters will have to address. Read More...

At Work, Empowerment in D&I Starts at the Top


Race-related violence continues to have tragic effects on communities all over the world. In Chicago, especially, where more than 760 people were murdered in 2016, this issue cannot be ignored. Last year, I wrote about how racially-driven events, and the media’s subsequent focus, were clearly impacting our employees at PwC. Read More...

Being BMO: Creating a culture of inclusivity


As BMO celebrates its 200th anniversary, our 45,000 employees continue to work hard to create an inclusive culture and make sustainable change. Five years ago we launched a multi-year renewal strategy founded on a vision to drive business performance through diversity and inclusion programs. Read More...

Aligning diversity and inclusion initiatives with company culture and business goals


Mesirow Financial’s core founding values to provide exceptional client service, employ smart and passionate professionals and give back to the community have remained cornerstones to our business. Read More...


Inclusion Matters


A Deloitte survey found that inclusion can play a major role in a professional’s decision to choose an employer. In today’s competitive market, individuals are often challenging employers to think more holistically about what inclusion really means to them, and think more strategically about how to create and maintain an inclusive culture. Read More...

Zurich's Womens Innovation Network


In order to support a culture that brings out the best in everyone, and thus achieves a better position in the marketplace, Zurich North America is committed to embedding diversity and inclusion as an essential component of how they do business. Read More...


The October edition of The Flame will feature articles focused on innovation. We encourage you to submit an article or white paper about how your company is being innovative. Please keep the word count between 500-800 words. The deadline to submit is Tuesday, August 15.



A Look Back in History

This look back in history features a recap of the Ladies' Day program from 1965 featuring then actor Ronald Reagan. During that time women could only attend Club events during Ladies' Day meetings. Ladies' Day programing ended in 1974, when women were allowed to become members of The Club.

View this newsletter



Programs in Review

International Executive of the Year

She is one of the 100 most powerful women in the world and the first female recipient of the Executives’ Club of Chicago’s International Executive of the Year award. Irene Rosenfeld is a force to be reckoned with. Her speech at the ECC was polished, intelligent, and well-organized. Irene clearly outlined her five priorities for driving growth and navigating turbulent times: People, Portfolio, Productivity, Profitable Growth, and Preparing for the Unexpected. Read More...


Cyber Security – Assess, Prepare and Respond for the Inevitable

If you’re being chased by a bear, you don’t have to run faster than the bear. You just have to run faster than the other guy who’s being chased. At the June 22 panel on Cyber Security, we learned the same principle applies to defending your company against cyber-attacks. Read More...

A Winning Workplace for Women: How to Create and Cultivate It

“A Winning Workplace for Women: How to Create and Cultivate It” was the topic of this morning’s Women’s Leadership Series presentation. There is a fundamental puzzle at the core of this issue. By now, it is well established that businesses which are led by women and teams which include women tend to outperform their competitors who are all-male. Large, well-designed global studies have supported this finding again and again. Read More...


A special thanks to Gail Golden, MBA, Ph.D., Principal of Gail Golden Consulting, LLC for providing these program recaps for members of The Club. You can read more of her work by visiting her blog.



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Chicago, IL 60603