When we work together, the sky is the limit. WBAI will continue advocating, as it has for over a century, for an inclusive legal profession better reflective of our society at large."
It is an honor to serve as the 109th President of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois. My theme for the 2023-2024 bar year is Together We Succeed, with a strong focus on partnerships with women- and minority-owned businesses, bar associations and organizations, and the Illinois legal and broader community, collaboration, mentoring, and empowerment through sport and healthy activity. I am encouraged by the tremendous support from the legal community and our allies and cannot wait for the year ahead.
Together We Inspire.
Tonight, WBAI members and friends will hear inspiring words from Andrea Zopp, the managing partner of Cleveland Avenue. Ms. Zopp leads the organization’s work investing in and supporting minority and women entrepreneurs and their companies. Previously, she served as President and CEO of World Business Chicago, where she led the organization’s mission of inclusive economic growth, supporting businesses, and promoting Chicago as a leading global city. She broke barriers serving as the first woman and African American First Assistant in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. WBAI is honored to present Ms. Zopp with our Myra Bradwell Woman of Achievement Award as our Keynote speaker.
WBAI is also delighted to honor Kathrine Switzer with our Woman with Vision Award. Ms. Switzer has long been one of running’s most iconic figures, known as The Marathon Woman. She broke barriers as the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967, at that time considered a men’s-only race. She completed the marathon after the race director tried to forcefully remove her. She is an accomplished runner, author, speaker, activist, and created a global non-profit 261 Fearless to empower women through running. Her work has changed forever the face of sports, health, and opportunities for women around the world and I feel privileged to know her.
Together We Support.
I am thrilled to announce WBAI’s partnership with our local sports teams WNBA’s Chicago Sky and NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars. In addition to an exclusive WBAI discount, a portion of each ticket purchased through our codes will be donated back to the WBAI. We look forward to attending informative CLE programs and games with each team this year. This is a true partnership and I am thrilled to support our amazing local teams!
As a warm-up to WBAI’s 27th Annual Golf Outing, I am excited to host another informal golf clinic. I feel very strongly about supporting women learning to golf and to feel comfortable saying yes to firm or client golf outings for the invaluable networking time on the course. I am always happy to go to the driving range and help women learn about the game. New this year we will have a mini-golf outing as well!
WBAI is continuing to grow our relationships with our phenomenal bar associations through co-sponsoring events and originating new partnership events. WBAI is looking forward to our new partnership with LAGBAC, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Bar Association and Alliance of Illinois Judges to support our local drag performers to kick off Pride month. WBAI is also excited to collaborate with the Lawyers for the Creative Arts. We look forward to working with you on creative events throughout the year and I welcome any new ideas.
Together We Advocate.
At a time when the rights of women and other groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession are being rolled back nationwide, the WBAI remains steadfast in our advocacy for a more equitable and just legal profession and world. We are proud of our lobbing efforts with our PAC WILPOWER advocating for paid leave in Illinois. WBAI is a leader in advocating for Illinois to be the premier state for women and families.
Together We Empower.
I would not be the lawyer and leader I am today without my involvement in the WBAI and many mentors encouraging my career. My goal is to make the road a little easier for those that come after me. Whether it be discussing careers, navigating difficult opposing counsel or colleagues, negotiating salary, or changing jobs, the WBAI has been a constant source of encouragement and support. I challenge each of you to be a sounding board encouraging other attorneys to ask for what they want in their careers and reach for their dreams.
Together We Celebrate.
WBAI hopes this special evening at The Field Museum celebrating the 2023-2024 board energizes you to join us and get involved! Dance the night away with the Becca Kaufman Orchestra, our phenomenal woman-led band! And tomorrow, we get to work.
When we work together, the sky is the limit. WBAI will continue advocating, as it has for over a century, for an inclusive legal profession better reflective of our society at large.
Together We Succeed.
Together We Are WBAI!
Thank you for your support!
Whitney K. Siehl
WBAI President 2023-2024