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Three accomplished women headline annual leadership summit at Benedictine

September 19, 2012

Lisle, Illinois~Patricia Harris, Jill Morgenthaler and Linda Yang are the featured speakers at the 2012 Greater Chicago Women’s Leadership Summit presented by the College of Business at Benedictine University at 8:30 a.m. Friday, September 28 on the second floor of the Krasa Student Center at Benedictine.

The leadership summit is a regional conference held to address the issues of working women and includes nationally-recognized female executive leaders who speak on such topics as financial literacy, work/life balance, culture and innovative leadership.

Harris, the vice president and global chief diversity officer for the McDonald’s Corporation, is responsible for the development and implementation of diversity strategies for 31,489 restaurants in 118 countries. Under her leadership, McDonald’s has been widely recognized for its commitment to inclusion and diversity and has been featured in Fortune magazine’s “Top 50 Places for Minorities to Work.”

Harris is also the founder and member of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, and founder and past chair of the MultiCultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance. She continues to work with nonprofit organizations such as the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the Roosevelt University Board of Trustees and the United States Tennis Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

A retired U.S. Army colonel and woman who opened doors for other women to follow, Morgenthaler was one of the first women to train as an equal with men in the collegiate Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship program at Penn State University, the first woman battalion commander in the 88th Regional Support Command and the first woman brigade commander in the 84th Division of the U.S. Army Reserves.

She was also the first Homeland Security adviser in Illinois.

Morgenthaler’s varied military experiences include working as a peacekeeper in Bosnia, conducting evacuation operations for Kosovar refugees, and handling disaster recovery during the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. She received the Bronze Star for her leadership performance in Iraq in 2004, and the Legion of Merit for her 30 years of extraordinary service in the Army.

Today, Morgenthaler is a motivational speaker, exhilarating audiences with tales of her famous stare down with deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein while he was on trial for war crimes. Her presentation, “Winning at Work: 21 Secrets to Lead and Succeed,” is in high demand.

Linda Yang is the co-founder and executive director of the Xilin Association and the director of Xilin Asian Community Center of Naperville. Since the association’s founding in 1989, she has helped Chicagoland’s Chinese community maintain its unique heritage through educational and cultural arts programs.

In 1997, Yang founded the Xilin Art Center, teaching more than 1,000 students traditional Chinese and Asian dance. She also established Xilin Association’s Senior Services to ensure that the special medical needs of Asian seniors were being maintained. Yang has received several awards including the Secretary of State Jessie White Community Leadership Award in 2005, the YWCA Community Leadership Award in 2004 and “Today’s Chicago Woman” magazine’s “100 Top Women Who Make A Difference Award” in 1998.

Yang also serves on the boards of the Chinese School Association in the United States and the Naperville Chamber of Commerce, and was appointed by former Mayor Richard Daley as a member of the China Sister City Committee of Chicago.

The summit will be emceed by Barb Dwyer, president and co-founder of Inspire! Ministry for Women.

The summit begins with registration and a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and continues with speakers and lunch until 1:30 p.m. Registration is $30. Expo tables are $250. Table sponsorship opportunities are available.

The event is sponsored by U.S. Bank and Nicor Gas.

www.ben.edu/wls or call the College of Business at (630) 829-6206.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in 59 undergraduate and 23 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the seventh consecutive year in 2017. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.

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