Congratulations to this year's Woman of Power 2014 Recipient Dr. Lulu Blacksmith!
Dr. Lulu Blacksmith , 2014 Woman of Power Award Recipient
Lourdes (Lulu) Blacksmith serves as the Director of Governmental and Multicultural Affairs at Waubonsee Community College. In addition to managing governmental relations, she leads integration and coordination of external activities across the institution to support the college’s strategic goal of being a valued community leader. From 2002 to 2008, Blacksmith served as the Director of Community Relations and District Press Secretary for former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman J. Dennis Hastert. Between 1987 and 2002, Blacksmith served as the Manager of Community Outreach at Presence Mercy Medical Center in Aurora.
Over the years, Blacksmith has served Aurora as a volunteer in many capacities. Her interest in helping others stems from her life experience as an immigrant and a lifelong learner. Blacksmith founded Compañeros en Salud / Partners in Health, NFP in 1999 to provide the Hispanic community and other diverse groups with the means to access resources and services for their health and well-being. In 2000, Blacksmith also founded Language Access to Healthcare, a free community-based, health care interpreting service to increase access to health care. Because educational opportunities were not available to her earlier in life, she also advocates and works to raise awareness about the importance of education.
Blacksmith is active in several groups including Compañeros en Salud/Partners in Health, the Kane County Health Committee, Presence Mercy Medical Center’s Mission Committee, the City of Aurora Downtown Board, and the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce Board. Her past work includes serving as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Compañeros en Salud / Partners in Health, NFP and the Fox Valley United Way. She also served on the Board of Directors of Mutual Ground, Inc., the Dominican Literacy Center Advisory Board, and the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board.
Blacksmith earned her associate degree in Applied Sciences from Waubonsee Community College, her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with an Emphasis on Multicultural Studies from DePaul University, a master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University and is currently seeking a doctoral degree in Leadership in Higher Education and Organizational Change from Benedictine University (Expected 2014). Blacksmith lives in Geneva, IL with her husband Steve. Blacksmith has two daughters, Nicole and Stefanie.
Ms. Francesca Maher Edwardson serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, the second largest chapter in the American Red Cross. Ms. Edwardson serves as a Partner in the law firm of Mayer Brown and an Executive Director of the Illinois Securities Department. She served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of UAL Corporation (predecessor to United Continental Holdings, Inc.), and its principal subsidiary, United Airlines. During her decade in the air transportation industry, Ms. Edwardson faced no greater challenge than as part of the executive team who steered JB Hunt through the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She serves as a Trustee of Rush University Medical Center. She has been a Director of JB Hunt Transport Services Inc. since June 8, 2011. Ms. Edwardson is a graduate of Loyola University in Chicago, IL and serves on the Board of the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Judy Baar Topinka was sworn-in as Illinois State Comptroller on January 10, 2011 - becoming the first woman in Illinois history to serve in two State Constitutional Offices. Prior to becoming Comptroller, Topinka served as the Illinois State Treasurer from 1994 to 2007. She was the first woman in Illinois history to hold the post, and made history again by becoming the first State Treasurer to be reelected to three consecutive terms. A recognized and respected taxpayer watchdog, Judy has a well-earned reputation for speaking up against mismanagement of public funds.
Thank You For Your Support
The SHARE Committee in support of Mutual Ground would like to thank all of our sponsors, contributors, dignitaries and guests who took part in helping us, not only present the 6th Annual Women's Power Lunch and the announcement of our 2014 Woman of Power award to a phenomenal woman in our community, but to help us exceed our goal in raising over $10,000 for Mutual Ground. This would not have been possible without you.
We are delighted you joined us this year! As our gift to you, please click on the adjacent button for your complementary photo available for download.