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Kellogg School alumni honored as civic leaders

Chicago Council on Global Affairs names four Kellogg graduates to prestigious leadership program; initiative will spur urban innovation, global engagement

By Elizabeth Station

11/11/2008 - When Chicago plans its future as a global city, four Kellogg graduates will have seats at the table. They join a group of 18 decision-makers recently selected for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Emerging Leaders Program.

Piyush Chaudhari ’01, Lisa McClung ’96, J. Jordan Shields ’06 and Sophia Siskel ’99 were chosen from a competitive pool of nominated candidates to participate in the program, selection for which is based on one’s ability to “equip the city to compete and thrive in the global era.”

In its inaugural year, the program aims to engage the next generation of Chicago leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors and to deepen their understanding of global affairs through a series of high-level seminars on timely issues. In the second year, participants will produce and present a report on a critical global challenge that affects Chicago and the Midwest.

“It was a fantastic honor to be considered for the program,” said Chaudhari, an executive vice president at Aon Consulting who graduated from the Kellogg Part-Time MBA Program and now advises employers on healthcare, retirement and talent recruitment. “Given what the Chicago Council on Global Affairs does for the city’s business landscape and for the community at large, the opportunity to be part of this group gives us a great platform to shape some of the global issues that I care about.”

Siskel, president and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden, hopes to contribute her perspective on environmental and food production issues to the group’s deliberations. Also a graduate of the Kellogg part-time curriculum, she has already benefited from her participation in the Council’s program, she said. “The speakers that they are bringing to us are just remarkable … [and] it’s refreshing to be part of a group of people that is pretty much the same age. All of us are growing as leaders together and forming relationships that will last for the rest of our lives.”

Shields, a healthcare strategy consultant at Navigant Consulting Inc., said, “What is really exciting about this program is that it’s not just a networking opportunity for us — it’s focused on re-imagining Chicago’s place in the world.” He and Chaudhari are organizing a dinner event for participants that will look specifically at healthcare issues, an increasingly urgent concern for business and government. “I think healthcare is a global rights issue, and there are important lessons that we can learn across countries about healthcare delivery,” Shields said.

McClung, a senior director at W.M. Wrigley Jr. Company, brings over 15 years of global marketing and product development experience to her participation in the group. She has lived in Africa and Europe. In Chicago, McClung serves on the board of trustees of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the Women’s Board of the Field Museum and Ravinia Associates.

Participants in the Emerging Leaders Program represent a broad array of professions, said Rachel Bronson, vice president for programs and studies at the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. The Kellogg graduates who were chosen share “a strong commitment to and interest in global affairs, a steep career trajectory, civic commitment and interests that compliment those of their classmates,” she said.

“Today, leaders in all sectors — private, public, academia, and not-for-profit — need to be globally engaged. We hope to bring together Chicago’s emerging leaders, introduce them to their counterparts, and provide a forum for them to discuss and debate the issues that are shaping our world,” Bronson said. “Chicago, one of the world’s great global cities, needs great global leaders. If this class is an indication, and we have every reason to believe it is, Chicago has a very bright future.”