Operationalizing Equity Neighborhood by Neighborhood
Moderated by Former Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot
Panelists: Craig Chico, Ayesha Jaco and Jaye Stapleton
Thursday, Jan 18, 2024
Lori E. Lightfoot
Lori E. Lightfoot served as the 56th Mayor of Chicago. During her administration, Lightfoot lead an ambitious agenda of expanding opportunity and inclusive economic growth across Chicago’s neighborhoods, with accomplishments including landmark ethics and good governance reforms, worker protection legislation, closing a record $1.2 billion budget gap, and implementing one of the most progressive and forward-looking budgets in the City’s history.
Previously, Mayor Lightfoot served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown, President of the Chicago Police Board, Chair of the Police Accountability Task Force, Chief of Staff and General Counsel of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, interim First Deputy of the Chicago Department of Procurement Services, Chief Administrator of the Office of Professional Standards, and an Assistant United States Attorney.
A native of Massillon, Ohio, Mayor Lightfoot has been a resident of Chicago since 1986 and lives on the Near Northwest Side with her wife Amy Eshleman and their daughter.
Ayesha Jaco is an award-winning Nonprofit Executive, Choreographer, and Creative Director with a track record of building pioneering social impact brands and convening innovative community-led initiatives. Over the past 20 years, her Chicago-based work has leveraged local community-led initiatives to national platforms awarding over $20 million in funding and investments to Chicago residents and organizations. She currently serves as the Executive Director of West Side United (WSU). Under her leadership, WSU’s contributions to racial and health equity efforts in Chicago are referenced in the Harvard Business Review (March-April 2022), MIT’s Sloan Management Review, and the New England Journal of Medicine.
Ayesha is a 2021 Leadership Greater Chicago Signature Fellow. She is the recipient of the Helen & Tim Meier Charitable Foundation Meier Achievement Award. She has completed dance residences with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Rebuild Foundation, and Ragdale Foundation. Ayesha is also a 2018 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist. She serves on the board for Choose Chicago, Rush University Medical Center and University of Chicago Medicine Translational Medicine External Advisory Board, and the Chicago Chronic Condition Equity Network Community Stakeholder Board.
Jaye Stapleton currently serves as the Executive Director of Chicago Vibrant Neighborhoods Collective. A strategic leader with over 15 years of experience, she has worked throughout her career to drive systems and policy change in Chicago and internationally through data-driven decision making and elevating community voice in program design and execution. She most recently served as Chicago’s Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services under Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot where she worked with eight City departments and sister agencies to improve the quality, equitable delivery, and scale of education, health, and human services, including creation of the first ever Strategic Plan for Equity-Based Delegate Contracting. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Stapleton co-founded Four Corners Global Consulting Group where she worked on strategic engagements in the education and health sectors through the development of data systems, tools, and training. She previously served as Director of Program Quality for Heartland Alliance International where she led a global team of technical assistance providers to strengthen human rights programs and community based organizations.
Craig Chico is the President & CEO of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council. The Council was established in 1939 and operates by its motto, “We the people will work out our own destiny!” With the assistance of the Board of Directors, Craig Chico has made the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council a dominant community agency in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, as well as a model community organization for the entire nation.
Some of Mr. Chico’s honors and awards include: Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)’s Excellence in Community Service, Excellence & Dedication Community Service Award -- Cook County Board of Commissioners, JILB--Jobs for Illinois Graduates Service Award, Illinois State Treasurers Outstanding Service Award--State Treasurer Judy Barr Topinka, Business Service Award--El Centro de la Causa, JAG Jobs for American Graduates Recognition Award—State of Illinois Division, Thomas Kelly Hall of Fame Distinguished Alumni Award, Distinguished Service Award—Vocational Advisory Board of Kelly High School.
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