Chicago’s premier celebration of excellence in diversity, equity and inclusion in business.

Event Details

Thursday, Nov. 18 | 5:30 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.

The Bridge Awards Celebration is the premier diversity and inclusion event in Chicago, celebrating excellence in diversity within corporate governance and fostering multiracial leadership at the highest levels of corporate America. The event connects Chicago’s most influential business executives and civic leaders who share the value of advancing inclusion and are leading the charge in their organizations and communities.

This year’s theme is “A Movement Not A Moment.” 

Chicago United is and has always been a respected thought leader, convener, and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion.  As the climate, communities, and the world continue to change, we remain agile, vigilant, and powered to lead using our voice, best practices, resources, and programming. We lead with inspiration, intention, and transparency, and are proud to be trailblazers upholding our mission and contributing to advancing multiracial leadership in corporate America.

Our vision is for a Chicago region that is the most inclusive business ecosystem in the nation.

We are looking forward to sharing this important evening in person.

2021 Bridge Award Honoree

The Bridge Award was established in 2004 and represents an important part of the advocacy work of the organization in fostering multiracial leadership in business. Chicago United is proud to present the 2021 Bridge Award to Ariel Investments, led by Co-CEOs John W. Rogers Jr. and Mellody Hobson. This award brings visibility to those who have led change and inspired others to follow.

2021 Business Leaders of Color

We will also salute the 2021 Business Leaders of Color. These dynamic executives hold a vast range of experience in a variety of industries and are among the most influential, diverse and inclusive leaders in the Chicago business community. These exceptional corporate and civic leaders are ready to contribute, as board directors for Fortune 1,000 companies. They provide shareholder value in our ever-changing business environment and inspire others as they continue to progress, innovate and lead. Since 2003, the publication has featured 420 board-ready candidates and Business Leaders of Color have served in more than 300 corporate directorships.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Chairman’s Circle

Advocates for Change

Corporate Citizens for Change

Leaders for Change

Adtalem Global Education

Andrew J. McKenna

Cabrera Capital Markets

CCS Fundraising

The Chicago Community Trust

Clayco, Inc.



Dominican University

The Gemini Group Ltd.

Tiffany Hamel Johnson and Derrick Johnson

Kincentric, a Spencer Stuart Company

Knnected Inc. dba SupplyHive™

Mesirow Financial

Newell Brands 

Primera Engineers

Pritzker Private Capital

Robert R. McCormick Foundation

SDI Presence LLC

Shapiro + Raj


UChicago Office of Business Diversity

UChicago Medicine

Ulta Beauty

Univision Chicago

U.S. Bank

VisionIT, a Softtek company

Winston & Strawn LLP

Friends for Change

Cedric D. Thurman
Grant Law, LLC
Northwest Community Credit Union
PJH & Associates, Inc.
Shaw Legal Services, Ltd.
Valentine Austriaco & Bueschel PC