Chicago United Business Leaders of Color


In October 2017, Chicago United announced its selection of 50 remarkable business professionals who drive transformational change and make an impact in the business community in the 2017 Business Leaders of Color publication. On that list was The Will Group’s very own Chairman, Steve Davis. Released every two years since 2003, the Business Leaders of Color publication serves as a resource to increase inclusion of diverse candidates in Fortune 1,000 corporations' boards of directors.

The publication features individuals ready for boards of directors' positions, with a broad range of professional experience and proven track records of success. Through their identification, Chicago United helps to accelerate inclusion of professionals of color in board governance.

The 2017 Business Leaders of Color were selected from a nomination pool of 195 qualified candidates representing a wide variety of product and service industries.

"When we created the Business Leaders of Color publication in 2003, our goal was to highlight and recognize exceptional corporate and civic diverse leaders who were ready to contribute as board directors for Fortune 1,000 companies," said Gloria Castillo, president and CEO of Chicago United. "It's been remarkable to see the individuals who have been honored over the years as Business Leaders of Color evolves into a network of the most influential diverse leaders in Chicago. Since the beginning, we have identified and featured nearly 370 board-ready candidates who have served in more than 230 corporate directorships."

William ‘Papa Will’ Davis

William ‘Papa Will’ Davis

Stephen Davis, Chairman, The Will Group

Stephen Davis, Chairman, The Will Group

Past Business Leaders of Color members include former First Lady Michelle ObamaValerie B. Jarrett, former senior advisor to former President Barack Obama; Adela Cepeda, managing director, PFM Financial Advisors LLC, and Board director, UBS Funds, Consulting Group Capital Markets Mutual Funds, Mercer Mutual Funds, and BMO Financial Corporation.

Chicago United is a corporate membership and advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve parity in economic opportunity for people of color by advancing multiracial leadership in corporate governance, executive level management, and business diversity. Founded in 1968, the organization is focused on transforming the Chicago region into the most inclusive business ecosystem in the nation by engaging the top publicly and privately held corporations in leading talent management and inclusive diversity practices. Chicago United's signature programs include its Business Leaders of Color publication which showcases a diverse pool of corporate director candidates and the Five Forward Initiative™, designed to invigorate job creation in communities of color by increasing the scale of large MBEs in the Chicago region.

For more information, please visit:

“It is a privilege, as an entrepreneur, to have the social and financial capital to invest in people, change lives, and create an ecosystem that we want.” - Stephen Davis, Chairman, The Will Group

Erin Hennessy