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Jenner & Block Partner Debbie L. Berman, Co-Chair of the JUF Executive & Professional Women’s Network, kicked off the organization’s inaugural program with a luncheon held on November 8 at the Standard Club in Chicago. Sponsored by the Jewish United Fund / Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, the event featured a keynote address from Sheli Rosenberg, former Vice-Chairman of Equity Group Investments, Inc.
Ms. Berman and Nina G. Stillman co-created the JUF Executive and Professional Women’s Network as an exclusive, invitation-only networking group to bring together high-ranking professional women from a variety of diverse fields. Selected members include corporate executives, entrepreneurs and women leaders from academia, law, real estate, financial services and government.
The goal of the JUF Executive and Professional Women’s Network is to promote professional achievement and success among its members. The group will offer three to four programs per year, including speakers on business, philanthropy and personal development topics, roundtable discussions, and “lunch and learn” programs.
“We want to provide meaningful opportunities for structured and informal networking among successful Jewish women professionals and executives,” said Ms. Berman in her introductory remarks at the program.
Ms. Stillman stressed the need for successful women professionals to support one another as they navigate their career paths. “This is the beginning of something we are all going to enjoy,” she said.
In her keynote presentation, Ms. Rosenberg discussed the decreasing number of women in high-ranking positions in the workforce. While there are more women in entry and mid-level positions, she said, there are fewer women in upper management.
Ms. Rosenberg also highlighted the significance of mentoring young women to help them up the professional ladder. “We all have a responsibility and an obligation to give back, she concluded. “We must be sure that those that follow have opportunities.”
The Jewish United Fund is the largest social service agency in Illinois. Ms. Berman was recently elected a Vice Chair of the Jewish United Fund Board of Directors. She has served on the JUF/Jewish Federation’s board of directors since 2003 and is a member of its Executive Committee. She also serves Chair of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Trades, Industries & Professions (JUF-TIP).