2018-2019 Executive Committee


Mellody Hobson
Ariel Investments

Mellody Hobson is president of Ariel Investments. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm offers six no-load mutual funds for individual investors and defined contribution plans as well as separately managed accounts for institutions and high net worth individuals. As president, Ms. Hobson is responsible for firm-wide management and strategic planning, overseeing all operations outside of research and portfolio management. Additionally, she serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust.

Beyond her work at Ariel, Ms. Hobson has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. She is a regular contributor and analyst on finance, the markets and economic trends for CBS News. She also contributes weekly money tips on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and pens a regular column for Black Enterprise magazine. As a passionate advocate for investor education, she is a spokesperson for the Ariel/Hewitt Study: 401(k) Plans in Living Color and the Ariel Black Investor Survey, both of which examine investing patterns among minorities.

Ms. Hobson is vice chair of the Board of Starbucks Corporation and a director of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and JPMorgan Chase. Her community outreach includes serving as chairman of After School Matters, a non-profit that provides Chicago teens with high-quality, out-of-school time programs. She is chair of The Economic Club of Chicago’s board of directors, co-chair of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and a board member of The Chicago Public Education Fund and George Lucas Education Foundation. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees, and serves on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute’s board of governors. In 2015, Ms. Hobson was named to Time Magazine’s annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world.

Ms. Hobson earned her AB from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, St. Mary’s College, University of Southern California and Johns Hopkins University.

First Vice Chair, Programs

Reeve B. Waud
Founder & Managing Partner
Waud Capital Partners, LLC

Reeve Waud is the Founder and Managing Partner of Waud Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Chicago, Illinois.  He founded the firm almost 25 years ago and today the firm has approximately $2.1 billion of capital under management. Over Mr. Waud’s 30 year private equity career, he has acquired more than 250 companies in a variety of industries with a special focus on healthcare, business and tech services.  Today, Waud Capital’s portfolio companies have revenues of approximately $7 billion and approximately 50,000 employees.  In addition, he has oversight and shares investment responsibility for an additional $15 billion of investments.

Prior to founding Waud Capital Partners, Mr. Waud was an investment professional at Golder, Thoma, Cressey, Rauner, Inc. (GTCR), a private equity investment group based in Chicago.  At GTCR, Mr. Waud had investment responsibility for a wide range of portfolio companies that were built through more than 30 acquisitions.

Before joining GTCR, Mr. Waud was in the Corporate Finance Group of Salomon Brothers Inc., and was a founding member of its Venture Capital Group.

Mr. Waud is a trustee of St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire and is a member of the Executive Committee and is chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee.  He serves as a trustee, chairman of the Audit and Finance Committee, and member of the Executive Committee of the John G. Shedd Aquarium.  He is a member of the Finance Committee of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and serves on the board of Northwestern Memorial Foundation.  He serves as the first vice chair of programs of The Economic Club of Chicago and is a member of the Executive Committee and leads the Programs Committee.  He is a trustee of The Art Institute of Chicago as well as serving as a member of the Finance Committee.  In addition, Mr. Waud is chairman of the Illinois State Police Merit Board, which has oversight responsibility for the state police.  He was appointed by the governor of Illinois and confirmed by the senate.

Mr. Waud holds a BA in economics from Middlebury College and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Second Vice Chair, Forums

David Snyder
Chief Operating Officer
Chicago CRED

David Snyder is chief operating officer of Chicago CRED (Create Real Economic Destiny), a Chicago-focused anti-violence initiative launched by former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and funded by the Emerson Collective—the Palo Alto-based social impact investing entity founded by Laurene Powell Jobs.

Chicago CRED targets 17-to-24-year-old men on the city’s South and West Sides most at risk to be perpetrators or victims of gun violence. It provides extensive social-emotional support services and job training with the aim providing a pathway from the illegal economy to sustained employment in the legal economy.

Prior to joining Chicago CRED in 2017, Snyder spent more than three decades in various roles. Most recently as publisher at Crain’s Chicago Business, the nation’s leading local business newspaper and website, with a weekly print readership of more than 200,000 and online readership of 1 million monthly unique visitors.

He was named publisher in October 2010, having previously served as associate publisher. In June 2011 he was named a vice president of Crain’s parent company, Crain Communications Inc. Prior to his role as associate publisher, Mr. Snyder created and led Crain’s entry into daily delivery of digital news. He also served as editor for more than six years (1993-2000).

Mr. Snyder is on the board of directors of the Polk Bros. Foundation, The Economic Club of Chicago, Window on the World Communications (parent of Chicago’s PBS affiliate WTTW), the Harris Theater and Beacon Academy, a private high school located in Evanston, Illinois. He is also a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the City Club of Chicago and The Chicago Club.

A native of Easton, Pennsylvania, Mr. Snyder is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., where he received his degree in business administration.


James P. Kolar
Central Market Managing Partner
PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP

Jim Kolar has over 32 years of experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) serving primarily as a tax partner in the financial services practice. Mr. Kolar has served as the managing partner in Orange County from 2005-2007, market managing partner in Minneapolis from 2007-13, and in June 2013 transferred into his current role as the central market managing partner which includes responsibility for the Chicago, Des Moines, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Peoria, and St. Louis offices. Mr. Kolar was re-elected to PwC’s board of partners and principals in January 2017, and is serving a second four-year term through June 30, 2021. Mr. Kolar has served on the firm’s Extended Leadership Team since 2003.

Mr. Kolar has a broad range of tax and business experience with corporations, partnerships and joint ventures in the financial services asset management sector with a focus on structuring, financial product taxation and federal, state, local and international tax compliance and consulting.

Mr. Kolar is active in the Chicago community and participates on various boards, including Big Shoulders Fund, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago United, Chicago Urban League, Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, Executives’ Club of Chicago, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, and World Business Chicago. He serves as treasurer on the Executive Committee of The Economic Club of Chicago.

Mr. Kolar is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas with a BA in accounting and finance and was also a 2015 CEO Perspectives Fellow.


Bridget M. O'Keefe
Daspin & Aument LLP

Bridget M. O'Keefe is a partner at Daspin & Aument LLP¸ a boutique business law firm focused on commercial real estate. Daspin & Aument’s practice is national in focus and its clients include real estate developers, national, regional and local corporations, and major nonprofit organizations. Ms. O’Keefe has practiced law for over 30 years primarily handling cases involving zoning and land use, historic preservation and economic incentives.

Ms. O'Keefe’s primary law practice involves representing real estate clients in obtaining zoning approvals and economic incentives for development projects in the Chicago metropolitan area. Her passion lies in her work involving the preservation of historic landmarks.  Ms. O'Keefe has worked on numerous projects involving redevelopment of some of Chicago’s most famous landmark buildings.  Her clients’ work preserves Chicago's unique architectural heritage and allow enjoyment of these structures for generations to come. Finally, Ms. O'Keefe has helped many prominent nonprofit organizations promote their mission through the development of real estate.

In both her professional life and civic involvement, Ms. O’Keefe has been involved in organizations that build community. She has been vice chair of the board of directors for Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives for almost 10 years and is an active member of the Partnership for Building Reuse, which is a national initiative created by the National Trust for Historic Places and the Urban Land Institute to encourage sustainability and develop strategies for building reuse to revitalize neighborhoods. Ms. O’Keefe also serves on the board of advisors for Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Ms. O’Keefe graduated with a BA in government from St. Mary’s College, a MA in congressional studies from Catholic University of America and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. She lives in the Edgebrook neighborhood of Chicago with her husband, Jim Sepich, and their three children.

President & CEO

Donna F. Zarcone
The Economic Club of Chicago

Donna F. Zarcone is president and chief executive officer of The Economic Club of Chicago (ECC). Prior to the ECC, Zarcone was founder and president of D.F. Zarcone & Associates LLC, and previously served for 8 years as president of Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Inc.

Ms. Zarcone currently serves on three corporate boards, Cigna Corporation, CDW and The Duchossois Group, and previously served on the board of The Jones Group and Wrightwood Capital. Ms. Zarcone also serves on the board of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago; Committee of 200; Chicago Network; and Young Presidents’ Organization.

Ms. Zarcone holds a MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a bachelor's degree in accounting from Illinois State University.


Ilene S. Gordon
Retired Chairman, President, & CEO
Ingredion Incorporated

Ilene Gordon is retired chairman, president and CEO of Ingredion Incorporated. Currently she is presiding director of International Paper and a director of Lockheed Martin.  

From 2009 through 2017, Ms. Gordon was chairman, president and CEO of Ingredion and executive chairman from January 2018 through July 2018. Ingredion is a leading global producer of nature-based ingredient solutions for food, beverage, brewing and industrial customers around the world. A "Fortune 500" company, Ingredion has 11,000 employees, 2017 net sales of $5.8 billion.

Ms. Gordon joined Ingredion in 2009 from Rio Tinto Alcan where as president and CEO of Alcan Packaging she led a $6.5 billion global packaging business based in Paris, France. Over her 10-year tenure with Alcan and Pechiney, which was acquired by Alcan in 2003, she held various leadership positions, starting as senior vice president of Pechiney Plastic Packaging.

Previously Ms. Gordon spent 17 years in executive roles of increasing responsibility at the Packaging Corporation of America, a division of Tenneco Inc. Before joining Tenneco Inc., Ms. Gordon spent two years at Signode, a leading global packaging company specialized in materials handling. From 1976-1980, Ms. Gordon worked at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), an international management consulting firm, as a strategy consultant, based in the Boston, London and Chicago offices.

Ms. Gordon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, Phi Beta Kappa, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a Master of Science degree in management from MIT's Sloan School of Management.

In the past, Ms. Gordon was the first female director of five different public companies: Arthur J. Gallagher & Company, United Stationers Inc., Outboard Marine Corporation, Sundstrand Corporation and Zenith Electronics. 

Ms. Gordon is a vice chair of The Conference Board; a member of the MIT Corporation, the institute’s board of trustees; and on the Executive Committee of The Economic Club of Chicago. She is listed among “Forbes Global Game Changers” and was one of Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women” for a number of years, including five consecutive years on the U.S. list and two years on the global list.

In 2018, Ms. Gordon received the Executive Leader Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In 2017 she received: The Civic Federation Lyman J. Gage Award for outstanding civic contribution; the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Daniel H. Burnham Award for Distinguished Leadership; the Committee of 200 Corporate Innovator Luminary Award; and the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award, distribution and manufacturing category. Additionally, she received the Committee for Economic Development Leadership in Diversity Award in 2016 and the National Association of Corporate Directors 2013 Director of the Year Award.  

Previously Ms. Gordon spent 17 years in executive roles of increasing responsibility at the Packaging Corporation of America, a division of Tenneco Inc. Before joining Tenneco Inc., Ms. Gordon spent two years at Signode, a leading global packaging company specialized in materials handling. From 1976-1980, Ms. Gordon worked at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), an international management consulting firm, as a strategy consultant, based in the Boston, London and Chicago offices.



Debra A. Cafaro
Chairman & CEO

Debra A. Cafaro is the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Ventas, Inc., an S&P 500 company and real estate investment trust that owns more than 1,200 healthcare, life science and senior living properties in North America and the United Kingdom.

A recognized industry leader, Ms. Cafaro set and oversaw execution of a long-term strategy that has driven Ventas’s market capitalization to $27 billion at its peak, from $200 million since her leadership began in 1999. The company’s compound annual total shareholder return (TSR) has exceeded 22 percent since January 1, 2000.

Widely-acclaimed for her strategic vision and enduring business success, Ms. Cafaro has received multiple professional recognitions. In 2017, Ms. Cafaro was named as one of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women (Forbes Magazine) – a list of global political, media, entertainment and business leaders – for the second time; a “Top 50 Best-Performing CEOs in the World,” one of 23 executives selected for four consecutive years and one of only two women (Harvard Business Review); and as the top female executive in the commercial real estate industry (National Real Estate Investor).  She has been recognized as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare four times (Modern Healthcare); highlighted in “The 70 Elite,” real estate executives who shaped the industry for the past 70 years (Real Estate Forum); and selected multiple times for the “Top 25 Women in Healthcare (Modern Healthcare) and the “All-America Executive Team (Institutional Investor). Ms. Cafaro was named a “Top 50 Woman in World Business (Financial Times), one of the “Bankable 21 CEOs” in Jim Cramer’s book Get Rich Carefully and one of nine “Game-Changers in commercial real estate since 2000 (GlobeSt.com). She was also honored with the Industry Leadership Award by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), where she previously served as chair.

In addition to her work at Ventas, Ms. Cafaro is broadly engaged across business, public policy, academic, sports and non-profit sectors. She is the chair of the Real Estate Roundtable, and is a member of the Business Council. Ms. Cafaro serves on the Executive Committee of The Economic Club of Chicago and on the boards of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., the University of Chicago, Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Executives’ Club of Chicago, and World Business Chicago, and is on the board of trustees for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  She is an owner and member of the Management Committee of the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins, back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions in 2016 and 2017. 

Prior to joining Ventas, Ms. Cafaro was president and a director of an NYSE-listed multi-family REIT. A practicing lawyer for 13 years, Ms. Cafaro served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable J. Dickson Phillips, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Ms. Cafaro received her JD cum laude from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was named its 2011 Distinguished Alumna, and her BA magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame. She is married and has two children.


Roxanne M. Martino
Managing Partner

Roxanne Martino is the managing partner of OceanM19, and serves as a director of Ventas, Inc., a S&P 500 company which is a leading real estate investment trust.

Ms. Martino was the chief executive officer and Investment Committee chairperson of Aurora Investment Management L.L.C., managing $14 billion at Aurora’s peak. For over 28 years, Aurora provided portfolio solutions, through hedge fund investment management, to investors worldwide.     

Ms. Martino is co-chairperson of The University of Chicago Booth School of Business Council, and past chairperson of The Mendoza College of Business of the University of Notre Dame Business Council. Ms. Martino is the Chairperson of the boards of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and its Medical Center, as well as chair of its Executive and Governance Committees. She is a member of The Chicago Network and is on the board and the Executive and Nominating Committees of The Economic Club of Chicago. She served three terms as a director of The Investment Analysts Society of Chicago. For over 26 years, she has been a director of Thresholds (a past chairperson). Ms. Martino serves on the board of Bottom Line Chicago. She is a life trustee of Fenwick High School. 

In addition to speaking at investment conferences and guest lecturing at various universities, Ms. Martino has appeared on CNBC and Bloomberg TV. Ms. Martino is also a contributing author of a chapter titled “The Due Diligence Process” in the book, Evaluating and Implementing Hedge Fund Strategies: The Experience of Managers and Investors, Third Edition. In 2015, Ms. Martino was inducted into the InvestHedge Fund of Hedge Funds Hall of Fame in London and was recognized as one of “50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds” by the Hedge Fund Journal.

Ms. Martino spent the first seven years of her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She then spent over six years at Grosvenor Capital Management, where she was a general partner.

Ms. Martino received a bachelor’s of business administration from The University of Notre Dame in 1977 and a master’s of business administration from the University of Chicago in 1988.


Manuel Sanchez
Founder & Managing Partner
Sanchez, Daniels & Hoffman, LLP

Manuel Sanchez is the founder and managing partner of Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP. Over the past 30 years the firm has earned a reputation as one of the premier civil litigation defense firms in the State of Illinois and has grown into the second largest minority-owned law firm in the United States.

Mr. Sanchez is a highly accomplished trial lawyer, specializing in multi-million dollar complex product liability, construction, professional liability, employment law, civil rights, commercial and toxic tort defense litigation. He has been the lead counsel and successfully tried to verdict more than 75 cases in both state and federal court in Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana. He has received an AV Preeminent peer rating by Martindale-Hubbell for the past 28 years.

Highly regarded by his peers, he is a multi-term elected member of the Illinois State Bar General Assembly, past co-chair of the ABA Commission on the Jury and in 2013 he was selected as the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Award for Excellence by the Illinois Bar Foundation. He has also been named annually a Super Lawyer in Illinois since 2006, a recognition given to the top five percent of attorneys in each state.

Mr. Sanchez presently serves on the boards of numerous business organizations including The Executives’ Club of Chicago, The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Independent Maps of Illinois. He has been a member of The Commercial Club of Chicago since 1995 and currently serves on the Executive Committee of The Economic Club of Chicago. 

He currently serves on numerous not-for-profit boards including: Children's Memorial Hospital, Choose Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, Northern Illinois Foundation, Loyola Council of Regents, Northwestern Memorial Foundation and Chicago Scholars.

In 2011 Mr. Sanchez was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.


Ted Souder
Head of Industry - Retail
Google, Inc.

A 16-plus-year veteran at Google, Ted Souder is currently the head of industry, retail. In this role, he oversees a team that helps the largest retailers in the world make the transition from traditional to digital using various Google tools and platforms. The age of data and constant disruption is here and the status quo is no longer acceptable. Though the future isn’t always clear, Mr. Souder’s team helps business leaders cut through clutter and develop winning strategies that enable them to thrive in the digital age.

Prior to his role in retail, Mr. Souder lived in Paris, France as part of an exclusive rotation program for senior leaders in the company.  While in Paris, he oversaw key efforts in Southern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa as the head of international strategic sales and operations. Mr. Souder also served as a regular industry speaker, an employee mentor and was a member of the executive management team for the region.  Earlier in his career at Google, Mr. Souder held a number of different leadership roles in sales and account management and was responsible for helping open and run Google’s offices in Chicago, Dallas and Detroit. 

Mr. Souder is an early adopter having worked in the mid-and-late 90s at early online brands AOL and Excite, as well as a groundbreaking social music start up, Echo Networks.

Currently he is vice chairman of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and on the board of directors at both The Economic Club of Chicago and at 1871, the No. 1 technology incubator in the world.

Mr. Souder lives in Lincoln Park with his wife and two children.