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Postponed to July - Women Owned Businesses: The Financing Dilemma

  • 04/23/2020
  • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Standard Club of Chicago


This program has been postponed to July.  Date and venue information coming soon!

Women entrepreneurs start companies at twice the rate of men yet those with women CEOs receive only 2% of VC funding. Join us for a lively discussion of existing and emerging financing resources for women entrepreneurs.

The program will feature women and men at the forefront of supporting and sponsoring women entrepreneurs, covering their funding needs and available resources. We will also feature Zebras Unite, a global organization whose mission supports a more sustainable and inclusive start-up community. Zebras Unite will unveil, for the first time, their results of a global survey on the capital structures and funding needs of ‘Zebra companies,’ firms that prioritize mutualism, shared prosperity, and social good over a “winner take all” mentality.


Panelist Bios:

James H. Lowry is Senior Advisor to The Boston Consulting Group and a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Hall of Fame inductee who has dedicated his career to advancing women and MBE entrepreneurs.  He is a business icon, sought after speaker, strategic advisor and nationally recognized workforce and supplier diversity expert and pioneer. Lowry was the first African American consultant for global consulting firm McKinsey & Company in 1968. Later, he became the first African American senior partner at the prestigious Boston Consulting Group, where he led the firm’s workforce diversity, ethnic marketing and minority business development consulting practice. Lowry continues to serve as a senior advisor to BCG, while heading his own private consulting firm, James H. Lowry & Associates.

Lowry was elected into the inaugural class of the Minority Business Hall of Fame, and over the years has been awarded the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award, MBDA’s Abe Venable Award for Lifetime Achievement, Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council’s Impact Award and the Executive Leadership Council’s Alvaro L. Martins Heritage Award.

His thirty plus years of experience in the field of minority business development were encapsulated in the book he co-authored in 2011, Minority Business Success: Refocusing on the American Dream. His new book, Change Agent: A Life Dedicated to Creating Wealth for Minorities, is an intimate memoir that demonstrates the power of iconic mentors and pivotal opportunities leveraged across the globe, and offers solutions to the ever widening wealth gap that plagues black and brown communities today.

Jennifer Brandel is Co-founder of Zebras Unite, CEO of Chicago-based Hearken, and Founder of NPR’s (WBEZ-Chicago) Curious City.  She is CEO and Co-founder of Hearken, a company that helps organizations around the world develop and operationalize participatory processes. Hearken took home the prize for "Best Bootstrap Company" at SXSW and won the News Media Alliance Accelerator. Brandel received the Media Changemaker Prize by the Center for Collaborative Journalism, was named one of 30 World-Changing Women in Conscious Business, is a Columbia Sulzberger Fellow and an RSA Fellow. Brandel is co-founder of Zebra’s Unite, a global movement and network of entrepreneurs, funders, investors and allies creating a more ethical, inclusive and collaborative ecosystem for mission-based startups. She also co-founded Civic Exchange Chicago which brings together civic startups in a collaborative learning community.

Loretta McCarthy is Founder & Managing Partner of Golden Seeds,
one of the most active early-stage investment firms in the U.S., focused solely on investing in women-led businesses.  Golden Seeds is one of the largest and most active angel investment networks in the country.  Ms. McCarthy manages the national Golden Seeds network of over 300 members, with eight active chapters throughout the country.  She is a frequent speaker about early stage investing, women entrepreneurs and gender diversity. 

Previously, Ms. McCarthy was Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at OppenheimerFunds and was an executive at the American Express Company.  She has extensive corporate and non-profit board experience.  

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