Emerging women leaders recognized by trailblazers

On Tuesday, Illinois House Republicans hosted the 2023 Emerging Women Leaders Recognition Event. Nearly 50 women from across the state of Illinois were honored at this event. All of the honorees were invited by their State Representative for their achievements as leaders in their careers and communities.

The event kicked-off with a brunch that was highlighted by a keynote address delivered by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White, the first black woman to serve on the state’s high court. Justice Holder White discussed the obstacles she and many other women face when working to achieve positions of leadership. She ended her speech with a strong message of empowerment and the need to make space for women in government.

Following the brunch, the honorees attended a listening session hosted by the first female Minority Leader in the Illinois House of Representatives, Leader Tony McCombie, and the first black Lieutenant Governor in state history, Juliana Stratton. Both women spoke in depth about the connection they share as women in politics, even though they sit on opposite sides of the aisle. Together they asked questions about the challenges the honorees faced as women and encouraged suggestions on how Illinois government can help.

The honorees were then guided to the House Speaker’s Gallery where they watched the day’s legislative session in the Illinois House of Representatives. Leader Tony McCombie took a moment to recognize the guests from the House floor, commending their achievements as Emerging Women Leaders.

This event concluded with a tour of the Capitol, led by the first female Architect of the Illinois Capitol, Andrea Aggertt.

“We were privileged to host an extraordinary group of women from every corner of Illinois who are truly making a positive impact in their communities,” said Leader McCombie. “I would like to thank each of them for sharing their stories with us and for their dedication toward improving the quality of life for women and families in this state we are proud to call home.”

Leader McCombie and the Illinois House Republicans plan to make the Emerging Women Leaders Recognition an annual event, building on the success of the first such event hosted in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the recognition to be postponed from 2020-2022.