2024 Women's Leadership Symposium participants Natalie Moore, Collete English-Dixon, Sharmili Majmudar, Maria Chavez

To commemorate the start of Women’s History Month, the Roosevelt University Women’s Leadership Council and Career Services office hosted a conversation between four distinguished women leading the way in finance. The 2nd annual Women’s Leadership Symposium featured a discussion on Economic Empowerment, moderated by decorated journalist for WBEZ Natalie Moore, with celebrated panelists Collete English Dixon, Maria Chavez and Sharmili Majmudar. 

For more than 30 years, Collete English Dixon has made a name for herself in investment management with a concentration on commercial real estate investing. Today, she serves has the Executive Director of the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University. She is the first African American woman leader of a higher-education real estate program in the U.S., and serves as a member of the administrative team for the Heller College of Business at the University. Maria Chavez is a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan, where she has been for the last 34 years. Today, Chavez leads the Midwest & Canada Treasury Services teams for Corporate Client Banking & Specialized Industries. Sharmili Majmudar serves as the Executive Vice President of Policy, Programs and Research at Women Employed, a celebrated non-profit organization pursuing “equity for women in the workforce by affecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces.”

The conversation focused on helping to empower women financially, and touched on the everyday lives of women that are impacted by structural and systemic inequality. Demonstrating the wealth of knowledge shared between the three women, the conversation ranged from the promotional pathway in historically male-dominated fields, to the issues of paid family medical leave and affordable child and family care. Although each of the panelists career paths had their own distinct challenges, their individual experiences have shaped how they are tackling gender disparity today. 

All three of the panelists, as well as moderator Moore, engage with different community organizations and mentorship programs to ensure the success of the people coming up behind them. That sense of community was felt throughout the symposium and surely resonated with the values observed within the Roosevelt community. 

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