Message from DEI Chair, Sheila Feipel

Our Diversity Commitment:

Illinois Women in Leadership strives to include diversity, equity, justice and inclusion among all IWIL activities in an effort to be a leader of women empowerment in Central Illinois. We commit to creating an environment, for all leaders that identify as a woman, to be heard, valued, and celebrated.

Illinois Women In Leadership is committed to becoming more inclusive and making our organization look more like all who identify as women in our community. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Special Interest Group became a permanent board committee. Our talented, dedicated committee consists of Denysha Crawford, Erica Austin, Esther Doe, Haley Wilson, Heeyoung Han, Jonna Cooley, Sunshine Clemons, Susan Hingle, Tanya Rolfe, Vasanta Mushunuri, Wendi El-Amin and myself.

We have set many aggressive, yet, attainable goals and are working to establish tools to measure our progress.  To this end we would greatly appreciate all members to complete our demographic survey if you haven’t already. Please know your information will never be shared individually. We only share percentages in aggregate for public reporting.

  • 50% of our program offerings should have a diverse representation. Under Dr. Susan Hingle’s leadership as Program’s Chair, 60% of our speakers had a diverse background. At November 2022’s luncheon, we had a very well received Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Table Talks. We strive to make DEI top of mind in all we do.
  • Each month via our social media platforms and newsletter, we shall provide engaging DEI topics and important dates and holidays for the causes. Thank you to Angie Muhs who heads up our Communications’ Committee. We, also, shall help our members learn about volunteer and sponsorship opportunities for all the non-profit organizations that are doing the good work to help make our hometowns a better place to live and thrive. Currently, we are looking at creating a grant to present to non-profit organizations in our community.
  • We would like at least two diverse nominees for the Athena Award. In 2022, at least 4 of the 9 nominees were diverse. In addition, we would like the outside judges for the Athena Award be diverse.
  • For the Women’s Symposium, we want to ensure that the committee is being intentional about their outreach and marketing to reach diverse participation by sending Symposium information to at least 10 diverse organizations. We would like each Symposium timeslot to have at least one diverse topic and representation. Symposium vendor tables need to be representative of our community and we should partner with local organizations to present their missions to Symposium attendees. Our hope is to partner with our sponsors to give away a minimum of 10 Symposium tickets each year. 
  • We need to guarantee that our board is at the forefront of building board diversity and inclusion. Our board nominating committee must be diverse as well.
  • Under Sarah Goleman’s leadership, our scholarship committee added a need as well as a diversity criterion. And we would like our scholarship information to be shared with at least 10 diverse organizations. And in 2022, at least 3 of our 5 scholarship winners were diverse.

The IWIL Board and the DEI Committee pledge to be inclusive, support and empower all women and are always looking for new members, committee participation and fresh ideas. Please reach out to our current President, Jen DeJong [email protected] or our current DEI Committee Chair, Sheila Feipel [email protected].


Sheila Feipel (217) 816-4184