World Business Chicago (WBC) today held the first joint meeting between the Steering Committee and the new Strategy Leadership Teams for The Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs The Plan, unveiled earlier this year by Mayor Emanuel, aims to coordinate and accelerate economic development in Chicago and the metropolitan region. The newly formed Strategy Leadership Teams have been assembled to ensure that the Plan translates into meaningful action for growing the region’s economy.

Among those leading strategy teams are Mary Sue Barrett, President of the Metropolitan Planning Council; Ann Drake, DSC Logistics CEO; Ty Fahner, President of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago; Doug Leo, United Airlines Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy; Eric Lefkosky, Groupon co-founder and venture capitalist; Terry Mazany, President and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust; Terry Peterson, Vice President of Government Affairs at Rush University Medical Center and CTA Board Chairman; J.B. Pritzker, Managing Partner of The Pritzker Group; Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor; Bruce Rauner, Choose Chicago Chairman and private equity fund principal; Jim Reynolds, Loop Capital CEO; and Julia Stasch, Vice President of U.S. Programs at the MacArthur Foundation.

These teams are charged with leadership and coordination of each of the Plan’s 10 strategies. Specific responsibilities include identifying initiatives to advance the strategies, forming partnerships to accelerate or scale specific initiatives, identifying new opportunities to advance the Plan, and establishing metrics to track impact and success of different initiatives. The teams will be supported by full-time staff within WBC, as well as leadership from the Civic Consulting Alliance, Metropolis Strategies and other key local organizations.

“The volunteer commitment by these leaders and organizations is a great asset and we are thankful for their participation. Their guidance and expertise is invaluable, and their involvement will ensure that this plan creates a lasting impact, growing the economy and creating jobs throughout the region,” said Michael Sacks, Vice Chairman of WBC.

Commissioned last fall by Mayor Emanuel, a working draft of the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs was released by WBC in February. Since then, several initiatives that fall within its framework have been announced by the Mayor and WBC, including:

  • Merger of workforce development programs
  • City of Chicago business licensing reform
  • Office of New Americans strategy for business assistance to immigrants
  • Construction of a new cargo facility at O’Hare to increase exports
  • The Chicago Infrastructure Trust

In addition to initiatives led by the City or WBC, the Plan’s leadership will identify and support initiatives from across the region aligned with the 10 strategies. WBC has launched an extensive outreach program to present to and solicit input on the Plan from diverse organizations throughout the region.

“We look forward to working with the strategy teams and collaborating with organizations throughout the region to continue this momentum,” said WBC President Rita Athas. “There’s no question that through these combined efforts we will grow the economy of our region and improve the quality of life for its residents.”

In an effort to keep the public informed and to continue to gather input on the Plan, WBC has created a website,, to house all relevant information, including a copy of the Plan itself, an ongoing database of related initiatives around the region, and an upcoming blog that will provide regular updates on the initiatives and strategy teams. Chicago-area businesses and organizations are invited to visit the site to submit feedback and initiatives they are currently implementing that align with the strategies laid out in the Plan.

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