Women Employed Announces the Election of Lynn Watkins-Asiyanbi as the New Board Chair, and Five New Board Members

July 27th, 2020

CHICAGO – Women Employed (WE) announces the election of five new board members to their Board of Directors. The newly elected includes Leslie Darling of The Art Institute of Chicago; Lisa Battisfore of Cardinal Health; Manjari G. Malkani, M.D. of Rush University Medical Group; Diana Sharpe of ComEd; and Rachelle Whitacre of Nicor Gas.

Women Employed is also announcing the election of new Board Officers. Lynn Watkins-Asiyanbi, Deputy General Counsel at JBT Corporation, has been elected WE’s new Board Chair. Ambar Mentor-Truppa of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law will become Co-Chair., Nakita Burrell of the McCormick Foundation has been elected Treasurer, and Marjorie Loeb of Mayer Brown LLP has been elected Secretary.

“We are excited to welcome the new members of our Board of Directors and our new slate of Officers. I look forward to leading WE with their support and partnership. Their diversity of background and talent will ensure we remain ready to tackle the important issues and further our progress toward economic justice,” said Women Employed’s President and CEO, Cherita Ellens.

Leslie Darling, The Art Institute of Chicago, Executive Vice President and General Counsel

Prior to her role at The Art Institute of Chicago, she served as the CEO of Chicago Infrastructure Trust. She was appointed by Mayor Emanuel as second-in-charge for the Department of Law, and served on several civic and non-profit committees and boards with Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Mayor Emanuel, and Planned Parenthood of Illinois and Planned Parenthood Illinois Action.

“Women Employed has an amazing track record of achieving victories for working women. I am excited to continue my civic participation by serving on this Board to help our organization in its pursuit of equity for all,” said Darling.

 Diana C. Sharpe, ComEd, Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development

At ComEd, Diana Sharpe oversees economic and workforce development efforts. Prior to this role, Diana served as the Chief of Staff to the company’s CEO. Diana has nearly 20 years of experience in Communications, Regulatory and Customer Operations with ComEd. Diana is a licensed attorney in Illinois. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.

“Serving on the Board of Directors for Women Employed is a natural extension of my work to develop sustainable economic and workforce solutions, especially in these unprecedented times. I am thrilled to join this Board of Directors and work alongside this impressive group of women, said Sharpe.

Manjari G. Malkani, M.D, Rush University Medical Group; Assistant Professor, Division of Rheumatology

Manjari is an Assistant Professor at Rush University and leads her own practice with a primary specialty in rheumatology. She attended Lady Harding Medical College and completed both her residency and fellowship at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. She lives in the south west suburbs of Palos Park, IL, and is now looking forward to exploring her volunteer engagement as she has a little more time on her hands to dedicate to the right cause and organization.

“It’s never been more clear that there is a relationship between public health, employment, and the economic prosperity of women and families. I am eager to begin my work with the Board of Directors to help achieve equity for all,” said Malkani.

Rachelle Whitacre, Nicor Gas, Director of Regulatory Affairs

Rachelle has 20 years of progressive management experience in state and federal regulatory and legislative affairs, advocacy and compliance, policy analysis and implementation, regulatory case and issues management with natural gas distribution, regulated competitive local exchange telephone, and managed Medicaid. She has a MA in International Policy Analysis from the University of Denver and is PMP certified.

“Women Employed’s accomplishments are amazing and their impact is inspiring. I am eager to join this group of impressive women to fight for causes close to my heart, alongside an organization that clearly gets things done,” said Whitacre.

Lisa Battisfore, Cardinal Health, Marketing Director for Medical Exam and Disposable Gloves

As the Marketing Director for Medical Exam Gloves and Disposable Gloves, Lisa Battisfore leads one of Cardinal Health’s market-leading personal protective equipment (PPE) product categories in the U.S. Lisa graduated in 2015 from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with her MBA in Marketing, Health Enterprise Management, and Management & Organizations. In April 2018, she earned a certification in Digital Marketing through the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University. Lisa graduated with honors from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Biological Sciences

“My involvement with Women Employed has continued to expand over the years, and I’m grateful to now be on the Board of Directors. I can’t wait to see what the next accomplishments of WE will be, and know that our impact on the lives of working women will continue to grow,” said Battisfore.

“As I begin my tenure as Board Chair, I could not be more thrilled to do so alongside these new additions, whose diverse talents and range of backgrounds will be an incredible asset to the Board moving forward,” said Board Chair Lynn Watkins-Asiyanbi.


Women Employed increases economic stability and opportunities for women in low-paid jobs and for women of color by effecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces so that all women, families, and communities can thrive. Since 1973, WE have relentlessly worked to improve the economic status of women and remove the barriers to economic equity. For more information, visit https://womenemployed.org, or follow @WomenEmployed on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.


Ximena Leyte Escalante
(312) 782-3902, x227
[email protected]

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