WE Expert

Cherita Ellens

President and CEO

Want to connect with Cherita? Please Contact:

Ximena Leyte Escalante

Marketing and Engagement Coordinator

Phone: 312-782-3902 x 227


Cherita Ellens leads Women Employed as our President and CEO. She is a native Chicagoan, and longtime advocate for Chicago women, youth and families. As a proven non-profit leader, Ellens brings a unique perspective, and a wealth of experience in organizational development, nonprofit financial management, marketing and communications, and employment policy.

Ellens has excelled in numerous leadership roles throughout her career. Prior to joining Women Employed in February of 2019, she served as Executive Vice President of Business Operations and Communications at Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, an organization that is closing Chicago’s access gap by meeting the hiring needs of businesses with qualified unemployed and underemployed job seekers. She has also served as the VP of Marketing and Membership for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, and later as the Executive Director of the South Side and Wabash YMCAs. Ellens has a leadership style that is energizing and inspiring, a strong collaborative spirit, the ability to think long-term and strategically, and is an effective fundraiser and relationship builder. She was honored as one of Chicago Defender’s “50 Women of Excellence.”

Ellens has an Executive MBA from the University of Notre Dame, and a BS from Illinois State University.