WE Expert

Cherita Ellens

President and CEO

Want to connect with Cherita? Please Contact:

Racquel C. Fullman

Communications Coordinator

Phone: 312-319-2541

Email her

Cherita Ellens is the President and CEO of Women Employed. A native Chicagoan and longtime advocate for Chicago women, youth, and familiesand a working Mom and caregiver.

As President and CEO of Women Employed, Cherita leads an organization that, for nearly five decades, has been dedicated to establishing equity for women in the workforce. From the No Salary History law and paid sick time, to fair scheduling and protection from workplace harassment, Women Employed has been at the forefront of proposing and enacting policy to improve the economic status and security for women, empowering them to support themselves and their families. Cherita is currently leading the organization’s new strategic plan focused on growing the economic power of women with a particular focus on women in low-wage roles and Black and Latina/x women.   

Before joining Women Employed, Cherita led business operations and communications as Executive Vice President for Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, a public-private partnership that works to close the access gap by matching businesses that have unmet hiring needs 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 where she focused on health disparities in the African-American community.  

Cherita currently serves on the City of Chicago’s Advisory Group for the Chicago Resilient Communities Fund: Mayor Lightfoot’s monthly cash assistance pilot within the Chicago Recovery Plan, the Illinois Governor’s Commission on Workforce Access and Equity, the Illinois Board of Higher Education Commission on Equitable Public University Funding, Chicago Mayor Lightfoot’s Women’s Advisory Council, the Community Advisory Review Council for the University of Chicago Institute for Translational Medicine, and as a Board member for Family Values at Work. Cherita holds an executive MBA from The University of Notre Dame, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communications from Illinois State University. 

Cherita believes that her purpose is to use her time, talent and treasure helping the most marginalized gain self-sufficiency and full agency over their lives. She is a proud mom of a graduate student studying clinical social work at the University of Chicago, a caregiver to her mother who lives with her, and a grandmother to a pittie named Pepsi.