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. She is a native Chicagoan and longtime advocate for Chicago women, youth, and families, and a working mom and caregiver.

As President and CEO of Women Employed, Cherita leads an organization that, for five decades, has been dedicated to establishing equity for women in the workforce. From the recent Paid Leave for All Workers Act, salary transparency law, and No Salary History in Illinois, 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, and is currently focused on growing the economic power of women with a particular focus on closing the wealth gap at the intersection of gender and race.

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 was recently appointed as Chair of the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s Advisory Council on Women, Chair of the Illinois Labor Advisory Board, and as Co-Chair for the Board of Directors for Family Values at Work. She currently serves on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Commission on Equitable Public University Funding and the Illinois Governor’s Commission on Workforce Access and Equity. She recently served on on Mayor Johnson’s Transition Subcommittee on Workers’ Rights and Labor, and on the City of Chicago’s Advisory Group for the Chicago Resilient Communities Fund. 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.

Together, we will ensure more women, families, and communities can build their economic power and thrive.

All new or increased gifts will be matched by an anonymous donor!