University leaders (from left to right): John Kroll, Associate VP for Finance, Klara Jelinkova, Sr. Associate VP and CITO; Beth Harris, VP & General Counsel; Rich Iorio, VP & CHRO; Nadia M. Quarles, Assistant VP for Business Diversity; Julie Peterson, VP for Communications; Matt Stone, Assistant VP and Managing Director of Public Markets and Absolute Return Photo by Dot Ward Photography
The University's Business Diversity Program is fundamental to our commitment to obtain a portfolio of critical and valued business partners. Fostering and maintaining this portfolio ensures that the University has access to the most creative and innovative talent and helps to strengthen the business community both locally and nationally.
The Office of Business Diversity works to create opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses within professional services, construction, goods and other services. Our professional services symposium provides an opportunity for senior leaders at the University to network and build sustainable relationships with minority- and women-owned firms. This forum has resulted in groundbreaking and innovative relationships for the University. The University of Chicago recently hired two African American owned money management firms to invest a portion of our endowment funds. Our relationships with Ebony and Black Enterprise Magazine has provided the University with an extraordinary opportunity to expand our reach within the African American community.
In addition to creating contract opportunities with minority- and women-owned businesses, the Office of Business Diversity also provides free workshops to our local south side of Chicago business owners. Through a collaborative undertaking with the University Law School Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship, our distinguished professors, students, and alumni have facilitated several workshops about issues pertaining to marketing and financing, that typically draw an average of 40 local business owners.
As a result of our business diversity efforts, the University of Chicago is building partnerships with minority- and women-owned business and setting the standard for urban universities everywhere.
Nadia M. Quarles, Esq.
Assistant Vice President for Business Diversity, The University of Chicago