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HOW 2021 Speaker Series - Session I:
Rx Housing: Maternal and Children's Health

Did you miss the first session? You can watch a recording of Chi Chi and Michelle's interview now.


Featuring: Chi Chi Okwu

Rx Housing: Maternal and Children's Health

The first session in HOW's 2021 speaker series will feature a live online interview with Chi Chi Okwu, Executive Director of EverThrive Illinois and co-host of The Next Question. HOW Board Member, Michelle R.B. Saddler will interview Chi Chi and together they will discuss maternal and children's health, how the pandemic affected families, and the role of stable housing in a family's wellbeing.


and Michelle R.B. Saddler

About Chi Chi Okwu


Chinyere “Chi Chi” Okwu joined EverThrive Illinois as Executive Director in September 2019 with over 10 years in vision casting, partnership building, and fundraising experience. As a nonprofit leader, Chi Chi has developed diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies for various nonprofit organizations and facilitated workshops focusing on race conversations, social justice, and community mobilization.

Before joining EverThrive IL, Okwu served as Senior Advisor at World Vision USA, a global humanitarian organization helping children, families, and their communities overcome poverty and injustice. In this role, Okwu led strategies to identify and engage new donors to fund initiatives such as maternal and child health, child protection, and clean water in developing countries. She joined World Vision USA after serving as Senior Director at Willow Creek Community Church’s Chicago campus, where she launched campaigns and programs that addressed education reform, human trafficking awareness, and immigration reform. Chi Chi began her career as a healthcare consultant for Huron Consulting Group.

Chi Chi received both her Master’s in Public Health and her Bachelor’s in Social Psychology from the University of Alabama Birmingham. She was a member of the second Willie’s Warriors cohort; a leadership initiative of the Chicago Foundation for Women dedicated to creating a pipeline and network of Black women leaders committed to equity and justice in Chicago. She is co-host of The Next Question, a web-based talk show dedicated to moving the race conversation forward.

About Michelle R.B. Saddler


Michelle R.B. Saddler has several decades of experience and strong records of accomplishment in numerous government and not-for-profit organizations. Prior to joining Kittleman & Associates, Michelle served as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and Chief of Staff to Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. During her five years as IDHS Secretary, Michelle provided overall management and direction to Illinois’ largest and most diverse state agency. Under her guidance, DHS and its community-based partners served nearly three million people every day through a wide range of services for low income families, persons with disabilities, and those needing assistance with issues of mental illness and substance abuse.

Before her appointment as IDHS Secretary, Michelle was Director of Policy in the Office of the Governor, overseeing a number of policy initiatives including economic development, healthcare, education, housing, fiscal policy, and ethics. She has strong experience in financial management, having served as Director of Investments/Deputy for Investment Policy for the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer and as Executive Director for the Illinois Metropolitan Investment Fund.

Michelle earned her undergraduate degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and her Master’s in Management Degree from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

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