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Lessons in Leading Today: Athas and Roper

February 6, 2014
Rita Athas and Jerry Roper

Rita Athas and Jerry Roper

Rita Athas and Jerry Roper have a reputation for expanding the economy of Chicago.

Athas has served as president of World Business Chicago and deputy chief of staff for external affairs under former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

She played a key role in negotiations that led to MillerCoors, United Continental Holdings and Willis Group Holdings moving their headquarters to Chicago.

Roper, who served more than 20 years as president of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, had a role in the formation of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and the Small Business Development and Resource Center.

Under his leadership, the Chicagoland Chamber was awarded a five-star accreditation for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures and positive impact on the region’s business climate.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, Athas and Roper will head a panel discussion on leadership practices at Northern Illinois University’s Executive Leadership Forum conference, “Lessons in Leading Today.”

Logo of the NIU Alumni Association Executive Leadership ForumThe Executive Leadership Forum – an NIU Alumni Association group – holds events throughout the year to bring business leaders of diverse backgrounds together for discussions and networking.

The business community is invited to the conference to discuss gaining ground in a global economy, achieving competitive positioning and using the best leadership practices. The conference will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Mid-America Club in the Aon Building, 200 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago.

The keynote speaker at the conference is Dennis Chookaszian, who is the retired chairman and CEO of CNA Insurance Companies and who has served as a board director on 11 publicly traded corporations.

Jeffrey Yordon, founder of Sagent Pharmaceuticals, will share his expertise on competitive positioning. His company was rated No. 1 on Crain’s 2013 Fast Fifty list of Chicago’s fastest growing companies.

During the cocktail reception at 5 p.m., meet NIU President Doug Baker and network with other business leaders.

The event is free for Executive Leadership Forum members and $50 for nonmembers. Registration is available online.