During this Women’s History Month, we are proud to announce that Ladies of Virtue has nominated and approved a new Board President, Elsie Cardell, and Vice President, Risa Davis.
This is a pivotal time for Ladies of Virtue (LOV) which started with six participants and has evolved to serving more than 2,000 girls in the last 11 years, providing mentorship, leadership development, career readiness and mental health support for young Black girls and women on Chicago’s South and West sides.
“In 2021, we completed a 3-year strategic plan in partnership with the University of Chicago. We have ambitious goals in the areas of programming, infrastructure, talent, development, and marketing. Elsie and Risa are inspirational women who push me to be great. I am confident that they will lead our Board with a bold vision, of the highest integrity and will ensure our goals are achieved,” Jamila Trimuel, Founder and CEO said.
Cardell joined Ladies of Virtue’s Board of Directors in 2018 and is one of the most trusted and respected leaders in the multicultural beauty industry. Currently, Elsie is the President and Owner of Results Sales & Marketing LLC. She has 30 years of experience in strategic sales leadership with some of the world's leading beauty & multicultural companies.
“I foresee Ladies of Virtue as THE Lead National Mentoring organization for young Black girls from underserved communities in the U.S. In the short term LOV will continue to build, evolve, and solidify the organization's internal foundation that will yield the ability to increase the number of young ladies into the program year over year”, says Elsie.
Cardell has been recognized by Who’s Who of Chicago, Salon Sense Outstanding Sales & Marketing Executive, DHC Beauty Vanguard Award Recipient, Ladies of Virtue Leading with Virtue Honoree and featured in Rolling Out Magazine.
Regarding the future of Ladies of Virtue Cardell states, “Long term, the growth evolution will organically “catch fire” and “spread” throughout the U.S. with chapters sprouting to address the ever growing need to ensure Black girls have every opportunity to flourish and reach their infinite potential to become confident and purpose-driven leaders.”
Risa Davis joined the Ladies of Virtue Board of Directors in 2018 and will join Elsie as the Vice President. Cultivating a team that champions the responsibility of breaking stereotypes and bridging the gap between young Black women and healthy relationships with themselves, their careers and those they encounter along the way is the resounding heart posture of all involved with LOV from our board to our volunteers.
“Jamila often repeats stats about how society as a whole can view Black girls as super strong, mature; not needing the same support other young girls do. We know this is not true and is a potentially harmful perspective. LOV stands in the gap.” says Davis, the new Vice President of Ladies of Virtue.
Following a multi-faceted career as a senior leader in both for-profit and non-profit industries,
Risa is now an independent consultant, advising organizations on capacity building, including strategic planning, leadership development, membership management, board governance and fundraising. Clients have included organizations focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, business and economic development and youth development. In her work, Risa couples leveraging the skills, talents and resources of the organization and its supporters with years of practical experience to obtain desired outcomes.
“All it takes is hearing from a LOV Young Lady to know that this work is positively impacting them, their families, and ultimately, our community. That gets me excited and energized to help guide and support this organization along with others who are similarly committed to helping our girls.” Davis states.
She comes to this work following non-profit management leading fundraising teams at United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, a career as a senior leader in financial services, largely at Citibank, and numerous nonprofit Board of Director and volunteer roles, also including the Women’s Business Development Center, Chicago Urban League Impact Leadership Development Program (Mentor), Oak Park and River Forest Community Center Future Philanthropist Program (Mentor), the Museum of Science & Industry and the United Negro College Fund. Risa is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and currently serves as Chapter President of the Chicago Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.
The support of our Board of Directors allows us to consistently provide programming and initiatives for generations to come. They serve as ambassadors to Ladies of Virtue and act as agents of change for the betterment of young Black women. She has been recognized with the Msgr. Jack Egan Award for Outstanding Community Service from Genesis Housing Development Corp, Chicago Defender's Women of Excellence Aard, City Colleges of Chicago's Exemplary Service Award and served on a transition sub committee for Gov-Elect. Pritzker.
Ladies of Virtue appreciates the work of Leah Hobson, who served as the President for the past four years and has been on the Board of Directors for the past six years.
“I am most proud of advancing the sustainability of Ladies of Virtue. From leading the creation of standing board committees to being a part of the financial growth that now supports full-time salaries, developing the infrastructure that our girls, mentors, and staff deserve has been my passion and a true honor.” says previous board president, Leah Hobson. Leah is the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Northwestern Medicine.
Although she is passing the torch to Elsie, Leah will continue her role as a member of the Ladies of Virtue Board of Directors. Her involvement has been substantial to the growth and development of the organization.
Ladies of Virtue’s Officers also includes Veronica Obianwa and Averil Edwards who have both served on the Board since 2018. Veronica began as a member of the Finance Committee and now serves as Treasurer. Also, she is the Senior Director - Corporate Function Controller at Walmart.
Furthermore, Averil Edwards is the Secretary of Ladies of Virtue’s Board of Directors and also serves on the Finance Committee. Averil is also the Managing Counsel at United Airlines.
March may be the official celebration of women’s history month but we are cultivating a team that is training the next generation of women to make history in their own rights.