The YWCA is grateful for the dedication of our entire staff and their commitment to improving our community. Our senior management staff members are:
Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Nicole R. Robinson has spent her career building bridges between communities, individuals, government and business leaders. Today Nicole serves as the Chief Executive Officer for YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, a human centered organization dedicated to empowering women and eliminating racism. As a fierce advocate for women, girls and justice, Nicole is inspired by the resilience of the families who turn to YWCA for family supports, economic opportunities and collective healing.
Prior to joining YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, Nicole was the Chief Partnership and Program Officer at the Greater Chicago Food Depository where she designed strategies to expand food access while tackling the root causes of poverty, unemployment, and racial inequity. Her food justice advocacy resulted in a $10MM investment in the emergency food system and she inspired the reimagination of Chicago’s entire food system as one the of the co-creators of Chicago’s first ever Food Equity Council. Before joining the social sector, Nicole began her career in corporate finance supporting various business units and would go on to lead the corporate foundation for Kraft Foods and Mondelez International.
Nicole resides in Bronzeville on Chicago’s South Side and is the founding leader of Chicago’s first ever South Side Giving Circle focused on reducing inequities faced by Black women and girls.
Shelley Bromberek-Lambert has spent over 30 years in the field of education helping organizations solve complex problems by creating and implementing practical, effective strategies and processes that leverage their number one asset – their people. Shelley is a person who is guided by organizational mission and vision and knows how to translate those principles into strategic and practical applications that strengthens the organizations she works with. As a passionate education leader, Shelley is an active member of National Afterschool Association and has served as Past Chairman of their Board of Directors. She is also involved at the local level as a member of the Advisory Board for Masters of Non-Profit Management & Leadership Program at North Central College, and as a member of the DuPage Regional Collaborative steering committee. She also sits on two corporate boards for Reflections Sciences and Right At School. Her work in the field has been recognized with numerous awards such as Richard Scofield Award for Exemplary Service and Leadership in the Afterschool Profession, and Excellence In Leadership Initiatives to name a few. Prior to joining the YWCA, she was the Chief Operating Officers for Knowledge Universe overseeing operations across the United States and in India. She received a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University.
Toya Griffin is leading the financial operations to support the position of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago as a leading social enterprise. Toya’s expertise in the financial process and tools are driving innovative approaches to ensure the organization’s continued growth and sustainability. Prior to joining the YWCA, Toya spent more than 15 years at Chicago Child Care Society, advancing from accountant to Director of Finance and Internal Compliance and later Chief Finance and Operations Officer. In that role, she provided oversight of financing and fiscal management, investments, facilities, human resources, and information technology. Toya received a bachelor’s of science in accounting and has a masters of arts in accounting and financial management. She is a certified nonprofit accounting professional (CNAP) through the Fiscal Management Associates Institute. Toya is pursuing a certificate from The University of Michigan Ross School of Business as a Distinguished Leader in which she completed the Emerging Leaders and Management of Managers programs. Civic memberships include Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in which she served 2 terms (2017-2018) as Co-Chair of Political Awareness and Involvement through the Joliet Area South Suburban Alumnae Chapter. She also served as a former member of the Child Care Association of Illinois Policy Committee and was a previous member of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s Young Leaders Society.
As Chief Economic Inclusion Officer and General Counsel for the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, Robert manages the organization’s Economic Empowerment Institute. The institute works with women and communities of color to develop entrepreneurship, attract investment and close the wealth gap, all aimed at eliminating racism in the U.S. The Economic Empowerment Institute includes the Financial Inclusion Institute, the Innovation and Technology Institute, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), StreetWise and the Workforce Innovation Institute. Robert describes himself as a “lawpreneur”: a social entrepreneur equally adept at law and business. As a lawyer for over 25 years, he sees his work as a calling to spread economic prosperity not by altering the status quo but by replacing it: “We don’t need to dismantle the current system; let’s reimagine systems that make old ways obsolete.”
He developed an economic model called The Social Determinants of Wealth to target underrepresented communities and create opportunities for catalytic investment for neighborhood revival. Built on years of study, his idea is to create locally owned, socially responsible franchises and a community of entrepreneurs who can kickstart a virtuous cycle of development. “Black female entrepreneurs are growing at a 4-to-1 ratio versus American entrepreneurs,” Robert notes. The YWCA’s Economic Empowerment Institute aims to help create the conditions that will allow these women’s businesses to thrive, scale up and become the nexus of a network of new Black Wall Streets: “The way to deal with the intractable issue of racism is through economic impacts.”
Robert grew up in Ford Heights, experiencing the wealth gap firsthand. Early on, he developed a passion for economics and law, guided by a quest to spread equity for those like him from underserved areas: “I wanted to be that agent for change. We have a need for those who have ability to create opportunity for those who have been marginalized. Inspired by the economic thinking of Malcolm X, Jay-Z, Magic Johnson and Daymond John among others, he focuses on working with Black communities to build sustainable economic engines. “The ‘Buy Black’ movement doesn’t work when you don’t have Black businesses,” Robert says. “So, I’m like a conservationist looking for endangered species. On the South and West Sides of Chicago, that endangered species is the construction crane. We haven’t seen construction cranes in our communities for over 50 years. I’m trying to bring the construction crane back to its natural habitat. I want us to be overrun with construction cranes.” Robert also is the Managing Partner of the Solomon Group LLC, a social enterprise management consulting firm that provides business management, leadership development and access to capital for minority and women entrepreneurs. He is a Partner in the Chicago office of the law firm of Taylor English Duma, LLP. His law practice focuses on corporate law, social enterprise law, minority and women startup ventures, cannabis, diversity and inclusion issues and fractional General Counsel services.
Prior to becoming a lawpreneur, Robert was the Franchise Relations Officer and Ombudsman for McDonald’s Corporation’s Central Division. Responsibilities included advocating for the McDonald’s System and providing leadership to strengthen the relationship between McDonald’s and its Owner/Operators. He helped resolve conflicts between the Company and its Owner/Operators and represented the Black McDonald's Owner Operators. Prior to assuming the role as Franchise Relations Officer, Robert was a intrapreneur within McDonald’s, where he was responsible for managing the corporation’s $55 million-a-year worker’s compensation program for all domestic corporately owned restaurants. Robert created the department in 2006 and implemented programs that saved the corporation over $60 million dollars. Robert is an expert in corporate law, social enterprise law, risk assessment and reduction. He has provided advice and counsel to senior management relative to cost reduction strategies, crisis management, customer relations, brand protection both internationally and domestically. Robert has provided expertise in customer claims handling and crisis management for McDonald’s markets in Europe, Australia, Latin America, Canada and Asia.
Sharon brings over 20 years of expertise in a combination of business management, human capital management, strategy, process creation, and implementation to her role as Chief Paradigm Officer. Sharon’s focus is on YWCA’s People, Place and Technology. She is leading the effort of what we call, YWCA User Experience: YW(UX) to ensure that any person connecting with the YWCA will have an optimal experience, regardless if that person is a client, employee, donor, or any stakeholder. Sharon is also leading the effort to ensure YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is considering emerging operating paradigms for the delivery of human services. Prior to joining the YWCA in 2008, Sharon held positions at Center for Neighborhood Technology and Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation. Sharon received a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from National-Louis University.
After 21 years of litigating complex insurance cases in courts across the U.S., Jill joined YWCA Metropolitan Chicago in 2016 and currently is the Chief Innovation Officer. In this role, she applies her wide expertise and legal skills to develop and secure funding for new strategies and programs to help empower the women and families in and around Chicago. Her most recent initiative is the Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment Exchange Traded Fund which launched on the New York Stock Exchange in August 2018. Jill also oversees YWCA Metropolitan Chicago’s Women’s Health Exchange, an online resource to connect individuals to health insurance and educate on matters of physical, mental, and financial wellness. Jill is a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law and George Mason University. Jill became a court-certified mediator for the Cook County, Illinois Law Division Mediation Program in 2013 and continues to serve as an arbitrator for the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program.
Molly Silverman has nearly 20 years of experience in business administration, fundraising, communications, and volunteer management. Molly has been with the YWCA since 2008 and currently oversees strategy development related to fundraising and communications, corporate partnerships, donor and volunteer engagement, and special events. Molly is contributing to the transformation of the organization to a 21st-century social enterprise that is focused on digital engagement of constituents, strategic collaborations, and increasing impact and innovation within organizational programs, development, and communications. Prior to joining the YWCA, Molly worked with the National Runaway Switchboard from 2001 to 2007 where she coordinated a large scale volunteer program and donor engagement for the national crisis hotline. Molly volunteered for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago for six years and is a founding board member of local non-profit Share Our Spare. Molly received a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University and completed a culinary program at Kendall College.
For more than 25 years, Loren Simmons has provided strategic and tactical program support to several non-profits. She joined YWCA Metropolitan Chicago in 1998, was appointed Chief Program Officer in 2007, and became Chief Performance Officer in 2009. Prior to joining the YWCA, Simmons held positions with Shorebank Neighborhood Institute, Bethel New Life, Inc., and the American Heart Association. Additionally, she has provided oversight to four rape crisis centers and a child sexual assault counseling center. Simmons is certified in sexual assault crisis intervention and Challenging Racism, a racial justice curriculum. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bradley University and holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
You may reach these staff members at 312.372.6600 or email@example.com.