Executive Team

The YWCA is grateful for the dedication of our entire staff and their commitment to improving our community. Our senior management staff members are:

Nicole Robinson, Chief Executive Officer

Nicole Robinson Headshot

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, Chief Resilience Officer

Shelley Bromberek-Lambert Headshot

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.

Robert Johnson, Esq, Chief Economic Inclusion Officer & General Counsel

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 McFeders, Chief Paradigm Officer

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.

Molly Silverman, Chief Strategic Engagement Officer

Molly Silverman Headshot

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.

Loren Simmons, Chief Empowerment Officer

Loren Simmons Headshot

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 Empowerment 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 info@ywcachicago.org.