May 24, 2021
Workforce equity: Corporate Chicago can lead the way – Manika Turnbull, Tina Sanders, Marie Trzupek Lynch
Racial inequality has rightly taken center stage over the past year as the pandemic exacerbated disproportionate impacts on communities of color that suffered greater illness and death but also job loss. As we work to rebuild from the pandemic, we must address the unemployment crisis in an equitable way that requires bigger, bolder solutions, and Chicago’s corporate community must lead the way. Corporate investment and locating jobs in Chicago’s historically disinvested neighborhoods can address many of the systemic barriers to employment that residents there have long faced.
Marie Trzupek Lynch
Marie Trzupek Lynch, a passionate leader for advancing economic mobility for Chicagoland residents, is the founding President and CEO of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. Skills, a nonprofit, creates demand-driven solutions for employers to get unemployed and underemployed Chicagoland residents back to work. Currently, Marie is aggressively working with her leadership team on scaling Skills’ work and impact locally, and has a continued focus on the national replication of Skills including the successful launch of Skills for Rhode Island’s Future in the fall of 2016. Marie was a member of Mayor Lightfoot’s Business, Economic, and Neighborhood Development Transition Committee, and also supported Gov. Pritzker’s transition into office as a member of the Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Transition Committee.
Previously, Marie launched and served as founding president of Chicago Career Tech, a career retraining initiative for unemployed emerging- and middle-income Chicagoans. She also spent eight years working for the YMCA in the roles of Executive Vice President of Human Services and Housing for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, as well as the Director of Operations for Y-USA. Prior to this, Marie worked at Deloitte in the consulting practice, and in the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office.
Marie also served on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) for the U.S. Commerce Department. Marie was a co-chair for NACIE 2.0, and an active member of NACIE 3.0 through June 2017. Marie was named a 2019 Woman of Influence by the Chicago Business Journal. Marie is also a mentor for the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, a board member of Chicago Run, on the advisory board of WorkingNation, a member of the Chicago Network, and a middle school cross country coach. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, where she was awarded the 2018 LAS Alumni Humanitarian Award, and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago.
Tina Sanders has served people for as long as she can remember. Having an early career at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago (BGCC), Tina has been an advocate for young people, early childhood through college. During her tenure at BGCC, she experienced all aspects of club life, engaging with the early childhood program, managed the growth of the workforce development initiative, state-funded Teen REACH programs, state funded 21st Century programs and oversaw the implementation of character-building programs within school-based and free-standing clubs.
When she departed BGCC, she saw a need to expand her workforce development knowledge and influence founding Phalanx Family Services (Phalanx) to serve community members on the west side. Phalanx was the beacon of light that many people needed providing clients with work skills and job opportunities. Tina has led and continues to lead a team that cares about people first. Due to the demand in the industry, Phalanx opened a second location on Chicago’s far south side. After several years of managing two locations, Tina made the difficult decision to close the west side location and focus workforce efforts on the south side, primarily serving the Roseland, Pullman and Washington Heights communities.
Tina’s career spans more than 40 years, having served as a coach, mentor, leader and thought partner in the workforce development space. During her tenure, she has assembled a team of professionals dedicated to changing communities by ensuring those with multiple barriers to employment, have the necessary training and resources needed to enter a competing workforce. To date, Phalanx has placed more than 20,000 individuals in subsidized and unsubsidized jobs, serving more than 1,800 job seekers annually.
Manika Turnbull is divisional senior vice president of workforce, talent and business engagement for Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company (HCSC), operates the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. HCSC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association..
In this role, Manika leads the strategy and processes related to building and retaining a high performing workforce. Manika is focused on optimizing people-centered activities such as hiring, training, professional development, and performance management to ensure these efforts support the company’s growth and bottom line. Prior to her current role, Manika was vice president, community health & economic impact officer and was responsible for developing strategies, establishing community initiatives and directing civic investments focused on long-term solutions to improve community health and make health care more affordable.
Manika is an active member of the Chicago community. She is a member of several boards and councils, most notably the Girls Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute and MATTER Chicago. She is a 2015 Leadership Greater Chicago (LGC) fellow and serves on LGC’s Board of Directors.
Manika holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where she also serves on the Board of Trustees and received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. Manika is a graduate of James Madison University, where she was team captain of JMU’s NCAA Division I women’s basketball team.
Recent accolades for Manika include: being named a 2020 DiversityMBA Top 100 Women of Influence, a Chicago United Business Leader of Color in 2019, being selected as one of 2018’s Chicago’s Top Black Women of Impact; receiving the 2017 #REDEFINEPOSSIBLE Women’s Leadership Award by the WNBA’s Chicago Sky; being named a 2017 Chicago Business Journal Woman of Influence; being named one of 2016’s Most Powerful & Influential Women in Illinois by the Illinois Diversity Council; being named a 2016 Chicago Defender Woman of Excellence; and receiving 40 Under 40 Awards from both the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust and The Network Journal.