Emcee & Moderator
Meghan Dwyer is an Emmy-Award- winning reporter who joined Chicago’s Very Own WGN news team in March 2017.
Prior to joining WGN, Meghan was an investigative reporter at WITI in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While working for WITI, her investigative and consumer reports led to class action lawsuits and multiple changes in Wisconsin state law.
Her journalism career started in 2011 at CBS affiliate WIFR in Rockford, IL, where she was a crime and legal reporter. In 2013, she won the Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Award for Best TV News Reporter. Her work has also been recognized by the Illinois Associated Press, the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.
She has won seven regional Emmys for her investigative reporting, and has been nominated for sixteen others. She was also an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award Finalist in 2015 for her series Speaking up for Special Needs. The series uncovered the deaths of dozens of children with disabilities, despite repeated reports of abuse and neglect to state welfare agencies.
Meghan earned her Master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and her Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University-Bloomington. She also has a law degree from Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, where she was an associate on the Federal Communications Law Journal. Meghan was a corporate litigator at prominent Chicago law firm before changing careers in 2011.
Meghan serves on the Board of Directors for Rainbows for All Children, an Evanston based nonprofit that is committed to helping grieving children after they lose a parent to death, incarceration or divorce.
Global Senior Lead, Inclusion and Diversity
Cassandra J. Black has successfully moved across a variety of industries – a journey that began in healthcare, continued on to government/aviation and financial services, and most recently includes work in the technology sector. Throughout her career, she has advised global organizations and led strategic transformational initiatives focused on companies’ greatest asset: people. Today, Cassandra serves as Groupon’s Global Senior Lead, Inclusion and Diversity, where she spearheads the company’s global inclusion and diversity strategy across the pillars of talent, culture, and marketplace. In parallel, she is working towards the completion of her certificate in Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Management from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
Cassandra’s passion for advancing diverse top talent and building inclusive environments stems from her own experiences – in her words, “As a Mexican woman in Corporate America, I have been extremely fortunate to have amazing people in my life who have advocated for my dreams and have opened doors to opportunities that I never thought I would have. In turn, I want to do the same for others.”
When not at work, Cassandra actively works to improve and strengthen the Chicago community, serving as an advisory board member to the Nova Collective and America Needs You, Illinois. Cassandra is engaged to her college sweetheart and a proud mommy of a beautiful two year-old daughter, Isabella.
This year’s panelists embody the pioneer spirit, leadership, and grit that ChiTech’s Young Women’s Leadership Society cultivates.
CEO & Founder
Shaniqua (Shawn) Davis is a digital marketing and tech enthusiast with over seven years of experience developing tech solutions. A Detroit native, Shaniqua learned early on to use innovative techniques to gain both experience and significant opportunities for advancement. In 2016 Davis launched Noirefy, a platform that connects minority candidates and companies together to drive diversity and inclusion globally. She is currently based in Chicago, IL and has been featured in several national media outlets, including Forbes and Marie Claire magazine for her work with Noirefy. Davis was also awarded and recognized as the 2017 Midwest Women in Technology, Talent Development award recipient and selected as one of WeWorks Young Innovators 2017.
Illinois Technology Association
Julia Kanouse is the CEO of the Illinois Technology Association (ITA). With innovative resources that connect members to the local tech ecosystem, build their talent networks and create visibility for their brands, ITA’s mission is to drive investment, talent and innovation in Chicago’s tech ecosystem.
Prior to joining the ITA, Julia spent ten years at the National Restaurant Association where she led marketing for the Association’s revenue-generating products and programs. In addition to membership and sponsorship, Julia oversaw product and marketing programs for the ServSafe training brand. She introduced several brand extensions and helped position the program for international expansion.
Julia began her career in the technology industry, doing ecommerce implementation and process design at Accenture and Inforte. Over time, she transitioned into a strategic marketing role, developing segmentation models to assist clients in understanding their customers and defining new go-to-market strategies.
Katy Lynch is the Co-founder and CMO at Codeverse, the world’s first fully interactive coding school for kids, that was founded on the mission to teach one billion children to code. Prior to Codeverse, Katy was the CEO of Techweek, the nation’s largest traveling technology festival, as well as the President and Co-founder of SocialKaty, a full service social media marketing agency.
In 2014, SocialKaty was acquired by award-winning digital agency, Manifest, creating one of the largest digital agencies in the Midwest.
Katy has appeared on Forbes, NBC, Inc, Huffington Post, FOX and Today.com, amongst others. Most recently, Katy was the recipient of the “Crain’s Chicago Tech 50” award, the Chicago Inno “50 on Fire” award, and the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago “Smart Cookies” award.
SVP, Talent & Development
Christine is SVP of Talent & Development at Vibes, a mobile marketing leader that uniquely combines best-in- class technology with unrivaled mobile expertise to drive seven figure business outcomes for some of the world’s most well known marketers and brands.
In her role, Christine leads the strategy and execution of Vibes’ HR and Talent programs. The Vibes’ Talent team is focused on building and maintaining an invaluable culture of smart, passionate professionals who are serious about what they do, and don’t take themselves too seriously. Ultimately, Christine is responsible for discovering the industry’s top talent and making Vibes an employer of choice.
Christine has led Talent functions in multiple industries including Marketing SaaS, Consumer E-Commerce, Professional Services, Advertising & Brand Consulting, and Financial Services. She has partnered with high performance teams in the US, Canada, and Latin America to achieve results during periods of aggressive growth and transformation. Christine loves the technology industry because it is constantly changing. It’s impossible to get bored when you are building a company to win in mobile marketing technology.
Christine is active in the broader Chicago technology community and serves on the Illinois Technology Association’s Talent Advisory Board as well as their Women Influence Chicago Board, channeling her passion to support and develop young future innovators and leaders. Outside of work, Christine enjoys cooking, hiking, yoga and spending time with her husband and two busy teenagers.
Christine is a published author on various talent management topics and holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Administration from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as a Certificate in Organizational Development from DePaul University.
Highlights from LBDN2017
Steve & Betsy Young
Illinois Technology Association
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