Cherita Ellens is the CEO of Women Employed. A native Chicagoan and longtime advocate for Chicago women, youth and families, Cherita brings a unique perspective and a wealth of experience in organizational development, nonprofit financial management, marketing and communications, and employment policy and related strategies to her role.
As CEO of Women Employed, Cherita leads an organization that for the past four decades has been dedicated to establishing equity for women in the workforce through policy change, expanded access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces. From paid sick time, to fair scheduling, to protection from workplace harassment, Women Employed has been at the forefront of proposing and enacting policy to improve the economic status and security for women, empowering them to support themselves and their families.
Prior to joining Women Employed, Cherita led business operations and communications for Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, a public-private partnership that works to close the access gap by matching businesses that have unmet hiring needs with qualified, unemployed and underemployed job seekers. She has also served as the VP of Marketing and Membership for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, and later as the Executive Director of the South Side and Wabash YMCAs. From this, she has first-hand experience of the challenges facing so many Chicagoans, the impact on Chicago’s south and west side neighborhoods, and the ways that businesses and nonprofits can partner together to lift up our city.
Cherita holds an executive MBA from The University of Norte Dame, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communications from Illinois State University. She is also a proud mom of a college aged daughter attending Vanderbilt University, and a graduate of the Kenwood Academy.