Melissa Donaldson

SVP, Chief Diversity Officer

Company: Wintrust
Role: Day Two General Session Speaker

Melissa Donaldson is the first chief diversity officer at Wintrust, where she reports to the CEO and partners with leadership across a matrix of community bank charters and specialty financial services business unites to establish diversity and inclusion strategies for positioning Wintrust as an employer of choice, a responsible corporate citizen, and an inclusive organization poised to drive business success. She coined the ubiquitous One Wintrust masthead as a unifying guidepost, established the annual executive diversity forum assembling top executives from across the enterprise, and launched Paired to Win, a hybrid mentorship-sponsorship program to accelerate the development of a multicultural senior leadership bench. Prior to joining Wintrust, Melissa served as the first director of diversity networks and communication for Walgreens, and the first director of inclusion practices at CDW. Her leadership resulted in CDW earning the Exemplary Voluntary Efforts Award from the U.S. Department of Labor in 2008, and spearheading the award-winning Walgreens Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report, establishing regional diversity councils nationwide, and creating the inaugural WBA Global Executive Women’s Conference.

Crain’s Chicago Business named Melissa one of the Top Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Executives in 2021. Considered a thought leader and stalwart in the diversity, equity and inclusion practice, she has published a number of articles on advancing DEI as a strategy for progressing a competitive advantage and business results. Melissa frequently lends her perspective on DEI and leadership to numerous conferences, graduate school lectures, webinars and other events, more recently adding media appearances, including the Northwestern Intersections podcast, Career Mix on SiriusXM satellite radio, and host of Generation Flex on Chicago Access Network TV. She has been named among Diversity Woman Magazine Elite 100 Black Women Leaders, Chicago United Business Leaders of Color, Crain’s Chicago Business Notable Diversity Executives, Crain’s Chicago Business Most Influential Women in Commercial Banking, Women Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal, and Diversity Officer Leadership Award recipients from Diversity Best Practices.

Melissa holds Master of Science in Communication from Northwestern University, Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University, and Bachelor of Science in Management Science from Wright State University. She serves on a variety of boards and councils serving the performing arts, DEI in banking and civic leadership. Melissa is a prolific mentor and coach, a Leadership Greater Chicago Daniel Burnham Fellow, and member of the Economic Club of Chicago,

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