Connie E. Evans

Connie is a visionary leader, astute strategist, activist, social entrepreneur as well as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO). She is the founding President of the award-winning Women’s Self-Employment Project, the first and largest urban microbusiness development organization in the U.S. She also pioneered one of the first matched-savings program—Individual Development Accounts—in the country. She  founded WSEP Ventures, a social enterprise-hybrid organization and CSolutions Consulting, an advisory boutique specializing in solutions that address social change. Connie served two elected terms on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago—the first African American woman to hold such a position—and was appointed by President Clinton to the CDFI Advisory Board, a fund in the Department of the Treasury. She was appointed by President Obama to be a member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. She was also appointed by President Clinton as a member of the U. S. Delegation to Preparatory Meetings for the Summit of the Americas and for the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and again for Beijing Plus Five. She has many distinguished awards, including: being named the Inaugural Twink Frey Social Activist in 2006; the 1996 Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Magazine; the first Teknion Humanitarian Award in 1999; Gloria Steinem Woman of Vision Award; 1998 Community Leader of the Year presented by the African American MBA Association at the University of Chicago; and the Chicago Community Service Fellowship Award by the Chicago Community Trust.