Moving Forward Together 2021

September 22, 2021

6 pm | Virtual event

Thank you for making Moving Forward Together 2021 a huge success! The theme for Moving Forward Together 2021 is Housing Creates Opportunity. More than 250 financial, real estate, government, and philanthropic leaders will come together for an inspiring virtual event. In addition to celebrating all of the opportunities that have been created in the past year for residents to work toward their goals, we’ll also look ahead to the work that remains to ensure that more of our friends and neighbors in the Midwest have a quality, affordable home and access to supportive services that empower them to make the choices necessary to achieve long-term stability.

A highlight of the evening was a conversation between Brenda Palms Barber and Phil Ashton, two people who have spent their careers fighting inequity and creating opportunities.

Brenda Palms Barber headshot
Brenda Palms Barber is the founder, president & CEO of the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN), an urban workforce development agency, and the founding social entrepreneur and CEO of Sweet Beginnings, LLC, a social enterprise using urban beekeeping to create jobs for those with significant barriers to employment.

Founded in 1999, NLEN serves more than 2,500 people per year. Brenda launched NLEN’s Sweet Beginnings in 2004 to ensure NLEN’s hardest-to-employ clients could get jobs and gain a history of employment.

Brenda is a graduate of Harvard’s Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management program and the Chicago Urban League’s nextOne entrepreneurship program, which included classes at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She holds a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from the Spertus Institute in Chicago. She has been published in the Wall Street Journal, and has had extensive national media coverage, including on CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and more.

Phil Ashton headshot
Phil Ashton is Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Policy at UIC. His research and practice focus on the restructuring of US banking and housing finance, with a consistent interest in how racial disparities have been transformed within the new financial marketplace. This has translated into research projects on the rise of the subprime mortgage market, the foreclosure crisis and its governance, and the role of investment banks and infrastructure funds in producing the growing market for urban infrastructure assets. He is currently working on a book project on fraud and discrimination litigation against large subprime mortgage lenders.

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