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A coalition of 21 women’s organizations from the legal, business and political sectors have joined to inaugurate what they hope will become an annual “Power Fair for Fair Power.” The event, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, will consist of a day of programs geared toward elevating women to positions of power. And Karen J. Dimond, president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, maintains that boards and commissions are the right places to start. “Boards and commissions do wield a fair amount of power,” said Dimond, an assistant attorney general who serves on her local school board. As part of the organizing process, leaders from the participating groups formed another umbrella group, dubbed “WE WILL,” for Women Empowering Women in Illinois. The idea for the Power Fair, which will focus on everything from volunteer boards to well-compensated appointments, stems from the work of a longstanding WBAI Committee on Boards and Commissions, created with the expressed purpose of encouraging appointments of women to influential posts. For lawyers, particularly those who aspire to be partner or who are flying solo, there is an added benefit — a better ability to generate business. As the logic goes, if a lawyer serves on a board or commission, she is out in the community, meeting people and potential clients, said Patrice Ball-Reed, president of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago, one of four legal groups sponsoring the Power Fair. “We want to be on those boards and commissions. … That’s where the power is,” Ball-Reed said. “You get to have an impact in places where it counts.” Dimond said the event is to have a two-fold function, introducing women to the types of board and commissions available with information about how appointments are made and providing an opportunity for those who make such appointments to meet with members of participating organizations. During the day, breakout session will cover the following: serving on volunteer boards; power boards/government; positioning yourself for power; and networking for power. The Power Fair will wrap up with a networking reception from 3:35 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. In addition to WBAI and the Black Women Lawyers Association, organizations participating in the Power Fair are the: American Association of University Women; Business and Professional Women of Illinois; Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women; Chicago Commission on Human Relations, Women’s Advisory Board; ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) Illinois; Federation of Women Contractors; Gannon Center for Women in Leadership; Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women; Illinois Women’s Health Coalition; Illinois Women in Government; League of Women Voters, Chicago; National Association of Women Business Owners; Chicago National Organization for Women; National Women’s Political Caucus of Greater Chicago; Network of Women Entrepreneurs; Will Power, the Power of Women in Law; Women’s Advisory Council of Chicago; Women’s Business Development Center; and Women in Management, Inc.

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