Illinois Tollway Employment Officer Honored by Chicago Defender 2014 “Women of Excellence Awards” Program

DOWNERS GROVE, IL – The Illinois Tollway’s Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Officer (EEO/AA) Lisa G. Williams has been named an honoree of the 8th Annual Chicago Defender “Women of Excellence Awards” program for her dedication and exceptional contributions to her profession, as well as for her community and charitable involvement.

The awards program, established by the Chicago Defender newspaper and sponsored by State Farm, will honor Williams by recognizing her as one of 50 exemplary African-American women from various professional, civic and community organizations at a ceremony to be held on April 17 at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago.

“On behalf of the Illinois Tollway, I congratulate Lisa for this well-deserved recognition,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “I’m very happy that Lisa’s achievements here, as well as her charitable efforts, are being recognized with such a prestigious award.”

Founded in 1905, the Chicago Defender is a weekly publication whose core mission is to empower the African-American community in the Chicago metropolitan area. According to the publication’s website, the “Women of Excellence Awards” were created in 2007 as a way to celebrate “local African-American women who inspire others through their vision and leadership, exceptional achievements and participation in community service.”

Williams was recognized for ensuring fair employment practices, increasing diversity and for her efforts in mentoring minorities and the disadvantaged through her many duties at the Tollway. In addition to being the agency’s EEO/AA Officer, she serves as the Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator and Ethics Officer. After six and half years working in Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s Civil Rights Bureau, Williams joined the Illinois Tollway in 2010 with the assignment by Executive Director Kristi Lafleur to improve the diversity of the agency’s workforce.

“This is a great honor for me, but none of the Illinois Tollway’s accomplishments would have been possible without the strong support of all of our employees, our senior leadership, our executive team and our Board of Directors,” said Williams. “I am especially fortunate to work with two strong role models for women today, Executive Director Kristi Lafleur and Board Chair Paula Wolff.”

Williams and her staff have worked to enhance the representation of people of color and women by increasing access to jobs through aggressively and proactively reaching out to communities of color, ensuring the hiring and selection process remains fair and accessible to everyone and promoting an inclusive internal culture. She is pleased to receive the award in recognition of her work from a respected publication and to join a group of influential honorees who are dedicated to community and professional advancement.

As an active member of the Hyde Park community where she resides, Williams often organizes fundraisers, food drives, fair trade festivals and events to promote diversity awareness.

About the Illinois Tollway

The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80).