Eighth Blackbird is thrilled to share that at its annual meeting this summer, the board elected member Kate Bensen to serve as its chair. Kate joined the board in 2015, has co-chaired its Nominating Committee and in 2018 served as chair to the organization’s most successful Benefit & Bash to date. Kate brings not only immense nonprofit board development experience, but a deep passion for arts advocacy and leadership development. She steps into her position as board chair at a pivotal time in the ensemble’s history, and as it gears up for its 25th Anniversary season in 2021-22. Her deep commitment to Chicago is shared by Eighth Blackbird, as is her infectious drive to make excellent initiatives and organizations sustainable.
Kate joined The Chicago Network in April 2010 as Executive Director and became its President and CEO in 2013. Previously, Kate led the nonprofit capacity building practice for Conlon Public Strategies and was a partner at the law firm of Schiff Hardin LLP, specializing in corporate and public finance.
In addition to chairing the board of Eighth Blackbird, Kate serves as a director of the Arts Club of Chicago and the Chicago Club. Kate is a member of the Commercial Club, Economic Club, Chicago Club, International Women’s Forum, Executives’ Club and the Women’s Board of the University of Chicago (past Chair). She also serves on the President’s Advisory Council for Governors State University. Her board work focuses on governance. In 2008, she received the University of Chicago’s Alumni Service Medal for her work in securing an Alumni House for the University.
Kate received her AB in economics from the University of Chicago and her law degree from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. View her full Linked-In profile here.
Eighth Blackbird is so grateful to past chairs Peter Nicholson, Sarah Mirkin and Chris Joyce, who continue to serve as a member on the current board.