10.18.2006 Jobs for Youth\Chicago Forum for Leaders to Hear from Other Leaders

If you have not had the opportunity to enjoy one of the past forums, this will be a terrific one to attend!  Merri Dee is one of my most admired Community Advocates in Chicago and worldwide.  Imagine a world with more people as giving and passionate as Merri Dee!


Jobs for Youth Chicago is an amazing organization that helps young men and women from low income families become a part of the economic mainstream: and in the process provides the business community with motivated job ready workers. 

Jobs for Youth\Chicago invites you to the Breakfast Leadership Forum Series with special guest speaker
Merri Dee, Director of Community Relations, WGN — TV

Merri Dee accepts a bouquet in thanks for her efforts as the Brown Angel Awards Luncheon’s mistress of ceremonies.

Making the Right Choices As a Leader October 18, 2006
7:45 a.m. Registration
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast, Welcome, Introductions and Speaker 
@ 410 CLUB Wrigley Building, 410 North Michigan Avenue

Please register online at
jfychicago.org by October 16, 2006 or for questions, call 312-499-4778 ext. 132

Merri Dee was raised in Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana, where she developed a passion for journalism during school. She began her long relationship with broadcast media in 1966 as a radio personality. Based upon the strength of her reputation, Dee moved to WGN-TV in 1972, where she gained experience in newscasting as a staff announcer and talk show host.

At the height of her very promising career, Dee was confronted with a personal tragedy when she and a talk show guest were kidnapped from the television station and nearly killed by the attackers. Not one to remain a victim, however, Dee looks upon that incident – which changed the course of her career and life – as a challenge to grow. Lobbying state and city politicians, Dee assisted in the passage of Illinois’ first Victims Bill of Rights law, legislation that has served as a model for other states.

Following the tragic event, Dee became more involved in the administrative aspect of television production and was appointed director of community relations at WGN-TV. In this capacity, Dee serves as liaison between WGN-TV and the many social organizations that compose Chicago’s civic community. She receives direct feedback from the audience and ensures that the station serves the needs of Chicago’s diverse populations. Dee also oversees WGN’s public service campaigns.

Dee is also committed to extensive charitable work, including fundraising on behalf of the homeless and the victims of domestic violence. Her most passionate endeavor, however, is on behalf of Illinois orphans. Dee has garnered an exceptional amount of attention for the issue of orphans through telethons and fundraisers. Through her efforts, she has sought to increase the number of children who get adopted each year. In
1998, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar commended Dee and WGN for increasing the number of adoptions in the state by more than 50 percent. Also a strong advocate for education, Dee has hosted the United Negro College Fund Telethon for seventeen years. She has also hosted the prestigious Easter Seals Telethon. She is one of the founders of a Chicago-based organization called Athletes for a Better Education.

Pictured Above: Attorney General Lisa Madigan Thursday attended The Women’s Treatment Center (TWTC) “Meet the Stars” 15th Anniversary Gala in Chicago. Madigan joined, from left, Gail Morse, Vice President of the TWTC Board of Directors, Dr. Jewell Oates, TWTC Executive Director, Merri Dee, Honorary Chairperson and Director of Community Relations for WGN Children’s Charities, and Andrea Kramer, President of the TWTC Board of Directors. TWTC has hosted “Meet the Stars of The Women’s Treatment Center” for the last four years to honor the women who, upon completing treatment, have gone on to create new lives for themselves and their families.

A recipient of numerous awards:

“Outstanding Media Person,” AT&T
“Outstanding Community Role Model,” Kellogg’s Corporation
“Volunteer of the Year Award,” Chicago Board of Education
“The National Voice Award,” Nat’l. Comm. to Prevent Child Abuse
“Adoption Activist” North American Council on Adoptable Children
“Adoption Spokesperson Award,” the Adoption Information Center of Ill.; Child Care Assoc. of Ill., One Church One Child, and the Depart. of Children and Family Services
“Outstanding Leadership Award,” YWCA of Metro. Chicago
“Woman of the Year,” Today’s Chicago Woman News
“Mercedes Mentor Award,” Chicago Magazine “Community Service Award,” National Baptist Institute

“Silver Circle,” Chicago Academy of TV Arts and Sciences
“Lifetime Achievement Award,” Univ. of Ill. Center on Women and Gender
“Gracie Allen Award” for Adoption Campaign, National Assoc. of American Women in Radio and TV

“Lewis University” , Humanities, Honorary Doctorate
“Rebuilding Children’s Lives”, Arden Shore Child & Family Services
“Trailblazer Award”, Chicago Association of Black Journalists
“2002 Adoption Excellence Award”, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services
“DANTE AWARD”, Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans
“Living Legend Award”, Infant Welfare Society
“History Maker Award”, The National History Makers Association

Dee serves on the boards of several organizations including: Ronald McDonald House Charities, Associated Colleges of Illinois, Adoptions Unlimited, Junior Achievement, The Gateway Charitable Foundation, National Tree Trust Foundation, and the Chinese American Service League. She continues to serve on the Illinois Attorney General’s Violent Crime Victims Commission and the States Attorney’s Advisory Council on violence.
Hope to see you there!

Please register online at jfychicago.org by October 16, 2006 or for questions, call 312-499-4778 ext. 132

Please note that this is the last breakfast at the 410 Club and Conference Center

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