Jennifer Dixon Appointed Executive Director of WorldChicago

As Executive Director, Dixon will have the opportunity to continue to elevate the profile of WorldChicago, increase its role in promoting citizen diplomacy in the Chicago region, and develop the next generation of citizen diplomats.

Jennifer Dixon Appointed Executive Director of WorldChicago

Chicago, IL (December 2023) — Chicago civic leader Jennifer Dixon has been named Executive Director of WorldChicago, an organization dedicated to promoting citizen diplomacy through programs that connect the Chicago community with the world.

As Executive Director, Dixon will have the opportunity to continue to elevate the profile of WorldChicago, increase its role in promoting citizen diplomacy in the Chicago region, and develop the next generation of citizen diplomats. Currently, Dixon is Vice President of WorldChicago, a role that includes providing primary oversight and administration of the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI), a fellowship program that serves 60 fellows from 59 countries.

Dixon’s career in the nonprofit sector spans 30 years. Prior to joining the WorldChicago team in 2021, she served in civic leadership roles for over 25 years for organizations such as Urban Alliance, Umoja (now New Root Learning), Girls on the Run - Chicago, and UCAN. She has also been an entrepreneur, having founded and successfully run her own business for 10 years and served as a consultant in the not-for-profit sector.

“After a lengthy and rigorous local and national search conducted by an external executive search firm, we are thrilled to announce the appointment of Jennifer Dixon as the next Executive Director of WorldChicago to lead our 70+ year organization in this exciting new chapter for citizen diplomacy,” said Lisa Harwood, Board Chair.

She was unanimously voted in by the Board, reflecting our confidence in Dixon’s robust leadership skills developed through her years of service as WorldChicago’s Vice President overseeing flagship programs. Her unparalleled passion for citizen diplomacy, diversity and inclusion further affirms her suitability for this role. With Jennifer Dixon at the helm, WorldChicago is committed to cultivating and fostering a culture that prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion. Her dedicated agenda to encourage and promote diversity in recruitment and selection, ongoing professional development and training, and various initiatives will persist in elevating WorldChicago.

Currently, Dixon serves on the Board of Directors for CPS Lives, an organization placing Artist-in-Resident Fellows in Chicago Public Schools, and the Firehouse Community Arts Center, dedicated to offering year-round, multi-disciplinary cultural arts programming. The Center also focuses on mentorship, leadership and workforce development with a central emphasis on the prevention and interruption of violence.

Expressing enthusiasm for the role, Dixon stated, “I look forward to bringing my background, skills and networks to meet the needs of WorldChicago and engaging and advancing citizen diplomacy equitably throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods while continuing our important work across the country and throughout the world.”

Dixon’s own citizen diplomacy travels have included trips to Croatia, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Japan, Sarajevo, Slovenia and Sweden, and a Habitat for Humanity volunteer experience, which served as her honeymoon. Over the last 12 years, she and her family have also generously served as a host family to twenty international exchange visitors.

Dixon is a proud alum of Chicago Public Schools and holds an M.S. in Human Services from National-Louis University and a B.A. in Sociology from North Park University. She will assume her responsibilities as Executive Director of WorldChicago on January 2, 2024.

As Chicago’s official host for U.S. government-sponsored international visitors, WorldChicago has served over 70,000 guests from 190 countries since 1952. By connecting Chicagoans with international peers, WorldChicago promotes mutual understanding and fosters global dialogue and innovation. Its citizen diplomats are individuals who help shape U.S. foreign relations through person-to-person interactions with citizens of other countries.

WorldChicago engaged Kittleman & Associates to search for its Executive Director. Kittleman & Associates is a national executive search firm that specializes in the recruitment of CEOs for tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, public charities, and philanthropic organizations. Kittleman recruits leaders for the entire nonprofit sector including foundations, advocacy organizations, and professional and trade associations.

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