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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

The National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP), which assists people of color and women in achieving inclusion in the financial services industry, honored 20 trailblazers, including MWRD President Kari K. Steele, during their second annual Trailblazing Women in Finance Honoree Luncheon at Chicago’s Old Post Office on April 11.

President Steele receives NASP award
MWRD President Kari K. Steele (right) and Kila D. Weaver, VP, Sales and Client Services, Xponance (left). Ms. Weaver presented President Steele with the award. 

"I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from the National Association of Securities Professionals,” said President Steele. “This award is not just a recognition of my own efforts, but a testament to the collective work of those who strive to create a more equitable and representative industry. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of NASP's mission and to continue paving the way for future generations of women and people of color who work with finances." 

The honorees use their platforms to advocate for diversity and inclusion in the financial services sector, which furthers NASP's mission and paves the way for many people of color and women to join the ranks. 


Kelly Chesney, Founder of Pluscios Management, LLC, and luncheon co-chair, delivered opening remarks, highlighting that the event utilized all women-owned businesses as vendors. NASP Chicago President, DeAnna Ingram Jones, discussed the origins of NASP, and NASP Chair-Elect, Kila D. Weaver, gave closing remarks, with a call to action for support for the upcoming NASP conference, which will be held June 10-12, 2024, in Atlanta, GA.

In addition to President Steele, other honorees included: Sidney Dillard, Stephanie Braming, Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, Elois Sprolls Joseph, Kristin Finney Cooke, Tiffany Junkins, Jamie-Clair Flaherty, Adela Cepeda, Connie L. Lindsey, Farzin A. Khan, Samantha Grant, Valerie King, Jacquelyn Price-Ward, Andrea Zopp, Gennell Jefferson, Kourtney Gibson, Nicole Johnson and Priya Parish.

President Steele oversees the MWRD $ 1.4-billion budget, a fiscally responsible spending plan that invests in public infrastructure, responds to inflationary cost increases, and considers the long-term environmental and financial implications of all programs. She also serves as the Vice Chairman of the MWRD Pension, Human Resources and Service committee. In 2023, Fitch Ratings reaffirmed the MWRD’s AAA credit rating, and Moody’s Investor Services upgraded the MWRD’s credit rating to Aa1. Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings also upgraded the MWRD’s credit rating from AA to AA+ in late 2022. 

President Steele and honorees at the NASP awards
MWRD President Kari K. Steele (far right) received a Trailblazing Women in Finance award from the National Association of Securities Professionals in Chicago on April 11.

The MWRD treats an average of 1.2 billion gallons of wastewater each day at its seven water reclamation plants. In addition, the MWRD owns and operates the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan to mitigate flooding and protect area waterways and Lake Michigan from pollution. It also serves as the regional stormwater management authority for Cook County to defy the effects of climate change and promote resiliency throughout the region. 

NASP was founded in Chicago in 1985 by Maynard H. Jackson, Felicia Flowers-Smith, Joyce M. Johnson & Donald Davidson. From a core group of 44 people in attendance at NASP’s first organizational meeting in 1985, the organization has grown to become a resource for diverse professionals within the securities and investments industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NASP currently has 11 local chapters throughout the United States and has over 500 members.

Press Release
Awards and Announcements

Established in 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.


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