The Chicago Women’s Money Conference  Speakers 

The Chicago Women’s Money Conference has announced the speakers for the 2018 event to take place on March 31 at the UIC Pavilion.  The free conference, which will be the kick-off to a year-long financial literacy education program in Chicago, focuses on a spectrum of financial topics – from budgeting to wealth management to a discussion on how the equal work, equal pay impacts quality of life for women.

The conference, which is a partnership between the NIA Group, a financial literacy organization and  Women’s Money©  features an amazing group of professionals from the financial arena that will empower and educate women on how to take control and use their dollars to build a financial foundation.


Gail Perry-Mason

MC for Chicago Women’s Money Conference

Gail Perry-Mason, of Detroit, Michigan, has come a long way, from foster care to caring for others.  A respected authority in the financial industry, Gail is also a bestselling author. Her years of experience coupled with her “down-to-earth” but also “down-to-business” style has made her a sought after speaker and presenter.

Regularly addressing capacity crowds, she educates people on financial literacy conducting financial training sessions and workshops for companies such as Chrysler, IBM, MGM, Blue Cross and Wells Fargo. Her regular national speaking engagements include keynote addresses at the University of Notre Dame, the NAACP Image Awards Women’s Reception, NBA Wives, University of Hawaii and the Allstate Purple Purse Movement.  Gail’s wisdom also hit the airwaves as she co-hosted an award-winning talk show entitled “Building Wealth,” via broadcast on iHeartRadio affiliate WMXD (MIX 92.3 FM) and a television broadcast on Comcast Cable. She has appeared on national outlets such as BET, Fox News, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, RadioOne and NPR Radio. In 2014, Gail was a featured financial speaker at the Essence Women’s Festival.

Through the newest addition to her resume, 4ever39, Gail seeks to motivate 40, 50, and 60 year old women to optimize their daily life experiences with a focus on three areas: fitness, wine and funds.  The 4ever39 product line, which will feature items related to all three categories, is expected to be released in 2018.

Featured Speakers

Sarah Newcomb, Ph.D.

Behavioral Economist

“LOADED: How  Core Beliefs Shape Our Financial Lives”

Dr. Newcomb is devoted to finding simple, changeable factors in human psychology that affect financial decisions, and using these insights to develop innovative content and products that improve every day money management.

Her work involving the human side of money has earned mentions in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Bloomberg, and Time. She is a regular contributor to PsychologyToday.com, and the author of LOADED: Money, psychology, and how to get ahead without leaving your values behind.

Dr. Sarah Newcomb is a behavioral economist at Morningstar where she works to integrate findings from behavioral science into tools for individuals and financial advisors.


Sharon D. Mallory

Chief Executive Officer

SDM Investments

“Where’s My Money Going…The 100% Rule”

 Sharon Mallory is the visionary and CEO of SDM Investments, LLC. and is responsible for defining and maintaining the direction of SDM and ensuring that her client’s financial planning needs are being met at the highest level of fiduciary responsibility.

Sharon served as a commanding officer in the United States Army several years prior to entering the financial industry in 1992 with a national financial services company.  She remained with the firm for 14 years.  Mallory has an extensive background in leadership and sales.

In 1996, believing that the number one problem in this generation is the lack of financial literacy, Mallory developed the NIA Group, a non-profit financial literacy organization, to plant the seeds of money management in children.  The goal is to help young people grow into self-sufficient, financially stable and responsible consumers. She has provided education seminars and activities for children and families in Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

Sharon attended Purdue University Lafayette where she received her BA degree prior to pursuing advance degrees at Chicago State University and the University of Colorado’s School of Financial Planning.  Ms. Mallory received her Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC) designation from the University of Colorado. She holds her FINRA series 6, 63, 65 securities licenses and Life and Health licenses in various states in which the firm is registered.

​She is a speaker and presenter and author of Drama, Dollars, and Dreams: A Diva’s Guide to Financial Planning.


Tia Chambers

Certified Financial Education Instructor

“Financially Fit & Fab”

Tia is a Certified Financial Education Instructor with over 9 years of experience in the banking, student loan, and investing fields.  She aims to help millennials kick their finances in shape to make more money, save more money, & build wealth.

After raising her credit score over 150 points and helping her friends with their finances, she decided to help others on a larger scale.  She started the site Financially Fit and Fab in 2016.

 Financially Fit & Fab is a one-stop shop for millennials wanting to improve their financial situation. The site focuses on the following categories: budgeting, saving, investing, home ownership, and making money.


Featured Panelists:  Equal Work/Equal Pay


Ruth Needleman

Professor emerita at Indiana University

Ruth Needleman taught Labor Studies for 30 years, working at the same time in local, national and global social movements. Currently she teaches “Global Social Movements” at the School of the Art Institute. Her activism dates back to the ‘60s. She worked with the United Farm Workers, served as Education Director for SEIU, and, most recently, has organized protests against deportations at the Gary/Chicago International Airport.

Her publications are varied, ranging from a book, Black Freedom Fighters in Steel: the struggle for democratic unionism,” to articles on race, class and gender, on women in unions, pay equity, workplace discrimination, as well as on social movements in Brazil, Chile and Colombia.  For 38 years, she has participated in schools for women workers, teaching everything from legal rights and labor history to organizing strategies.



Dorri C. McWhorter, CPA

Chief Executive Officer

YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

“Power of the Purse: Creating impact through Conscious Consumerism”

A proven leader in the corporate and social change sectors, Dorri prides herself on being a socially-conscious business leader throughout her career. McWhorter is an active member of Chicago’s civic, business and philanthropic communities. Most recently, she was a partner at Crowe Horwath LLP, one of the largest accounting firms in the U.S. She has also held senior positions with Snap-on Incorporated and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Dorri is also active in the accounting profession having served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and a Board of Directors for the Illinois CPA Society. McWhorter also serves on the Board of Directors for several organizations, including The Metropolitan Club, Chicago Finance Exchange, and Chicago Child Care Society. McWhorter is also a member of the Executive Council of Ms. Tech advancing women businesses in technology and a board member of the Chicago Center for Arts and Technology. As an engaged community leader, McWhorter served as a member of Mayor Emanuel’s second term transition team.  She is also a board member for the State of Illinois Charitable Trust. McWhorter received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree


Patricia Van Pelt

Illinois State Senator, 5th District

Patricia Van Pelt began her career in the Illinois Senate when she was elected in November 2012. Her life did not start out on an easy path. When she was 7 years old, her family moved into Cabrini Green where she lived with her parents and siblings. She currently resides in Chicago and has one child.

She has a diverse employment background as a former drill operator and union steward at the Ingersoll Steel Mill from 1974 to 1982. After her time at the steel mill, Van Pelt co-founded Ambassadors of Christ Church and was chief business administrator of Ambassadors for Christ World Outreach Ministries.

Van Pelt earned an associate degree in Natural Science from Truman College and a bachelor’s degree in public administration at Roosevelt University. She earned her master’s degree in human services administration from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. Van Pelt also is a certified public accountant, and holds a doctorate in management of non-profit agencies from Capella University.