Sandra S. Yamate

Chief Executive Officer

Sandra S. Yamate is the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (“IILP”). IILP is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to creating a more diverse and inclusive legal profession through its research and programs. Sandra is IILP’s subject-matter expert on diversity and inclusion and is responsible for all of its research and programming.

After practicing law for ten years, Sandra served as the Executive Director of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms and as the Director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

Sandra has long been active in a variety of charitable causes. Currently, she serves as the Chair of the National Judicial College and is a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Women Lawyers.

Sandra earned her JD from Harvard Law School and an AB in Political Science (cum laude) and History (magna cum laude) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Sandra has written and spoken extensively on community engagement, diversity and inclusion, cultural competency, and multicultural issues.

Sandra and her husband, Brian Witkowski, reside in Chicago with their two dogs, Cashew and Filbert.

Linda Bray Chanow 

Interim Strategy & Operations Officer 

Linda Chanow is a lawyer, non-profit executive, professor, and nationally recognized authority on women lawyers with more than 20 years of experience researching and writing on women’s leadership, diversity, and flexibility programs.  Linda’s renowned educational programs have empowered hundreds of women lawyers nationally to achieve fulfilling careers and significant leadership posts in their respective firms, corporations, and associations.

Linda is an author and sought-after speaker who has presented to hundreds of audiences on a variety of topics, including leadership, inclusive women’s initiatives, grit and growth mindset, unconscious bias, pay equity, and workplace flexibility. Since 2014, Linda has taught a leadership theory course at Texas Law that explored the gap between the number of women law school graduates and the number of women who occupy leadership positions in the legal profession. The class has been oversubscribed each year.

For nearly a decade, Linda led the Center for Women in Law at Texas Law, where she grew the organization from start-up to national industry leader.  She increased the annual budget from $150,000 to $1.2 million, built a $2.2 million endowment, and secured reserve funds of $1.2 million. Prior to CWIL, Linda was Assistant Director at the Project for Attorney Retention, an initiative of the Center for WorkLife Law of the University of California Hastings College of the Law

The Texas Minority Counsel Program recently honored Linda with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award and Lawdragon named her one of the 100 Leading Legal Consultants and Strategists for 2018, 2017, and 2016. In 2013, the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association presented her with the 2013 Advancement of Women Award. 

Linda began her legal career as a commercial litigator at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. after graduating magna cum laude from American University’s Washington College of Law in 1999.  

Jennifer A. Jackson

Interim Program Manager 

Jennifer A. Jackson is the Interim Program Manager at IILP.  She is a Diversity & Inclusion professional with 12 years experience in the legal industry.  She provides Diversity & Inclusion and management services to law firms, membership organizations and diversity consulting firms. Jennifer offers a wide range of services including program development, diverse attorney recruitment and statistical analysis. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Jennifer was the Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator for a mid-size law firm in Chicago. 

Before entering the legal diversity field, Jennifer was the Administrative Director at Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, a management consultant at Ernst & Young LLP, and a systems engineer at Ford Motor Company. As a Career Pivot CatalystTM, she coaches professionals who need to change career paths, but don’t know how to efficiently navigate the personal, professional and financial hurdles that stand in the way.

Jennifer earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  She also earned an MBA in Strategy, Marketing and Arts Administration from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

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