Emilia DiMenco was named president and CEO of the Women's Business Development Center (WBDC) headquartered in Chicago on August 1.


CHICAGO, IL – Emilia DiMenco, a former executive vice president at BMO Harris N.A., will become president of the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), succeeding Hedy M. Ratner and S. Carol Dougal, co-founders and co-presidents. Founded in 1986, the organization – which provides programs and services to start-up and established business owners – is the oldest and largest women’s small business assistance center in the U.S.

DiMenco joined the WBDC in June 2010 as chief operating officer. She served on the WBDC board for seven years prior to joining the organization. At BMO Harris, DiMenco rose through the ranks to become the first woman to reach the position of executive vice president in the commercial and corporate bank. For more than three decades, she led the financial institution in running various lines of businesses and developing numerous initiatives, including those supporting and empowering women, especially women-owned businesses.

Ratner will continue working with the WBDC as a consultant, concentrating on women’s issues, advocacy, outreach and fundraising. Both Ratner and Dougal will continue as members of the WBDC’s board of directors, led by Chairperson Debra Jennings-Johnson, Director, Supplier Diversity at BP America Inc.

DiMenco has spent the past three years working alongside Ratner, Dougal and the entire WBDC staff to build a strong infrastructure. She is committed to continuing the WBDC’s mission to help business owners at every stage of their development. Since joining the WBDC, DiMenco has been responsible for all aspects of leadership and implementation, including program management, fundraising, succession planning, and strategic planning.

“We are proud of the impact we have had nationally, regionally and locally on the growth and development of women-owned businesses,” says Ratner, “Along with the WBDC board of directors, we have the utmost confidence that the organization we founded will continue to grow and expand.” “With her skills and dedicated leadership, we and the WBDC board of directors agree that Emilia DiMenco is the perfect successor to take the WBDC to the next level,” says Dougal.

The WBDC, which serves a nine-state Midwest region, is headquartered at 8 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago. For more information, visit www.WBDC.org.