NORTH CHICAGO – The 40th annual Profiles in Excellence takes place from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at Greenbelt Cultural Center, 1215 Green Bay Road in North Chicago.
The theme is “Women in Sports.”
Sponsored by the Lake County Forest Preserves, the event commemorates Black History Month by recognizing notable African Americans in the area who will be remembered for their contributions to their community and society for years to come.
The event is free and open to all ages.
Waukegan native China Jude is the guest speaker. She is the vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for the Denver Broncos.
“This year’s event will be very inspirational,” said Angelo Kyle, president of the Lake County Forest Preserves. “USA Today Sports named Jude as one of the 50 Most Influential Black People in Sports in 2022. We are fortunate and honored to have China speak at this wonderful event.”
Jude works closely with football, business and community leadership on diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. She successfully introduced, researched and vetted the launch of an anonymous reporting platform and created recruitment strategies to increase ethnic minorities in the application pipeline. She has more than 23 years of collegiate athletic administration and coaching experience.
Before her role with the Broncos, she worked as the senior associate athletics director for administration at the University of Wyoming.
This year’s community honorees include Pamela Johnson, Foss Park District superintendent of recreation; Shakedia Jones, former Olympian sprinter and UCLA graduate; and Lacey Simpson, women’s basketball player and coach.
The event will include a history presentation highlighting African American women in sports and local and national athletes. Gloria Wilson will deliver a vocal performance.
“It’s exciting for me to learn new stories of successful people in our Lake County community,” Director of Education Nan Buckardt said. “I always leave the Profiles event with a greater depth of understanding and appreciation for the people and place where I live.”
Established in 1983, the annual Profiles in Excellence program honors the history and achievements of Lake County African Americans. The goal of the program is to further an appreciation of the heritage and achievements of the local African American community and help improve the quality of life for future generations.