Terri Wilkerson Appointed as LSSI’s First Executive Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Chicago resident Terri Wilkerson has been appointed Executive Director for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), a nonprofit, statewide social services organization headquartered in Des Plaines with more than 50 locations statewide.

Wilkerson’s position is one that was newly created as part of LSSI’s strategic plan to build a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive culture. As part of this strategic priority, LSSI’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Steering Committee, comprised of 15 employees, developed recommendations. One of the highest priorities they identified was for LSSI to define the structure of EDI within the organization and to identify a leader who will drive those efforts.

In her role as Executive Director for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at LSSI, Wilkerson brings over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit and social services fields, including as an EDI coach and facilitator. Her past experience includes Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager for UCAN, a Chicago nonprofit organization serving over 21,000 at-risk children, youth, and families. As part of her role there, she increased civic engagement and provided strategic direction for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Her work resulted in increased employee engagement and retention through various defined employee resource groups.

“Our employees are committed to improving our communities and the lives of the people we serve, and this is what unites us,” said Mark Stutrud, LSSI President and CEO. “EDI is a complex and important opportunity to build that vision. Terri Wilkerson’s experience gives her the ability to understand EDI from both an organizational and individual perspective. She has the talent to encourage individual participation and to connect the benefits of EDI work at the organizational level to better client outcomes.”

“I have a passion for EDI work,” Wilkerson said, noting she was drawn to EDI principles back when she was a camp counselor as a teen, even before it had a formal name. “LSSI’s employees are our most important resource. In my role as Executive Director for EDI, I am here to serve the staff so they can better serve our clients and each other.”

Wilkerson graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, as well as a master’s degree in nonprofit management. She is on the board of directors of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

About Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI)

Serving Illinois since 1867, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) is a nonprofit social service organization of the three Illinois synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). LSSI is one of the largest statewide social service providers. The organization provides critical programs for Illinois residents including foster care; mental health services; alcohol and drug treatment; senior services including affordable housing and home care; residential programs for people with developmental disabilities; and services that help people and families who have been impacted by incarceration.

Barb Hailey