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Aerial View of Navy Pier During the Day

Oct. 3, 2023 | The creator of First DEIA Plan for Navy Pier receives recognition for efforts and plans

Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access Is Recognized as Notable Leader in DEIA by Crain’s Chicago Business

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CHICAGO— Anita Nelson, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) at Navy Pier, has been nominated and honored as a Notable Leader in DEIA by Crain’s Chicago Business. This prestigious recognition acknowledges her exceptional contributions to creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for both Navy Pier’s staff and its diverse array of visitors.

Nelson has played a pivotal role in advancing Navy Pier’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Her dedication and innovative approach to DEIA efforts are evident in the recent development of Navy Pier’s first-ever DEIA strategic plan. This comprehensive plan focuses on critical areas such as recruitment and retention, equity, leadership development, and community engagement, all under Anita’s leadership.

In response to her nomination, Anita Nelson shared the following statement: “I am deeply honored to be recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as a Notable Leader in DEIA. This recognition is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire Navy Pier team in creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and belongs. We remain committed to our mission of promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. We will continue to strive for meaningful progress in these areas.”

One notable aspect of Navy Pier’s DEIA strategic plan is its emphasis on accountability through the use of key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs will help measure progress and ensure the organization remains steadfast in its commitment to DEIA principles. Additionally, the multiyear community engagement component of the plan is dedicated to accessibility, closing the racial wealth gap in Chicago, and fostering partnerships with community organizations that align with Navy Pier’s mission.

Anita Nelson has also been actively involved in charitable initiatives, including collaborations with the Chicago Food Depository and Restore Chicago.

For more information about Navy Pier’s DEIA efforts and Anita Nelson’s leadership, please visit Navy Pier’s website.

To read the Crain’s Chicago Business article recognizing Anita Nelson, please visit this link.

Click here for headshot of Anita Nelson.

Note: All activities, times, and dates are subject to change. All food, beverages and merchandise are sold separately.


Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is the top nonprofit tourism destination in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and typically welcoming nearly 9 million annual guests. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more. The Pier celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016 with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2021, Navy Pier continued to usher in its second century with ongoing Pier-wide redevelopment efforts—including Sable, a 223-room Hilton hotel, new restaurants and partnerships, and thrilling additions to Pier Park. The Pier is also proud to continue providing free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. Click here to donate to Navy Pier, a mission-driven 501(c)(3) organization, in support of the organization’s post-pandemic revival and free public programming. For more information, visit



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