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Navy Pier, Pier Park Chicago Skyline view summer daytime

Mar. 20, 2023 | Outgoing Board Chair William Brodsky will be honored at Navy Pier gala, A Legacy ExPIERience

Navy Pier Appoints Jennifer Steans as New Board Chair

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CHICAGO— Navy Pier today announced the appointment of Jennifer W. Steans as its new Board Chair.

Steans, who has served on the Navy Pier Board since 2015, is President and CEO of Financial Investments Corporation (FIC), where she oversees private equity investments and The Steans Family Foundation. Prior to founding FIC in 1994, Steans served as Treasurer of Prime Graphics, Inc., and as a senior consultant, and then manager, for the Management Consulting arm of Deloitte & Touche, primarily in the finance and health care industries. She is a Life Trustee and past Chair of the Ravinia Festival, and serves as a trustee of DePaul University, Rush University Medical Center, World Business Chicago, and The Commercial Club of Chicago.

Steans’ appointment comes on the heels of the retirement of William J. Brodsky as Navy Pier Board Chair, a position he held for the past 10 years.

“On behalf of the Navy Pier team and the millions of visitors who have enjoyed the remarkable impact of his extraordinary tenure, I thank Bill from the bottom of my heart, just as he has led us with his,” said Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner. “We are excited that Jennifer Steans, who has provided invaluable support and leadership as a Board member, will take the helm as Navy Pier continues to rebuild from the pandemic and forges a future where all Chicagoans have access to The People’s Pier as a cultural, recreational, and economic asset.”

Tribute to William J. Brodsky: A Legacy ExPIERience

Brodsky’s leadership will be celebrated at Navy Pier’s upcoming gala, A Legacy ExPIERience, to be held on Sept. 14, 2023. The event will honor the vision and distinctive collaboration that have elevated Navy Pier to the most visited nonprofit tourism destination in the Midwest, and reflect on the continued evolution of the People’s Pier into an accessible, year-round centerpiece for Chicago’s cultural treasures. It will also include a special tribute to Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

“It’s difficult to sum up all the work you put in, or all the joy that I have gotten out of chairing such a unique institution as Navy Pier,” said former Chairman William J. Brodsky. “Of all the civic engagements I’ve embraced over the decades, none has been as rewarding as my involvement with the Pier. Leading this landmark through $400 million in redevelopment, I’ve seen new buildings go up, beautiful partnerships being formed, and the pandemic nearly brings it all down — but through it all, Navy Pier proved to be as hardworking, optimistic, and resilient as the city it serves. For this, I thank Marilynn Gardner, her talented team, supported by an amazing Board who honored the trust placed in us as stewards of this treasured institution and its legacy. I pass on that legacy, along with sincere wishes for great success, to my successor Jennifer Steans.”

A 50-year veteran of the financial services industry, Brodsky began his career on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as an intern. He went on to assume executive leadership roles at the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe), and positions on the Boards of the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) and the Futures Industry Association (FIA). He has also served on the Board of Directors of four publicly held S&P 500 companies. Internationally, Brodsky was Chairman of the International Options Market Association and Chairman of the World Federation of Exchanges, the global body of more than 60 of the world’s leading exchanges. He served for more than 10 years on The International Capital Markets Advisory Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Currently, Brodsky is Chairman of Cedar Street Asset Management, LLC, a firm specializing in investing in small capitalization non-U.S. companies in both developed and emerging markets. He is also Chairman of Options Solutions, LLC, an investment firm specializing in utilizing option strategies for high-net-worth investors and family offices.

Brodsky recently co-chaired The Pension Consolidation Task Force at the request of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. In 2022, President Biden appointed Brodsky to serve on the Board of Directors of the Securities Investors Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Bill and his wife, Joan, are active in supporting many institutions, including Navy Pier, The Newberry Library, Northwestern Hospital, Northwestern University, and Syracuse University.

The Board, Moving Forward

 “It is an honor to become the third Chair of Navy Pier. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to continue working alongside my fellow Board members to uphold Navy Pier’s world-class standing as a welcoming and engaging venue for millions of travelers and local community members,” said Navy Pier Chair Jennifer Steans. “We’re investing in an economically and environmentally sustainable future that promises to be as vibrant as our long, colorful history. I invite you all to experience it firsthand.”

The Navy Pier Board of Directors also elected three new members to the Board:

Syreeta Harris Strickland is Head of Investment Banking Marketing for William Blair. In her role, she leads the global marketing strategy and communications for the investment banking group. Strickland was previously a vice president at Mesirow Financial and led the development and implementation of all marketing strategy and programs for the firm’s Capital Markets and Investment Banking division. She served on the firm’s Women Connect steering committee and frequently promoted women in finance. Prior to Mesirow, Strickland served as a marketing manager for BMO Private Bank.

Torrence Hinton was named president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas in June 2022. In this role, he manages the daily operations, strategy, and administrative activities of the two Illinois utilities, which together provide safe, reliable natural gas service to nearly 1 million customers in the city of Chicago and 54 communities in its northern suburbs. Hinton formerly was vice president of operations at Peoples Gas. His responsibilities included ensuring public and employee safety, regulatory compliance, operational excellence, financial performance and top-tier customer service. Prior to that, Hinton was director of gas storage, overseeing natural gas storage assets for WEC Energy Group. His responsibilities included the development and implementation of consistent and sustainable operational strategies and business plans related to the natural gas storage assets across all of WEC Energy Group’s natural gas utilities.

Jorge Ramirez is managing director of Labor and Government Strategies for GCM Grosvenor. Ramirez focuses on labor and government strategies and initiatives and serves on the ESG Committee and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. He is the former president of the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL), the third-largest central labor council of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), representing 300 unions and a half million working people throughout the Chicago area. In his role as president of the CFL, he served on executive and advisory boards for labor, civic, and community organizations across the City of Chicago and around the country. He served as an officer of the CFL since July 2006 and was elected the CFL’s first Latino president in July 2010. Ramirez is also a former vice president of the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO, helping to guide the daily work of the national federation.

William J. Brodsky, man in gray business suit with blue tieJennifer Steans, woman with glasses in blue topSyreeta Harris Strickland, woman in green dressTorrence Hinton, man in white striped gray business suit with red tieJorge Ramirez, man in gray business suit with red tie


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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