Toni Preckwinkle Visits Regina

Toni Preckwinkle Visits Regina

Kathryn Cressy, Media and Culture Editor

On April 5, Toni Preckwinkle addressed the Regina Dominican community in an edition of the Leadership Speaker Series, sponsored by the Regina Leadership Institute. Toni Preckwinkle has been a leader in the Chicago community for nearly twenty years. In fact, she was the first woman elected to serve as the Cook County Board President. Throughout the presentation, Toni shared her advice for young women in leadership roles gathered through experiences she has had during her time in public office.

Preckwinkle explained to girls how lucky they are to be able to receive an education where they are engaged in the topics they study. She explained that students will be able to use the lessons they learn here at Regina in order to participate in an active democracy. Preckwinkle commented, “[Democracy] depends on an active and engaged citizenry. When citizens are engaged, good things can happen.”

Preckwinkle went on to explain how citizens need to be involved in their communities in order to inspire change. When she was 16, she got involved with her first political campaign. She explained how she helped call voters, put yard signs up, and help advocate for the candidate. It was at this campaign that Preckwinkle discovered her love for politics. She encouraged the girls at Regina to get involved with campaigns if politics are a path they are thinking about taking. She also explained that her time in campaigns helped her appreciate the democratic processes, and all of the hard work that goes into it.

She finished her presentation telling the girls just how important leadership opportunities are for students. She explains that they inspire young people and impart them with wisdom, critical thinking skills, and the ability to open a dialogue to discuss issues and disagreements. She also encouraged girls to voice their opinions.

After she finished her speech, Preckwinkle opened the floor to questions. Many Regina girls stepped up to the microphone to ask Preckwinkle for her advice for women in leadership or women in politics. Preckwinkle also gave her opinion on the current election cycle, as it is probably the most unpredictable in decades. She encouraged the girls to develop their own opinions about candidates, as that is an essential part of democracy.

This was definitely a leadership speaker series that no one will forget. It is not everyday that a fairly high ranking political official in Chicago gives up a part of their day to come to Regina. Preckwinkle left many of the girls inspired to continue to pursue careers in politics and to continue their leadership roles at Regina.