Winfrey embraces her Will County ambassadorship
Denise Winfrey is grateful to serve as Speaker of the Will County Board.
“I’m enjoying the opportunity to lead the board,” Winfrey told Will County Gazette.
Winfrey became speaker in December 2018 when the board was reorganized following the November election. She is the first woman to hold the position. As speaker, she is the chief administrative official of the board, directs staff, makes committee assignments and presides over meetings in the absence of the county executive.
“The speaker operates in many ways as the ambassador for the county along with the county executive,” Winfrey said. “I want to help promote, publicize and put forward the idea of Will County as a major player on the national scene. We are a large urban county, 700,000 and growing. We should recognize and present ourselves as such.”
Winfrey has a bachelor of science degree in business management from Lewis University, master of science degree in organizational development from American University in Washington, D.C., and post-graduate certificate in organizational development from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.
Winfrey started in politics as the township collector and became a county board member in 2009.
“I am retired from the corporate world and wanted to do things that were supportive of the community,” she said. “I serve on a number of not-for-profit boards and enjoy the chance to make a difference.”
Winfrey is a member of the executive board of the Center for Economic Development, executive board of the Illinois State Association of Counties, National Association of Counties, CDBG, the International Development Task Force, National Association of Black County Officials, Women of NACo, and the Collins Street Prison Coalition. She is a commissioner of the Will County Forest Preserve.
She serves on the board of directors for the Will County Health Department, as president of the board of directors for the Will-Grundy Medical Center, as vice chair of the Large Urban Counties Caucus, and legislative chair of the Joliet Chapter of the National Hook-Up of Black Women.
She also tutors children and adults. When she’s not helping the community, Winfrey enjoys reading, sewing and entertaining.