CHICAGO — The Chicago organization Women in Public Finance will recognize three women — Chicago’s chief financial officer, Columbus’ assistant auditor, and a public finance banker and financial advisor — at its sixth annual founders awards next month.
The organization will give its lifetime achievement award to Lois Scott, a former public finance banker and financial adviser who sold her interest in the firm she started to take on the job as CFO under new Mayor Rahm Emanuel this past spring. The lifetime achievement award honors the accomplishments of a woman who has worked in municipals for at least a decade, demonstrating skill, drive, integrity and vision.
The rising star award will go to Megan Kilgore, assistant city auditor for Columbus. The “She’s Our Hero” award will go to Lisa Smith, a managing director at Loop Capital Markets LLC. The hero category recognizes a woman who successfully juggles career, self-development, family and civic activities. The rising star award honors a professional who has worked less than a decade in the business and demonstrates the skill and intelligence likely to have a long-term effect on the field.
Kilgore has worked in the auditor’s office since 2003 and previously worked in the Ohio attorney general’s office. Kilgore is deputy to longtime auditor Hugh Dorrian. The elected office is the chief accountant of triple-A rated Columbus, manages its financial transactions, and assists in debt management.
Smith was a managing principal at the financial advisory firm Gardner, Underwood & Bacon LLC when it was acquired by Loop. She previously held positions at the former Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp., Stone & Youngberg LLC and the former Evensen Dodge.
Scott, a founding member of WPF and the first woman to serve as CFO since the position was created by former Mayor Richard Daley, co-founded Scott Balice Strategies in 2003. She returned to Chicago the previous year after a stint as a White House Fellow in the Clinton administration. Previously, Scott worked as an investment banker at L.F. Rothschild & Co., Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and at BA Securities Inc., where she re-established that firm’s presence in the region.
“Lois has a long history in the field. She founded her own firm, was a founder of WPF and has been a pioneer in public finance and a mentor to many,” said WPF co-founder Courtney Shea of Acacia Financial Group.
WPF chose the recipients from about 15 new nominations and those submitted in past years. The founders and past award recipients selected the winners. The four founding members — Shea, Scott, Standard & Poor’s senior managing director Sarah Eubanks, and consultant Nancy Remar — launched the awards in 2007. The committee that chooses the recipients bases its decisions on the contributions of the individual to the public finance field and in some cases the strength of their nominations, Shea said.
Though the organization started in Chicago in 1997, it now has a membership of hundreds, with representatives of issuers and financial and legal firms across the country. Chapters of the group launched earlier this year in Ohio and Minnesota, and public finance professionals from several other regions have expressed an interest in starting a local chapter, said WPF president Dana Sodikoff, an associate director of the public finance health care group at Fitch Ratings. Kilgore is a founder and serves a president of the Ohio branch.
WPF will hold a reception on Jan. 10 at the Encore Lounge in the Allegro Hotel in downtown Chicago to present the three recipients with their awards. The group saw a record number of registrations — nearly 450 — for its 15th annual conference in October, Sodikoff said. The incoming president for the group is Elizabeth Weber, a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.