Ruth Colby is the 2021 recipient of The ATHENA Award

Join the members of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry to honor Ruth Colby on Wednesday, September 15th at 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Jacob Henry Mansion – Victorian Ballroom as we celebrate her many accomplishments and recognize the path that Ruth has lighted for many to follow.  Colby is the 2021 recipient of The ATHENA Award. Ruth becomes the 34th Award recipient, and will be honored at a luncheon.  Ruth currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer at Silver Cross Hospital. Her experience includes positions such as Chief Strategy Officer at Silver Cross, Senior Vice President at SOLUCIENT, LLC. (now IBM/Watson), and Vice President in both the University of Chicago and Weiss Memorial Heath and Hospital systems. In addition, she carries a long list of degrees from very notable education institutions such as DePaul, Northwestern, and New York University.

– L to R: Jeff Pierson (chamber board chair), Ruth Colby, Jen Howard (chamber president)


Ruth Colby has seen the evolution of women’s roles dramatically transform during her forty-five-year career. Many women have paved the way for not only her, but others gaining a seat at the table and because of those leaders, she continually works to pay it forward. Colby has had the good fortune to work alongside numerous extremely talented women and continues to enjoy collaboration amongst her peers, recruiting women into the workforce, and ultimately mentoring and counseling those that are searching to be lifted up and realize personal and professional goals.

Colby strives to create pathways for women at Silver Cross and within the community by offering such programs as leadership training, support groups, and professional development. “I believe my main contribution to the advancement of women is as a role model. Setting an example for behavior, meeting etiquette, and communication are qualities that I constantly pay attention to so that others hopefully can learn from me.”

In recent years, she has been actively involved in the Will County and greater Joliet area, her commitment to the community has been nothing less than that of a labor of love.  From giving back to the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center as a board member, to serving as the chair-elect of the Will County Center for Economic Development, to sitting on the board of directors at the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation Women’ board, Ruth cherishes the ability to shape culture, build trust, and demonstrate humility while building outstanding organizations.

Ruth’s additional awards, recognitions, community, and chamber involvements include:

  • National Hook-Up of Black Women – Gold Star for Health Award
  • Crain’s Chicago Business – Notable Women in Healthcare
  • Uptown Chamber of Commerce – Athena Award
  • Rotary International – Fellowship Award
  • Heartland Alliance
  • Florence Heller Jewish Community Center
  • Rotary Club of Joliet
  • Kohl’s Children’s Museum
  • Joliet Chamber Community Leadership School

Contact the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry at (815) 727-5371 or online at to make reservations.