Hedy M. Ratner is founder and Co-President of the Women’s Business Development Center, the largest, oldest—20 years—and most comprehensive women’s business assistance center in the U.S. The Women’s Business Development Center has initiated and helped develop women’s business programs in 14 sites in 6 states. The Center provides counseling, training, financial, certification and procurement assistance for emerging and established women business owners.
An advocate and activist for women’s issues for more than 35 years, Hedy Ratner was appointed by President Clinton to the National Women’s Business Council; she helped to advocate for and create and was appointed by Illinois Governors Edgar and Ryan to the Illinois Women’s Business Ownership Council and the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois. In 2002 she was appointed to the Illinois Development Finance Authority and was appointed by Illinois Governor Blagojevich to the Illinois Labor Advisory Board. In 2006 Governor Blagojevich appointed her to the Illinois Business Enterprise Council. Hedy was appointed as Co-Chairperson of the Women’s Health Task Force by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and served on task forces on minority and women’s business enterprise issues for the city and state. She is also a board member of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and The Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau; National Council of Women’s Organizations; and a founding member of the Coalition For Equal Opportunity and the Alliance of Minority and Female Contractors Associations.
Her most recent 2006 honors were the Lifetime Achievement Award from Rainbow PUSH; the Compass Award from the Women’s Leadership Exchange; in 2005 Ratner received the SBA Advocate Award; the National Center for Women’s Business Research Leading by Example Award; the Anti-Defamation League’s Women of Achievement Award. Other Honors include the SBA Women’s Business Advocate of the Year; the Governor’s Women Business Advocate of the Year; the National Association of Women Business Owners Public Policy Advocate of the Year, both locally and nationally; the Bank of America Community Leader Award; National Organization of Women’s Bella Abzug Woman of Honor Award; among others.
Her educational background includes an M.Ed from DePaul University; an M.S. from the University of Chicago; A. B. and M.Ed. from University of California.