Lori E. Lightfoot
Lori E. Lightfoot served as the 56th Mayor of Chicago. She was the second woman, first African-American woman and first openly gay person to ever serve as Mayor of Chicago. Her tenure ran from May 2019—May 2023.
While in office, Mayor Lightfoot led the city through the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic with tough, fair leadership – all while keeping or overdelivering on campaign promises. She undertook an ambitious agenda of expanding opportunity, promoting inclusive economic growth across neighborhoods and communities, and working to make Chicago a safer and stronger city.
Mayor Lightfoot’s parents grew up in the segregated South and moved to Massillon, Ohio. Throughout her life, her family faced economic instability and all the obstacles typical for a family living paycheck to paycheck. While growing up, her father, Elijah, caught pneumonia, which later turned into spinal meningitis. He was in a coma for almost a year and when he awoke, he had complete hearing loss.
Mayor Lightfoot’s father worked two to three jobs at once, as a janitor, barber, and handyman. Her mother, Ann, worked low-paying jobs in mental hospitals, nursing homes, and eventually as a home health care aide. Amidst these challenges, her parents emphasized the importance of a quality education.
The Mayor thrived academically and graduated from the University of Michigan with honors. She paid her own way and returned to her hometown each summer to take on a number of jobs.
Prior to her election, Mayor Lightfoot served as senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown. Before that, she was President of the Chicago Police Board and Chair of the Police Accountability Task Force. Among other prominent roles in the city, Mayor Lightfoot also served as an Assistant US Attorney. She has been a resident of Chicago since 1986.
Since leaving office, Mayor Lightfoot has served as a 2023 Senior Leadership Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where she is teaching a course on leadership and key decision-making in public health.
Mayor Lightfoot currently lives in Chicago on the Near Northwest Side with her wife, Amy Eshleman, and their daughter.