CIW Stories: Dorri McWhorter & CIW’s “Expansive Thinkers”

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In October 2012, Dorri McWhorter was a partner at a public accounting firm in search of a change—something more “aligned” with her belief in human-centric business practices. Then, she attended Harvard neurologist Rudy Tanzi’s and Dr. Deepak Chopra’s CIW Talk on the physiological secrets to happiness.

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Dorri McWhorter, CEO of the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, spoke at the “Life’s Big Questions” talk, presented by Hyatt, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago. (Photo by Tim Klein/Chicago Ideas Week)

Dorri McWhorter introduced this year’s Life’s Big Questions Talk at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

The talk “ignited a spark in me,” she said. She applied to a position at the YWCA the next month, started as the CEO of the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago in March and today describes her work as personally fulfilling and fun—something she never would have said at her past position.

“That’s what Chicago Ideas Week did for me,” McWhorter noted. “It gave me a free space to [realize] people are absolutely moving humanity forward…and integrating it with their lives and their work. It’s not separate.”

At the YWCA, McWhorter has integrated her belief in social impact business throughout all levels of the organization. The recently launched YShop is cause marketing, with an online twist: Individual vendors sell goods from t-shirts to cupcakes, with a portion of the proceeds going to the YWCA. And, at a more personal level, McWhorter describes her life as more “holistic” today than it was back in 2012.

“I always say there’s two types of people in the world, limited thinkers and expansive thinkers,” she said. “CIW is where expansive speakers hang out, and so I just want to be in that expansive space.”

Erin Robertson is managing editor at Chicago Ideas.

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