Bridget Gainer

Cook County Commissioner – 10th District

As Aon’s Vice President of Global Public Affairs since 2001, Bridget Gainer oversees the risk management firm’s strategic engagement with governments around the world. Most people would probably find this job overwhelming. For Bridget it wasn’t enough.

She was elected as 10th District Cook County Commissioner in 2010 and in 2013 created the Cook County Land Bank, whose mission it is to reduce the impact of vacant and abandoned buildings.

Bridget’s most recent initiative, undertaken with support from United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, is Off the Sidelines Chicago, an organization that encourages and enables young women to take their ideas to action. Off the Sidelines already boasts more than 2,500 members.

Bridget shares 5 ways to get women off the sidelines:

1. Power is a muscle. Not a bank account. Don’t save your asks for a rainy day. Use them or you may miss a golden opportunity.

2. Act like a principal, not a helper. If you act like a helper people will pigeonhole you as a helper.

3. Stop apologizing. Make confident statements. Preemptive apologies give people a reason to discredit what you’re about to say.

4. Diversify your mentorship. Don’t only look to the corner office or the guru-gray hair. There are great leaders rising in younger generations and they have a lot to teach us.

5. Show up for people. Play the long game. Relationships are built on presence and the long haul is how things get done. Good work takes time.

For more about Off The Sidelines Chicago, click here.

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FIVEinSIXTY is our web series with thought leaders whose stories provide insights and inspiration for the next generation of go getters—our own little brainchild outside the wide variety of videos we produce for our clients.

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