Rita Athas, now Senior Advisor on the Board of Directors for World Business Chicago, served as its president from December 2007 through May 2013, overseeing day-to-day operations of the organization and with input from the private-sector board developed its strategic direction. Athas came to the economic development corporation after having served as Mayor Richard M. Daley's deputy chief of staff for external affairs for 10 years. She was an executive director of the Northwest Municipal Conference, a 1988-89 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, and now serves as the co-chair of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council and the board of Metropolis Strategies, Advisory Board for Chicago Sister Cities, and the Metropolitan Planning Council. She is a member of the Economic Club and Executive Club as well as the Chicago Council for Global Affairs. Athas was awarded an honorary doctorate from Elmhurst College, earned an MPA from Northern Illinois University and a BA degree from Elmhurst. She was a former NIPC Commissioner, worked with the Regional Task Force that created CMAP, and served as an original member of its Board from October 2005 to January 2009.