Politics & Government

Dorri McGhee McWhorter ’95

Uber Advocate for Women


Photo by Alissa Pagels

As the CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, Dorri McGhee McWhorter ’95 is garnering headlines for reimagining the 140-year-old nonprofit’s business model with new ideas and technology. The group’s mission is to empower women and eliminate racism, and providing jobs is one way to achieve that.

McWhorter has initiated a partnership with Uber, which connects people who need rides with freelance drivers via smartphones. Hiring women is vital to Uber’s expansion goals, and it wants to add a million female drivers around the world by 2020. Chicago is a key market, where three times as many women as expected signed on to become drivers after the collaboration began.

McWhorter sees Uber as an economic opportunity for women who need flexible work schedules. “I feel such a sense of urgency,” she says. “I see possibilities everywhere. We can create solutions and value for everyone, and because we can, we should.”

Born in Chicago and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, McWhorter was a partner at the accounting firm Crowe Horwath before joining the YWCA.

Among other innovations, she created the online marketplace YShop.org, which supports the YWCA by promoting partner companies that donate a portion of their sales to the organization. The site, which offers everything from couture diaper bags to gourmet brownies to consulting services, has had 9,000 unique visitors in just over one year, helping the organization to reach a new audience.

McWhorter also started Myrtle’s Club, which provides business classes, group purchasing, and other services for childcare providers. The club supports the people who offer critical support to the workforce, she says, adding, “Without them, how would parents work? We need them to stay open. We want to make sure these child care providers have the support to run efficient businesses.”

Although McWhorter was an accounting major at the UW, she took many courses outside the business school, including geology, English literature, anthropology, and African American studies.

“All those courses I took were playing into my social-justice side,” she says. “[Scientists are] working on a spaceship to get to Mars, but we have not yet solved some fundamental human-rights and social-justice issues here on Earth. It just fuels me to work fast and get it done.”

Published in the Winter 2016 issue


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