Justine’s story is a story that we all share in so many ways. The tough yet regular life challenges we navigate but do not discuss. Growing up with divorced parents, the sudden death of her first love, being diagnosed with a chronic incurable illness, yet remaining positive and optimistic while building a productive and fulfilling life.
Justine Fedak is a self-declared Corporate Hippie and recognized motivational speaker, using her inspiring life story of resilience, her disability (MS), and her well-lived c-suite career experience to bring much needed positivity to individuals and teams.
She is Chief Marketing & Culture Officer, BIÂN Chicago. She is the Chief Brand Strategist, Pollara Strategic Insights and a long-time senior, co-founder of Instant Impact, DEI consulting & speaking (with Star Jones) & a senior executive with BMO for over 20 years. Justine is a very active member of her community and industry. She is the incoming Chair of the Board of Directors, The Magnificent Mile Association, and member Chicago Police Foundation. She is SSA commissioner SSA #16, City of Chicago (Greektown), Chair of Chicago-Toronto Sisters Cities, World Business Chicago, as well as past member of many other prominent boards in Canada and the US.
She is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s 2013 “Woman on the Move” (Illinois); Dalhousie University Lifetime Achievement Award Winner 2015, Chicago Business Journal’s 2015 Women of influence; Chicago Sky’s 2016 “Redefine Possible” Women’s Leadership Award recipient; and the 2017 Cohn Weil Memorial MS Honoree. She was also recently featured in CS magazine as Chicago Favorite women of inspiration and style and was the Eversight “Woman of Vision” 2021. She is this year’s honoree for the MS Dinner of Champion’s Dinner, September 2022.
Spending years in the C-suite leading North American marketing teams she decided to ‘consciously uncouple’ from ‘Corporate Life’ and share her inspiring story: an MS (Multiple Sclerosis) diagnosis, managing mobility/chronic issues, suffering significant personal loss, yet still building an impactful career and purpose-driven happy life. A recognized motivational speaker across the US/Canada, she makes life’s challenges feel more like opportunities with her uplifting stories. Justine is also co-principal, with Star Jones, of Instant Impact Group, focused on helping individuals and companies build their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) mindset.
Justine’s passion to lead marketing teams and negotiate sports sponsorships with the most exciting leagues from NBA, NHL, MLB and the MLS is just a some of the executive work she loved. Her commitment to build strong, vibrant, but most importantly open and authentic relationships with her co-workers has distinguished her among her peers. Her years as an executive enable her to speak to tough business challenges and dynamics in the workplace but with a refreshing candor and vulnerability that demonstrates how to truly integrate real life with career.
Justine In the News
"A Chicago woman didn’t let the pandemic slow her down. "
WGNTV Chicago News
Justine Fedak has spent the last 20 years balancing the side effects of multiple sclerosis. The neurological condition can impair everything from vision to mobility. The last year added some tough obstacles for the million people that battle MS in the U.S. Many exercise routines took a back seat. MS patients feared a weakened immune system would make them more likely to catch the virus.
“It’s very important for people with MS to keep active and maintain their mobility and their level of function,” Northwestern Medicine Dr. Bruce Cohen said. Fedak pushed herself to thrive during the last year by exercising and meditating. She said all her efforts worked.
“Real Chicago Beauties"
Michigan Avenue Feature
Justine Fedak lives by the words velle est posse — Latin for “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” “No mountain is too high,” says the 43-year-old senior vice president of BMO Financial Group, who’s dealt with her share of adversity: She lost her first love in a car accident at age 21, and she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 11 years ago. “I’m not saying I don’t go down for the count, but I rise quickly,” she adds. “When you experience extreme sorrow, you have a real appreciation for beauty and joy.”