Inspired by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Off the Sidelines Chicago is Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer’s call for women and girls to bring their ideas to action.
Off the Sidelines Chicago is a non-partisan platform for women in the Chicago area where civic impact and professional development are prioritized . We are a bridge to connect women with policy issues and civic initiatives big and small. We are a support system to bring more women into leadership positions and turn a service lens to professional development. We are an information hub and a resource to help your ideas meet action.
Purpose and passion only go so far; change happens when people show up, commit and then have the perseverance to see it through. There has never been a better time to take an idea, a passion, or a purpose and turn it into an action. As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree is thirty years ago, the second best time is now. Join Bridget, Senator Gillibrand and thousands of women across the country as we move off the sidelines by taking ideas and turning them into actions.
Bridget Gainer, Founder
Bridget Gainer brings a unique perspective to civic and business life with a foot in both the public and private sectors. Bridget is the VP, Global Public Affairs for Aon and a Commissioner on the County Board, bringing over 20 years of experience in non-profit, government and corporate sectors. Bridget began her career as a community organizer in New York City; she continued that work in Chicago where she founded a community center at Senn High School. Bridget then went to work for the City of Chicago in a variety of roles focused on public private partnerships. In 2001, she began working at Aon, a global risk management firm, beginning in finance with a focus on mergers and acquisitions and treasury. She later transitioned to manage the firm’s strategic engagement with governments around the world.
Elected to the Cook County Board in 2010, Bridget called for the creation of a Pension Committee and was appointed its first Chairman. As Chair, Ms. Gainer brought transparency to the County’s Fund and launched an open-data pension website to facilitate a real conversation for fair and sustainable pension reform.
In 2013 Commissioner Gainer completed three years of organizing and outreach with the creation of the Cook County Land Bank, the region’s most comprehensive policy to reduce the amount and impact of vacant land and abandoned buildings throughout Cook County. The land bank is governed by a 15-member board, chaired by Commissioner Gainer.
Most recently, and with the support of United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Commissioner Gainer launched Off The Sidelines here in Chicago to encourage more young women to ‘take their ideas to action’ and has quickly grown the organization to over 2,600 members.
Commissioner Gainer’s policy work has been written about in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Crain’s and editorial boards across the region. In addition, she has been the recipient of awards from Action Now, Woodstock Institute, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the Urban Land Institute and Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
A native of Chicago, Bridget lives on the North side with her husband and their three children and sits on the boards of the Big Shoulders Fund and the 100 Club of Chicago.