Lester N. Coney
Lester Coney joined Mesirow Financial in 2006 as Executive Vice President in the Office of the Chairman. He is responsible for originating and nurturing new business opportunities as well as expanding and maintaining client relationships across all lines of business including investment management, investment services, insurance, investment banking, consulting and real estate.
At Mesirow Financial, Mr. Coney also makes it his unofficial business to make diversity a priority by identifying potential employee talent. Furthermore, he keeps the company connected to ethnic, minority, and community organizations by providing corporate support for key initiatives and events.
Prior to joining Mesirow Financial, he spent nine years at Aon Corporation. Earlier, Les spent 15 years at United Healthcare and Traveler's Insurance where he was director of key accounts and national sales director, respectively.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mr. Coney holds a Bachelor's degree from George Williams University. Taught to appreciate culture while growing up, Mr. Coney developed a fondness for the arts, specifically live theater and museums. That background has manifested itself into his numerous seats on Boards of charitable and civic organizations. He is president of the DuSable Museum of African American History. He is also the founding chairman of the Congo Square Theatre's board. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors for Chicago United and as trustee for The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Roosevelt University, Lincoln University, the Kohl's Children's Museum and the Athletes Against Drugs organization.
Mr. Coney's countless honors include the 2007 Executive Leader Award from AFP Chicago, the 2007 King Legacy Award from the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, Leadership in the Arts Award from the Arts & Business Council of Chicago in 2006, the Community Service Award by the 100 Black Men in 2005 and Crain's Chicago Business' Top 50 Minorities in Business in 2004. Chicago United's 2003 Business Leaders of Color recognized Mr. Coney as one of Chicago's top minority executives. In 2000 he was a delegate for the Governor of Illinois Trade Mission to South Africa. Other honors include recognition from N'Digo N'Fluentials and the Keeper of the Dream Award in 2001. In 2002 he was recognized with the Human Resources Development Institute's Seeds of Africa Award and the same year was chosen as Chicago United's first ever Member of the Month. Mr. Coney resides in Chicago's West Loop and he is the father of two children, Chanel and Javon.