|AB '84 Econ; AM '85 Applied Econ
Senior Managing Director and Chief Economist
Diane Swonk is a senior managing director and chief economist for Mesirow Financial, a diversified financial services firm based in Chicago. As one of the most respected economists in the world, she is frequently called upon by policymakers and business leaders from Washington to Tokyo. Diane joined Mesirow Financial in 2004 after 19 years with Bank One Corporation and its predecessors. She started her career with the First Chicago Corporation in 1985 and quickly moved up the ranks, proving herself as one of the top regional economists in the country. During her tenure with First Chicago, Diane published several nationally acclaimed studies as well as her first book, The Passionate Economist: Finding the Power and Humanity Behind the Numbers.
Diane sits on several advisory committees to the Federal Reserve Board, its regional banks and the Council of Economic Advisers for the White House. Most recently, she served two consecutive terms on the Congressional Budget Office's panel of economic advisers. As one of the most quoted economists in the financial press, Diane is seen regularly on national and international television, and her commentary can be read in top financial news publications throughout the world. In addition, she serves as a clinical professor for DePaul University's highly-rated evening MBA program.
Diane is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, serves on the Chicago Conservation Center's Advisory Board, is on the sitting committee for the University of Chicago – Graduate School of Business, and is an advisor to the Economic Department for the University of Michigan. She is also involved extensively with the Economic and Executives' Clubs of Chicago. Diane has also served on the Joffrey Ballet Board and chaired the City of Chicago's Climate Change Finance Committee. From 2010-2013, Diane served on the Children's Hospital Board (now called Lurie Children's Hospital).
Diane is past president of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), a title that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and several other Federal Reserve presidents have also shared. Diane was the youngest to serve as president in the association's history and continues to dedicate much of her time to improving the quality and timeliness of economic data, a critical aspect of policymaking.
Diane has earned many awards throughout her career. She was rated as one of the most accurate economic forecasters in 2010 by MSNBC, named a "Fellow" of NABE for her outstanding contributions to the field of business economics and was listed as one of the "top forecasters in the country" by the Wall Street Journal. In addition, Today's Chicago Woman named her "Top Woman in Finance in Chicago," the Chicago Sun-Times called her "one of the most influential women in business in Chicago" and she was designated "Business Leader of the Year" by the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago.
Diane earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in economics with top honors from the University of Michigan as well as a master's degree in finance and strategic planning with top honors from the University of Chicago.