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Illinois Restaurant Association Exec Honored as Outstanding Chicago Mother

Mary Kay Bonoma recognized for achievements balancing personal, professional life

(April 9, 2019) - CHICAGO

For more information please contact:

Jill Thompson
[email protected]

On May 1, Mary Kay Bonoma, Executive Vice President of the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), will be honored for her achievements at the first-ever Chicago Outstanding Mother Awards.

The American Lung Association in Greater Chicago, in partnership with the National Mother’s Day Council, will host the Outstanding Mother Awards at the Hyatt Regency. The special event will recognize Bonoma, as well as two other local mothers, for their ability to balance their personal and professional lives while making an impact in the community.

“Mary Kay is a key driver and supporter of the hospitality industry, helping to cultivate Chicago’s status as one of the best culinary cities in the world by co-founding Chicago Gourmet and working on the team that brought the James Beard Awards to our city,” said Kristen Young, the executive director for the Lung Association. “Additionally, she has advocated on behalf of the restaurant industry, helping usher in an era of smoke free bars and restaurants in 2008. Her work promoting the Smoke Free Illinois Act, through a targeted non-smoking campaign for restaurant workers has helped create a healthier workplace for the restaurant industry. Mary Kay has made a significant impact on Chicago, all while raising four daughters.”

Currently, Bonoma serves as the Executive Vice President of the IRA, where she is responsible for operations, strategic partnerships and special events. In 2008, her passion for food and Chicago’s world-renowned dining scene led her to co-found Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet. After more than a decade under Bonoma’s leadership, Chicago Gourmet has grown to become one of the nation’s premier food festivals. Additionally, working alongside representatives of Choose Chicago and the team at the Illinois Restaurant Association, Bonoma was instrumental in bringing the James Beard Awards to Chicago.

“There’s no one that works harder to promote our local restaurant scene than Mary Kay,” said Sam Toia, President & CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association. “She goes above and beyond for this organization and industry to keep Chicago the culinary capital of the United States. I’m honored to partner with someone that balances her work and family life with such grace and dedication.”

Bonoma and her husband, David, raised four daughters, Grace, identical twins Elizabeth and Molly, and Anna, in the South Side community of Beverly.

Sharon O’Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, and Caylei Vogelzang, director of business strategy for Vogelzang Law and editor-in-chief for Cancer Wellness Magazine, will also be honored at the Chicago Outstanding Mother Awards.

The Outstanding Mother Awards event will include a cocktail reception, dinner and program. Money raised will fund education, life-saving research and advocacy efforts for the Lung Association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. The event is sponsored locally by the University of Chicago Medical Center, the Illinois Restaurant Association, Chicago Magazine and Vogelzang Law. The master of ceremonies will be NBC 5 Chicago anchor Zoraida Sambolin.

More information, tickets, table sponsorships and tribute ads are available on the Outstanding Mother Awards website


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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