Derek R. B. Douglas

Derek Douglas is the President of the Civic Committee and the Commercial Club of Chicago. As President, Douglas works with the most senior executives from the business, education, cultural, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to address the key issues facing the Chicago region. More specifically, Douglas works to develop and advance initiatives – on issues like education, public safety, transportation, economic development, inclusive innovation, business diversity, and state/city finances – that bolster economic opportunity and social mobility in Chicago, in an effort to make our region a better place for everyone to live, work and do business.  

Douglas served as Vice President for Civic Engagement and External Affairs with the University of Chicago where he led the University’s efforts with respect to civic engagement, corporate partnerships, and urban development. In this regard, Douglas spearheaded the University’s efforts to engage with, and have a direct impact on, the lives of people living in Chicago and in cities across the country and around the world.   

To that end, Douglas managed/co-managed a portfolio that included a number of the outward-facing units of the University, including Commercial Real Estate/Economic Development, Office of Business Diversity, Office of Civic Engagement, Office of Corporate Relations, and the Offices of Federal and State Government Relations. In addition, Douglas shared oversight responsibility for the civic/community engagement work of the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCM) through its Community Health Engagement/Urban Health Initiative. 

From 2009 through 2012, Douglas served on the White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC) as Special Assistant to President Barack Obama for Urban Affairs, where he led the White House’s work on urban and metropolitan policy issues. Prior to his White House service, Douglas worked as Washington Counsel to New York Governor David A. Paterson and Director of New York State’s Washington, D.C. Office. In this capacity, Douglas acted as the Governor’s chief architect for federal policy and oversaw federal policy development and advocacy on domestic, economic, regulatory, and urban policy issues for the State of New York. 

Douglas also has served as Associate Director of Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress (CAP) where he founded and served as Director of the Economic Mobility Program. Prior to joining the CAP, Douglas was a Counsel at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and an Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.  

Douglas serves on the Boards of Argonne National Laboratory; University of Chicago Laboratory Schools; the Skadden Fellowship Foundation; Civic Consulting Alliance, Kids First Chicago, and the Western Golf Association/Evans Scholarship Foundation. 

Douglas graduated from the University of Michigan with Highest Honors in Economics and from the Yale Law School.