Cincinnati Chamber unveils the new five-year strategic framework to foster regional growth

What We Do >

Membership >

Talent Hub >

About >

Advocacy >

Events >

< Back

What We Do

Explore our programming, resources, and membership options that drive growth.

See how we celebrate, enliven, stimulate, and cultivate community in the region.

See how we meaningfully connect leaders and celebrate our business community

Explore the work we’re driving to move the region forward

Explore our talent solutions, including leadership programs and HR consulting

See the stories and legacies that lift our communities and inspire action

< Back


Explore membership and discover growth opportunities for you and your business

Why Chamber Membership

Join the Chamber

Feature your business with a Member Spotlight in our Weekly Connection Newsletter

These events offer members points of connection, timely insights, and solutions

Monthly Member Briefing

Member Benefits 101

< Back

Telent Hub

Explore our full suite of best-in-class leadership development programs

Explore our initiatives focused attracting, retaining, and developing talent

Explore the Workforce Innovation Center’s HR consulting services and resources

< Back


Learn more about our mission, vision, and values

Meet the diverse group of leaders passionately supporting our mission

Meet the people serving our region inclusively with passion, Integrity, and fun

Interested in joining our team? Check out our current openings


Questions? Here’s a list of things we think you may want to know

Read articles and learn more about the Cincinnati Chamber through our related news articles

Service options, community support drive Metro ridership growth
Enneagram Gave Me the Power to Overcome Fear

< Back


Read articles and learn more about the Cincinnati Chamber through our related news articles

Service options, community support drive Metro ridership growth
Enneagram Gave Me the Power to Overcome Fear
Recognize & Celebrate businesses & people

Great Living Cincinnatians: Honorees

Celebrating the leadership, vision, tenacity, and love of community shared by the recipients of the Great Living Cincinnatian Award, presented annually by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since 1967.

Phyllis Shapiro Sewell

Awarded In 2003
1932 –

When Phyllis Shapiro Sewell started looking for employment after graduating from Wellesley College with honors in economics in 1952, she knew right where to turn: To the newspaper classifieds under the heading “Help Wanted – Female.”

Today, she chuckles at the irony of her entrée into the business world and later into powerful corporate boardrooms. Little did she know – back when she was reading the employment classifieds – she would become regarded as a pioneer for women’s rights in the workplace.

“I did not expect to have a long career,” she recalls. “I expected to have a family.”

But her hard work as a junior analyst for Federated Department Stores painted a different picture. The Cincinnati native quickly ascended up the corporate ladder: from junior analyst to analyst, then project director and later research director, all before she married Martin Sewell at the age of 28.

As Mrs. Sewell remembers, one of her primary tasks for Federated was to track the buying habits of the baby-boom generation. “I tracked the baby boom bulge,” Mrs. Sewell recalls. “It was very interesting.”

When son Charles was born in 1963, Mrs. Sewell still envisioned a traditional homemaker role for her future. “I still was not envisioning a career,” she says. “My boss suggested I take a leave of absence.”

But Charles was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 2 months old, at a time when CF was regarded as a fatal disease. To cope with the adversity and to bring balance to her life, Mrs. Sewell felt it was best to return to work part-time. (Remarkably, today Charles is healthy and thriving.)

“I am so grateful they (Federated management) were supportive,” Mrs. Sewell says. “They gave me continuing opportunities to grow in addition to accommodating my flexible work schedules.”

Mrs. Sewell spent her entire career at Federated Department Stores Inc., an $11-billion corporation operating department stores, discount stores and supermarkets purchased by Campeau Corporation in 1988.

Before retiring as senior vice president, her responsibilities included corporate and divisional strategic plans, studies of consumer attitudes and buying habits, studies of retail merchandising and marketing opportunities techniques and development of effective management information systems.

During her career, Mrs. Sewell was known to speak her mind. “I made some waves,” she recalls. “I raised a lot of questions.”

She was named one of the top 100 corporate women in Business Week Magazine in 1976 and one of the top 85 Woman Business Executives by Industry Week Magazine in 1985. She received the Alumnae Achievement Award from Wellesley College in 1979 and was inducted in the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982.

She has enjoyed a second career, serving on various corporate boards including; Lee Enterprises, Inc.; Pitney Bowes, Inc.; U.S. Shoe Corp.; Sysco Corp.; Huffy Corp; Cystic-Fibrosis Foundation (Cincinnati Chapter); Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati; the Jewish Federation; and United Way. “My husband used to joke, “You’re part of the old boys network,’” she says.

“I always thought of myself going down a lonely path,” Mrs. Sewell says. “I did not set out to be a pioneer. It just evolved. Over the years more and more women have headed down the same path.”

Being named a Great Living Cincinnatian has special meaning for Mrs. Sewell. “I was shocked and honored to be in the same category with people I have admired over the years,” she says.

Nominate a Great Living Cincinnatian

Recipients are selected from candidates by the Cincinnati Chamber’s senior council based on the following criteria: – Community service – Business and civic attainment on a local, state and national or international level – Leadership – Awareness of the needs of others – Distinctive accomplishments that have brought favorable attention to their community, institution or organization