Diane Swonk is a world-renowned economist based in Chicago. She joined Grant Thornton in January 2018 as its first ever chief economist. 
Swonk left Mesirow Financial on January 1, 2016 to launch her own firm, DS Economics.
At Mesirow, she was a senior managing director and chief economist. She is also an advisor to the Federal Reserve Board and regional Reserve Banks. Swonk completed two terms on the Congressional Budget Office's panel of economic advisers.
Widely quoted in the press, she was previously chief economist for Bank One and has served on several advisory committees to the Federal Reserve Board and its regional banks. She also served on the Council of Economic Advisors for the White House.
Swonk's father was an inventory strategist in Detroit, helping GM switch to just-in-time manufacturing. Her mother is an art teacher.
Swonk started her 19-year career at First National, the predecessor of Bank One, as an associate economist in 1985. The previous year, she had earned her degree in economics from the University of Michigan, overcoming dyslexia, and then crammed a two-year masters program in applied economics into just one year before joining the bank. She also completed an MBA with honors in strategic planning and finance from the University of Chicago.
She has gone public with her struggle to overcome dyslexia. She has said that the learning disability allows her to see the world in a way that others cannot.
In 2001, she joined the faculty of DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business as a clinical professor of finance.
In 2003, Swonk published The Passionate Economist: Finding the Power and Humanity Behind the Numbers. In her book, Swonk said economics is not a hard science, but a behavioral science built on the foundation of human activity.
In August 2011, Swonk spoke to reporters, warning that the economy was in danger of a relapse or a "double-dip recession." She also published a blog to Mesirow Financial's website concerning the Fed's "weak" assessment of the state of the U.S. economy.
- One of the "Most Accurate Economic Forecasters in 2010," MSNBC
- "Business Leader of the Year," YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago
- "Fellow" of NABE for outstanding contributions to the field of business economics
- One of the "Top Forecasters In The Country," Wall Street Journal
- "Top Woman In Finance in Chicago," Today's Chicago Woman
- "One Of The Most Influential Women In Business In Chicago," Chicago Sun-Times
Swonk received bachelor's and master's degrees in Economics with honors from the University of Michigan. Swonk graduated from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business with a master's degree in finance and strategic planning with honors in 1989.
- Council on Foreign Relations, member
- Executives' Club of Chicago, Finance Committee, co-chair
- Congressional Budget Office Panel of Economic Advisors, former member
- University of Michigan Alumni Association, board member
- University of Michigan, advisor to the economic department
- University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, advisory council member
- Economic Club of Chicago, Membership Committee, member
- City of Chicago Climate Change Finance Committee, former chair
- International Conference for Commercial Bank Economists (ICCBE), chair
- Conference of Business Economics, member
- The Joffrey Ballet, former board member
- The Chicago Conservation Center, advisory board member
- National Association for Business Economics (NABE), past president
- Illinois Council on Economic Education, Board of Trustees, past member
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