Women Who WIN

In celebration of Women’s History Month, iHeartMedia Chicago has joined forces with YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and Chicago Foundation for Women to launch Women Who WIN 2023, an annual celebration of dynamic women leaders who have made a significant impact in our community as a direct result of their exceptional leadership.


Holly Buckendahl, Chief Executive Officer, Ronald McDonald House Charities

Holly Buckendahl

Chief Executive Officer

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI)

A nonprofit leader for nearly 30 years, Holly has spent her professional career committed to improving the health and wellness of individuals, families, and children in need.

Since 2015, Holly has served as CEO for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) where she leads strategy and program operations, and oversees, guides, directs, and evaluates a team of 80 staff and cadre of 35,000 volunteers to deliver mission.

Each night the organization keeps up to 172 families close to support their hospitalized child’s

health and well-being at six area Ronald McDonald Houses and three Ronald McDonald Family Rooms. In addition, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program operates two mobile medical clinics that provide free care directly to under-served, school-aged children in their own neighborhoods. Combined, these programs serve more than 16,000 children and save families more than $9 million in hotel, food, and medical care costs annually.

Prior to moving to Chicago, Holly served as the CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City for seven years, where she led the operation of three Ronald McDonald Houses, a Ronald McDonald Family Room, and a camp for children with kidney disease. She was responsible for executing a 16-month capital campaign to expand services and open an additional Ronald McDonald House in early 2015.

Before joining Ronald McDonald House Charities, she gained a background in community based mental health and social services agencies serving at-risk individuals and families. Holly spent ten years at a community-based free health clinic where she oversaw the delivery of behavioral health and health education programming, plus federally funded research initiatives targeting uninsured patients.

Holly has served on numerous healthcare taskforces and committees, holding leadership positions throughout her career. Most recently, she was selected as a RMHC Global Advisory Team representative to support the planning process in the development of RMHC Global’s 2025-2027 Impact Strategy. Within the RMHC system, she previously served on international/national committees in the areas of Research, Marketing & Communications, Board Governance, and DEI. As one of 17 elected organizational leaders worldwide, she also served as a member of RMHC’s Global Advisory Council focused on strengthening the Charity’s network and building organizational capacity through the RMHC system. As an advisory team member, she brought attention to important issues, sharing her perspective as a leader, and helping to activate global initiatives. Holly was a recent member of the Executive Club of Chicago and is a current member of the Economic Club of Chicago where she engages with other business leaders to discuss important economic and social issues and cultivate the next generation of civic leadership.

Holly holds both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Nebraska. Holly, her husband Kraig and their two daughters, Zoe (20) and Ava (16), live in the western suburbs of Chicago.

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