Nora Cay Ryan is the chief of staff/assistant to the president for the Chicago Federation of Labor, the third largest central labor council of the national AFL-CIO. Previously she served as the CFL’s director of communications.
As the chief of staff/assistant to the president, Nora Cay oversees a multitude of staff and operational issues in addition to managing several of its public-facing programs and campaigns. As part of her prominent role, she works closely with top officials at government and civic organizations across the city and the state, including the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which oversees McCormick Place; the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning; Choose Chicago, Chicago’s tourism bureau; and Special Olympics Illinois, among others.
In October 2023, she represented the CFL at a United States-Brazil roundtable exchange regarding digital platform work in São Paulo, Brazil. This was the first in a series of international activities carried out through a U.S. Department of Labor funded program, “Empowering Workers in South America.”
Nora Cay often leads special projects for the CFL. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she established a mass vaccination program aimed at providing the COVID vaccine to essential union workers. The first clinic opened on March 29, 2021, and Vice President Kamala Harris visited Chicago a week later, on April 6, to experience this first-of-its-kind clinic. Over the course of six clinics, the CFL vaccinated nearly 5,000 workers across dozens of industries. Prior to the Thanksgiving holiday 2020, she organized a food distribution event for 2,100 union families who lost their job due to the pandemic.
Nora Cay was a 2023 Edgar Fellow. She was one of 40 emerging leaders from public and private sectors throughout the state of Illinois selected to participate in a five-day intensive executive leadership training program, led by former Governor Jim Edgar. Nora Cay grew up in the Chicago suburbs and attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. on an Evans Scholarship. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications.