Maribeth Vander Weele is a results-oriented professional who has overseen thousands of investigations and analyses in the public and private sectors. A Certified Inspector General and Certified Protection Professional, Maribeth founded the Vander Weele Group in 2003. In the private sector, Maribeth has consulted for American manufacturers in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Mexico. Remotely, the Vander Weele Group has worked on matters in the Middle East, Chile, Brazil, and Europe. Clients range from Fortune 500 companies and hedge funds to federal agencies and educational institutions.
Maribeth began her career as a news reporter. In 1994, she authored Reclaiming Our Schools, the Struggle for Chicago School Reform, based on her award-winning investigative reporting for the Chicago Sun-Times. The book became the roadmap for the reform of the $3.8 billion Chicago Public School system, then mired in allegations of corruption. In 1995, Maribeth joined the turnaround team for the system, spearheading integrity initiatives that enabled the system – for the first time in more than two decades – to achieve an investment-grade rating that permitted the launch of a multi-billion construction program. Maribeth directly managed departments involving investigations, Internal Audit, an Ombudsman’s Office, and security. Among her team’s accomplishments was the creation of a Truancy Hotline that returned thousands of children to school and the administration of grants that increased attendance and reduced school violence. During this time, the Illinois state legislature and the school system adopted and implemented dozens of recommendations in Maribeth’s book.
In 1998, Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Maribeth as Inspector General of the school system, where she managed a staff that investigated thousands of allegations of employee and vendor misconduct. Her team produced audits of key areas such as transportation, janitorial services, procurement systems, information technology, food services, and teacher quality, enabling the system to achieve savings of tens of millions of dollars. Her team built a division to monitor construction spending, which included a unit to mediate disputes between schools and contractors. Maribeth became President of the Illinois Association of Inspectors General during that time.
For her work in education, Maribeth has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Teacher Magazine, Education Week, and in the 1998 book, Extraordinary Ordinary Women Making a Difference. Her work is cited in the book, Battling Corruption in America’s Public Schools. In 2009, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn appointed Maribeth to an investigatory panel to address abuses in the University of Illinois admissions process.
Maribeth left the public sector in 2002, spending a year in Washington at a boutique risk management consulting firm headed by William Chadwick, former acting District Attorney of Philadelphia and Inspector General of Pennsylvania, before launching the Vander Weele Group in Chicago in 2003.
In 2011, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn appointed Maribeth to the Illinois Gaming Board, a term completed in 2014. In 2012, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle appointed Maribeth to the Cook County Board of Ethics and Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Maribeth as the outside Inspector General of the Public Building Commission of Chicago, which manages hundreds of millions of dollars of construction for city and county agencies.
Maribeth has lectured at Harvard University, the National Business Roundtable, the Association of Inspectors General, the National Association of Local Government Auditors, the Illinois CPA Society, the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the Public Broadcasting System, the National Education Writers Association, the Golden Apple Foundation, Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and in many other forums nationwide and in Canada. She has received honors and won membership in Count-Me-In for Women’s Economic Independence, Athena Powerlink, and the Clinton Foundation. Maribeth served as a board member for Time Dollar Tutoring, a Chicago not-for-profit organization that provided tutoring and computers to disadvantaged youth.
Maribeth is a graduate of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. She has provided and undertaken extensive training in fraud examination and security-related matters.