Brenda Shapiro was born and raised in Oklahoma. After graduating from Smith College with a BA in history, she began her journalism career at Mademoiselle Magazine in New York. After moving to Chicago, where she took time out to raise three children and start a small cooking school, she joined Chicago Magazine as Consumer Editor. She covered architecture and fashion, wrote profiles and essays, articles on food and gardening and book reviews.
Ms. Shapiro has been a trustee of the Nature Conservancy’s Illinois Chapter for 20 years and is a past chair of the chapter. She was an early supporter of fresh-water conservation and was chair of the Five-State Advisory Board for the Upper Mississippi River, which evolved into the present Great Rivers Partnership, on whose board she also served. Outside of her TNC work, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and on its Executive Committee. She is a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago and serves on the Committees for Photography and European Painting and Sculpture. She is also the chair of the Committee for Deaccession. She is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council to the Department of Architecture at Yale. At the University of Chicago, she serves on the Visiting Committees for the Humanities and for the Division of Social Sciences.