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    Meet the people behind our Community of Curiosity

    The people behind Chicago Ideas, from staff to the Brain Trust to volunteers, come from a massive range of backgrounds to contribute to our mission of accessibility and ideas for everyone.

    Chicago Ideas Team

    The Chicago Ideas team focuses on producing world-class events, video and written content, and community outreach aimed at inspiring connection and action around big ideas.
    Brad Keywell
    Founder & Chairman, Chicago Ideas and Founder & CEO, Uptake
    Mayor Emanuel
    Co-Chairman, Chicago Ideas; Mayor, City of Chicago
    Jessica Malkin
    CEO, Chicago Ideas
    Carrie Kennedy
    Executive Producer & Creative Director
    Sona Jones
    Chief Operating Officer
    Gabrielle Zuckerman
    Editorial Director
    Mel Safford
    Director of Programming
    Amanda Salhoot
    Director of Strategic Partnerships
    Ivy Tzur
    Director of Strategic Partnerships
    Bonnie Shifrin
    Director of Membership
    Lindsay Knight
    Director, Chicago Ideas YOU(th)
    Anthony Conway
    Programming Manager
    Nikki Nemerovski
    Community Engagement Manager
    Claire Lacy
    Senior Designer, Chicago Ideas
    Melissa Jesser
    Strategic Partnerships Associate
    Ross Peabody
    Ticketing Director & Technology Manager
    Denise Notz
    Print Production & Media Manager
    Tom Packard
    Director of Event Operations
    Isaac Israilevich
    Director of Volunteers
    Rachel Graham
    Senior Advisor, Chicago Ideas Youth
    Julia Dilday
    Project Manager for the Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship
    Vanessa M. Buenger
    Content Strategist
    Alexa Reghanti
    Programming Associate & Office Manager

    Board of Directors

    Brad Keywell
    Founder & Chairman, Chicago Ideas and Founder & CEO, Uptake
    Jessica Malkin
    CEO, Chicago Ideas
    Sonya Jackson
    Founder & Principal, Mantra for Good
    Laura Desmond
    Principal & Founder, Eagle Vista Partners
    Bill Daley
    Managing Partner and Head of U.S. Operations, Argentière Capital
    Eric Becker
    Founder & Chairman at Cresset Capital
    Rich Stoddart
    CEO, Leo Burnett Worldwide

    Brain Trust

    What makes Chicago Ideas Week programming so compelling and so distinctly Chicago? The Chicago Ideas Brain Trust is a community of subject-matter experts selected to help shape the CIW program with their unique insights and expertise. Direction from the Brain Trust enables Chicago Ideas to gauge general interest in timely themes, dive deeply into specific topic areas, book exciting and relevant speakers, broaden the CIW audience, and create experiences that impact the entire CIW community.
    Israel Idonije
    Athlete & Entrepreneur
    Rabiah Mayas
    Associate Director, Science in Society, Northwestern University
    Sonya Jackson
    Founder & Principal, Mantra for Good
    Neil Stevenson
    Disruptor & Innovator
    Susan Crown
    Chairman & Founder, Susan Crown Exchange (SCE), Chairman & CEO, Owl Creek Partners
    Sonny Garg
    Energy Solutions Lead, Uptake
    Bethany McLean
    Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair
    Jay Porter
    President, Edelman Chicago
    Kim Keywell
    Director, Keywell Foundation
    Dennis Watkins
    Award-winning Magician
    Nabeela Rasheed
    Section Head, Intellectual Property, Abbvie
    Anne Dias
    Chief Executive Officer, Aragon Global
    Arne Duncan
    Managing Partner, Emerson Collective
    Matt Gee
    Co-Founder & Principal, Impact Lab; Senior Research Scientist, University of Chicago’s Center for...
    Ai-jen Poo
    Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance; Co-Director, Caring Across Generations Campaign
    Gregg Latterman
    Music & Entertainment Entrepreneur
    Brenna Argall
    Associate Professor, Northwestern University; Director, argallab, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
    Wendy Abrams
    Founder, Cool Globes, Inc.
    Teri Arvesu
    Vice President, Content, Univision Chicago
    Leslie Bluhm
    Co-Founder, Chicago Cares
    Lester Coney
    Executive Vice President, Office of the Chairman, Mesirow Financial
    Nick Kokonas
    Founder & CEO, Tock; Co-owner, The Alinea Group: Alinea/Next/The Aviary/Roister
    Jenna Kostelnik Utley
    Executive Producer, The Oprah Winfrey Network
    Adam Waytz
    Professor, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
    Elizabeth Thompson
    President, Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education
    Michael Strautmanis
    Chief Engagement Officer, Obama Foundation
    Jacolyn Bucksbaum
    Co-Founder, The Focus Foundation
    Steve Smith
    Founder, Smith Devereux Wines
    Moran Cerf
    Professor, Neuroscience & Business, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
    Heather Caruso
    Executive Director, Center for Decision Research & Adjunct Associate Professor, Behavioral Scienc...
    Andrew Barber
    Creator & Owner, Fake Shore Drive
    Lola Wright
    Spiritual Director, Bodhi Spiritual Center
    Anne Libera
    Director of Comedy Studies, Columbia College Chicago & The Second City
    Orrin Murray
    Director of Technology and R&D, UChicago Impact
    Chay Yew
    Artistic Director, Victory Gardens Theatre

    Chicago Ideas Youth Advisory Committee

    The Chicago Ideas Youth Advisory Committee supports the Chicago Ideas Youth program by helping to drive strategy and programming throughout the year. The Committee is made up of entrepreneurs, community leaders, philanthropists and friends of Chicago Ideas who all have a belief that sparking inspiration in Chicago's youth can help push them towards a successful future
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    Adrienne Irmer, Advocate for social justice & racial equity

    Cathy Kahn, Independent Project Consultant

    Caty Lamadrid, Principal & Founding Partner, Inova Energy Group

    Euler Bropleh, Founder & Managing Director, VestedWorld

    Lucy Moog, 43rd Ward Committeeman

    Michael Shield, Youth Advisor

    Sheila Gutman, Youth Advisor

    Shelly Murphy, Director of Client Relationship Services, InterContinental Exchange

    Join today and experience Chicago Ideas year round

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