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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 & Co-Chairman
    Mayor Emanuel
    Co-Chairman, Chicago Ideas; Mayor, City of Chicago
    Laura Desmond
    Co-Chairperson, Chicago Ideas; Principal & Founder, Eagle Vista Partners
    Eric Becker
    Co-Chairman, Chicago Ideas
    Jessica Malkin
    CEO, Chicago Ideas
    Carrie Kennedy
    Executive Producer & Creative Director
    Sona Jones
    Director of Brand Strategy & Operations
    Gabrielle Zuckerman
    Director of Programming
    Amanda Salhoot
    Director of Strategic Partnerships
    Ivy Tzur
    Director of Strategic Partnerships
    Mel Safford
    Director of Booking & The Co-op
    Bonnie Shifrin
    Director of Membership
    Rachel Graham
    Director of YOU(th) Programming
    Anthony Conway
    Programming Coordinator
    Cristina Pineda
    Labs Coordinator
    Nikki Nemerovski
    Strategic Partnerships Coordinator
    Ross Peabody
    Ticketing Director & Technology Manager
    Kelli Haywood
    YOU(th) Program Manager
    Claire Lacy
    Senior Designer, Chicago Ideas
    Denise Notz
    Print Production & Media Manager
    Tom Packard
    Director of Event Operations
    Isaac Israilevich
    Director of Volunteers
    Julia Dilday
    Project Manager for the Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship

    Board of Directors

    Brad Keywell
    Founder & Co-Chairman
    Jessica Malkin
    CEO, Chicago Ideas
    Eric Lefkofsky
    Co-Founder and CEO, Tempus, Co-Founder and Chairman, Groupon
    Patricia Cox
    President, KPW Foundation
    Sonya Jackson
    Founder & Principal, Mantra for Good
    Laura Desmond
    Co-Chairperson, Chicago Ideas; Principal & Founder, Eagle Vista Partners
    Bill Daley
    Managing Partner and Head of U.S. Operations, Argentière Capital
    Eric Becker
    Co-Chairman, Chicago Ideas
    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
    Retired Defensive End, Chicago Bears; Entrepreneur; Philanthropist
    Rabiah Mayas
    Director, Science and Integrated Strategies
    Sonya Jackson
    Founder & Principal, Mantra for Good
    Neil Stevenson
    Executive Portfolio Director, IDEO Chicago
    Susan Crown
    Founder & Chairman, Susan Crown Exchange
    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
    Anne Dias-Griffin
    Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Dias Holdings
    Arne Duncan
    Managing Partner, Emerson Collective; Former U.S. Secretary of Education
    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 of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Phys...
    Wendy Abrams
    Principal Shareholder, Medline Industries
    Teri Arvesu
    Vice President of 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
    Vice President for Civic Engagement, Obama Foundation
    Steve Smith
    Founder, Smith Devereaux Wines

    YOU(th) Advisory Committee

    The YOU(th) Advisory Committee supports the CIW YOU(th) 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 YOU(th) can help push them towards a successful future
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    Ashley Allen, High School Program Director, Horizons for Youth

    Lisa Belcher, Youth Advisor

    Jeannine Chester, Youth Development Specialist, WOW; Counselor, Hancock, Youth Guidance

    Laura Cummings, Managing Director of Program, OneGoal

    Shawn Gaines, Director of Marketing & Communications, kCura

    Sheila Gutman, Youth Advisor

    Daniel Heiniger, B.A.M. Counselor, Little Village, Youth Guidance

    Adrienne Imer, Youth Advisor

    Scott Issen, President & CEO, Future Founders Foundation

    Christopher Jaffe, B.A.M. Program, Strategic Development; Manager, Youth Guidance

    Cathy Kahn, Youth Advisor

    Ethan Kenvarg, Program Coordinator, Future Founders Foundation

    January Miller, Co-Founder & Chief Program Director, Embarc

    Lucy Moog, Youth AdvisorKatie Petersen, Program Manager, Embarc

    Marshana Roberts, Program Coordinator, Urban Alliance

    Britney Robbins, Program Coordinator, Future Founders Foundation

    Michael Shield, Youth Advisor

    Colleen Sprague, Assistant Director, Big Shoulders Fund

    Mary Whiting , Diermeier Future Leaders Now Program Manager, UCAN

    Paula Yates, CEO Special Assistant, Chicago Public Schools

    Join today and experience Chicago Ideas year round

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