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    Megan McDonald Paulson

    Executive Director

    What inspires Megan? Her incredible family, this amazing City, really good photography, a great sense of humor…and everyday acts of kindness. The number one rule in our home is that we treat others the way we want to be treated. We may not always get it right, but we work really hard at it.

    Megan is the Executive Director at Chicago Ideas. Along with the rest of the team, Megan shares a deep commitment to making a positive and meaningful impact on our community and a belief that the presentation of ideas through leading thinkers and doers leads to meaningful connectivity, vibrancy, health, and harmony. Megan steps into this role with tremendous energy and enthusiasm and is committed to continuing the incredible work of the Chicago Ideas platform.

    In her previous life, Megan was instrumental in the production and execution of some of Chicago’s largest events and festivals. As the Director of Special Events under Mayor Richard M. Daley for close to 15 years, she led a team who helped curate and support the Taste of Chicago, the Chicago Blues Fest, the Chicago Jazz Fest, Lollapalooza, the Chicago Marathon and many others. She has also worked in the Developments world, supporting St. Ignatius College Prep and the Lurie Children’s Hospital Foundation with a series of fundraising events and community engagement. She has also dipped her tow in the agency space, working for Agency EA on several large scale productions and events.

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