Events

Microsoft Store and B~STEM Host One-Day Only Events

Girls learn STEM at Microsoft Store YouthSpark Summer ProgramAccording to BestColleges.com, only 6.7 percent of women are graduating with STEM degrees. With this we have a responsibility today to educate and inspire females of all ages to advance our world by pursuing careers in traditionally male dominated industries.

B~STEM Project and Microsoft Store understand this responsibility. B~STEM Project is an organization focused on helping young girls and women to engage, learn and grow within business and STEM-related disciplines across industries. From June 23 – 30, B~STEM will host We Hack Too, an eight-day virtual hackathon. Select Microsoft Store locations are excited to host kick-off events on Friday, June 23, and set everyone up for a week of fun with a Business Development and Design Incubator.

The events will give high school and college women opportunities to collaborate with professional mentors to design products and develop business strategies, while 8 to 12-year-olds will be invited to attend coding and gaming workshops.

These free events will take place in the following store near you:

Each store event will have its own unique theme spanning STEM-related topics including clean energy, gaming, entertainment and digital media, biotechnology and tech startups. To learn more about the topic of the event at your local Microsoft Store and to register for the event, please visit bstemproject.org.

Not located in a city with an event? Microsoft Store offers a range of free programs, year-round that empower youth by providing direct access to technology and hands-on learning. If you haven’t been to a Microsoft Store program yet, take a look at the video below that captures Microsoft Store YouthSpark camp energy and testimonials from real student and parent participants.

To see a full list of available in-store events and programs at your local Microsoft Store visit, Microsoft.com.

Civic Tech in Chicago — June’s Top Events

Summer in Chicago is our brief respite from the Chicago chill — with plenty of plans on deck to enjoy the good weather while it lasts, we’ve gathered some of June’s top events to keep you on track with civic tech:

June 6, 13, 20, 27

Chi Hack Night
6pm—10pm
Braintree Office 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza 8th Floor, Chicago

The Chi Hack Night is a free, weekly event in Chicago to build, share and learn about civic tech and tools to create, support, or serve public good.

Join us every Tuesday from 6-10pm on the 8th floor of the Merchandise Mart to hear from interesting speakers, learn from each other and work on civic projects. Non-techies are very welcome!

June 7

Chicago City Data User Group
6:00pm—7:30pm
The Microsoft Technology Center Chicago
Aon Center 200 E. Randolph Ste 200, Chicago

You don’t have to be a developer to use Chicago’s rich sets of data! The Chicago City Data users group is for end users, business users, enthusiasts, students, entrepreneurs, anyone interested in how to use City Data. Our goal to promote civic engagement, innovation, and economic opportunity leveraging The City of Chicago’s data.

2017 Chicago Forum on Global Cities Pre-reception and Opening Night
5:00pm—9:00pm
Art Institute of Chicago 230 S Columbus Avenue, Chicago

Save the date for opening night of the 2017 Chicago Forum on Global Cities, hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Financial Times.

Ahead of the program, join us for a special discussion with other business, civic and public sector leaders on the role of global cities in addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including through IMPACT 2030 – the only private sector-led initiative with the UN to unite companies in their corporate volunteering efforts to help advance the global goals.

June 7-8

Chicago Forum on Global Cities
130 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago

The inaugural Chicago Forum on Global Cities, hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Financial Times, convened in Chicago May 27-29, 2015. Each year, the forum brings together global leaders in business, education, civics, and the arts for an integrated, cross-sector dialogue on the power and limitations of global cities to shape the world’s future. The role of global cities in our world will be defined by the mayors and maestros, the scholars and CEOs, who attend and participate in this unique annual global forum in a unique global city.

June 14

Chicago’s Big Challenge: Neighborhood Safety
12pm—1:30pm
Standard Club 320 S Plymouth Ct, Chicago

On Wednesday, June 14th, ICPR will host a luncheon titled, “Chicago’s Big Challenge: Neighborhood Safety” from Noon – 1:30pm at The Standard Club in Chicago.

The event will feature local experts sharing their perspectives on how to increase safety in Chicago neighborhoods.

June 19-23

Techweek Chicago 2017
Weeklong
Various locations downtown Chicago

Techweek is an integrated media company creating and curating engaging media, dynamic events and disruptive content on web, digital and interactive technology, bringing together diverse communities of entrepreneurs, corporate professionals and thought leaders.

June 24

Chicago Cares Serve-a-Thon

We’re a city of 77 diverse neighborhoods, each with its own unique assets. And while we’re North Siders, South Siders and West Siders, we’re also Chicagoans.

That’s why on June 24, we’ll gather 5,000 Chicagoans to volunteer side by side at Chicago Cares’ Serve-a-thon, the city’s largest day of service.

One Chicago Laying it all On the Table — #OnTheTable2017

On May 16, once again, thousands of Chicagoans held civic and community conversations while breaking bread with old friends and new. The Chicago Community Trust’s On the Table is an annual forum designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships and inspire collaborative action across the region. I now officially declare the Chicago Community Trust’s On the Table program to be an official phenomenon.

phe·nom·e·non

[fəˈnäməˌnän, fəˈnäməˌnən]
NOUN
phenomena (plural noun)

  • a remarkable person, thing, or event.

synonyms: marvel · sensation · wonder · prodigy · miracle · rarity · nonpareil ·

Microsoft was again honored to both host and attend several On the Table programs, each one focused on Civic Tech and Civic Engagement, with a different dialog and audience. We began the day by hosting a research readout and panel with mySociety addressing New findings: What We’ve Learned About Civic Tech in Cities. Specifically, mySociety has researched five case studies of civic tech projects deployed by U.S. cities in recent years and found implications for broader changes to service delivery. Nearly 50 attendees joined our table to hear more details from the study’s authors, as well as national leaders in municipal civic tech. Once the panel finished their remarks, the audience contributed their experience to an actionable conversation. We’d like to thank the following for traveling to Chicago to join our On the Table program:

  • Moderator, Emily Shaw, Senior Implementation Advisor at the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University
  • Richa Agarwal, Software developer, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and former Code for America fellow
  • Demond Drummer, CoderSpace
  • Rebecca Rumbul, Director of Research, mySociety

For more information on the mySociety’s research on Civic Tech in Cities, please see the complete research.

With a minor pause in the late morning, we then had the pleasure of hosting the ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Chicago team for a more intimate, roundtable discussion. This On the Table was also held at the Microsoft Technology Center and co-hosted by Steve Solomon of Exelon and Commissioner Karen Tamley. Our goal was to broaden the awareness about this cutting edge program that is building a network of leaders with disabilities and adding a new dimension of diversity to Chicago’s civic life: ADA 25 Advancing Leadership. ADA 25 Advancing Leadership is the first program of its kind in the nation designed specifically to ensure that Chicago’s vibrant civic and professional life fully includes leaders with disabilities. The continuous work of connecting its Members network with opportunities to serve as leaders is known as the Civic Connections Project. At our lunch, we brainstormed opportunities to connect our members into civic positions ranging from committees, task forces, associates boards, boards of directors and more.

To learn more about the program, I invite you to visit their website and watch this short video capturing the importance of this initiative through the lens of it participants.

If you are interested in learning more about ADA 25 Advancing Leadership on a regular basis, please join our Facebook pages.

Happy Monday to everyone! Last week, ADA 25 Advancing Leadership hosted an event to get feedback on recruiting for this…

Posted by ADA 25 Advancing Leadership on Monday, May 22, 2017

The final On the Table of this very busy day was hosted by Denise Linn and Sonja Marziano of Smart Chicago and Connect Chicago. Since the launch of On the Table, participants have indicated that equity and social inclusion were among the most frequent topics of discussion at the events they attended.

So, this year, organizers suggested that equity be part of these conversations. Because equity is at the heart of our collective work, The Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning, The Hive Chicago Learning Network and the Smart Chicago Collaborative joined together to host a “multi-table” event focusing on Digital Equity in Education. Youth Digital Equity is the social-justice goal of ensuring that all young people have equal access and opportunities to use technology tools, computers and the Internet as well as the knowledge and skills to use them effectively. The aim is to bring new and different voices to the table, while having a fun, easy conversation with great food! The evening event was held at Northeastern Center for College Access and Success at 770 North Halsted. What an amazing resource and facility! The space was overflowing and the organizers wildly exceeded their target.

Congratulations to the Chicago Community Trust for their inspirational On the Table Program that is now a phenomenon in the region. And a special thank you to mySociety, ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, the Hive Chicago Fund, the Hive Chicago Learning Network and the Smart Chicago Collaborative, for the great dedication and work you do every day to make Chicagoland a center for innovation, digital equity and collaboration.

Join the 2017 Clean Energy Trust Challenge

How can we use technology to make an impact?

As our global concerns grow, it becomes more and more obvious that sustainability and climate care are an immediate priority. And our technologies are growing alongside this concern, providing more opportunity for us to manage energy and natural resources in more sustainable ways.

That’s where organizations like Clean Energy Trust come in. Clean Energy Trust (CET) partners with innovators to bring scientific and technological advancements to market that change how the world generates, consumes and reuses energy and natural resources. And each year, CET hosts the Clean Energy Trust Challenge, where early-stage cleantech startups come together to propose new energy ideas. CET provides $1 million in seed funding, accelerating these startups and guiding them through the startup process. Each Challenge culminates in a series of finalist pitches, which are evaluated by an investment committee which comprises a handful of financial and energy industry experts.

This year’s 8 selected finalists are:

  • Aker
  • Applied Particle Technology
  • Idle Smart
  • Lotic Labs
  • PowerTech Water
  • Sun Buckets
  • SurClean, Inc
  • Switched Source, LLC

Finalists — and previous CET Challenge winners — focus on energy missions like limiting global temperatures, developing new low-carbon technologies, and deploying existing sustainable technologies on a greater scale. To date, CET has awarded over $3.7M in funding to 33 clean energy startups. Startups benefitting from our programs have gone on to raise an additional $112M in follow-on-funding – and have created over 300 jobs.

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating these cleantech startups Today, May 9 at Venue SIX10. RSVP here.

Civic Tech in Chicago — May’s Top Events

How do you spend your May in Chicago? Weekend architecture tours? Picnics by the river? Trips to the Lakes?

For us, May is all about civic tech. Here are our top picks for events this month:

May 3

Spring 2017 Graduate Student & Postdoc Innovation Mixer
5:00pm-7:00pm
Polsky Exchange – Promontory Point Meeting Room 1452 E 53rd St, 2nd Floor, Chicago

The UChicago Graduate Student and Postdoc Innovation Mixer is an opportunity for graduate students and postdocs cross the University of Chicago to experience the Polsky Exchange, meet one-another, and spark interdisciplinary collaborations. This will be a great opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals and even find new teammates for any research project or business idea you’re working on.

Chicago AquaHacking Kick-off Event
8:30am-11:30am
Illinois Institute of Technology Downtown Campus Institute of Design, 7th Floor 565 West Adams Street, Chicago

AquaHacking is an annual multi-disciplinary hackathon for generating ideas to conserve the Great Lakes. Hosted by the Canada-based de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation, AquaHacking 2017 will focus on ideas to solve challenges facing Lake Erie. Join us for a kick-off meeting for Chicago’s AquaHacking team! Teams to develop solutions to pitch in late May to compete in semi-finals in June (teams will meet as-needed through May to develop solutions).

May 4

Blue Sky Social at WeWork
6:00pm
WeWork 20 W. Kinzie St., Chicago

Join us as Blue Sky Innovation hosts the latest event in its networking series, Blue Sky Social, presented by Gentleman Jack. This event will take place at WeWork Kinzie ⇒, a coworking space in River North.

May 9

2017 Clean Energy Trust Challenge
8:30am-7:00pm
Venue SIX10 610 S Michigan Ave, Chicago

Clean Energy Trust invests in the entrepreneurs leading the clean technology revolution from the Midwest. Our vision is to develop a thriving, frictionless innovation ecosystem in the Midwest for energy and resource technology startups.

The Clean Energy Trust (CET) Challenge is our flagship program in which we invest $1 million in promising early-stage cleantech startups. The final event combines live pitches with presentations by leading clean energy thinkers and doers.

What began in 2010 as a simple business plan competition to jumpstart the local ecosystem with cash prizes totaling $140,000 has now grown into the most competitive and high-profile investment opportunity for cleantech startups in the Midwest.

Since the first CET Challenge, startups have received $4M in funding, raised over $100 million in follow-on funding, and created over 300 new jobs.

May 16

ADA 25 Advancing Leadership lunch
12:00pm-1:30pm
Microsoft 200 E. Randolph Street, Chicago

Please join Steve Solomon of Exelon and Shelley Stern Grach of Microsoft for lunch to explore how Chicago’s civic landscape can become more inclusive.

We will introduce you to ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, a growing Chicago network of leaders with disabilities, and brainstorm how we can help infuse this missing dimension of diversity in Chicago’s civic life.

May 18

Bunker Labs 3rd Annual Muster Across America
12:00pm-7:30pm
1871 Chicago 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, 12th Floor, Chicago

Bunker Labs, a 501(c)(3) organization committed to veteran entrepreneurship is excited to announce the 3rd annual “Muster” conference. This year we invite veterans, corporate partners and innovators to come, bring their best ideas and develop new connections and insights. Last year’s event drew over 350 participants and won praise as “the most exciting innovative veterans’ event I have ever been to.” This year’s program will bring together over 400 participants and partners for a full day of veteran entrepreneurs networking, keynote speakers, and will feature our Launch Lab where we’ll build an entire business in ONE day.

May 23

“Cybersecurity: Its Impact on Our Daily Lives”
12:00pm-1:30pm
Holland & Knight 131 S Dearborn St., Chicago

Experts discuss the reality of cyber attacks and the need for security in business, government, banking, and our private lives.

Chicago City Data User Group — The Impact Genome: Predicting Social Impact

The government and the social sector in philanthropy are the only places in the economy that measure impact only after a program has been funded.  Every other business uses data to predict the impact. The Impact Genome is a universal evidence base to research, evaluate and predict what works in social change. The Genome spans 132 common outcomes across 11 areas of social impact.

The idea is to apply the same concept used in the music genome (think of how Pandora figures out what you like) to a decision-support platform for civic funders and policymakers. It will allow practitioners to build programs using evidence “decoded” by pulling in unstructured data from academic research studies together with existing social policy.  They then use that data to estimate the impact of the programs (and standardize the reporting).  Among other benefits , this project will also allow  for benchmarking and rationalize how resources are allocated.

This short video explains it. And on April 5th, as part of our Chicago City Data User Group, we got to hear Mission Measurement founder Jason Saul talk about the genesis of this project, the data it uses, and the data it will create.

Miss our meetup? Have no fear — we meet on the first Wednesday of each month. You can catch up on what you missed in the Twitter moment below:

Civic Tech in Chicago — April’s Top Events

Spring has sprung! We’re ready to shed our extra layers, head out of the underground, and enjoy the (almost) warm weather. Plus, this month is officially Information Technology Month in Illinois — there’s so much to celebrate!

Embrace the season with us with these top events this month:

All Month

Innovate Lake Erie
Cleveland Water Alliance

The Erie Hack is a data and engineering competition that unites coders, developers, engineers, and water experts to generate enduring solutions to Lake Erie’s biggest challenges. The competition includes $100,000 in prizes for the most creative and effective hacks. Working from challenge statements derived from ideation sessions with NASA representatives and regional stakeholders, teams are charged with creating innovative digital tools, hardware innovations, and engineering solutions that build “the Blue Economy”: the emergent economic sector dedicated to the sustainable stewardship of bodies of freshwater around the globe. The Erie Hack provides regional high school students, college students, and professionals the opportunity to combine their own expertise with solid mentoring to create technologies with the potential to invigorate Lake Erie’s environment and economy.

ITA Tech Challenge Teaser

​In conjunction with the Illinois Governor’s new proclamation that April is Information Technology month, and to provide an additional opportunity to practice your coding and programming skills before the fall Tech Challenge, ITA has launched the Tech Challenge Teaser. This challenge is similar to the Tech Challenge in the fall, but on a smaller scale and is administered 100% virtually between April 3rd and April 14th.

April 4

Chi Hack Night — Smart Green Infrastructure Monitoring
6:00pm
Braintree office 222 W Merchandise Mart Plz 8th Floor, Chicago

Flooding in the Chicagoland area due to excess stormwater has resulted in over 182,000 claims of property damage with a total estimated cost of $735 million over the last five years. This damage is the result of combined sewer system backups into homes and waterbodies.

To alleviate this, the City of Chicago has allocated $50M to augment the combined sewer system with green infrastructure. The program has focused on implementing a combination of traditional and green stormwater infrastructure.

Last year City Digital, part of UI Labs, kicked-off their Smart Green Infrastructure Monitoring pilot that brought together a team including Microsoft, Opti, Senformatics, West Monroe Partners, and AECOM to develop a new collection of technologies to remotely monitor the performance of green infrastructure.

With the City of Chicago, the monitoring technology has been deployed at four green infrastructure sites across the City to monitor the performance of a variety of green infrastructure types, including a bioswale, permeable pavers, infiltration planters, and tree grates.

Adam Hecktman, Microsoft’s Director of Technology & Civic Innovation Chicago, Dana Al-Qadi, Engineer at AECOM and Tom Schenk, Chief Data Officer at the City of Chicago will present details on the pilot formation, solution deployed, and initial findings from this effort.

April 5

The Impact Genome: Predicting Social Impact
6:00pm – 7:00pm
Microsoft Technology Center, Chicago | Aon Center 200 E. Randolph Ste 200, Chicago

Join us on April 5th to hear Mission Measurement founder Jason Saul talk about the genesis of this project, the data it uses, and the data it will create. 6:00pm at the Microsoft Technology Center Chicago.

April 7

ADA Diabetes Innovation Summit
​12:00pm – 5:30pm
MATTER 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza #1230, Chicago

The American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Innovation Summit promises a unique, interactive and immersive experience focused on building a network of those committed to exploring investable opportunities that will accelerate and catalyze the Association’s mission.  Feedback from the diabetes community will fuel conversations about daily challenges facing individuals living with diabetes.
April 10
Roosevelt @ UIC & ICPR: Who Writes the Rules Matters
11:00am – 12:30pm
UIC Student Services Building 1200 W Harrison, Chicago

Roosevelters know that Who Writes the Rules Matters, so we’re bringing together students and legislators in partnership with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform to figure out how everyone can have a seat at the table. Join us for a panel discussion followed by a collaborative workshop as we seek to understand structural and practical barriers to democratic access for young people.

April 12

April 2017 Chicago International Student Career Fair – Employer RSVP
10:30 AM – 3:30 PM
DeVry University 3300 North Campbell Avenue, Chicago

The Chicago International Student Career Fair will provide a platform for your company to meet hundreds of talented, skilled professionals, students and alumni.

Connect with international professionals and talent from universities. We are confident that this event will provide you with unique access to our talented international students in greater Chicago specializing in business, technology, health sciences, fine arts, architecture, engineering and more.

April 19

Celebrating Hon. Adlai and Nancy Stevenson
The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform 500 N Dearborn St, Suite 518, Chicago

On Wednesday, April 19th, ICPR will honor Hon. Adlai and Nancy Stevenson with the Mikva Legacy Award for Truth and Justice at Noon at Petterino’s in Chicago

Judge Mary Mikva will join ICPR to present the Stevensons with this honor for their extensive work in Illinois through advocacy, public service, and the Stevenson Center on Democracy

April 27

Microsoft – Adapting Experiences for Virtual and Mixed Reality
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Tech Nexus (Conference Room C/D) 20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1200, Chicago

The principles used for building a standard 3D experience fundamentally change when considering virtual and mixed reality. New devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens lets users interact with digital content in relation to the real world, disrupting the way we build experiences. This session will explain how to consider these concepts during development as well as introduce the new medium of building 3D Mixed Reality applications and games using C#, Visual Studio, and Unity. Whether itching to build your own applications or enthusiastic about designing for these ever-changing virtual mediums, you’ll walk away with the tools to build your own.

Modernize Your Nonprofit with Software Donations from Microsoft

Our first Modern Nonprofit Day at our Chicago office on March 22 was a success! At Modernize Your Nonprofit, we were pleased to have a wonderful turnout of about 90 attendees from various local nonprofits who joined us to learn about our Microsoft Cloud offerings. They learned how nonprofits can leverage our software donation program to help achieve their company’s missions. The event was a partnership between Microsoft Philanthropies, the Microsoft Citizenship team and Microsoft partner Tech Impact.

Tech Impact shared information about how nonprofits can use Office 365, Azure and PowerBI:

  • Office 365 offers email, shared calendars, file storage and sharing,  productivity apps, online meetings & VoIP phones for nonprofits.
  • Azure offers infrastructure, software and platform as a service in the cloud and a migration away from onsite servers.
  • Power BI can serve as a visualization toolkit that helps nonprofits to better understand and communicate their work to stakeholders.

Photo by Mary Monroy-Spampinato

Miss the training but interested in modernizing your nonprofit? You can still make 2017 the year that your organization lowers technology costs while improving productivity and efficiency. Learn more about our free and discounted services and products — Read case studies about how other nonprofits have benefited from donations, find out if your nonprofit’s is eligible, and get answers to questions you may have at www.microsoft.com/nonprofits.

Our thanks to all who attended the training! We look forward to continue to serve our local communities with our software donations and resources.

Microsoft Philanthropies has committed $1 billion in cloud services for nonprofits and researchers to support the public good and, to date, has donated $465 million to 71,000 organizations. You can read more about this in their impact letter.

Looking at Data through the Lens of Leadership

Most discussions of Data and Open Data tend to the technical side. . . how do you manipulate, massage and create an app for all that gloriously Open Data? Throngs of Data Scientists collaborate virtually, at MeetUps, or at conferences to debate, demonstrate and debunk technical approaches to digesting Data. (nice alliteration!) Recently, at the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy, we had the opportunity to look at Data from a different angle — the Leadership angle.

As our readers know from previous discussions, Microsoft has been a supporter and a great fan of the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy (CLA). Now in its third cohort, The Civic Leadership Academy provides training through a six month program and global practicum to emerging and high-potential leaders in nonprofit organizations and local government agencies within the City of Chicago and Cook County. Each year, Microsoft and local experts have had the opportunity to talk to the CLA participants about the importance of understanding the Civic Tech ecosystem, and how to utilize Civic Tech tools and resources to help improve the lives of citizens of Chicago and Cook County. This year, we took a difference approach and focused more on Data and its implications for a Leader.

We worked in partnership with Will Howell, Ph.D. and the Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics at Chicago Harris and a professor in the Department of Political Science and the College to design our topic: “How do leaders use data to communicate and present insights for key audiences in their efforts to advance their goals?” We invited Danielle DuMerer, Chief Technology Officer and First Deputy Commissioner of the City’s Department of Information Technology (DoIT)  and James Rudyk, Jr. who is the Executive Director of the Northwest Side Housing Center (NWSHC), a community based organization located in the Belmont Cragin community. James was also in the first cohort of CLA.to frame the discussion from both the Open Data and the “everyday user” perspective. We thought it would still be a good idea to share some tools that are available to leaders—especially tools that help communicate the insights gained from Data, so we invited Amy Schneider, a certified Microsoft Partner with Netrix, LLC, who provided a short demo on how to take “raw data” and move it into a “visualized resource for advancing goals”.

I began the discussion by introducing the Topic and introducing our panel, and included a very short discussion of the Chicagoland Civic Tech ecosystem and Data. Our focus was to help the CLA cohort learn how to present data to different audiences (city council, board of directors, employee base), how to communicate the data, learning from our panel what works/what doesn’t work. Amy then used a short demonstration of Power BI using data from the CTA and discussed “data as a tool of persuasion.”

She emphasized that there are a wide range of tools can help tell the story that is captured by the data. Amy’s presentation generated a lot of questions, many centered on how Leaders can identify what tools to use, and what personnel skills were needed to “run” the tools. Danielle walked the class through a structured process for accessing data, using and thinking about data as a management and leadership resource. She provided some great examples from the City and had outstanding knowledge about similar capabilities and resources at the County level. James “brought it all home” for the class by discussing his personal experiences as a leader of a nonprofit which had challenges with organizing its Data to serve its client base. Through partnerships with Microsoft and working with his staff, James was able to realize increased efficiency and better management of his client base.

Danielle Dumerer, Chicago CTO

The following were highlights of the very interactive discussion between the panel and the CLA participants:

  1. The role of the civic leader is primarily about leading a team and making solid leadership decisions, not the technical side of using data.
  2. Leaders can and should use data for: decisions, reaching your organization’s goals,  communicating the data (up/down/across/outside the organization), and  presenting data in different ways for different audiences
  3. Leaders should  use data to: drive home a point you want to make, counter an objection,  propel a project forward/get a funder to write a check/expand alliances to reach a common goal, etc.
  4. Data is a tool for persuasion, and for storytelling. Tools like Microsoft’s Power BI, allow you to easily make your data points more visually appealing to your audience. The ability to interact with the data using dynamic filters (i.e. changing date ranges, or showing a single data point within a grouping of points) allows you emphasize supporting data in real time as you tell your story.

Many thanks to our panelists and the terrific CLA participants. The questions continued past our scheduled time, which is a great indication of the high interest level in the topic. As the CLA cohort starts to prepare for their individual Capstone projects, we hope they will look at Data in a different light, and utilize data analysis to document and support their Capstone presentations.

Positive Community Impact Through World Business Chicago’s Fellowship Program

Chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago (WBC) drives regional economic growth. WBC is a public-private, non-profit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business, and promotes Chicago as a leading global city. One key initiative is the WBC Fellowship Program, which engages community and business leaders to advance the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs. The Fellowship Program offers an exclusive opportunity for mid-level executives to bring the plan to life. Following the goals and strategies of the plan, Fellows focus on implementation and management of the strategies.

The Fellowship Program is a fabulous way for companies to provide professional development for their employees, while positively impacting the City. From the Fellow perspective, the four-to-six month assignment provides the opportunity to gain a unique understanding of how the public sector works; gain experience working with influential stakeholders; and build lasting connections through the Fellowship Alumni Program.

Microsoft is honored to be a supporter of World Business Chicago and its programs and to have our Corporate VP Dan’l Lewin serving on the WBC Board of Directors. Through our local Technology and Civic Engagement programs, we work closely with WBC to advise on the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, the ChicagoNEXT program, ThinkChicago and the Chicago Venture Summit.

It was my pleasure to join the WBC Fellows on February 7th, for a Fellows Appreciation Breakfast. The purpose of the breakfast was to extend the Fellowship Alumni Program, and thank Fellows from various cohorts (or “waves”) and recognize the Fellows for their invaluable contributions to WBC and the City of Chicago. The hard work and partnership with the Fellows has directly helped the economy of Chicago grow. As WBC President & CEO Jeff Malehorn pointed out, a key differentiating factor is that WBC has evolved its mission statement to include the term “inclusive growth”, because inclusion of marginalized communities and populations, of all types of workers and all types of companies, is a priority for WBC and the City of Chicago.

To bring “inclusive growth” to life for the Fellows, WBC hosted a panel of City, nonprofit and business leaders to share perspectives on the import issue of inclusive growth and how it drives economic growth across the board.

The panel included:

Each panelist described what inclusive growth meant to the City. Shari discussed how the Chicago Urban League is working with the private sector to promote economic growth that focuses on all neighborhoods. Both Andy and Steve shared the challenging discussions and debate that is part of “getting deep” into our neighborhoods to improve economic growth that is inclusive and to find the right community partners and programs that drive change. I discussed how technology and digital access and 21st century skills are crucial to economic development and how Chicago—while a leader nationally—still has some work to do to provide access and skills to all. We also discussed how the civic tech ecosystem is thriving in Chicago and shared some stories on how Open Data in the City provides opportunities for all citizens to participate and use the City’s resources.

The lessons learned from our discussion are:

  • Inclusive economic growth means making decisions and setting priorities such that economic growth reached marginalized populations and communities.
  • Efforts to grow the local economy inclusively probably will not produce a series of quick wins. This is hard work.
  • Patience is required because economic development often requires rethinking systems and reprioritizing long-term outcomes.
  • Steadfast effort and innovation are required along with the focus on inclusive growth.
  • Inclusive economic growth is about both breadth and depth of impact.

Congratulations and THANK YOU to all the Fellows from World Business Chicago. Your dedication of time and talent is making the City of Chicago stronger and healthier.

For more information about applying to the Chicago Economic Growth Fellowship Program, please contact the Manager of Strategic Corporate Partnerships, Ben Berlin at bberlin@worldbusinesschicago.com or visit: http://www.worldbusinesschicago.com/fellowships/.