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How different is drawing words from writing words? According to Ink Factory Co-Founder Lindsay Roffe, visual note-taking is an art that helps people communicate visually. After receiving her degree in speech communications and graphic design from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and working as a freelancer, Lindsay switched gears to co-found Ink Factory out of a loft in the West Loop, Chicago. At Ink Factory, Lindsay oversees financial operations and advocates that “you need to spend money to make money”, seeing strategic investments as the most effective way to grow a business.  Tune in to find out why humility is important in leadership, and why recruitment is a crucial skill for startups.

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Ink Factory is a team of artists that helps organizations communicate visually. With over 35 collective years of experience, the company is a leader in visual note-taking—the art and science of translating conversations into real-time visuals to help people process and remember information. Companies like Bank of America, Autodesk, Adobe, NIKE, Walgreens, Whole Foods and EnergyBBDO turn to Ink Factory to graphic record their conferences, meetings and events. The company is based in Chicago where it recently transformed a Bucktown storefront into an open studio, earning the space a Citation of Merit in the AIA Chicago 2016 Small Project Awards.

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Lindsay was born in Germany and raised in Texas. After receiving her degree in speech communications and graphic design from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, she abandoned her southern roots (don’t judge) and moved to Chicago. After 10 years of working as a freelancer for many of the top consulting firms she switched gears to co-found Ink Factory with Ryan Robinson and Dusty Folwarczny. At Ink Factory, Lindsay oversees financial operations and ensures that our machine is running properly.  She brings humor and levity into the studio. However, her kryptonite is conference calls ­– where her jokes fall like bricks from the sky and crickets can be heard for miles. When Lindsay isn’t at Ink Factory you might find her curled up with a good book or on a plane to visit her fiancé in the UK. She loves to spend time with her dog at the dog park or enjoying all the great things her city has to offer.

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According to Chris To, CTO at Soothe, the hard part of scaling a business is paying attention to  both internal and external communication. Chris joined Soothe in early 2015 to take on the challenge of expanding their on-demand business from a handful of cities to over 50 cities by the start of 2017. Now the world’s largest on-demand massage provider, Soothe is available in 53 markets across 4 countries, which include the US, Canada, UK and Australia. Why should you hire on culture and what is the real power of analytics-enabled insights? Find out.

Company description

Soothe’s on-demand platform interfaces with over 10,000 certified massage therapists who respond to client requests for massage and fill appointments every 2.5 minutes in the diverse global markets.     Soothe allows you to order a five-star massage to your home, hotel, office, or event in as little as an hour. We match your massage request with a vetted, certified massage therapist available in your area at the specified time. At your appointment time, a therapist will arrive at your door with massage table, fresh linens, lotions, oils, and music to ensure a relaxing massage. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy your massage.

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Chris To joined Soothe as Chief Technology Officer in early 2015 to help grow its on-demand business from a handful of cities to over 50 cities by the start of 2017. Now the world’s largest and highest-rated, on-demand massage provider, Soothe is available in 53 markets across 4 countries, which include the US, Canada, UK and Australia. Soothe’s on-demand platform interfaces with over 10,000 certified massage therapists who respond to client requests for massage and fill appointments every 2.5 minutes in the diverse global markets. To currently oversees engineering, product management, customer acquisition, and data science/analytics, including a team of over 40 people spanning multiple disciplines, at Soothe’s Hollywood headquarters. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from UCLA, and previously worked at ShoeDazzle, MySpace, and Microsoft.

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For Richard Panichi, Partner and Co-Founder at PANCOR, one of the most important skills for a leader is listening. PANCOR is a fully integrated real estate developer, investor, contractor and management company specializing in developing and acquiring office and industrial properties in the Chicago metropolitan area. During the last 30 years, PANCOR has successfully completed the development of millions of square feet of office and industrial buildings in Illinois. Why patience is a virtue in business, and why companies should avoid clinging on to their old business models? Tune in.

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PANCOR is a fully integrated real estate developer, investor, contractor and management company actively engaged in developing and acquiring office and industrial properties in the Chicago metropolitan area.  During the last 25 years, PANCOR’s founders and managing principals, Daniel D. Corrado, Sr. and Richard Panichi, have successfully completed the development of millions of square feet of office and industrial buildings at Illinois locations such as Addison, Bensenville, Bolingbrook, Carol Stream, Elgin, Glendale Heights, Naperville, Oakbrook Terrace, Schaumburg, St. Charles, Tinley Park and Vernon Hills.  

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PANCOR is a fully integrated real estate developer, investor, contractor and management company actively engaged in developing and acquiring office and industrial properties in the Chicago metropolitan area.  During the last 25 years, PANCOR’s founders and managing principals, Daniel D. Corrado, Sr. and Richard Panichi, have successfully completed the development of millions of square feet of office and industrial buildings at Illinois locations such as Addison, Bensenville, Bolingbrook, Carol Stream, Elgin, Glendale Heights, Naperville, Oakbrook Terrace, Schaumburg, St. Charles, Tinley Park and Vernon Hills.  

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Jobbatical is a Union Square Ventures funded and Estonia-based platform which matches a vast community of diverse professionals in the tech, creative, and business fields with global companies for extended periods of time working abroad. The Jobbatical mission: break down borders and help the world work together.

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Today is a perfect time for ideas to spread across borders. Skills are becoming global and the time is perfect for collaborative teams, where different nationalities enrich the culture. We believe that when you encourage smart people with different backgrounds to interact, great things happen. We believe the generation of today cares about working on something meaningful above acquiring and accumulating ‘stuff’. Great talent is just a flight away. There are exceptional people ready to help your team make a difference. You just have to inspire them. Jobbatical is a Union Square Ventures funded and Estonia-based platform which matches a vast community of diverse professionals in the tech, creative, and business fields with global companies for extended periods of time working abroad — anywhere from some months to many years. The Jobbatical mission: break down borders and help the world work together.

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Karoli grew up in Soviet-occupied Estonia. She founded her first company at the age of 16, making her the youngest entrepreneur in modern Estonia. From 2006 to 2013, Karoli successfully lead the launch of seven television channels in Europe, including the National Geographic Channels, MTV, and FOX Entertainment. Karoli is an alumnus of Singularity University and lives with her young daughter in Tallinn, Estonia's capital city.

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In 2006, Lucas Guariglia and Joe Zangrilli started Rowboat Creative in the same manner as many small-business owners: in a basement. Today, Rowboat Creative occupies over 20,000 square feet in Chicago’s Logan Square Industrial Corridor and has become a staple in the decorated apparel / merchandising industry.. Lucas shares his insights on pivoting a business and keeping up with industry trends, and discusses why, despite hard times, strong entrepreneurs never give up.

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EST. 2006.  Rowboat Creative, provides custom apparel production, contract apparel decoration, and branded promotional products. At Rowboat Creative, we focus on company to client relationships, high quality control, and branding forward thinking. Whether you are looking for high-volume apparel decoration or full-spectrum merchandising, Rowboat Creative is your branded merchandise partner. Over the years of operation, Rowboat has created and maintained strong relationships with individuals and business entities, both local and national, in the following industries: music, restaurant/bar, athletic, education, fashion, marketing, and manufacturing.

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Rowboat Creative is a full-spectrum merchandising and branding company with services ranging from product development, screen printing, embroidery, cut & sew programs, and product fulfillment. As the President of Rowboat Creative,Lucas has played a large role in managing the chaos for many years dealt to Rowboat Creative by musicians, visual artists, designers, Fortune 500 companies, marketing firms, and festival promoters. Lucas and Rowboat Creative have helped to bridge the gap between artist/creative(s) and manufacturing with a firm understanding of industry and trend. "I have always been the business-minded 'art kid’," Guariglia says. With more than 10 years under his belts as a full-time touring musician, Lucas noticed that a band’s main source of income had shifted years ago from record sales to touring and merchandising. Traditionally, an outside vendor would mark up the garments, print them, and then charge for them. Usually with undesired results and experience along the way. Lucas and his co-founding partner, Joe Zangrilli, were confident that Rowboat Creative could provide superior quality, excellent customer service, and most importantly, a better knowledge of the very industry and marketplace Rowboat was operating in.  Rowboat Creative has grown to occupy over 50,000 square feet in Chicago's Logan Square Industrial Corridor and has not only become a staple in the decorated apparel/merchandising industry, but is consistently regarded as one of the industries fastest growing. Lucas has completed 5 triathlons, is an avid musician/artist, believes that there is always an alternative to giving up or giving in, and that it is absolutely crucial to be aware of all sides of whatever industry you find yourself in.

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Dimitri P. Eliopoulos, CFP®, CPWA®, is managing director of Central Midwest at RMB Capital, an independent financial services firm with more than $6.5 billion in assets under management. The most important lesson he has learned in his career is that people are what matter most in business, especially in the information age. What is the one essential ingredient in business, and what is the difference between an education and a degree / certificate? Find out.

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RMB Capital is an independent, employee-owned firm that offers advisory services and investment solutions for a diverse range of clients. For high-net-worth individuals and families, RMB Wealth Management provides comprehensive financial planning services as well as asset allocation recommendations and investment implementation. Our goal is to provide peace of mind by creating a personalized financial plan designed with each individual’s best interests, unique needs, and long-term objectives in mind.   For institutional investors, RMB Asset Management offers equity, fixed income, and alternative investment strategies run by highly experienced portfolio managers. Our goal is to deliver solutions that satisfy distinct objectives within each institution’s overall asset allocation. For employers, RMB Retirement Plan Solutions serves as a co-fiduciary, providing retirement plan consulting based on a comprehensive assessment of each employer’s unique needs. Our goal is to optimize outcomes for the organization, its employees, and its executives.

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Dimitri P. Eliopoulos, CFP®, CPWA®, is managing director of Central Midwest at RMB Capital, an independent financial services firm with more than $6.5 billion in assets under management. Previously a senior wealth manager, Eliopoulos now oversees the firm’s wealth management business in the Central Midwest region. Over the past 15 years, Eliopoulos has played an integral role in serving hundreds of clients and growing the firm’s wealth management business. Eliopoulos was promoted to partner at RMB in 2013. His professional development has been fueled by his thirst for knowledge, commitment to excellence, and ability to foster relationships. Eliopoulos holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from DePaul University and a MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and a Certified Private Wealth Advisor® designee.

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The best piece of business advice, Florencia Palmaz, President of GoodHeart Brand Specialty Foods, has ever received came from a rancher from Argentina. His words: “o olho do dono é que engorda o gado”, which translate into “the eye of the owner is what makes the cattle fat”, have guided Florencia’s career to this day, helping her focus on her core business goals. Started by the mother-daughter team of Amalia and Florencia Palmaz, their company GoodHeart Brand Specialty Foods specializes in all-natural prepared meats for retail deli, foodservice and food manufacturer customers nationwide. What is the greatest lesson Florencia has ever learned and what is her unorthodox business belief? Find out.

Company description

GoodHeart Brand Specialty Foods mission is to offer delicious fully-cooked foods and transfer the time savings to our customers. Even with high demand for their more than two-dozen products in a thriving quick-serve category, GoodHeart never uses unnecessary food additives or relies on volume-driven technology. Our focus is to prepare delicious foods in a hand-made authentic manner. We find practical efficiencies in our production that never compromise the quality or authenticity of the foods we prepare.   

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Florencia Palmaz was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1975 and raised in California and Texas. She studied biology at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, fully expecting to follow her father’s footsteps into a career in medicine. Fueled by a passion for food and family, it was during college in 1996 that she became an entrepreneur instead, partnering with her mother in a boutique food distribution company and in 1998 purchased the facility they use to this day. The initial business featured locally sourced meat and poultry and grew to include a catering division. Over time the business evolved into foodservice manufacturing and a gourmet foods catalog. On the foodservice side, the company expanded into offering high-end steaks and specialty cuts of chicken and duck in 2000 and provided a premium industrial kitchen preparing products for the deli hot bars of for high-end supermarkets such as Wegman's and HEB in 2002, which is when the name officially changed to GoodHeart Brand Specialty Foods Co. Customers for the catalog business included the Neiman Marcus holiday catalog, Dean & DeLuca, and 1-800 flowers. In 2011 the company began high pressure pasteurizing their products to fit with the clean ingredient labeling and in 2016 the company celebrated 20 years in business with the launch of a retail brand. In 2003 she moved from San Antonio to Napa Valley, to help launch Palmaz Vineyards, serving as President until 2014. As President she helped to determine the style of wines produced and developed the Palmaz brand, marketing and sales strategy. She balanced impeccable hospitality with her talents for both the technical and artistic side of winemaking. Her Argentinian heritage and lifestyle, revolving around family, food and wine, led her to launch one of the first curated food and wine pairing experiences in Napa Valley. The signature Palmaz tour and tasting consists of a tour of the futuristic gravity flow wine making cave, followed by a formal tasting of the Palmaz portfolio of wines with hors d' oeuvres created from her own recipes, designed to complement each wine. Building on the success of the tour and tasting program, she established the Brasas food and wine society in 2012 to share her family’s unique wine country way of life on an even deeper level. Always looking for ways to expand the brand and the Palmaz experience, she captured the essence of over a decade of cooking and entertaining guests at the winery in a cookbook, PALMAZ VINEYARDS: At the Table and Around the Fire, published in 2015. Part of a landmark set of books about Palmaz, it includes all 130 dishes served at tastings, Argentinian style barbecues and even from formal wine pairing dinners where everyone from doctors to diplomats have enjoyed her family’s hospitality. Today she plays two roles, as President of GoodHeart a speciality foods company, which produces high quality all-natural prepared meats, with both retail and food service operations, and as Director of Marketing at Palmaz Vineyards. She divides her time between Napa, California where she lives on the family vineyard and San Antonio, Texas where GoodHeart is headquartered. As always, she is happiest with friends and family around the table, sailing, and of course crafting and enjoying fine food and wine.

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Therese Fauerbach, CEO of The Northridge Group, shares her insights and tips to staying ahead in the world of data analytics. For nearly 20 years, her management consulting firm, The Northridge Group, has been successfully assisting its clients with technology, data analytics, customer experience and quality monitoring. Therese Fauerbach goes in depth about her love for business, whether that means she is seeing people work or helping to create jobs, products and services. To keep up with the ever-changing world of technology, Fauerbach requires herself and her staff to constantly stay on top of their education. Years of hard work and surrounding herself with a strong team have allowed for Therese Fauerbach to transform her experiences into actions.

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The Northridge Group is a leading management consulting firm specializing in customer experience, quality monitoring and business process transformation. Our consultants partner with your teams to produce valuable operational assessments that solve critical issues through actionable strategies. Northridge provides professional services for the Fortune 200 in healthcare, telecom, financial services, travel and transportation, as well as key government agencies.

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Therese K. Fauerbach is co-founder and CEO of The Northridge Group, a management consulting firm, specializing in advanced data analytics, end-to-end customer experience and cost transformation services. Under Fauerbach’s leadership, Northridge has earned a reputation as a leader in management consulting by providing real-world, practical solutions that drive measurable outcomes for clients with complex operational problems. Fauerbach leads by example and has established a consulting approach that places management by facts and honest discussion at its core. She advises C-level executives across the Fortune 100.  Therese pays it forward, committed to social responsibility. Her philanthropic focus is on children, education and youth leadership.  Among the organizations she supports are Mercy Home, Communities in Schools, Cristo Rey and the Year Up Technology Internship Program.  Fauerbach holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from St. Norbert College and an MBA from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. She serves on several boards, including the DePaul University Board of Trustees, The Goodman Theatre’s Business Council and The Cradle Foundation, one of the foremost adoption agencies in the country. She is a former chair of the board for The Chicago Network.

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Dr. Bridget C. Coughlin, President and CEO of the John G. Shedd Aquarium, shares her secrets to success. For over 86 years, the Shedd Aquarium has served Chicago as one of its most prominent cultural and iconic visitor destinations. With nearly 2 million yearly visitors, the Shedd Aquarium shows no signs of slowing its rate of success. As President and CEO, Dr. Bridget C. Coughlin discusses her desire to use the Shedd Aquarium’s great success as a mere platform for further growth. While staying relevant to the popular modern day passion for conservation and the natural world, Coughlin looks to revamp the image of the John G. Shedd Aquarium. To do so, she plans on cutting through the clutter and reinventing her own personal skill set.

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At Shedd Aquarium, we connect people to the living world each and every day. Our goal is to engage and inspire; to entertain and to inform. As a neighborhood partner and global collaborator, we’re a vital resource in the areas of animal care, conservation research and learning, and it’s all because we have a passion for animals, their habitats and the planet we share. It takes a lot of people—with a lot of different skill sets and talents—to operate our world-class aquarium 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That’s why we look for the “it’s–not-a-job-it’s-a-passion” type of employee.

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Bridget C. Coughlin, PhD serves as President & CEO of Shedd Aquarium providing strategic oversight and direction to all activities and initiatives for the world-class institution. Her experience and expertise is dedicated to long-term planning that advances the aquarium’s mission of enhancing public access, understanding and appreciation of the aquatic world.   Dr. Coughlin has been at the forefront of developing innovative experiences that connect people to the natural world while they both educate and entertain .Her many accomplishments have established her as one of the brightest leaders in the field. Her commitment to learning extends well beyond the walls of Shedd. Dr. Coughlin is a devoted advocate of public education and expanding STEM programs, and children’s interest in science, across the United States.   Before joining Shedd, Dr. Coughlin served as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Programs and Adjunct Curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS). In that role, she was responsible for education, membership, fundraising and strategic partnership activities for the 115-year-old institution, which saw nearly 2 million visitors in 2016.   Nationally recognized for her efforts, Dr. Coughlin led the creation of the DMNS Health exhibit, a recipient of the Association of Science-Technology Center’s 2010 Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience. She also established the acclaimed National Institute of Health-funded Genetics of Taste Lab, and oversaw the museum’s 126,000 square foot expansion and related exhibits and programing.   Prior to DMNS, Dr. Coughlin spent 5 years with the National Academy of Sciences, where she served as Managing Editor of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She has also led research teams funded by the National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory.   Dr. Coughlin holds a bachelor of arts from Knox College, a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Iowa, and an executive MBA certificate from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

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Linda Novick O’Keefe, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Common Threads, reveals why one should run through the fire, not walk. Committed to educating youth about cultural diversity, the culinary arts and the importance of nutrition; Linda believes that food access is not only a key indicator of larger social justice issues, but also a common concern with the potential to both strengthen individuals and fortify entire communities.. Her desire to develop innovative solutions to social problems combined with her passion for food led her to start Common Threads with the aim to reverse the trend of generation of non-cookers who have been raised on over-processed food.

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Founded in 2003 in Chicago, Common Threads was created to bring health and wellness to children, families and communities through cooking and nutrition education. By integrating preventative health programs into school districts and community organizations, Common Threads not only helps combat the rising number of diet-related diseases, but also cultivates a culture that embraces a healthier lifestyle and celebrates diversity through food. The organization envisions a community of learners that embraces healthy cooking, healthy eating and healthy living as both a life choice and a human right.  Common Threads currently operates in nine major cities including Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Jacksonville, FL; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; New Orleans, LA; New York City, NY; Pittsburgh, PA and Washington D.C. During the 2015-16 school year and summer, it provided hands-on cooking skills to more than 70,000 students, worked with over 500 schools and partner sites and served 498,000 healthy meals and snacks. The non-profit is committed to reaching 1 million children by 2020 and hopes to eventually make its programs an integral part of childhood education for all. To learn more, visit www.commonthreads.org

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Linda Novick O’Keefe is the Chief Executive Officer of Common Threads. Her experience, desire to develop innovative solutions to social problems combined with her passion for food led her to start Common Threads with chef Art Smith and artist Jesus Salgueiro in May 2003. Their vision was for a non-profit organization committed to educating Chicago's youth about cultural diversity, the culinary arts and the importance of nutrition.   Common Threads reverses the trend of generation of non-cookers who have been raised on over-processed food. Linda believes that food access is not only a key indicator of larger social justice issues, but also a common concern with the potential to both strengthen individuals and fortify entire communities; Common Threads is teaching children where poverty, race and access to quality food intersect. The program helps to combat the childhood obesity epidemic that is ravaging particularly the African American and Latino communities while honoring many families’ cultures.   Under Linda's leadership, Common Threads has grown from the basement of St. Paul the Redeemer Church, in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood to expand its programming into close to 400 schools nationally in Chicago, Miami, DC, LA, NY, Austin, New Orleans and Jacksonville, and has broadened its curricular focus to include in-school, after-school, summer camp, parent outreach and education and teacher training programs.

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Marat Sedenkov, Founder and CEO of LaMarco Systems, a private fire alarm company based in Northbrook, Il, advocates that leaders should always keep their promises, no matter what. Marat has been in the security industry for over 25 years and has gained experience from working for some of the largest corporations in the field. His vision for the direction of Lamarco System is to stay at the leading edge of technology, and to remain mindful of the negative side-effect of technological changes.

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Established in 1998,  LaMarco Systems, Inc. is a private fire alarm company based in Northbrook, IL.  LaMarco provides dedicated security system consulting, design, integration, and installation service. Specializing in high-quality Business Security, Commercial Security, and Nurse Call Systems.  For years we have been designing installing and maintaining the best security and life safety systems available on the market. We specialize  in Fire alarms, Burglar Alarm, CCTV-IP, Door Entry, Mass notification systems, Access control, Security, Structure Cabling, Secure Visitor Management, Cloud Management, and Nurse call Systems.

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Marat has been in the security industry for over 25 years, he has gained experience from working for some of the largest corporations in the field. Marat received his degree in electrical engineering from the Technical College of industrial automation. His expertise in the electronic security field covers all systems ranging from Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, CCTV, Door Access, and others. Marat has spent many years establishing partnerships with the leaders in the industries such as Edwards Systems Technology, Bosch, and S2, Brivo, and others so that LaMarco Systems can offer its customers the cutting edge security products in the market. Mr. Sedenkov’s vision for the direction of Lamarco System is to stay at the leading edge of technology, and to keep finding the best ways to provide world class service for all of LaMarco Systems customers. His exceptional marketing and networking skills helped to create extensive customer portfolio of end users, builders, and developers.

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Nazca Fontes, Founder and CEO of ConceiveAbilities, believes that starting a family takes courage but one should not be crippled by avoidance. That’s why her company’s mission is to create a world where everyone who wants to become a parent can. Challenging conventions and constantly refining her approach and process, Nazca advocates that it is the synergy of integrators and visionaries that propel businesses, while fear should be seen as a catalyst for growth. Nazca is an active member of The Entrepreneurs Organization, WPO and has twice been an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Midwest Semi-Finalist.

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Egg Donation & Gestational Surrogacy services. Since 1996 ConceiveAbilities has professionally partnered with countless physicians and intended parents around the globe to help build families via third party reproduction. More than 20 years navigating the infertility industry has positioned ConceiveAbilities as the best partner to provide an unmatched level of service. Our unique and extensive experience and a reputation built on unparalleled service, knowledge and communication, allows us to cultivate excellent professional relationships with doctors and clinics, in addition to providing our clients, egg donors and surrogates with consistently solid service.

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Nazca believes that starting a family takes courage. That’s why her company's mission is to create a world where everyone who wants to become a parent can.  Started in 1996, ConceiveAbilities has grown her company into a global leader in family creation. Her success comes from challenging conventions and constantly refining her approach and process. Nazca is an active member of The Entrepreneurs Organization, WPO and has twice been an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Midwest Semi-Finalist.