Chicago’s StartOut chapter began in 2013. Over the years, Chicago has built a reputation as a hotbed of innovative startups. Through humble beginnings in shared office spaces, angel investors organized themselves into networks and incubators to help accelerate the growth of well-known startups from the area.
With local universities formalizing their entrepreneurship programs, Chicago holds the recipe for what is now a robust startup ecosystem.
On September 8, 2012, Jennifer Brown took the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts stage. Although she entered to strains of opera music, the classically trained opera singer was not there to sing. … READ MORE
People who live in cities have a lot of stuff – but not always enough space to store or park it all. That's why Bonnie Lai (who goes by "Bon") and her business partner Jonathan Gillon co-founded roost.com in March 2014. … READ MORE
Programming Board Chair
Heather is Lead Counsel for Innovation and Product Development at Motorola Mobility LLC where she provides strategic advice on global design, development and manufacturing of Motorola and Lenovo mobile devices. She completed her BS in Engineering and JD at Vanderbilt University.
Anneke Diem practices Business Law at Quarles & Brady. Her practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, institutional investor direct and fund investments, general corporate counseling, and commercial contracting. She holds an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, a JD from University of Washington, and a BBA from the University of Iowa.
Grant is the Group Vice President of Operations at InContext Solutions – the global leader in cloud-based virtual reality shopping and retail solutions. He has 10+ experience scaling global operational functions for high growth companies. Grant earned a BA at George Washington in political science and history.
James Bain is currently Chief Operating Officer for Parking Panda, the leader in online parking reservations. Parking Panda allows drivers to find and reserve parking online, ahead of time through web and mobile applications and enables garages and lots to market their inventory through an online channel. In 2015 he was named one of the “40 under 40 in Parking” by the National Parking Association. He has yet to form GIP: Gays in Parking.
After earning his MBA from Chicago Booth in 2011, James joined Groupon as a City Manager, in charge sales and operations of all daily deals in such high profile cities as Detroit, Minneapolis and Toledo. In addition, James worked as a Senior Manager in Sales Operations, the merchant research and lead management departments—optimizing efficiencies and shortening the sales cycle for 800 sales representatives across the US.
James is the primary Board contact for the Chicago chapter.
Manny Ozaeta is the Director of Membership at 1871, where he supports the broad needs of new and current members. Ozaeta brings with him a wealth of experience through a diverse background in communications, legislative affairs, and customer service.
Mary Shea is a Principal Analyst serving Forrester’s B2B Marketing Professionals. Her research looks at how go-to-market organizations can prioritize and maximize their sales enablement investments. Mary is also an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the Booth School of Business.
As a senior executive with general management, commercial leadership, marketing and direct selling experience, Mary has led global sales and marketing organizations at companies ranging from high-growth startups to publicly traded firms. She has an exciting track record of building, and leading teams and driving significant growth across domestic and international markets.
An accomplished public speaker, Mary speaks regularly on a variety of business topics. She is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where she teaches a course she designed called Building Effective Go-to-Market Organizations.
Mary has a PhD in Musicology and Ethnomusicology from Kent State University.
Moira Hardek, Founder & CEO of Galvanize Labs Inc. is challenging education paradigms by combining tech curriculum with gaming. While at Best Buy she created the Geek Squad Academy that taught technology skills to 15,000 under-represented youth.
Steven is the VP Retail Training Manager for MB Financial. During his five years working at MB, he has worked closely with LGBTQ businesses throughout Chicago and takes pride in being involved with StartOut Chicago and helping entrepreneurs.
John Litchfield is an associate and litigation attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP, and is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment and Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practices. His primary practice includes counseling clients on a wide range of employment-related matters, including disability accommodations, family and medical leave issues, wage and hour compliance, and other state and federal employment laws. He has represented employers in federal and state litigation matters relating to race and disability discrimination, FMLA claims, and harassment. Mr. Litchfield regularly advises startup and growth companies, in addition to large private and public companies, on employment practices and governance.
David Alfini, Esq. is a partner in the law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson. He is licensed in Illinois and Indiana. Over 17 years, David has developed a national practice counseling and representing small and large business in a variety of matters such as construction defect, product liability, long-term care, toxic exposure, and premises liability.
Diane Mikutis is a seasoned real estate and finance professional with expertise in commercial acquisitions and workout strategies. She is the Chief Credit Officer for Bayview Asset Management and Head of Commercial Acquisitions. She is also an IL Managing Real Estate Broker and has helped guide several investors in purchasing real estate investments.