|Thursday, March 31, 2016
From the President’s Desk: The Exchange 2016 – Social Impact Means Good Business
Routinely attracting more than 700 attendees and 100 exhibitors, our Signature networking event has become a can’t-miss staple for Chicagoland businesses of all sizes and industries.
But The Exchange 2016 is more than a premier networking and tradeshow event; by assembling a panel of prominent executives and thought leaders for the third straight year, The Exchange has become a forum for meaningful discussion around issues that are top of mind for businesses today.
Keynote Panel: Social Impact Strong
Doing good really is good business. At least that’s what our keynote panelists – who will explore social impact for modern day business success – would contend. Join us at the Swissôtel Chicago on April 6 to hear from:
- Jacque Panis is the president of Shinola, the Detroit-based manufacturer of watches, leather goods and bicycles. When the company launched in 2012, its founders wanted it to be known as a “job creation vehicle” as much as a watchmaker. A few years later, Shinola has re-invigorated Detroit’s economy by building a new ecosystem that has attracted a corridor of high-end retailers, boutiques and farm-to-table restaurants. The young company that Adweek recently called “the coolest brand in America” has become the symbol of Detroit’s revitalization after bankruptcy.
- Steven Dyme, CEO and co-founder of Flowers for Dreams, has taken a different but equally successful approach, operating a “business with a social conscious” that specializes in the delivery of locally crafted flowers. Since its launch in 2012, Flowers for Dreams has partnered with a new charitable organization each month, donating 25 percent of its profits to that organization during that time. After partnering with RefugeeOne — a nonprofit that helps resettle refugees in Chicago that are fleeing war and persecution — Dyme penned an op-ed for the Chicago Sun-Times explaining why his company helps refugees despite controversial backlash that threatens to diminish its business.
- Calvin Gin is the CFO of Blue Plate Catering, Chicago’s first Green Certified Caterer and another business continuing to focus on its social business model. Blue Plate Catering allows its people to imagine the future for the company and empowers them to bring their ideas to life. In partnership with CEO Jim Horan, Gin continues to grow Blue Plate Catering as Chicago’s premier caterer, increasing jobs in the Chicagoland area. In fact, Blue Plate Catering is building a new headquarters in the Fulton Market neighborhood to support this growth. Each year Blue Plate caters about 1,500 events, with the largest events employing over 1,000 Chicago workers.
- Andrea Hanis, editor of Chicago Tribune Blue Sky Innovation, will moderate the panel.
For many professionals today, Millennials in particular, focusing on the bottom line isn’t enough. Civic responsibility, investing in our neighborhoods, and helping underserved communities has become a top priority. The social business model is here to stay.
Join us on April 6 to learn how some of the best in the business are making a difference.
Click here for more information or to register for The Exchange 2016.
Theresa E. Mintle
President & CEO
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce