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Third Annual NIC Thinkathon

  • Thu, March 09, 2017
  • 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • WeWork, 332 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL


  • For members of the NIC Leadership Team only.
  • For members of WeWork only

Registration is closed

Join us for the third annual Thinkathon! This event helps us start off the year engaging with our community and giving you a great opportunity to discuss impact issues and network with like-minded professionals.

This year's Thinkathon will take place 6:00-8:30pm at WeWork, which has generously offered their co-working space near Grant Park for the event. Beer, wine, and other refreshments will be served. 

The premise is simple: We want to foster good conversation and engage you in shaping the future of the NIC chapter. Our scope is broad – we're a group of professionals that seek to leverage business as a force for positive social and environmental impact. With your help, we want to have an open discussion about how we build a meaningful and connected community in Chicago that aligns with this purpose. And of course, there will be plenty of time to network.

To help us engage around key impact-related issues, we're inviting leaders and change makers in the social impact and environmental sustainability movements to facilitate breakout sessions.


6:00-6:30pm Networking reception

6:30-7:30pm Breakout discussion groups 
(pre-registration for breakout groups is encouraged and will be open in advance)

7:30-8:00pm Report out from discussion groups

8:00-8:30pm Collective brainstorming and networking


SESSION A - Sustainability and politics: Evaluating politicians' sustainability agendas

Alex Niemczewski leads BallotReady, an organization focused on voter education. In this session, Alex will lead a discussion about the state of information in politics at the local level. How can people who want to build up their communities learn about what's going on at the local level? How can people become engaged in meaningful ways? How can non-profits be a resource for their members who want to be more engaged politically? Using sustainability as one of several important examples, Alex will how people can use existing resources to become engaged and to evaluate the agendas of local candidates.

SESSION B - Gender and violence at work: Identifying and resisting oppressive workplaces

Karla Altmayer is a national expert on workplace sexual violence and has been working at the intersection of poverty and gender violence for the last ten years. In this session, Karla will help us explore why the issue of gender inequality and sexual violence impacts all workers, as well as analyze the institutions that enable sexual violence and gender inequality to persist. Through this interactive workshop-style session, we will learn how to identify oppressive situations in working environments, implement existing healing strategies as resistance, and develop bystander intervention skills for all workers. This session will be helpful in analyzing all workplaces, whether our own or those in our supply chains.

SESSION C - Immigrants, refugees, and talent diversity: Integrating newcomers into the workplace

Rebecca Tancredi is the National Vice President of Programs for Upwardly Global. In this session, Rebecca will guide us in a discussion on workplace diversity and the often overlooked talent pool of work-authorized, educated immigrants and refugees. Many individuals and organizations, such as Starbucks and Microsoft, have made commitments to hire refugees and support their full integration into our communities. Rebecca will help us explore how to create recruitment processes and workplace environments that help immigrants and refugees succeed, to the benefit of the organizations that employ them. To do this, she will share strategies and tools for assessing candidates' abilities and avoiding cultural misunderstandings in the recruitment process. Participants will learn from examples where Upwardly Global has partnered locally and nationally with employers including Accenture, the World Bank, Baxter, Wells Fargo, and United Airlines to help them hire immigrants, refugees and asylees and integrate these talented newcomers into their organizations. 


Alex Niemczewski will be facilitating a session on evaluating politicians' sustainability agendas. Alex is CEO of BallotReady, the online voter guide to every candidate and referendum on your ballot. Previously she founded a research consulting firm and taught coding at the Booth School of Business and The Starter League. She has a background in workforce development and is an alum of The University of Chicago. Follow Ballot Ready on Twitter at @BallotReady, Instagram, and Facebook.

Karla Altmayer will be facilitating a session on sexual violence in the workplace. Karla is a national expert on workplace sexual violence, and has been working at the intersection of poverty and gender violence for the last ten years. She developed a trauma-informed community building model and has worked extensively to promote a model for multidisciplinary collaboration to address workplace sexual violence. Karla left the legal world to co-found and co-direct Healing to Action, an organization advancing a worker-led movement to end gender violence. Follow Healing to Action on Twitter at @HealingToAction and on Facebook.

Rebecca Tancredi will be facilitating a panel on workplace diversity and the often overlooked talent pool of work-authorized, educated immigrants and refugees. Rebecca is the National Vice President of Programs for Upwardly Global (UpGlo). UpGlo’s mission is to eliminate employment barriers for skilled immigrants and refugees and help them integrate into the professional workplace. Rebecca joined Upwardly Global in 2009 to open the Chicago office and build UpGlo’s Midwest office. In her current role she is nationalizing and growing UpGlo’s programs across the country. Prior to Upwardly Global, Rebecca worked in corporate Human Resources and was responsible for HR strategy, staffing and innovative talent development programs. She has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from Ohio State University. Follow Upwardly Global on Twitter at @Upwardly_Global and on Facebook


WeWork provides small businesses, startups, freelancers, large enterprises, and everyone in between with the workspace, community, and services they need to make a life, not just a living. With weekly events, personalized support, month-to-month flexibility, and access to over 90,000 like-minded creators around the world, WeWork is the perfect place to grow your business. Book your tour here!

Upwardly GlobalUpwardly Global’s mission is to eliminate employment barriers for skilled immigrants and refugees and help them integrate into the professional workplace. According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are over 1.9 Million skilled immigrants who are unemployed or underemployed in the U.S.  This is a significant waste of talent for our economy and a barrier to fully integrating new Americans into their community. By teaching new Americans how to conduct a successful U.S. job search, and helping them connect with employers, UpGlo has assisted over 4000 talented professionals secure professional work and financial security. 


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