ChicagoNEXT Holds Its First Council Meeting with Mayor Lightfoot


200+ Council of Tech & Innovation Leaders Convened to Drive Growth for Tech Economy


On Friday, December 13, the ChicagoNEXT Council held their semi-annual Q4 council meeting. ChicagoNEXT is World Business Chicago’s dedicated effort to drive growth and opportunity in Chicago’s technology community, governed by the ChicagoNEXT council.

Since the council’s founding in 2012 by J.B. Pritzker, ChicagoNEXT convenes a cross-sectional council of 225 local leaders to drive inclusive growth and opportunity for Chicago’s tech economy.

The meeting began with brief welcome remarks from Richard Chelsey, Co-Managing Partner of DLA. World Business Chicago President & CEO, Andrea Zopp then delivered an update on the efforts of World Business Chicago and the City of Chicago to increase participation in the city’s 2020 census.

Following remarks from Andrea Zopp, Chicago’s Mayor, Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chair of ChicagoNEXT, Mark Tebbe participated in a fireside chat. The discussion centered on Chicago’s economic future and the role of the tech industry in shaping it. Specifically, Mayor Lightfoot called on the tech community to look for ways to hire diverse talent from all of Chicago’s neighborhoods. She also spoke on the importance of promoting participation in the 2020 census.

Following the mayoral address, Mark Tebbe, Abin Kuriakose, Director of ChicagoNEXT and Veronica Aguilar, Program Manager of ChicagoNEXT presented ChicagoNEXT’s strategic plan for 2020. The team shared their renewed mission for ChicagoNEXT 3.0 and highlighted five strategic focus areas for the initiative.

Immediately following, Samir Mayekar, Deputy Mayor of the City of Chicago shared an economic development update from city hall and further shared his personal connection to Chicago’s tech community.

Laura Van Peenan of William Blair spoke on Duke Technology (DTech) and the opportunity to hire more college women. Eric Lugo of City Colleges of Chicago ended the meeting by sharing information on Career Launch Chicago, a new youth apprenticeship partnership between Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago.

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