Nilofer Merchant

Nilofer’s career began at Apple and she has since been a CEO, run Fortune 500 companies, led successful start-ups,
and launched over 100 products that account for $18B in revenues. She’s written O’Reilly’s most successful business book to date “The New How.” Top marketing blogger Seth Godin described her book as both “provocative and practical.” In her work, she helps organizations close the Air Sandwich, the proverbial gap between strategy and execution.

Miss Lori

The combination of Miss Lori’s extensive theatre background, her television success and her social media mastery makes Miss Lori an expert in media
training. But Miss Lori is also an artful speaker, ideation consultant, and branding leader. Utilizing her training, her infectious charm and her intuitive nature Miss Lori provides powerfully resonant counsel and coaching to businesses, organizations and individual contractors. And she does so always with her trademark SMILE!

Orlando Saez

Orlando is the Chief Operating Officer of CityScan an early-stage venture focused on outdoor market intelligence. Orlando was the Deputy Director of the Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology where he was responsible for $400M in infrastructure and small business economic incentive programs in Illinois. Over the last 10 years, Orlando has led several early stage companies with a combined exit valuation of $50M. Entrepreneur & VC blend, startup coach, host of @3guysinabooth, fitness enthusiast. Technology and people to accomplish great things.

Jill Salzman

A sought-after speaker, Jill has been featured in national media outlets including People Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Daily Candy Kids,  Business Matters, WGN TV and WAHM Talk Radio. Her TEDx talk, Why Moms Make The Best Entrepreneurs, received rave reviews. She was recently named one of the Top 50 Women To Watch In Tech.

Molly Cantrell-Kraig

Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people,  she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Molly effects change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity.

Amber Naslund

Amber Naslund, is a social business strategist and the Co-Founder of SideraWorks, a social business consultancy.  She’s a published author, professional speaker,  community and social media strategist, and has worked with businesses of all sizes to solve business problems through better communication.


Heather Gold

Heather Gold is a writer, performer, and dialogue-ist whom boingboing calls “brilliant”  Her unique style—raw and participatory, inflected  by confessional politics—is a reflection of her unorthodox artistic path:  studies at Yale and Northwestern Law, training at Groundlings. Her mission is to create a space and a world where we can be ourselves together.

Alexandra Eidenberg

Alexandra Eidenberg was born and raised in Chicago. She has an undergraduate degree in Marketing Communication and a graduate degree in Small Business Entrepreneurship from Columbia College Chicago. Alexandra has been a Life & Health and Property Casualty licensed agent for over 8 years, and started The Insurance People with Carmen Londono in 2009.She is the Executive Director for eWomenNetwork.

Caleb Gardner

Caleb Gardner

Caleb Gardner is a writer, business strategist, and marketing lead for Digital Intent, helping entrepreneurs build better digital products and gain traction. From startups to Fortune 100 global clients, Caleb’s experience developing communities and executing strategic plans is vast and varied. Formerly a social media strategist at Edelman Digital, Caleb helped clients such as ConAgra Foods and Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation with insights into online messaging and influencer engagement.

Liz Strauss

Liz Strauss is an international business strategist, founder of SOBCon — the high-touch, high tech business summit — recognized as one of The Top Ten Influencers Alive: 10 Breakout Influencers of 2011 and number 8 on The Forbes List of Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers .

Mana Ionescu

Mana Ionescu

Mana is an award-winning marketer and the president of Chicago Social Media Marketing company Lightspan Digital. Mana and her team help clients with clear, direct and purposeful social media campaigns and social network management. Connect with Mana on Twitter

Wendy Widom

Wendy Widom is President of Families in the Loop a hub for urban moms and dads. Since its launch in early 2011, Families in the Loop has transformed the parenting scene with feisty and fresh conversations about sex, health, culture, education, food & wine, entertainment, politics, life, and oh yes, our kids!
Wendy writes for multiple outlets, including Huffington Post, ChicagoNow, Cheeky Chicago and Chicago Parent.

Amy Guth

Amy Guth is an American radio host, writer and author. She was a reporter and digital editor for the Chicago Tribune’s books section until February, 2011, when the news organization named her as social media editor.

Maura Wall Hernandez

Maura Wall Hernandez is the digital editor of The Mash, the teen edition of the Chicago Tribune, and the president of the Association for Women Journalists-Chicago. She also writes the award-winning food, travel and Mexican culture blog, The Other Side of The Tortilla. Previously, Maura was managing editor of Café Media, a multimedia Latino lifestyle company that produced a bimonthly magazine, daily online content and newsletters.

Troy Henikoff

Troy Henikoff is the CEO and Co-founder of Excelerate, a seed stage accelerator in Chicago. Additionally he teaches Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University, is on the board of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and an advisor to Hyde Park Angels. His last 25 years have been spent starting, running and advising early stage technology companies.

Neal Sales-Griffin

Neal Sales-Griffin is currently the founder and CEO of The Starter League, a beginner web design and development school in Chicago. Neal has worked and consulted with numerous startups and not-for-profits across Chicago. He has had the privilege of working with OCA Ventures and Sandbox Industries, two prominent venture firms in Chicago. Neal also serves as a board member of the Chicago chapter of International Game Developers Association.