A RECORD OF THE RESPECTED SPEAKERS AND ENGAGING CONVERSATIONS WE’VE HOSTED

PAST MEETINGS

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Webinar
12:00PM - 1:00PM

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Webinar
12:00PM - 1:00PM

"Post-Election Discussion: Where Are We and What's Next?" with David Axelrod and Mike Murphy

On November 11th, the Commercial Club hosted a webinar with two leading political strategists, David Axelrod and Mike Murphy, to discuss their views on the presidential election and its implications for the future. David Axelrod, who served as a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, is the Director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, a Senior Political Commentator on CNN, and the host of The Axe Files.  Mike Murphy is a Political Strategist for NBC News and served as a senior strategist for John McCain’s first campaign for President in 2000, as well as Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial elections. They joined our moderator, Commercial Club chair Jenny Scanlon, to discuss the presidential election results, what they mean, what might happen between now and inauguration day, and what may come after Biden’s inauguration.

Jenny started the program by recognizing Veteran’s Day and honoring the men and women who have served our country.  She also took a moment to highlight the Veterans Working Group whose goal is to make the Chicago region one of the best places for returning veterans to join the civilian workforce.  Chaired by David Hiller, many Commercial Club companies participate in the Veterans Working Group, making it a unique and effective mechanism to enhance veteran employment efforts in Chicago.

Then Jenny and our guest speakers sat down for a “virtual” fireside chat.  It was a robust discussion across a number of topics, including polling; the electoral college; the impact of a hostile transition and what it will mean for President elect Biden’s first 100 days; Kamala Harris and her role in this administration; the pandemic and the continued calls for another round of federal stimulus; and the idea of a third party emerging in the near future. 

Jenny Scanlon closed the program by thanking both our speakers for their candid and thoughtful discussion.

Please  click here to read David Axelrod’s bio.

Please click here to read Mike Murphy’s bio.

"A Discussion with University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer"

On October 22nd, the Commercial Club hosted a webinar with member President Robert J. Zimmer, the 13th President of the University of Chicago, to discuss his tenure, the impact of his major initiatives on the University and the Chicago region, and what he sees for the University’s and the region’s future.  President Zimmer’s achievements have been significant and courageous: implementation of the Chicago Principles that demonstrate the University’s commitment to free speech, re-orienting the university to center it’s work around inquiry and impact in the community and around the world, and ensuring a diverse community and intentional physical campus, to name a few.

In June of 2021, President Zimmer will transition to Chancellor to focus on the continuation and evolution of strategic initiatives of the University; re-enforcing the enduring values of the University and their distinctive approach to research, education, and impact; continuing key relationships of the University; continuing high level fundraising; and working with his successor as president to contribute in these directions. As Chancellor, he will also serve as a Trustee of the University.   

During his remarks, President Zimmer discussed several important points including his work to ensure the University of Chicago is a place of deep and enduring values, the importance of maintaining these values, and the importance of change.  Following President Zimmer’s remarks, he and Commercial Club member Jim Crown had a fireside chat with audience Q&A.  Some of the topics they discussed dealt with higher education in the U.S. in comparison to higher education globally; the wealth divide between private and public universities; the brand of the University of Chicago and what it means to be located on the southside of Chicago; and how the University addresses issues of freedom of speech, diversity, social equity and inclusion.

Commercial Club Chair Jenny Scanlon closed the discussion by thanking President Zimmer for his leadership and the tremendous impact he has had on the University and on our region. She also noted the we look forward to his continued impact this year as President and in the future as Chancellor.

Please click here to read President Zimmer’s full bio.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Webinar
12:00PM - 1:00PM

Public Safety and Violence Reduction in Chicago

On September 10th, the Commercial Club hosted a webinar with guest speaker Superintendent David Brown from the Chicago Police Department.  After opening remarks, Superintendent Brown spoke to the Commercial Club then he and Commercial Club Chair Jenny Scanlon had a fireside chat with audience Q&A. 

On April 22ndSupt. Brown was sworn in as Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  The City had been in lockdown for a month and was confronting the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and within the department Superintendent Brown’s second in command and his COO retired, leaving him to tackle unprecedented challenges, continue critical public safety and criminal justice reforms, and lead a department that did not know him. Less than six weeks after Superintendent Brown took office, civil unrest swept across the region and country, sparked by the video of George Floyd’s death at the hands of the police in Minneapolis.   

 Superintendent Brown shared how he is working to address both gun violence and the ongoing civil unrest across the City, as well as the results already coming out of a department wide re-organization that included the establishment of the Community Safety Team and Critical Incident Response Teams. He also spoke to the culture within the department, the honor of being a police officer, and how he plans to balance supporting his officers through a particularly challenging time while also holding them accountable. Jenny and Supt. Brown discussepublic safety in Chicago and how his team is addressing the violence in ChicagoSome of the topics discussed were mental health, the Neighborhood Policing Initiative, recruitment & hiring, and defunding the police. 

 Jenny closed the discussion asking Supt. Brown what the business community can do to help. Supt. Brown asked that they express to young adults that importance of being a Police Officer and that it is a noble and courageous profession; challenge and encourage the Chicago Police Department; and continue to support initiatives, especially on the South and West sides of Chicago, that help the residents in these communities and reduce violence.   

 She thanked all of the Commercial Club members and staff, as well as our affiliate organizations, including the Civic Consulting Alliance, who continue to support the Chicago Police Department in addressing public safety and violence reduction. 

 Click here to read Superintendent Brown's full bio. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Webinar
12:00PM - 1:00PM

Overview of City of Chicago's Recovery Task Force Report: Forward Together, Building a Stronger Chicago

On August 6th, the Commercial Club hosted a webinar on the City of Chicago's Recovery Task Force Report,  Forward Together: Building a Stronger Chicago. The webinar was moderated by Commercial Club Chair Jenny Scanlon and featured Commercial Club member Samuel K. Skinner, former White House Chief of Staff and U.S. Secretary of Transportation; Samir Mayekar, Deputy Mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development; Roberto Herencia, Chair of the Board of Directors, Byline Bank; and Club member Virginia Simmons, Senior Partner and Managing Partner of the Midwest Office at McKinsey & Company. 

In April, Mayor Lightfoot announced the creation of the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force to provide recommendations for how Chicago and the surrounding region can ensure an inclusive and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The Task Force is co-chaired by Mayor Lightfoot and Sam Skinner and included the participation of several Commercial Club members as well as over 100 local industry experts, regional government leaders, community-based partners, and policymakers. 

The speakers provided an overview of the work and recommendations of the Recovery Task Force, shared key findings from the Change Study that served as the foundation of the Task Force’s work, highlighted the findings and recommendations of the Policy and Economic Stimulus Committee, and discussed next steps as to how the business community can engage in this important effort.

All panelists emphasized that this is only the beginning of the work, and that continued engagement across our community, businesses, academic institutions, and government is critical for our region to address systemic inequity in our society and to remake Chicago by creating a new economic model based on inclusion. Quoting Mayor Lightfoot and Sam Skinner, Jenny recognized that this is a once in a generation opportunity to create a better and more equitable future for all Chicagoans. 

Jenny thanked all of the Commercial Club members and staff of our affiliate organizations who have participated in this effort and are continuing to support the implementation of these recommendations. In particular, she and several panelists thanked the Civic Consulting Alliance, who staffed the Recovery Task Force and continues to support the implementation of this work with their pro bono partner EY.  She hopes many more Club members become engaged as the City begins to implement their key strategies.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Webinar
12:00PM - 1:15PM

142nd Annual Meeting & COVID-19: Chicago’s Major Medical Systems Response and Future Guidance

As we continue to consider the health and well-being of our members, staff, and community, our programs remain to be held through a virtual platform.  We will also continue to restructure the Commercial Club programs to address the near-term needs of our membership.

On June 29th, the Commercial Club hosted a webinar moderated by Commercial Club Chair Jenny Scanlon and featuring guest speakers Dr. Allison Arwady, MD, MPH, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Dean Harrison, President and CEO at Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, Dr. Omar Lateef, CEO at Rush University Medical Center, and Dr. Kenneth Polonsky, Dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences and Pritzker School of Medicine and President of the University of Chicago Health System. 

After Jenny and Jay Henderson, Secretary of the Commercial Club, conducted the business of the Annual meeting,  the panelists discussed their experience dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, their expectations and guidance as Illinois and Chicago start to reopen, and their current outlook on potential treatments and other research to address the coronavirus.  Each panelist took a few minutes to describe the crisis as it manifested in their organization, the challenges they faced, and the strengths that their organizations were able to contribute to the Chicago community. Jenny then moderated a discussion about the collaborative effort of the hospitals and their ability to act more like a giant system; guidance to business leaders regarding next steps in reopening; and answered questions from our members regarding the reopening of schools City and State-wide and the effects of large unplanned events, such as the recent protests, and its impact on COVID-19 cases.

While we were reminded that we are not through the coronavirus crisis, it was an insightful discussion that explored how the Chicago and Illinois communities came together to fight the pandemic and how the strength and collaboration across our health systems led to outcomes in Chicago that are better than those seen in other large cities across the nation.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Webinar
8:00AM - 9:00AM

“Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Trust and the Coronavirus”

The health and well-being of our members, staff, and community are of the utmost importance to us. Given the development of COVID-19 in our community and the CDC's recommendations, we have been working to restructure the Commercial Club programs for the spring to address the near term needs of our membership.

On March 31st, the Commercial Club hosted its first webinar moderated by Commercial Club Chair, Jenny Scanlon and included guest speakers Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman and Dr. David Nabarro, World Health Organization Special Envoy for COVID-19 and Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London.  This webinar gave our members and their organizations insight into how people worldwide are responding to COVID-19 and how important business leadership is at this time.

Richard Edelman, a fellow Commercial Club and Civic Committee member, joined the webinar to discuss the 10-country study Edelman conducted March 6-10 in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. The results of this study confirmed the role business must play as a source of reliable and timely information.  Dr. Nabarro is advising Edelman and shared the WHO’s latest COVID-19 guidance for organizations and the latest scientific and clinical understanding of the virus and its public health implications. The results of the Edelman survey are included in the links provided below

After the panelists gave brief intro remarks, Jenny moderated a discussion detailing the critical role that the private sector plays in helping society through this terrible pandemic and the need for employers to communicate trustworthy information frequently – daily even – during the coronavirus crisis.   Also, what we learned from other countries or even specific communities in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 infection and the expectations for the virus in the near and long-term.

It was such an important discussion for our members as business leaders who are confronting not only the evolving requirements of keeping our employees safe, but also navigating an environment of sometimes conflicting and inconsistent information.

During our March luncheon, Commercial Club Chair Jenny Scanlon led a panel discussion with four of the key players who are driving the future of O’Hare.  The panel included Steve Johnson, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs at American Airlines who serves on the Transportation Task Force;   Gavin Molloy, Vice President of Corporate Real Estate at United Airlines, who sat on the panel in place of Brett Hart and oversees all planning, engineering and construction for United’s U.S. and international airport facilities; Jamie Rhee, Commissioner of the Department of Aviation, who reminded us of the changes that have taken place at O’Hare over the years with help from the Civic Committee, recognizing Lester Crown; and Juliane Wolf, Design Principal and Partner at Studio Gang, who serves as Deputy Lead Designer for the O’Hare Global Terminal and provided insight into the current status of the effort.

After the panelists gave brief intro remarks, they sat down for a discussion that dealt with topics  that included the steps being taken at O’Hare and by the airlines to address the concerns in regards to the Corona virus, how the project will keep the healthy competition between American and United (i.e., lower fares, and increased connectivity to other markets) the best airports around the world,  and how the current changes will make O’Hare one of the best.

Edelman Study

Abridged Summary

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Luncheon
12:00PM - 1:30PM
The Chicago Club

“O’Hare Airport: Chicago’s Economic Engine.”

The Commercial Club has long understood that O’Hare airport is the single most important transportation asset in the State of Illinois and the economic engine of the Chicago region. The Club’s advocacy for the O’Hare Modernization Program has been a three-decades-long epic story of local, regional, and even national politics, legal battles, negotiations, and brinksmanship that finally resulted in compromise, agreement, and success.

During our March luncheon, Commercial Club Chair Jenny Scanlon led a panel discussion with four of the key players who are driving the future of O’Hare.  The panel included Steve Johnson, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs at American Airlines who serves on the Transportation Task Force;   Gavin Molloy, Vice President of Corporate Real Estate at United Airlines, who sat on the panel in place of Brett Hart and oversees all planning, engineering and construction for United’s U.S. and international airport facilities; Jamie Rhee, Commissioner of the Department of Aviation, who reminded us of the changes that have taken place at O’Hare over the years with help from the Civic Committee, recognizing Lester Crown; and Juliane Wolf, Design Principal and Partner at Studio Gang, who serves as Deputy Lead Designer for the O’Hare Global Terminal and provided insight into the current status of the effort.

After the panelists gave brief intro remarks, they sat down for a discussion that dealt with topics  that included the steps being taken at O’Hare and by the airlines to address the concerns in regards to the Corona virus, how the project will keep the healthy competition between American and United (i.e., lower fares, and increased connectivity to other markets) the best airports around the world,  and how the current changes will make O’Hare one of the best.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Luncheon
12:00PM - 1:30PM
The Chicago Club

“2020 Economic Overview”

Our guest speakers for the February luncheon were Austan Goolsbee, Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Kevin Warsh, Shepard Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Economics at the Hoover Institution and Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Austan was a key economic advisor to President Obama, serving as a member of his cabinet and as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, and Kevin served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and as a key economic advisor to President George W. Bush.

Given all the events that are occurring in today’s world - from the Coronavirus to trade wars with Europe and China to the impeachment and acquittal of a U.S. President --  it was beneficial to hear from two of our country’s leading economists on the current state of our economy and its prospects in light of current events and trends.  

At the event, Jenny Scanlon, in her first meeting as the newly elected Chair of the Commercial Club, announced the executive transition at CCA as well as those of the Club and its Civic Committee.  Brian Fabes, who has been a tremendous leader of CCA for the last fifteen years, has chosen to move on to the next stage in his career.  Jenny, accompanied by Club members, thanked Brian for his many years of leadership at CCA. Jenny then introduced Rebekah Scheinfeld as the new President and CEO of CCA, who was appointed by a committee of the Club and CCA’s leadership after a national search.  Rebecca has a great background for this role, having most recently served as the Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Transportation and having experience in the private sector as well.  She has also been both a client of CCA and worked as a consultant for CCA.  Jenny also introduced Rick Waddell, Retired Chairman & CEO, Northern Trust as the moderator and thanked him for his great leadership of the Commercial Club and Civic Committee since 2013, emphasizing that both organizations are in a great spot as we move forward due to his commitment and leadership.

Austan and Kevin then gave opening remarks regarding their time during the financial crisis and the current economic outlook.  When finished, they sat down with Rick and discussed the state of our economy and provided their views and expectations for 2020 and beyond. This discussion included their thoughts on the impact of the trade wars and their predictions for the United States’ relationship with China moving forward; the impact of the Coronavirus on both China’s economy and the global economy; and implications for the economy between now and the election in November.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Luncheon
12:00PM - 1:30PM
The Chicago Club

Janice K. Jackson, EdD

Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools

Our guest speaker for the January luncheon was Chicago Public Schools CEO, Dr. Janice K. Jackson, EdD.   

As a former student, teacher, principal, network chief, and chief education officer, and now as chief executive officer, Dr. Janice K. Jackson has been immersed in Chicago Public Schools her entire life.

As CEO of the third largest school district in the country, Dr. Jackson is a forward-thinking educator who is focused on improving excellence, equity, and access to high-quality education in all CPS schools. Her efforts, along with those of Chicago’s dedicated teachers and principals, have propelled CPS students to record-breaking academic gains, and education experts across the country regard Chicago as a national leader in urban education.

At the event, Daniel Anello, Chief Executive Officer of Kids First Chicago (K1C) provided a brief overview of what initiatives Kids First and CPS have partnered together to accomplish.  This included a new universal enrollment platform for CPS high schools.    Previously there were 300 different high school applications and now there is one.  In addition, they have worked together on the Annual Regional Analysis (ARA), a new unified fact base on all Pre-K to 12 students in Chicago Public Schools.

Dr. Jackson then presented her Five-Year Vision for CPS.  The vision is a comprehensive, research-based roadmap that will strengthen the district’s commitments to academic progress, financial stability, integrity, and equity.  After the update, Commercial Club chair Scott Santi and Dr. Jackson sat down and discussed her experiences during her time as CEO.  She expressed the important role that communities and civic partners play in supporting the vision for CPS and its successful implementation.

2015-2020 K1C Impact Summary

Please click here to learn more about the Kids First Chicago.

The Commercial Club presents illuminating conversations across a broad spectrum of issues

Commercial Club meetings provide members opportunities throughout the year to hear from business, governmental, and other influential thought leaders on the most relevant and engaging topics of the day. The meeting schedule consists of monthly lunches between September and June, a family dinner meeting in December, and occasional special events. During the Commercial Club’s history, guest speakers have included nine U.S. Presidents, Cabinet members, ambassadors, foreign heads of State, as well as numerous local and national business, civic, and cultural leaders.
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