In December 2021, the Small Business Advocacy Council again hired Axelrod Consulting to produce the "Small Business Pitch Throwdown," where 3 growth-stage businesses pitched to a panel of esteemed judges. We designed the event to be small and took many precautions for COVID safety. The company who won, MycoCycle, is bound to change the recycling landscape in Chicago and nationally. Workbox, the new co-working space in Chicago, gave a modern, industrial feel to the competitive and fun atmosphere of the event. Delicious hors d'oeuvres by AOK Gourmet and cocktails by Social Sparkling Wine were enjoyed while attendees were inspired by keynote speaker, Kristi Ross.
In April 2021, as things were starting to move towards the "new normal," we produced a virtual event for A Safe Haven Foundation and the Small Business Advocacy Council, this time in an actual studio! With former longtime CBS Chicago news anchor Rob Johnson as the emcee, the event featured heartfelt stories from people whose lives had been transformed by the work of the two incredible non-profit organizations. Up and coming teen actor and singer/songwriter, Saige Chasseley, also performed. The inspirational night showed how together we can rebuild lives and businesses and move past the pandemic.
After the world shut down in March 2020 (and a collective freeze of all live events), the virtual event was born. We were asked by the Small Business Advocacy Council to produce an engaging and inspirational evening to raise awareness of legislation that would help people who lost their job during the pandemic become employed. We felt the best way to do this was to highlight the many performers in Chicago who no longer had a stage because of COVID. With virtual performances by Marina City, Yuri Lane, Elis Gifford and Crooks Crew, plus a fun interview with DJ and music curator, Megan Taylor, the night was a hit - even on Zoom!
We were retained to creative a TED-like event experience for attendees during the weeklong ISRI Convention (the trade association for the recycling industry) to take place in April, 2020. We curated a diverse panel of ISRI members to speak on everything from regenerative farming to workplace empathy to solving unemployment in Honduras. In the middle of coaching the speakers and logistical planning at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, the world fell apart and everything...was...cancelled...
In 2019, we felt like the world was spinning out of control (little did we know what was about to happen!). We chose the theme "Press Pause" to encourage people to stop to explore issues affecting their lives: authentic wellness, truthful healthcare, community belonging, innovative art, harnessing hate and the impact of digital footprints. We balanced the weightiness of these ideas with a jaw dropping juggling act from Cyril Rabbath and dancing to pop-maverick trumpeter, Spencer Ludwig. We outdid ourselves again with a combination of deeply inspirational talks, an experience like no other, and high-energy fun.
For year two, we took the event to the next level with the theme "No Limits," curating speakers on topics that explored boundaries in our society. We again engaged our community with another unique mixture of ideas, music, art, local food and beverage, and making connections. Oh, and giving away the best attendee gift bags around (thank you S'well and State backpacks!).
For their inaugural event, we were tasked with building TEDxChicago from the ground up. To inspire our community, we created an energetic and exciting event around the theme "Come Together" and brought the house down with a dynamic and interactive experience unlike any other conference. Our 13 speakers, including Kimbal Musk, Xavier Ramey, and Dorri McWhorter, and performances by the Chicago cast of Hamilton mesmerized the crowd and established TEDxChicago as a key annual event.