Next Chicago speaker

Audience Takes the Stage

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December 19, 8:30am • Grind • part of a series on Education

For the third month in row we are happy to say thanks to not one but two sponsors! It is very exciting for our chapter to have such wonderful sponsors to support our events each month, provide breakfast for all of our attendees, and help cover event expenses. So here is a big THANK YOU to this month’s sponsors, Gorilla Group and our on-going partner, Basecamp!


With their headquarters right here in the Windy City and offices across North America and Europe, Gorilla Group delivers innovative e-commerce solutions to B2B and direct-to-consumer brands. Gorilla is one of the fastest growing companies in Chicago and they are always looking to add talented people to their team and unique office culture. If you’re an agency professional skilled in design, development, or digital strategy, they want to hear from you! Check out some their award-winning work and learn more about their career opportunities right here.


Secondly, our partner, Basecamp, as you know is the handy project management tool that has become part of our daily lives and how we plan all of our events here with CreativeMornings Chicago. Recently, Basecamp has added a couple pretty nifty features to their products. For starters, there is now a “View on Basecamp” button in your Gmail inbox which eliminates several clicks to link to your Basecamp project pages. They also have integrated and archiving feature for old discussions within your project — things can get a little crazy sometimes! Finally, they are some new iOS 8 goodies for iPad that you all should check out in their newsletter, and take a look at the new story on their blog project, The Distance, about handling the art world’s most precious objects. 

We hope to see you all at this month’s event on Friday at Morningstar! Don’t forget to join the waitlist for the event if you haven’t registered yet. There is a chance you can still get it in, and we wouldn’t want you to miss the opportunity to listen to this month’s guest, FM Supreme. See you all on Friday!

We're giving our audience the stage in December!

Our audience is full of makers, thinkers and doers… so because our December theme is “Education”, we’re turning the tables microphone and having you up on stage to share your knowledge with us! We’re on the hunt for 4 speakers from our audience to each give a 5-minute presentation where they teach something to everyone. It could be anything (well, almost anything… let’s keep it PG-13).

Think you want to do it? Don’t be shy! We want to hear from you. Know of someone in the creative industry who would be great for this? Pass this on and peer pressure them into it.  

Submission details:
Nominate yourself by submitting the following information to

  • Your name
  • Your occupation
  • A blurb about you (a bio works well!)
  • Applicable links
  • 1-2 minute talk-to-the-webcam video about who you are and what you’d like to speak about. (do not share your video as an attachment to your email — instead, share a link to your video or send it through

Submissions are due no later than December 1. The 4 chosen speakers will be rewarded with a free Skillshare annual membership, and of course, fame and bragging rights. The chosen speakers will be notified by December 5th, and the event will take place on December 19th from 8:30AM - 10AM.

Let’s do this!

We want to send a big thank you out to our host this month, Morningstar! As one of our recurring hosts, Morningstar is always excited to support CreativeMornings, and we’re always happy to have them on board. Just like each of us, they believe it’s a fantastic way to connect with other creatives outside of the conference echo-chamber, meet people united by the interest of community learning, and to carry on a conversation that ultimately betters us all as creatives.

For those of you who may not be familiar with their work, Morningstar is a leading financial research firm that provides independent analysis and information to investors from the individual to the corporate. Design and technology are at the core of how they work. 

Fun fact: Their corporate logo was designed by the one and only Paul Rand! Joe Mansueto, their CEO, persistently reached out to Paul Rand to hire him, and after hanging up several times Rand eventually accepted the project. It just so happens that a couple of Morningstar designers were Yale graduates who happened to know Rand’s home phone number. In the end, Mansueto paid $50,000 for the Morningstar logo and still considers it one of his best decisions for the company — when the business was still running out of his apartment. Rand’s concept behind the logo was the closing of Walden by Henry Thoreau, “The sun is but a morning star.”Morningstar is always looking to hire and their career page is regularly updated. If anyone is interested in employment opportunities, find a CreativeMornings volunteer who can point you to the right person after the event. Morningstar is currently looking for a senior-level digital designer and mid-level designers. Take a look at more details here.We hope that everyone is as excited as we are to hear from our speaker this month, FM Supreme! The big event is next Friday, November 21st and registration opens Monday morning at 11AM. Hope to see you there!

Chicago native, FM Supreme (aka Jessica Disu) is an all around badass. As a poet, activist, educator and self-described humanitarian rap artist, she uses language as a tool for positive change, locally and internationally. On November 21st she will be speaking AND performing for the Creative Mornings crowd! Get to know her and you won’t want to miss it.

What drives your desire to create?
I am driven to create when thinking about society and the complexities of the human spirit. I love to be motivated and inspired and create with the intention to uplift and inspire others. I am inspired most by young people and artists who use their creativity to positively impact the community. I create most when I am alone and the feeling is euphoric when I write lyrics and or words that best capture the internal conversation that happens in the back of mind and consciousness. Art for me is self expression and as a radical believer in The Word, i believe the scripture, “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

How does Chicago influence you or your work?
Chicago influences my work in my style of delivery and fast paced speech and performance. I was born and raised in this great city of pimps, hustlers, crooked politicians and home to some of the greatest local talent in the world. For the past several years I have been viewing the different artistic movements throughout the city as the “Chicago Renaissance” and am blessed to consider myself as a young voice contributing my thoughts, words and lyrics daily to this Movement.

What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of Transforming Pain into Power, a national youth symposium on violence that I produced with a team of volunteers in November 2013. The program was very moving and inspiring for the 225 high school students who attended this event on Saturday for six hours at Holy Family Ministries. I hope to continue producing events like this in the future and am planning Transforming Pain into Power 2: Making Peace Cool in spring 2015. I am also very proud of my brothers and sisters who refused to allow our childhood circumstances to dictate our young adult experiences. 

How do your identities as an artist and activist impact each other?
My identity as an artist and activist goes hand in hand. My activism was birthed through my process of self expression in relation to my art. Since my teenage years as a participant in After School Matters, Kuumba Lynx and Young Chicago Authors, I have viewed my art as a form of activism for the modern Black Liberation Movement. My activism is impacted by art because my creativity through songs and poems helps unify everyone  present in the space. I use my voice and work as a reminder to myself and society to never give up, always have hope, and always believe in something bigger than yourself. 

My art is impacted by activism as I tend to write about current social issues and break down complex issues and phrases in very simple terms that can be understood by people in The Hood as well as folks living wealthy on the North Shore. 

What does this month’s theme—chance—mean to you?
This month’s theme, “Chance” means to me, taking a risk, stepping outside of my comfort zone, rising to the occasion, and doing something different and expecting a different result.

Think her work sounds pretty rad? Let her know at @FMSupreme.

This month’s host for our event is The Leo Burnett Department of Design. We could not be more excited to have them on board for our event and we can’t wait to see you all there tomorrow!

Composed of smaller design groups that focus on specific clients and opportunities, the Department of Design operates much like a small design studio within Leo Burnett Chicago. They collaborate with internal creative teams and clients to create purposeful design within advertising, as well as to develop brand identity, including logos, packaging, retail displays and environmental graphics. But let’s let them tell us who they are.

We are designers. You may know us as those svelte, meticulously groomed, overly stylized people in black who make logos. But hey, some of us wear grey. While we do design logos and packaging and numerous other elements of brand look and feel, we prefer to say we bring craft, concept and storytelling together, beautifully. Unfortunately, talking about what we do somehow always comes off as pretentious. We’re well aware of it. It’s a problem even Helvetica can’t fix. But trust us when we say we’re really nice people who just want the world to be a more visually appealing place where macro meets micro on a halftone plane of interdimensional duotones intersected by branded objectives distilled into simple solutions for complex…ugh…nevermind. We are designers.

The Leo Burnett Dept. of Design

We hope to see you all there tomorrow morning! Don’t forget to join the waitlist for the event. There is a chance you can still get it in, and we wouldn’t want you to miss that opportunity. 

We hope everyone is looking forward to our event tomorrow. It’s going to be a great one! Each month our events are supported by very generous sponsors, but this month we have two! So we want to say a big thank you to both Braintree and Basecamp for all their continuous support. 

For those of you who don’t know already, Braintree allows you to easily accept payments in your app or website, and they power payments for awesome companies like Uber, AirBnB, and Basecamp. Braintree was born right here in Chicago and now has offices all over the world, including New York, London, and San Francisco. And…they are hiring Product Designers! They are looking for self-directed Product Designers comfortable working in a process-light environment. Their design team cares just as much about how their product works as how it looks, and they ship often and iterate until it’s perfect. If you think you’d be a good fit you should apply! Take a look at more details here and check out their space in the picture below.
Next up, Basecamp! Oh what would be do without Basecamp? This handy project management tool has become a part of our daily lives—and how CreativeMornings Headquarters is able to manage over 70 chapters! Here in Chicago, we use it to organize all of our events. It’s incredibly easy to use, reliable and keeps everything in one place. Basecamp has recently partnered with our team to serve as a continuous sponsor for our event and we couldn’t be more grateful. So here a couple things they have been up to lately!
Their latest story from The Distance (a blog featuring stories about hard-working, long-lasting businesses and the people behind them) is about Band for Today, a school music program for schools that don’t have their own in house. They have also recently rolled out a couple of new Basecamp features that everyone should check out. The first is moving a single to-do list across projects, and the second, is attaching files directly to to-dos. Finally, take a look at their snazzy office space! 

Well we hope to see you all at this month’s event, and if for some reason you were not able to get a spot (those tickets go so fast) please feel free to join the waitlist. See you in the morning!

Our very own, Ben Derico, made the intro video to kick off the CreativeMornings Summit in Brooklyn last weekend! The video was concepted and directed by Ben, and made with the help of Eduardo Vea (aka NosE) and friends. Who’s that adorable voice you ask? It’s Matthew Hoffman’s 6-year-old son, Dylan.

Special Thanks to Mike Skelly, Eric Branholm, Molly Raskin, Juan Camilo Moore, Kevin Oh, Kristin Field, Matthew Hoffman and CreativeMornings HQ.

Follow Ben to see what he’s up to next!

This video was put together this past weekend at the first ever CreativeMornings summit in NYC, where all hosts from every chapter gathered to unite, brainstorm and inspire each other. If I could describe CreativeMornings in one word, it would be ‘magical’.

Up this month is Neal Sales-Griffin, best known around town as co-founder and CEO of the Starter League. Over the past few years Neal’s been making waves at the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship, and education. October’s installment of CreativeMornings is happening on October 17th, in the midst of Chicago Ideas Week, and we can’t think of a better speaker to join us! Here’s some insider insight into Neal.

What drives your desire to create?
I am passionate about solving problems for people that I care about. It’s my fuel.

How does Chicago influence you or your work?
I’m a south sider born and raised. I love this city. I think the culture here is still malleable. It influences my work because I believe I can contribute to shaping it. I want more people to start bootstrapped businesses in Chicago.

What are you most proud of?
I am proud of the many alumni of The Starter League who have taken the plunge to start their own businesses, regardless of failure or success.

What may people not know about you?
I’m actually not 100% black. My mother is half Filipino and half Honduran.

What does this month’s theme—crossover—mean to you?
“Chemistry is the study of matter. But I prefer to see it as the study of…change.” - Walter White (Breaking Bad)

Hit him up @nealsales to talk code, video games or Breaking Bad.