The ITKAN 2nd Annual Business After Hours Event 2017

Valari Kendrick, ITKAN Advisory Team Member and Co-Chair, Membership Committee

Last night I attended the 2nd Annual ITKAN Business After Hours Event. What a celebration we had! During the cocktail hour we met members, sponsors, business associates, and new guests. The meeting of minds and sharing of information was phenomenal.

Pat Maher, Director of Civic Engagement for SPR Consulting, was our host for the event. He led us on a journey of ITKAN’s inception, history, and successes, and paved the way for the introduction of our Keynote Speaker.

Adam Heckman, Microsoft’s Director of Technology, and Civic Innovation for Chicago, provided us with an introduction to Jenny Lay-Flurrie.  The respect and friendship he has for Jenny was evident and set the stage beautifully for her address.

Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer, graced us with her presence as Keynote Speaker. She was dynamic, frank, and entertaining. She was clear about her abilities and how they are empowering. She shed light on how she helps direct Microsoft and its products to help redefine, enhance, and strengthen the culture of diversity, with technology and accessibility being two of its main goals to “empower every person”.

The most important message I received from Jenny was “education is the core” to embracing our opportunity to change the culture for people with disabilities and their ability to mesh with the world. The light and lessons Jenny shared with us will resonate with me forever.

Adam Heckman and Microsoft’s Urban Engagement Chicago Team were then presented with the 2nd Annual Rose Stein Light from Within award for their continued dedication, support, and friendship. Adam was gracious in both his acceptance of the award and his expression of gratitude for his ITKAN friendship.

Tim Roessler, ITKAN Advisory Team Member and Co-Chair, gave us closing remarks. He likened the work, at ITKAN and our sponsors and guests, to a puzzle. A beautiful mosaic with many pieces being built to make one prolific picture: one of community, knowledge, technology, and support.  What a wonderful way to encourage guests, and praise the support of our sponsors, business associates and members of ITKAN.



Tech Month Chicago Awards

ITKAN’s September meeting was on the Tech Month Chicago calendar, and they have a Public Awards program this year. Please consider nominating people who have attended our event for a Techie Award. Here are the qualifications:


  • Have attended more than one of our events this year.
  • Have shown something original, unique, or excellent that deserves to be celebrated.
  • Are people who will appreciate encouragement and recognition.
  • Are people who don’t get recognized often.
  • Are perhaps people you don’t know well but you admire.
  • Are people who are likely to show up to our awards event on Oct. 1 to receive their ribbons in person.
  • Are not a group of your best buddies.
  • Are not your business partners or your sponsors.
  • Are not people who you can monetarily benefit from by nominating.

To nominate people:

Please send Tech Month Chicago their name, email address, and Twitter or LinkedIn Profile links. Tech Month Chicago will invite them to and recognize them at their event on October 1st.

Send your nominations to no later than Sept. 27th!

You can nominate as many people as you like.  They have 500 ribbons printed up and would like to give them all to awesome people. Please, the more the merrier!!

And lastly, please join them on Sunday Oct. 1st from 6:30-9:00 pm for our Public Awards Event. More details and RSVP. We would love for you to be there!!

Job Opportunity – Helpdesk Analyst at Obama Foundation

The Obama Foundation, the platform for former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s philanthropic activities and an integral part of their voice for continued civic engagement, has a job opening for a Helpdesk Analyst. The Helpdesk Analyst will ensure that Foundation staff members in Chicago have the technology they need in order to do their jobs. This includes both reactively responding to Help Desk issues as well as proactively identifying and addressing trends in tickets submitted and putting into place training and resources designed to decrease tickets submitted in the future.

If you’d like to apply, please see the this job description in PDF format. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.) In addition if you are submitting for the role, let us know so that we can track and support you.

Good luck.

ITKAN’s Business After-Hours on Disability Inclusion at Microsoft

Register for the October 12th event.

Join us as we celebrate ITKAN’s corporate and civic relationships at our second annual ITKAN Business After-Hours on October 12, 2017 at the Microsoft Technology Center in downtown Chicago!

Kick off the evening with a cocktail hour sponsored by SPR Consulting, and network with colleagues or make new connections in the business and civic community. Jenny Lay-FlurrieMicrosoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer, will give our keynote address – Disability Inclusion: Empowering Everyone to Achieve More! Gain insights on disability inclusion at Microsoft and how building the best products for everyone requires a diverse and inclusive workforce across all abilities.

We will be honoring our long-time partners Adam Hecktman and Shelley Stern Grach of Microsoft’s Urban Engagement Team with the Rose Stein Light from Within Award for their ongoing commitment to and support of our mission to create passionate tech leaders with disabilities for the workforce of tomorrow. Finally, Tim Roessler, Director of Outreach & Partnerships at GenesysWorks and ITKAN Advisory Team member, will give the closing remarks.

Thu, October 12, 2017
5:00 PM – 7:30 PM CDT

Microsoft Technology Center
200 East Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601

The Microsoft Urban Engagement Team manages Microsoft’s civic engagement in Chicago, engaging with local community and civic leaders to understand and diagnose community needs and bring relevant resources and programs to bear on public challenges. Adam Hecktman is the Director of Technology & Civic Innovation for Chicago and Cleveland on this team, and Shelley Stern Grach is the Director of Civic Engagement for Chicago and Detroit.   Collectively, they have over 40 years of tenure at Microsoft, serving the company that they treasure in the city that they love.

September 2017 Meeting – Meet Our Members Night

Update: Our September meeting has been moved to SPR Consulting’s office at the Willis Tower. Register for the September 14th meeting.

At our next meeting we will conduct a panel discussion with several of our members. Each has achieved a successful competitive internship with one of our valued corporate or civic partners and is forging a career in the exciting tech sector!

Advisory Team member and Membership committee co-chair Val Kendrick will be moderating this high-energy discussion with a diverse panel of ITKAN members. This promises to be a valuable evening whether you’re a candidate, HR or talent executive, or C level officer looking to establish a more diverse, inclusive and innovative culture. Please join us and Meet our Members!

September 14, 2017
5-7:00 p.m.

Willis Tower
SPR Consulting
233 S Wacker Dr., Suite 3500
Chicago, IL 60606

Summer Vacation

We are beginning to experience more opportunities to place ITKAN members into competitive internships or full-time roles! Our next meeting will be September 14th, Val Kendrick will lead a “Meet the Candidates Night”.

Recently our full Advisory Team met to strategize on moving ITKAN into our next phase with a focus on preparing our members for the shifting technology landscape. Our Membership, Partnerships, and Knowledge Share Committees are kicking off their efforts through the summer, and as a result our next Monthly Members’ Meeting will be September’s. We will send September event invitations three weeks before the meeting.

Future Meetings

  • We are planning our 2nd Annual Business After-Hours for our October meeting at the MTC to coincide with National Disability Employment Awareness Month! Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer will give the keynote, and we will present the Rose Stein “Light from Within” Award.
  • Our November meeting will be at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital. John Kennedy will introduce us to his unique Neuro-training program, Combat Brain Training. Trust us, you want to be there!

Hope to see you in September.

June 2017 Meeting – Silicon Cowboys – A Techumentary Series

Register for the June 8th meeting.

Launched in 1982 by three friends in a Houston diner, Compaq Computer set out to build a portable PC to take on IBM, the world’s most powerful tech company. Many others had tried duplicating IBM’s code, only to face legal opposition. However, Compaq’s vision for a portable PC found astonishing success, sending shockwaves through the industry and overthrowing a tech giant.

Join us for the second installment of our Techumentary Series at ITKAN! In June we’ll view and discuss Silicon Cowboys, a riveting documentary on the computer company that paved the way for innovation and disruption. Afterwards, founder of Compaq Computers, Rod Canion, will join us via Skype to answer questions.

June 8, 2017
5-7:00 p.m.

Aon Tower
Microsoft Technology Center
200 E Randolph Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60601