December 2017 Meeting – Ten Breakthroughs in Tech

Register for the December 14th meeting.

Please join us on Thursday, December 14th for an engaging, fast-paced, end-of-year discussion on 10 big topics in tech! Several members on our advisory team will briefly present on one of the 10 breakthrough technologies of 2017 as noted by the MIT Technology Review.

These technologies all have staying power. They will affect the economy and our politics, improve medicine, or influence our culture. Some are unfolding now; others will take a decade or more to develop, but we’ll all benefit from being aware of each!

We will start promptly at 5:30 pm so we can cover each topic in 10-15 minutes.

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

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


November 2017 Meeting – Combat Brain Training

Register for the November 9th meeting at Marianjoy.

In 2007 the US Marines contracted John Kennedy to develop a non-digital neuroplastic training program to improve all warfighting skills in order to reduce casualties in combat. By physically changing the brain in areas critical to focus and accelerating cognition all areas of performance are improved. Not only have military personnel seen improvement through Combat Brain Training but athletes, business people, students and people with disabilities have as well.

ITKAN is  engaged with John to apply his model and exercises related to neuroplasticity to the disability community, and we are very excited to have him present to our membership. Join us in an introduction to this unique neuro-training program at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital on November 9th!

John Kennedy, President and Primary Neuroplastician, is a pioneer in the field of Targeted Neuroplastic Training (TNT). After 20 years developing innovative outside the box solutions for businesses in diverse industries he was contracted by the US Marines in 2006 to develop a program to reduce casualties in combat primarily from IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) by improving focus and intuition (“sixth sense”) and accelerating executive function under stress.

November 9, 2017
5-7 p.m.

Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital
26W171 Roosevelt Road
Wheaton, IL  60187
Building 2, Conference Room 1

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.