Category Archives: Meetings

June 2018 Meeting – Artificial Intelligence

Register for the June 14th meeting.

In June’s ITKAN meeting Adam Hecktman, Microsoft’s Director of Technology & Civic Innovation Chicago, will lead us in a discussion of artificial intelligence and its many evolving applications.

Advancements in technology can be a force multiplier in unlocking solutions for some of the biggest challenges facing society. That’s why artificial intelligence (AI) is being applied towards unlocking solutions as diverse as driving customer satisfaction to addressing climate issues facing our planet. AI can be a game changer for people with disabilities. Already we’re witnessing this as people with disabilities expand their use of computers to hear, see and reason with impressive accuracy. Microsoft has been working on better solutions supporting PwD such as real-time speech-to-text transcription, visual recognition services and predictive text functionality. AI advances like these offer enormous potential by enabling people with vision, hearing, cognitive, learning and mobility disabilities to further advance in three specific areas: employment, modern life and human connection.  What is AI?  Where did it come from? What are the issues we need to be aware of to ensure that AI works to benefit, not to harm. Join us as we explore this fascinating topic!

June 14, 2018
5-7:00 p.m.

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


April 2018 Meeting – Coding in Schools Effect on Diversity in Tech

Register for the April 12th meeting.

In April’s ITKAN meeting, we will discuss the relationship between two of the top tech issues, Diversity and Tech along with Coding in Schools, from the “Today in Technology:  The Top 10 Tech Issues for 2018” series.

One of the many benefits of pervasively promoting coding in school is how it can help address the tech industry’s shortage of communities of color, women, and individuals with disabilities.

We will start off the evening with Shelley McKinley, who runs Microsoft’s Technology & Corporate Responsibility team, saying a few words about the work that her Microsoft Accessibility team is doing.

Then Tim Roessler, ITKAN Advisory Board Member and Director of Enterprise Applications at Joliet Junior College, will facilitate a discussion panel which will speak about Diversity and Tech and how their organizations promotion of coding in schools helps create a diverse, technology savvy workforce for their community.

The three panelist are:

  • Mindy C. Diaz: Disability Services Coordinator Joliet Junior College
  • Liz Rafferty: Executive Director Genesys Works Chicago
  • Lance Russell: Chief Executive Officer Chicago Tech Academy High School

April 12, 2018
5-7:00 p.m.

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

February 2018 Meeting – Cyber Security Panel Discussion

Register for the February 8th meeting.

Please join us on Thursday, February 8 for a panel discussion on cyber security facilitated by Adam Hecktman, Microsoft Director of Technology and Civic Innovation for Chicago. Our panelists will be:

  • Niren Shah, Principal at Jemurai – a firm that specializes in secure software development and cyber security
  • David Kinney, Principal Architect at SPR who will look at security from an Internet of Things (IoT) perspective
  • Matt Ramir, Web Developer at HS2 with a passion for cyber security

Consumer data breaches like those at Target, Yahoo! and Equifax have ranged in size and severity, but are not the only kind of cyber security issue. Hackers also try to use compromised IoT devices in order to launch cyber attacks. While there will always be people trying to break into systems, organizations cannot afford to be complacent. Those of us in the IT field, along with anyone using technology, must continually be vigilant, improve security and try to minimize these kinds of events and the damage they can cause. Please join us for what is sure to be an animated discussion of cyber security!

Niren Shah has over 15 years of cybersecurity experience and is currently a Principal at Jemurai – a firm that specializes in secure software development and cybersecurity.  Niren has unparalleled security experience in a wide variety of products: FW, IDS/IPS, WAF, SIEM, NAC, SWG, IVS/EVS, Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Management, Threat Management and more.

David Kinney is a Principal Architect at SPR with decades of experience helping startups and enterprises leverage emerging technology to enter new markets and improve operational efficiency. He has delivered solutions in the IoT, mobile, cloud, and web spaces, and has spoken at numerous conferences.

Matthew Ramir is a Web Developer at HS2 Solutions. A jack-of-all-trades, he employs his skills in back-end development, server management, database management, and front-end development to expertly tackle a wide-range of client projects.

February 8, 2018
5-7:00 p.m.

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

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

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