All Topics in Chicago

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  • Dealing with the Change Monster

    Robert Starinsky, MBA, MS, CCP, ASBC, Principal, Tradewinds Group, Inc.

    TOPIC CATEGORY: Business

    Some years ago a former colleague of mine was attempting to become an ex-smoker. During his struggles, he often remarked that quitting was easy, he had done so numerous times.

    As humorous as his remarks were, they highlight the difficulty we often have in making change stick in our everyday lives. MORE >

    For most of us, change doesn't come easy. When it comes to change, organizations aren't much different. Change is a tough act to follow. However, change in the business world is a constant force that we must deal with.

    This entertaining and educational presentation provides practical guidance for business leaders and managers who want to manage change and uncertainty more effectively in their organizations.

    NOTE: This presentation is available virtually to audiences across the country, or locally on an in-person basis, COVID restrictions permitting.

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    jacqueline McCarty, Owner Certified Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher, Om At Work

    TOPIC CATEGORY: Health & Fitness

    In a world full of tension and uncertainty how do we keep our focus, compassion, and find steadiness and meaning in our lives? Science, neuroscience , and psychology agree the body can be the key to our inner sense of calm and clarity so we can stay strong and choose our direction.
    Jaci McCarty of the Mccarty Method will teach you tools and practices that access the nervous system, vagal nerve, brain and energy body so you can learn what works for you. This is an experiential practice which will include, mindful movement, breath work, mindfulness practices, and meditation. This class is appropriate for all levels and can be done from a chair. MORE >

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  • The Experiences of a United States Marine from the Vietnam War to Present

    James Balcer, Retired Alderman, 11th Ward, Chicago

    TOPIC CATEGORY: Miscellaneous

    In 1967, at the age of 17, James Balcer enlisted in the United States Marine Corps — a decision that would impact every aspect of his life and lead him to a decades long mission to advocate for veterans and the military. Hear firsthand his experiences as a young recruit, a mortar man in a unit that endured so many causalities they were referred to as the “walking dead,” and a Vietnam Veteran in a turbulent social climate. MORE >

    During his service in Vietnam, his valor and bravery in helping to carry dead and wounded Marines up a 900 foot mountain, while under enemy fire, resulted in being awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V Device. He was also awarded three Purple Heart Medals for wounds sustained during his service.

    His experiences during the Vietnam War, the time period after, and present-day advocacy are not only remarkable, but inspirational. In a world where veteran and military issues, particularly honoring veterans and ensuring that their legacies are remembered, former PFC Balcer remains dedicated to remembering the past and looking towards the future.

    He will not only speak on his experiences in the United States Marine Corps, but his work, and leadership within, various veteran and military organizations, memorials, and parades. Further, he will share his experiences as a strong advocate for the veterans and the military during his tenure as Director of Veterans for the City of Chicago and Alderman of the 11th Ward in Chicago.

    Semper Fi!

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  • Politics in Chicago: The Experiences of an Alderman in one of Chicago’s Prominent Wards

    James Balcer, Retired Alderman, 11th Ward, Chicago

    TOPIC CATEGORY: Miscellaneous

    Hear firsthand the experiences of former Alderman James Balcer, who served as Alderman of Chicago’s 11th Ward from 1997-2015. Former Alderman Balcer was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 1997. This would be the beginning of a successful and passionate career serving the residents of the 11th Ward and beyond. MORE >

    Hear Former Alderman Balcer speak on all aspects of his career, from the importance of being out the community, drafting and passing city-wide ordinances, working with all city departments and successfully winning four elections by large margins.

    His passion for the neighborhood he grew up in, and still calls home, remains just as strong as when he served as Alderman. Growing up, he did not anticipate a career in politics, but found that it aligned with his passion for helping others and advocating for those in need. He will speak on how to leverage passion and politics for the good of residents, neighborhoods, and the city.

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  • A Cool Climate Policy for a Cold Winter

    Mike Zanillo, Community Outreach Coordinator, Citizens Climate Lobby / Citizens Climate Education


    Fake, or not, the news is full of stories about extreme heat events this summer. Whether or not you believe in the need for climate action, there is a public policy that appeals to climate doves and hawks. Just when you think our politicians cannot agree on anything, we have growing support on both sides of the political aisle for something that will help our economy and provide jobs as a cushion against a potential downturn in our economy. MORE >

    Request this presentation to hear more about this policy, why it makes sense and why people who don’t usually agree on things are beginning to talk about this.

    Learn about this first step that is:
    - Supported by major business groups
    - Rewards US companies for environmental leadership
    - Can provide a meaningful reduction in pollution
    - Levels the playing field between trading partners
    - Would motivate other large economies to adopt it
    - Appeals to both ‘Globalists’ and ‘America First’ supporters

    Presentation is available on an in-person, virtual, or, hybrid basis. Please contact me if you would like to discuss a presentation of this timely topic.

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  • Climate Progress, but, is it Enough ?

    Mike Zanillo, Community Outreach Coordinator, Citizens Climate Lobby / Citizens Climate Education


    As a Community Outreach Coordinator for Citizens Climate Education/Lobby and would like to offer a climate education program for your library. The topic of Climate Change is in the news often these days. So are stories of public policies and legislation being enacted to address the climate challenge. MORE >

    The ‘Climate Progress, but, is it Enough ?’ program is geared for the general public wishing to learn about the causes of climate change, understand what is being done to address the problem and wondering whether more is needed. I have presented on the topic to over 100 local community groups, churches, schools and libraries.

    The presentation is offered either in in-person, or virtually, and can be tailored from 45 minutes to 2 hours covering the following topics:
    • Key causes of climate change
    • How much will the climate change
    • Key aspects of recently passed legislation
    • How much will emissions be reduced
    • Is more needed to be done
    • Can we afford the cost of climate change
    • How will climate change and climate policy affect the economy

    Citizens’ Climate Education (CCE) / Lobby (CCL) is a nonpartisan grassroots advocacy organization that educates key stakeholders, policymakers, and the general public about effective solutions to climate change.

    Please let me know if this topic is of interest and I would welcome the opportunity to present.

    Mike Zanillo
    P: 312.504.1732

    Mike Zanillo is a climate policy advocate and Community Outreach Coordinator for Citizens Climate Education/Lobby. He is also a member of other climate action groups. Mike meets regularly key congressional and senatorial offices in Washington DC to advise on public climate policy. He is guest contributor to local newspapers and has presented educational sessions on the topic of climate change policy at over a 100 clean energy conferences, community groups, churches, schools and libraries.
    Mike, a former technology executive, is a graduate of the University of Chicago with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and has attended graduate level studies with Loyola University and Northern Illinois University.

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  • The Comfort Zone Illusion-Solving the Mystery

    Susan Neustrom, Ed.D., Leadership Coach, Author, Speaker, Educator, Leading to Action

    TOPIC CATEGORY: Self-Improvement

    Are you ready for change? Are you a leader embarking on change within your organization? Whether change is planned or unplanned, more than likely you and your team need to step outside your comfort zone and do something different. However, leaving your comfort zone is frightening and fear can stifle growth, halt progress, and negatively impact behavior making you feel as if you lost control, stuck, and not moving forward. When implementing transformational change in an organization leaders are challenged with getting everyone excited and motivated about new ways of working. Often times, leaders are met with resistance, complaints, and frustration because people are being asked to step outside their comfort zone. Change upsets routine and structure and opens the door allowing fear to enter and demonstrated in thoughts and action. Of course, it doesn’t need to be this way because the comfort zone is really an illusion. MORE >

    This presentation unravels the mystery of the comfort zone to expose the stark reality of the discomfort of change. Therefore, enabling leaders to discover why leaving your comfort zone is so difficult, what creates fear during times of change, and how to develop strategies for engagement and empowerment that eliminate the fear of leaving your comfort zone and to view change through a new lens.
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  • The Art of Impactful Leadership – 3 Secret Principles to Elite Performance

    Dennis Mellen, Owner, Be A Bean

    TOPIC CATEGORY: Business

    Be the visionary servant leader and inspire innovation and elite performance. Get your team feeling they "get to go to work" instead of "have to go to work"

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  • Stop Chasing Talent Away -The Ultimate K.P.I. to Be a Talent Magnet

    Dennis Mellen, Owner, Be A Bean

    TOPIC CATEGORY: Business

    Break free of the old leadership model and become a visionary servant leader. Inspire your team to perform at a level they never dreamed possible with the ultimate KPI (key performance indicator).

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  • Increasing Political Polarization and what we can do about it

    Ed Spire, Co-lead, Restore our Democracy Project, NWSOFA-Indivisible

    TOPIC CATEGORY: Educational

    Every decade, increasing gerrymandring has created more and more "safe seats", which have resulted in more and more extreme legislators on both sides of the aisle - creating a legilature where compromise is impossibe, and very little legislative progress ensures. This presentation shows why this happens, and what we can do about it, using the recent example of the Alaska special election, utilizing a nonpartisan primary and a ranked choice voting general election, as an example of how to promote more moderate legislators and a more productive legislature. MORE >

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