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Chicago innovation’s band leader: Tom Kuczmarski

Born, raised and educated on the East Coast, Tom Kuczmarski arrived in Chicago with a two-years-and-out plan.

That was 36 years ago.

Since then he started an innovation consultancy, Kuczmarski & Associates, is in his 32nd year teaching at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, wrote six business books, raised a family, invested in big-draw Chicago restaurants such as Girl & the Goat and, most notably, co-founded and runs the annual Chicago Innovation Awards with Dan Miller.

Sarah K. Neukom named Director of Events for the Chicago Innovation Awards

Chicago, IL—Sarah K. Neukom has been named Director of Events for the Chicago Innovation Awards.  In this newly created position she is responsible for the planning and execution of the Innovation Series, the seven events held each year by the Chicago Innovation Awards, including its annual event recognizing the most innovative new products and services brought to market in the Chicago region.

She has also been named Business Development and Relationship Manager for Kuczmarski & Associates, the innovation consulting firm established by Thomas D. Kuczmarski, co-founder with the journalist Dan Miller of the Chicago Innovation Awards.

“The Chicago Innovation Awards has enjoyed remarkable growth over the course of the past three years,” said Luke Tanen, director of the of Chicago-based innovation program.  “Sarah’s skill, energy, and enthusiasm are exactly the elements we need to continue the expansion of our education activities, work to connect innovators with the resources they need, and celebration of successful innovation in the Chicago region.  I am delighted that she has joined the Chicago Innovation Awards team.”

Previously, Neukom held the title “Producer of Positivity” at Red Frog Events, an active entertainment company based in Chicago.  At Red Frog Neukom organized a variety of events including the popular Warrior Dash races, an international series drawing nearly 25,000 people to each event.  She also served as the Red Frog Ambassador, representing the company as a speaker, and media spokesperson.  Earlier she was a Fundraising Specialist for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston where she served on its Special Events Team, raising more than $10 million annually for the institute.

The Chicago Innovation Awards, established in 2002, have grown from a single awards event to a year-long series of events and activities designed to deepen understanding of the importance of innovation to the local economy, teach its techniques, and celebrate the region’s best examples of innovation.  The organization’s expansion has included formation of the Chicago Innovation Awards Foundation, which awards innovation scholarships to local high school and college students each year.

The organization’s signature event is the Chicago Innovation Awards ceremony held in the fall of each year.  The series of Innovation Awards events includes a networking reception for the more than 400 award nominees, and an executive education program, The Practical Innovator, held each year at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Neukom is a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and serves as the Chicago Region Young Alumni coordinator for the school.

 

Contact:  Ray Boyer  312-330-6433  rayboyer@rboyer.com

Chicago Sun-Times: Groupon founder says Chicago now growing entrepreneurs

Groupon Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason shared the “bittersweet” emotion of seeing some engineers leave the daily deals company, but applauded the fact it shows Chicago now develops and sends entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley to start their own companies.

Mason addressed an audience of 1,500 at the 11th annual Chicago Innovation Awards celebration at the Harris Theater Monday night.

“Groupon could never have existed if not for Chicago entrepreneurs,” Mason said, citing his own unnamed mentors, backers and “people who figured out how to unlock growth.”

Mason also gave credit to the Chicago Innovation Awards for putting Groupon on the map by choosing the company as a 2009 award recipient.

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