Chicago Ideas Week Unveils 2013 Headliners and Events Buzz Aldrin, Malcolm Gladwell, David Gregory, Dan Savage, Elizabeth Smart, Cat Cora and more to take the stage

CHICAGO, July 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, co-founders of Groupon and Lightbank, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are thrilled to announce official speakers and programming for the third annual Chicago Ideas Week (CIW). Taking place Oct. 14-20, CIW will feature nearly 200 renowned global speakers, including legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin, journalist and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory, journalist and founder of the It Gets Better Project Dan Savage, child victimization activist Elizabeth Smart, chef, restaurateur and TV personality Cat Cora, Grammy-winning musician and record producer T Bone Burnett, actress, philanthropist and wildlife advocate Kristin Davis, and many more.


"We're excited to launch the third annual Chicago Ideas Week, which continues to grow in scope and impact," said Keywell. "We've nearly doubled our reach in just two years, increasing from 12,000 to 25,000 attendees and 150 to 235 speakers. We have sharpened our focus on turning ideas into action by again bringing provocative speakers from across the globe to our great city to ignite imaginations, spark conversations and connect with our diverse attendees.  Important things are being conceived and started because of Chicago Ideas Week, and we are just beginning to see the results."

CIW is an innovation platform for both the seven days of Chicago Ideas Week and throughout the rest of the year. It brings together the world's most influential people to present their ideas on everything from education to science to technology to food and hosts hundreds of events across the city. And at just $15 per event, plus a broad range of membership options, CIW is accessible to everyone.

"Chicago is proud to host Ideas Week each year and welcome global leaders to experience our vibrant, innovative city," said Mayor Emanuel. "We are home to some of the world's leading companies and are becoming a growing hotbed for creativity and innovation. This event not only showcases that, but also inspires new initiatives and ventures while fostering a rich community of people who have the power to achieve great things."

This year CIW will host more than 20 dynamic Talks at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Cadillac Palace Theatre, including:

  • Environment: Conserve & Protect – It's undeniable that our world is transforming. Will we be able to mitigate the change? And if not, how will we learn to live with its effects? Experts discuss what you can do to help preserve and protect our evolving planet and all of its inhabitants, including Kristin Davis, "Carbon Nation" documentary filmmaker Peter Byck, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center Vicki Arroyo and chief scientist of The Nature Conservancy Dr. Heather Tallis
  • Instigators: The Good Fight – Hear from modern-day Robin Hoods, advocates and unsung heroes like Dan Savage, Elizabeth Smart and graphic designer and founder of Peace Factory Ronny Edry who are fighting to build a better world for the rest of us. These are the people rising up to meet extraordinary challenges and CIW is your chance to join them.
  • Lessons: Something Worth Sharing – It's been said that it's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. CIW speakers Malcolm Gladwell, founder of Ben Rattray, founder of Defy Ventures Catherine Rohr, best-selling author and co-owner of Beekman Farms Josh Kilmer-Purcell and writer and stand-up comic Tig Notaro share their stories of struggle, perseverance and triumph. How has each experience influenced the person they are today, and how might they change your life?
  • Storytellers: The Written Word – Award-winning author of "Waiting to Exhale" Terry McMillan, author of "The Good House" Ann Leary, documentary filmmaker and author of "Dead Mountain" Donnie Eichar and author of "Cockeyed" Ryan Knighton share the personal stories behind some of their greatest works.
  • Witness – Step into the shoes of seemingly ordinary people who became instrumental players in some of our country's most iconic moments in history.  Join legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin, former literary agency office manager Bryony Evens, education activist Cheryl Brown and former U.S. Secret Service agent Clint Hill as we discover how these stories from the past impact us today and will influence our actions tomorrow.

Additional CIW 2013 Highlights:

100 CIW Labs: Unique opportunities to explore what happens behind the scenes at some of Chicago's greatest organizations and businesses, including:

  • Ale Syndicate + CHAOS Club – It's time to experience Chicago Ideas beer form. CHAOS Brew Club, Aleman, & Ale Syndicate invite you to brew this special CIW batch while exploring the vibrant community of home brewing. From crushing grains to bottling beer, you'll experience the brewing process from start to delicious finish.
  • Ignite Glass Studios – Experience a state-of-the-art glass studio, artist community and educational facility. Come play with fire and experience the creative process of turning liquid glass into a piece of art!
  • Inventables – Learn how to laser cut and 3D print! Inventables commissioned an industrial designer to create a lamp that can be made in the GE Garage at CIW HQ, where attendees will learn how to use manufacturing tools to make, assemble and take home this lamp. Lamp kits will be available to the public for purchase, with proceeds going to Citizen Schools.
  • Lifeway Foods – Gather around as Lifeway Foods shares the story of how they transformed a Russian staple, kefir, into a popular health food item found in grocery stores across the U.S. and UK. Participants will have a chance to flavor their own kefir creations while learning the value of brand passion and innovation.
  • Silicon Valley Bank's Shark Tank – Think Shark Tank is tough?  Try swimming with piranhas! In this Lab, you'll see four hand-selected, early-stage businesses vie for a cash prize and the opportunity to work with some of the country's leading angel and venture investors. Come see who will rise to the challenge!

Edison Talks: A full-day, invitation-only gathering featuring 12-15 speakers and an audience of 900 globally recognized visionaries and innovators spanning all industries, as well as 450 high school students from Chicago Public Schools. This year presentations, conversations and performances will explore the theme of departure.

Tech Summit: A half-day experience made up of three 70-minute sessions where leading voices in entrepreneurship, design, innovation, data and web, along with attendees, will reimagine the future of technology through aspirational talks, intensive hackathons, explorations of the human experience and networking.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: A four-night series of intimate, thought-provoking dinners that brings special guests and the community together to discuss a pre-stated topic. Hosted at some of Chicago's best restaurants, each dinner will include engaging entertainment and curated conversation for a truly unique experience.

CIW YOU(th): A program that connects, inspires and empowers Chicago's future leaders. Founded on the idea that action stems from knowing what's possible, CIW YOU(th) serves 450 high school students from some of the area's most economically-challenged communities. It provides them the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences through CIW Labs and to connect with speakers and the broader community at CIW Talks.

Chicago Ideas Week is generously supported by several integral partners who help bring CIW to life, including: TIME, University of Illinois, EY, Starcom MediaVest Group, Leo Burnett, Edelman, GE, United Airlines, Tribune Media Group, Crain's Chicago Business, NBC 5 Chicago, WBEZ 91.5, Hyatt, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and The Joyce Foundation.

For a more comprehensive lineup of speakers and events, please visit Additional details and speakers will also be shared leading up to CIW. Early bird ticketing for CIW members will kick off on Aug. 15 and general tickets will go on sale Sept. 3. To become a CIW member and enjoy exclusive access, advanced tickets, insider invitations and more, visit

About Chicago Ideas Week

Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) is a premier annual gathering of global thought leaders and passionate participants that was created to help great ideas become realities. It's a platform for innovators, thinkers, doers and interested citizens from across Chicago and the world. CIW's goal is to stimulate new initiatives and ventures, create new connections and collaborations and establish a community of people with the desire to achieve great things. For more information, please visit, our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter via @chicagoideas.

SOURCE Chicago Ideas Week


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