Sir Ken Robinson


An internationally recognized authority in creativity and innovation in education and business, Sir Ken Robinson is also one of the world’s leading speakers. Videos of his famous talks to the prestigious TED Conference are the most viewed in the history of the organization and have been seen by an estimated 300 million people in over 150 countries.

Sir Ken works with governments in Europe, Asia and the US, Fortune 500 companies and leading cultural organizations. He led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK government, was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, and was one of four international advisers to the Singapore government for a strategy to become the creative hub of SE Asia.

Called “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” by Fast Company magazine, Sir Ken has received numerous awards for his groundbreaking contributions.  He was included in Thinkers50 list of the world’s leading business thinkers and has been named one of TIME/Fortune/CNN’s Principal Voices. In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts. He has also written several New York Times best selling books.  His 2009 book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, has been translated into 21 languages. His latest book, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (Viking, 2015), written with Robinson’s trademark wit and engaging style, includes groundbreaking research and tackles the critical issue of how to transform the nation’s troubled educational system.


Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel has served as the 55th mayor of the city of Chicago since 2011. During that time, he has made the tough choices necessary to secure Chicago’s future as a global capital. The Mayor added more than 200 hours to the school day and year, taking Chicago from having the least educational time of any large school district in the country to being on par with its peers. He implemented full-day kindergarten for every Chicago child, and fought for and won new accountability measures to ensure every teacher and principal had the necessary resources to succeed. The Mayor’s comprehensive public safety strategy is focused on expanded prevention programs for at-risk youth, smarter policing strategies, and empowering parents and communities to reduce violence in their neighborhoods. He attracted numerous companies to Chicago and helped to build the next generation of start-ups, while investing in the infrastructure, public transportation, open space and cultural attractions that make Chicago a great place to live, work, and play. And he has worked to make our government more effective, to deliver better services at a more competitive price, and to open government to the public.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Emanuel served as the White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama and served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Chicago’s 5th District. He previously served as a key member of the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1998, rising to serve as Senior Adviser to the President for Policy and Strategy.


(As of May 9, 2016)


Elaine Allensworth
Lewis-Sebring Director
University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research
Panel: Improving College Graduation Rates 

Bob Balfanz
Research Professor, Center for the Social Organization of Schools
Director, Everyone Graduates Center
Johns Hopkins University School of Education
Panel: Transforming Schools

Jon Baron
Vice President of Evidence-Based Policy
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Panel: The Evolution of Program Evaluations

Sarah Berghorst
Chicago Executive Director
Panel: The High ROI of Human Capital

Alexandra Bernadotte
Founder and CEO
Panel: Improving College Graduation Rates

Lizzie Choi
Director of Basecamp
Summit Public Schools
Panel: Using Technology to Personalize Learning

Jon Deane
Deputy Director
Panel: Using Technology to Personalize Learning

Aarti Dhupelia
Vice President of Strategic Initiatives
National Louis University
Panel: Improving College Graduation Rates

Betsy Doyle
Partner, San Francisco
The Bridgespan Group
Panel: Making Big Bets for Social Change

Liz Dozier
Managing Director
Chicago Beyond
Panel: The Evolution of Program Evaluations

Michael Feinberg
Panel: Making Big Bets for Social Change

Paul Finnegan
Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC
Panel: Transforming Schools

Janice Jackson
Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools
Panel: Transforming Schools

Greg Johnson
Chief Operating Officer
Bottom Line
Panel: The Evolution of Program Evaluations


Tim Knowles
Pritzker Director
University of Chicago Urban Labs
Panel: The Evolution of Program Evaluations

Phyllis Lockett
Chief Executive Officer
LEAP Innovations
Panel: Using Technology to Personalize Learning

Sarah Makela
Executive Director
Panel: Transforming Schools

Jim McCorkell
CEO and Founder
College Possible
Panel: Improving College Graduation Rates

Michael Milkie
CEO and Superintendent
Noble Network of Charter Schools
Panel: The High ROI of Human Capital

Todd Penner
Portfolio Director, College Preparation & Completion
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
Panel: Improving College Graduation Rates

Sam Schaeffer
Chief Executive Officer
Center for Employment Opportunities
Panel: Making Big Bets for Social Change

Doug Scott
Senior Expert
McKinsey & Company
Panel: The High ROI of Human Capital

Melinda Spooner
The Management Center
Panel: The High ROI of Human Capital

Sara Ray Stoelinga
Sara Liston Spurlark Director
The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
Panel: Transforming Schools

Jehan Velji
Portfolio Manager/Director of Portfolio Strategy
The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
Panel: Making Big Bets for Social Change

David Vinca
Founder & CEO
eSpark Learning
Panel: Using Technology to Personalize Learning

Harry Weiner
Panel: The High ROI of Human Capital

Melissa Zaikos
Principal, CEO & Founder
Intrinsic Schools
Panel: Using Technology to Personalize Learning

The A Better Chicago Education Summit is an invitation-only event and exclusive for A Better Chicago's investors and partners. For questions or more information about the Summit, please contact