Category Archives: sightseeing

Chicago’s Holiday Events and Attractions

All across Chicago, venues are offering live performances for the Holiday season. From fine dining to theater performances, nighttime adventures to family-friendly frolicking, having an audience is the most precious gift of all to these businesses. Consider any of these local events for your holiday fun.

Theater Wit is hosting Chicago’s premiere of “Who’s Holiday!” through Dec. 26. Another Chicago debut is happening at the Apollo Theater, where Love Actually? “The Unauthorized Musical Parody is on through Jan. 2, 2022.

Chicago Philharmonic is celebrating a return to in-person performances with a “Holiday Brunch Concert” on December 12, hosted by City Winery Chicago – West Loop. Chicago’s children can enjoy some holiday fun at the Chicago Children’s Theatre where they can attend The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is live (and free) at the Strawdog Theatre Company.

Chicago is Reopening

Chicago is open for business! After 18 months of Covid-19 concerns, Chicago’s museums, restaurants, and attractions are back.

Businesses across Chicago are reopening.

For many of the diners and eateries in the Loop, the reopening has been a nuanced blessing. Their primary customer base- employees and visitors of local companies- have not yet fully returned to the office. They need a steady stream of customers to supplement the delivery and take-out business that has kept them going thus far. And those professionals who are beginning to head back to the office favor these establishments for a quick coffee break,  lunchtime, or post-work meal.

Eateries and attractions in and out of the Loop are eager to welcome customers.

With many new restaurants to check out across Chicago, there are countless options for a long-overdue meet-up with friends, a business lunch with colleagues, or a romantic date night.

City of Chicago Raises Minimum Wage

Chicago has announced a raise to its minimum wage, which now stands at $15 per hour. The state of Illinois is set to reach this benchmark in four years.

The change comes after several years of lobbying by groups like Fight for $15, during which time numerous retailers increased their wages to $15 or higher. Similarly, many institutions announced raises for essential workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while other businesses have been pushed to raise wages as well.

The new minimum wage increase will affect some 40,000 people, according to the city.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is excited by the change. “This is a happy day,” she said, calling the move “one of the most critical pieces of legislation to be introduced during my administration.”

Chicago Startups Raised $257 Million in May

Chicago’s venture funding dropped in May but remains healthy, with startups raising $257 million according to Chicago Inno. 

Some of the leading startups and tech companies in Chicago to raise funds in May include: 

  • Fintech startup Amount, which raised $100 million in a Series D round run by VC firm Westcap
  • Digital marketplace BluePallet, which “came out of stealth mode” to receive $4 million in funding 
  • Cryptocurrency insurance company Evertas which raised $5.8 million in a seed round
  • Biotech startup Grove Biopharma, which raised $4 million for a new project which could lead to a treatment for conditions such as MS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 
  • Startup Kin Insurance, which raised $64 million in a round co-led by Senator Investment Group and Hudson Structured Capital Management.  
  • Obie, which raised $10.7 million following last year’s $2.8 million seed round 

Ethics in Chicago Firms

For the second year in a row, a Chicago company has been recognized as one of the 2021 World’s Most Ethical Companies.  

ADM received this recognition from Ethisphere, the organization which engages in endeavors to increase ethical business practices internationally.  On receiving the recognition, ADM CEO and Chairman Juan Luciano said:

“Each day, our global team of 38,000 unlocks the power of nature to enrich the quality of life, while following the highest standards of honesty and integrity. We are deeply proud of being named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies again this year, and for the recognition of our deep commitment to ethical business practices, transparency and corporate citizenship.”

ADM was established in order to:

“unlock the power of nature to provide access to nutrition worldwide. With industry-advancing innovations, a complete portfolio of ingredients and solutions to meet any taste, and a commitment to sustainability, we give customers an edge in solving the nutritional challenges of today and tomorrow. We’re a global leader in human and animal nutrition and the world’s premier agricultural origination and processing company. Our breadth, depth, insights, facilities and logistical expertise give us unparalleled capabilities to meet needs for food, beverages, health and wellness, and more. From the seed of the idea to the outcome of the solution, we enrich the quality of life the world over.”

Towards the end of last year, ADM set out plans in conjunction with InnovaFeed to create a new insect protein facility in Illinois to produce insect feed as a protein ingredient in animal feed.

Artists’ Funding

Additional federal funds are being requested from artists who work in the field nationwide.  In conjunction with the Be An Arts Hero campaign, workers in this industry purport that their endeavors invest more into the economy than agriculture and mining combined. According to Matthew-Lee Erlbach, a Chicago playwright:

“When we look at Illinois, it’s $30 billion in added value to Illinois’ economy, which is massive. It supports over 224,000 jobs in arts and culture. That’s people in front of the camera and on stage, to sound technicians to pyro technicians, engineers, puppeteers, museums docents, people who are working in broadcast, you name it. So when you look at all those jobs in Illinois, you really want to put an economic floor under them because if they go, that’s a huge chunk of Illinois’ economy that just evaporates.”

Over 200 artists have written letters as part of the campaign.  One of them is E. Faye Butler, a Goodman Theatre Chicago artist who said:

“Love us back a little bit. We need you. We need your support. We have families, homes. People have a misconception about artists as these wildflower people that roam the streets and don’t need money. We’re always thought of those without a job. People always look at us and go, ‘OK, so that’s fun. When are you going to get a job?’ This is a job. This is my life, and it’s hanging in the balance. For all of those arts workers out there, we need you. We’re independent contractors and we need your support. So fight for us.”

Should the Defend Arts Workers Now (DAWN) Act become law, artists and related businesses would receive grants valued at $43.8 billion.

Chicago’s Economy: Starbucks’ Support

Starbucks is going to be injecting a large amount of cash into the local economy. The US coffeehouse chain revealed that it will be giving $10m to the economy to support local development in an endeavor to propel economic expansion and new business owners.  This will be put primarily into the more underserved regions.

It is anticipated that at least 500 loans will be financed through this $10m donation.  Four community leaders will be given the money: Accion Chicago, Chicago Community Loan Fund, the IFF and the Local Initiative Support Corporation.

As well as money, those taking the loans will be given guidance, assistance, logistical/technical training, etc. Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks explained:

“We believe the pursuit of profit is not in conflict with the pursuit of doing good. This sustained investment will provide borrowers who often face barriers with access to capital and mentorship to grow their business and create more jobs in Chicago.” 

This is not the first time Starbucks has given generously to bolster the economy and help the impacts of the recession.  In 2011 – in conjunction with the Opportunity Finance Network – invested $5 million in its Create Jobs for USA initiative raising $15 for community lenders nationwide. 

Using Challenges to Jumpstart Careers

Why do people love to push themselves?  Over the years – pretty much since the end of the caveman days – people have traditionally tried to push themselves out of their comfort zones.  Apart from it being a healthy way to gain strength and stay in shape, mentally, stepping out of one’s comfort zone has been a proven tactic of bettering all skills.

According to an article in Business Insider written last year, the benefits of pushing oneself are beneficial to one’s career. Sammi Carmela listed four reasons why:

  1. Confidence booster
  2. Perception by others enhanced
  3. Experience
  4. Broadening of horizons

We sent two members of our staff to the Ultimate Ninjas Chicago a few months ago. Last week we interviewed them both on the impact they felt it had on their careers.  Here is the transcript of the interview our editor conducted with photographer Mozes Victor Konig.

Editor:  Mozes, why did you initially agree to take part in the Ultimate Ninjas Chicago?  Have you ever done anything like this before?
Mozes: Actually my job sometimes requires me to enter into situations that are out of my comfort zone.  But when I’m on a job I feel I do not have a choice.  In my regular day-to-day life, if I can avoid such situations then I will.  As my boys are getting older they increasingly pressure me to do things like this. That’s why I thought it would be a good idea.
Editor:  Do you not feel like it benefited your career?
Mozes: On the contrary!  Because I pushed myself for a leisure activity, it gave me much more confidence for when I am faced with something like this at work.  Usually when photographing in an event – if I get stuck in a tight spot – I feel like I’m having a panic attack.  Just last week I was asked to take shots at Six Flags and I really enjoyed it.  Usually I wouldn’t have a good time at all; I would just get on with it.
Editor: Would you say that getting out of your comfort zone in a fun way has helped you at work?
Mozes: Absolutely.  And I would advise others to do the same.  If you do something for fun and make a decision ahead of time to enjoy it, it can be so much more awesome than just being forced to do it.  Plus, when you enjoy what you’re doing on the job, you’re going to much more successful.  You should have seen some of the shots I took!
Editor: Thank you for your time Mozes.  We look forward to seeing your great work in the future.

The good thing about the Sacramento Ninja Warrior Obstacle Park is that while it comprises 7 obstacles, it enables participants to go at their own time, on their own terms and within their own levels. This is already helpful for confidence bolstering that is such a huge part of career advancement.