What to Watch at Ideas Week: Erik Proulx

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There's a lot to wrap your mind around with the approaching Chicago Ideas Week, and we're helping with series of speaker profiles designed to highlight the benefit to you.

In this profile: Erik Proulx

Accolades: The way Proulx tells it, being laid off in 2008 from his nearly 15-year career at one of the biggest ad agencies in the country was the greatest recognition he ever could've gotten. Really.

Why you should care: To elaborate on the point above, it was only after losing his job that Proulx "realized that no matter how good you are or how hard you work, being on another company’s payroll will always carry a risk of being let go." That's something any entrepreneur should be able to relate to, and rather than mope around in his bathrobe, Proulx turned to becoming a self-described "employment activist."

How? Well, Proulx took what was potentially a sour situation and made Lemonade, an inspiring documentary about 16 people just like him, who needed to be laid off from their jobs to find direction in their lives and careers. It's about starting over, which, again, is something most entrepreneurs should be able to relate to.

Major life-changing transitions can be terribly intimidating and even crushing things to face, particularly when you weren't the one to make the call for it. But Proulx has dedicated himself to showing how those changes aren't an end but a whole new beginning. If you need a pep talk, don't miss this.

When you can see him: October 15, DuSable Museum, 12 p.m.

You can check out the full list of speakers here, and register for passes here.

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