Who to Watch at Chicago Ideas Week 2012: Kirsten Lodal


There's a lot to wrap your mind around with the approaching Chicago Ideas Week, the weeklong invasion of super-smart and super-influential folks taking place at venues all over town from Oct. 8 to 14.

We're helping with a series of speaker profiles designed to highlight the speakers who will benefit you, the sexy Chicago entrepreneur. There are just over 100-plus speakers announced so far, and more to come.

In this profile: Kirsten Lodal.

Accolades: A 2001 Yale graduate who also went on to complete the executive management program at Columbia Business School's Institute for Not-for-Profit Management, Lodal is also the chairman of the Homeless Children's Playtime Project and serves on the Board of DC Greens.

Why you should care: If your heart bleeds not-for-profit and don't want to go out of business pursuing that endeavor, Lodal is pretty darn legit. She co-founded her company, LIFT, in 1998 as a sophomore in college and is still at it today. As mentioned in the previous section, she's doing other stuff as well, but LIFT, an organization that places neighborhood centers "where families can receive assistance from trained volunteers across a spectrum of social services," is very clearly a key passion of hers. If this sounds at all like a cause you can get behind – or are kicking yourself for not doing this already yourself – listen up to what Lodal spits.

When you can see her: Oct. 9, 4:30-6:30p.m., Edlis Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Read more here.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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