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Jørgen Vig Knudstorp

JØRGEN VIG KNUDSTORP

JANUARY 14, 2020

Executive Chair/ LEGO Brand Group

Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, Executive Chairman, LEGO Brand Group, addressed The Economic Club of Chicago on December 6, 2021. After brief remarks and challenging the audience to build a duck made out of LEGOs, Vig Knudstorp participated in a seated conversation moderated by Club Chair Mary Dillon, executive chair, Ulta Beauty.

You never grow too old to play. You grow old because you don’t play.

Jørgen Vig Knudstorp on the “power of play” and its importance in learning and cognitive function. 

JØRGEN VIG KNUDSTORP

SPEAKER

Executive Chairman/ LEGO Brand Group

Jørgen Vig Knudstorp is Member of the Board of LEGO A/S and Executive Chairman of LEGO Brand Group. Jørgen also holds positions as Member of the Board of Starbucks and Member of the Board of Merlin Entertainments Limited.

Jørgen joined the LEGO Group in 2001, and in 2004 he was appointed President and CEO.

He began his career at McKinsey & Company in 1998 and holds an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Economics Management from Aarhus University in Denmark.


MARY DILLON

MODERATOR

Executive Chairman/ Ulta Beauty

Mary Dillon is a Chicago-based business executive with more than 35 years of experience leading consumer-driven businesses in a diverse range of industries, from consumer pack-aged goods to restaurants to telecom to beauty and retail. The common thread across all has been Mary’s passion for leveraging customer insights, leading through the lens of culture and removing barriers to inclusion to build brand engagement and drive results. 

Mary currently serves as Executive Chair of the Ulta Beauty Board of Directors, following her successful eight-year run as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. During her tenure as CEO, Mary and her team tripled Ulta Beauty’s market capitalization to more than $18 billion, doubled revenues and transformed the company to become a leading Fortune 500 retailer. She also evolved Ulta Beauty’s Board of Directors to become one of the most gender diverse of any large public company in the nation, and championed the establishment of the Ulta Beauty Charitable Foundation to support women and families.

A well-respected business, civic and philanthropic leader, Mary serves on the Board of Directors for Starbucks Corporation, KKR, Inc., and Save the Children. She is the Chairperson for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Chair of The Economic Club of Chicago, and an executive committee member of The Business Council.

A proud Chicago native, Mary earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and Asian studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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The Honorable Gina M. Raimondo

The Honorable Gina M. Raimondo

November 8, 2021

Secretary of Commerce / U.S. Department of Commerce

The Honorable Gina M. Raimondo addressed The Economic Club of Chicago on Nov. 8, 2021. Secretary Raimondo was introduced by former Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Founder & Chairman, PSP Partners, and the conversation was moderated by Club Chair Mary Dillon, Executive Chair, Ulta Beauty.

Now is the time for business and government to work hand-in-hand to build the American economy.

Secretary Raimondo calls on the business community to help post-pandemic economic recovery. 

The Honorable Gina M. Raimondo

SPEAKER

Secretary of Commerce / U.S. Department of Commerce

Gina M. Raimondo serves as the 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris on March 3, 2021. As Secretary of Commerce, she is focused on a simple but vital mission — to spur good-paying jobs, empower entrepreneurs to innovate and grow, and help American workers and businesses compete.

Secretary Raimondo was formerly the 75th Governor of Rhode Island and its first woman governor. She grew up in Smithfield in a tight-knit Italian-American family, the youngest of Joseph and Josephine Raimondo’s three children. Her family history and her childhood experiences shaped her core beliefs in hard work, opportunity for all, and the importance of financial security.

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Mary Dillon

MODERATOR

Executive Chair/ Ulta Beauty

Mary Dillon is a Chicago-based business executive with more than 35 years of experience leading consumer-driven businesses in a diverse range of industries, from consumer pack-aged goods to restaurants to telecom to beauty and retail. The common thread across all has been Mary’s passion for leveraging customer insights, leading through the lens of culture and removing barriers to inclusion to build brand engagement and drive results. 

Mary currently serves as Executive Chair of the Ulta Beauty Board of Directors, following her successful eight-year run as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. During her tenure as CEO, Mary and her team tripled Ulta Beauty’s market capitalization to more than $18 billion, doubled revenues and transformed the company to become a leading Fortune 500 retailer. She also evolved Ulta Beauty’s Board of Directors to become one of the most gender diverse of any large public company in the nation, and championed the establishment of the Ulta Beauty Charitable Foundation to support women and families.

A well-respected business, civic and philanthropic leader, Mary serves on the Board of Directors for Starbucks Corporation, KKR, Inc., and Save the Children. She is the Chairperson for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Chair of The Economic Club of Chicago, and an executive committee member of The Business Council.

A proud Chicago native, Mary earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and Asian studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Chip Bergh

Chip Bergh

October 27, 2020

President & CEO/ Levi Strauss & Co.

Chip Bergh participated in a fireside chat with Club chair Mary Dillon, executive chair, Ulta Beauty. Bergh discussed his path to Levi’s, reinvigorating the iconic 168-year-old brand, and more. Highlighting Levi’s “Profits Through Principles” model, Bergh also shared reasons why they continue to take a firm stand on gun and voting rights, climate change, family leave and human rights. 

Fast fashion is dead, slow fashion is in. We are the epitome of slow fashion.

Chip Bergh on consumers wanting a sustainable wardrobe that allows them to purchase fewer items that are longer-lasting.

CHIP BERGH

SPEAKER

President & CEO/ Levi Strauss & Co.

Chip Bergh is the president & chief executive officer of Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.). He is also on the company’s board of directors.

Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the world’s largest brand-name apparel companies and a global leader in jeanswear. The company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi’s®, Dockers®, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.™ and Denizen® brands. Our products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide through a combination of chain retailers, department stores, online sites and a global footprint of approximately 3,000 retail stores and shop-in-shops.

Prior to joining Levi Strauss & Co. in September 2011, Chip had a 28-year career at Procter & Gamble (P&G). Chip “grew up” in brand management and served in a number of leadership positions with increasing levels of complexity and scope. His last assignment before joining LS&Co. was group president for global male grooming. He was the first P&G employee assigned to the Gillette business following P&G’s $57 billion acquisition of Gillette in 2005. He led the integration and then ran the Gillette Blades & Razors business along with all of P&G’s male grooming brands (Gillette, Old Spice and The Art of Shaving). Prior to that, Chip led all of P&G’s business in India, Southeast Asia and Australasia.

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MARY DILLON

SPEAKER

Executive Chair/ Ulta Beauty

Mary Dillon is a Chicago-based business executive with more than 35 years of experience leading consumer-driven businesses in a diverse range of industries, from consumer pack-aged goods to restaurants to telecom to beauty and retail. The common thread across all has been Mary’s passion for leveraging customer insights, leading through the lens of culture and removing barriers to inclusion to build brand engagement and drive results. 

Mary currently serves as Executive Chair of the Ulta Beauty Board of Directors, following her successful eight-year run as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. During her tenure as CEO, Mary and her team tripled Ulta Beauty’s market capitalization to more than $18 billion, doubled revenues and transformed the company to become a leading Fortune 500 retailer. She also evolved Ulta Beauty’s Board of Directors to become one of the most gender diverse of any large public company in the nation, and championed the establishment of the Ulta Beauty Charitable Foundation to support women and families.

A well-respected business, civic and philanthropic leader, Mary serves on the Board of Directors for Starbucks Corporation, KKR, Inc., and Save the Children. She is the Chairperson for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Chair of The Economic Club of Chicago, and an executive committee member of The Business Council.

A proud Chicago native, Mary earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and Asian studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Kenneth C. Griffin

Kenneth C. Griffin

OCTOBER 4, 2021

Founder & CEO / Citadel

Kenneth C. Griffin addressed the Club on October 4, 2021, for an in-person luncheon. Griffin shared his perspective on topics including the future of finance, the current political landscape, the role of philanthropy, American competitiveness and the biggest challenges facing our global economy. The conversation was moderated by Bloomberg TV Correspondent Erik Schatzker. 

I wish we saw more people in Washington who when elected thought of America first.

Ken Griffin on why he is invested in U.S. politics.

KEN GRIFFIN

SPEAKER

Kenneth C. Griffin is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Citadel. Founded in 1990, Citadel is recognized as one of the most successful and respected alternative investment firms in the world.

In 2002, Ken and his partners established Citadel Securities. Citadel Securities is one of the largest global markers, providing liquidity to institutional and retail investors in more than 35 countries around the world. Over the past two decades, Citadel Securities has transformed global financial markets, making them more open, transparent and resilient.

In addition to appearing on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful people, Ken was an inaugural inductee into Institutional Investor’s Hedge Fund Hall of Fame and has received lifetime achievement awards from both Institutional Investor and Risk magazine. Ken is committed to driving upward mobility through economic and educational opportunities. He is particularly focused on the challenges of urban education and has dramatically increased internet accessibility for students in the United States through groundbreaking initiatives to bridge the digital divide. In Chicago, Ken serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of Chicago and the Board of Directors of the Chicago Public Education Fund.

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ERIK SCHATZKER

MODERATOR

TV Correspondent / Bloomberg

Erik Schatzker is a New York based correspondent focused on high-profile events and interviews including for Bloomberg’s “Front Row.”

Over two decades Schatzker has covered everything from technology to commodities in postings and on assignments around the world. Today his main focus is on Wall Street, and he speaks regularly with the most powerful executives in banking and top money managers inclduing BlackRock’s Larry Fink, Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman, Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein and Citigroup’s Michael Corbat. Schatzker also reports live from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and the Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles.

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Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman

August 11, 2021

Co-Founder/ LinkedIn    Partner/ Greylock

Reid Hoffman participated in a live virtual program on August 11, 2021. The conversation, which was moderated by CNBC’s TechCheck Co-Anchor Jon Fortt, was wide-ranging and explored the technology innovations that excite Hoffman, advice for both budding and established entrepreneurs, and the increased role corporate leaders have in molding civic dialogue.

Be the entrepreneur of your own career.

Reid Hoffman on giving career advice to people looking to navigate a post-pandemic workforce. 

REID HOFFMAN

SPEAKER

Co-founder/ LinkedIn    Partner/ Greylock

An accomplished entrepreneur, executive, and investor, Reid Hoffman has played an
integral role in building many of today’s leading consumer technology businesses. In
2003 he co-founded LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking service. In
2009 he joined Greylock. He currently serves on the boards of Apollo, Aurora, Coda,
Convoy, Entrepreneur First, Microsoft, Nauto, Neeva, Xapo, and a few early stage
companies still in stealth. In addition, he serves on a number of not-for-profit boards,
including Kiva, Endeavor, CZI Biohub, New America, Berggruen Institute,
[email protected], the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI, and the
MacArthur Foundation’s Lever for Change. He is the host of Masters of Scale, an
original podcast series and the first American media program to commit to a 50-50
gender balance for featured guests. He is the co-author of three best-selling books: The
Start-Up of You, The Alliance, and Blitzscaling. He is an Aspen Institute Crown
Fellow, a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, and a graduate of Stanford University.

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JON FORTT

MODERATOR

C0-Anchor/ CNBC’s TechCheck

Jon Fortt is co-anchor of CNBC’s bi-coastal tech-focused program “TechCheck”. Previously, he co-anchored CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” and prior served as an on-air editor based at CNBC’s global headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Fortt joined CNBC as technology correspondent in July 2010, working from CNBC’s Silicon Valley bureau where he covered the companies, start-ups and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

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Media and Downloads
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The Honorable Barack Obama

Barack Obama

June 4, 2021

44th President / The United States of America

Former President Barack Obama addressed The Economic Club of Chicago on Friday, June 4, in front of a live virtual audience. In a wide-ranging discussion with Club Chair Debra A. Cafaro, he discussed the importance of the Obama Presidential Center in Hyde Park, and give his perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing Chicago, the U.S. and the world.

I think that so often, the image of Chicago is being dictated by some of the bad news, rather than all that greatness.

President Obama on how anchoring the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side will help Chicago’s image. 

BARACK OBAMA

SPEAKER

44th President / The United States of America

Barack H. Obama was the 44th President of the United States.

President Obama’s years of public service are based around his unwavering belief in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose. In the Illinois State Senate, he passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families, and expanded health care for children and their parents. As a United States Senator, he reached across the aisle to pass groundbreaking lobbying reform, lock up the world’s most dangerous weapons, and bring transparency to government by putting federal spending online.

He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009. After being re-elected in 2012, President Obama served his second and final term, which ended in January 2017. 

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

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DEBRA A. CAFARO

MODERATOR

Chairman & CEO/ Ventas Inc.

Debra A. Cafaro has been Venta’s Inc., Chief Executive Officer and a director since 1999 and Chairman of its Board of Directors since 2003. She also served as our President from 1999 to November 2010. In addition to her work at Ventas, Cafaro is broadly engaged across the business, public policy, arts, academic, sports and non-profit sectors. She serves on the Board of Directors of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., a bank holding company and financial services corporation (NYSE: PNC). Additionally, Cafaro is the Chair of the Real Estate Roundtable, a public policy organization that brings together leaders of the nation’s top real estate firms to address key national policy issues relating to real estate; the Ex-Officio of the Executive Committee and a Member of the Board of Directors of The Economic Club of Chicago, whose mission is to foster meaningful connections among the city’s leaders on important economic and social issues; a member of the Business Council, a private association of chief executive officers; serves on the Boards of Trustees for the University of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to successive terms on the Board of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (2015 to 2019). Prior to joining Ventas, Cafaro was President and a director of an NYSE-listed multi-family REIT, a practicing lawyer for 13 years and a judicial clerk for the Hon. J. Dickson Phillips, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Cafaro earned her B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and her J.D. cum laude from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was named its 2011 Distinguished Alumna.

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Tracee Ellis Ross

Tracee Ellis Ross

May 26, 2021

Actor, CEO, Producer, & Founder/ PATTERN Beauty

Tracee Ellis Ross, Actor, CEO & Producer, spoke to The Economic Club of Chicago on May 26, 2021. Mary Dillon, CEO, Ulta Beauty and The Economic Club of Chicago incoming chair, moderated the conversation. Questions from the audience were posed by David Snyder, President & CEO, The Economic Club of Chicago.

May the space between where you are, and where you want to be, inspire you.

Tracee Ellis Ross on her best piece of advice for entrepreneurs. 

TRACEE ELLIS ROSS

SPEAKER

Actor, CEO, Producer, & Founder/ PATTERN Beauty

Tracee Ellis Ross is the star of the Emmy-nominated ABC comedy series black-ish. For her role, Ross has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and won the 2015 and 2016 NAACP Image Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. In addition, Ross was honored and acknowledged at the 2016 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, receiving the Fierce and Fearless award.

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MARY DILLON

MODERATOR

Chief Operating Officer/ Ulta Beauty

Mary N. Dillon is Chief Executive Officer of ULTA Beauty, a position she has held since July 2013. She brings three decades of experience leading consumer-driven brands to the role, as well as a passion for leveraging consumer insights and customer­focused strategies to propel share gains and profitable growth. With Dillon’s strategic direction, ULTA Beauty has continued to see excellent sales growth and momentum in its e-commerce business and has completed the most ambitious, annual store opening program in company history, bringing the total to more than 715 stores in 47 states. Fortune Magazine recently featured her as #8 on its 2014 Business Person of the Year Top 50 listing, an accolade resulting from a compilation of financial results, company stock performance, shareholder returns and nonfinancial elements such as leadership style and strategic initiatives.

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Scott Kirby

Scott Kirby

February 2, 2021

Chief Operating Officer/ United Airlines 

Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, addressed The Economic Club of Chicago on February 2 to discuss the road ahead for United and more. The conversation was moderated by Ted Souder, head of Industry – Retail at Google, Inc., and The Economic Club of Chicago First Vice Chair, Programs. The Economic Club of Chicago President & CEO David Snyder opened the program and posed questions from the audience.

Our guiding north star as we’ve gone through this has been just do the right thing in a world where there’s so much uncertainty.

Scott Kirby on leading United Airlines through the COVID-19 pandemic.

SCOTT KIRBY

SPEAKER

Chief Operating Officer/ United Airlines

Mr. Kirby is chief executive officer of United Airlines. He served as the company’s president from 2016 to 2020 and was responsible for United’s operations, marketing, sales, alliances, network planning and revenue management. As president, he played a pivotal role in enabling United’s cultural transformation and executing the Company’s strategic growth plan. Elected in December 2020, Scott serves as the Chairman of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board (CEB).

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TED SOUDER

MODERATOR

Head of Industry, Retail/ Google

As Chief Operating Officer and group president for Starbucks, Roz Brewer leads the company’s operating businesses across the Americas (Canada, U.S. and Latin America), and Starbucks license stores as well as the global functions of marketing, technology, supply chain, product innovation, and store development organizations. Roz was appointed to the Starbucks board of directors in March 2017 and continues to serve on the board.

Prior to joining Starbucks, Roz served as president and chief executive officer of Sam’s Club, the eighth largest U.S. retailer with sales of $57 billion for fiscal year 2016. Roz joined Sam’s Club, the members-only warehouse channel of Walmart Inc. in 2012 and made history by becoming the first woman and first African American to lead a Walmart division. In 2018, Fortune ranked her #33 on its list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. During her time at the helm, she led the growth of Sam’s Club by focusing on three core growth areas: expanding membership; transforming merchandise; and amplifying the use of digital technology to enable a seamless shopping experience at scale which led to sequentially improved comp sales.

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Sal Khan

Sal Khan

December 15, 2020

Founder & CEO/ Khan Academy

Sal Khan, Founder & CEO of Khan Academy, addressed The Economic Club of Chicago on December 15, 2020. The conversation was moderated by Phyllis M. Lockett, Founder & CEO of LEAP Innovations. Questions from Economic Club members were posed by David Snyder, President & CEO of The Economic Club of Chicago.

The last thing kids need right now is stressed parents […] take care of yourselves first.

Sal Khan on advice for parents navigating home school during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sal Khan

SPEAKER

Founder & CEO/ Khan Academy

Sal Khan is the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a nonprofit educational organization that offers free lessons in math, science and humanities in multiple languages, as well as tools for parents, teachers and districts to track student progress.

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Phyllis M. Lockett

MODERATOR

Founder & CEO/ LEAP Innovations

Phyllis Lockett is a serial social entrepreneur who has led transformative efforts in the education, government and civic arenas. She is currently the founder and CEO of LEAP Innovations, an organization headquartered in Chicago that connects innovation and education to transform how students learn. LEAP works directly with educators and innovators across the country to pilot, research and scale personalized learning technologies and innovative practices across classrooms and outside learning environments.

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Stephen Schwarzman

STEPHEN SCHWARZMAN

OCTOBER 7, 2020

Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO/ Blackstone

Stephen A. Schwarzman, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Blackstone, participated in a virtual program. The conversation was moderated by ECC Chair Debra A. Cafaro, while President & CEO David Snyder moderated live questions submitted by attendees.

Sometimes failures are the most informative. If you’re adaptable, you’re observant, and you’re not scared to confront your own errors, you learn from them.

Stephen Schwarzman on how learning from failure is even more important than celebrating the wins.

Stephen Schwarzman

SPEAKER

Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO/ Blackstone

Stephen A. Schwarzman is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms with $649 billion Assets Under Management (as of March 31, 2021). Mr. Schwarzman has been involved in all phases of Blackstone’s development since its founding in 1985. The firm has established leading investing businesses across asset classes, including private equity, where it is a global leader in traditional buyout, growth equity, special situations and secondary investing; real estate, where it is currently the largest owner of property in the world; hedge fund solutions, where it is the world’s largest discretionary hedge fund investor; and credit, where it is a global leader and major provider of credit for small, middle-market and other companies. Blackstone has also recently launched major new businesses dedicated to infrastructure and life sciences investing, as well as delivering the firm’s investment management expertise and products to insurance companies.

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DEBRA A. CAFARO

MODERATOR

Chairman & CEO/ Ventas Inc.

Debra A. Cafaro has been Venta’s Inc., Chief Executive Officer and a director since 1999 and Chairman of its Board of Directors since 2003. She also served as our President from 1999 to November 2010. In addition to her work at Ventas, Cafaro is broadly engaged across the business, public policy, arts, academic, sports and non-profit sectors. She serves on the Board of Directors of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., a bank holding company and financial services corporation (NYSE: PNC). Additionally, Cafaro is the Chair of the Real Estate Roundtable, a public policy organization that brings together leaders of the nation’s top real estate firms to address key national policy issues relating to real estate; the Chair of the Executive Committee and a Member of the Board of Directors of The Economic Club of Chicago, whose mission is to foster meaningful connections among the city’s leaders on important economic and social issues; a member of the Business Council, a private association of chief executive officers; serves on the Boards of Trustees for the University of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to successive terms on the Board of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (2015 to 2019). Prior to joining Ventas, Cafaro was President and a director of an NYSE-listed multi-family REIT, a practicing lawyer for 13 years and a judicial clerk for the Hon. J. Dickson Phillips, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Cafaro earned her B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and her J.D. cum laude from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was named its 2011 Distinguished Alumna.

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