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2021 Luncheons

International Press Club of Chicago May 2021 Program:

DATE:  Thursday, May 20, 2021


TIME: 11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

SCHEDULE: Link opens at 11:45 a.m. Guest Speaker Program followed by Q&A: 12:00 p.m.-1:00p.m.

GUEST SPEAKERS:  Patricia Eldridge, Anthony Scott, Rosalinda Silva-Dimpfl, and from 2112, Olivia Mancuso 

PROGRAM: Navigating the Pandemic Impact on Small Businesses


The Pandemic created new challenges and uncertainty for the entire world. One of the most affected communities has been the owners of Small Business. According to the Hamilton Project report published in the Wall Street Journal, the report estimated that more than 400,000 small businesses had closed in the first three months of the pandemic.


Thanks to local banks, such as Wintrust, many Small Businesses are receiving dedicated assistance from financial institutions that understand and close to the communities which the businesses serve and reside.


This month's guest speakers have all seen the impact firsthand and will speak to how Small Business owners can navigate the unique and unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 Pandemic and its aftermath.


Why is it so important to assist Small Businesses in the U.S.

  • There are 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. which account for 99.9 percent of all U.S. businesses (SBA, 2019).

  • Most small businesses in America have fewer than 500 employees. Those businesses with fewer than 100 employees account for 98.2 percent, and those with fewer than 20 employees account for 89 percent of all businesses in the country (Oberlo, 2020)

  • More than $0.60 of every $1.00 spent at a Small Business is reinvested throughout the same community (Fundera, 2019).

  • Small companies create 1.5 million jobs annually and account for 64 percent of new jobs created in the U.S. (Fundera, 2019).

About our speakers:


Patricia Eldridge, Vice President and Branch Manager, Wintrust Bank Mayfair


Ms. Eldridge has been in banking for 25 years. She has spent the better part of 20 years in the Retail Banking space. During this time she has seen the industry change and move in different directions. Having had the opportunity to work for both a Big Box Bank as well as a Community Bank has offered additional perspective.


Patricia is well versed in sales having sold everything from burgers to diamonds, but the thing that intrigued her about a career in the Banking Industry was the ability to help people. Being able to assist people and businesses with their financial needs has been what landed and kept her here. Along the journey Patricia also worked in Commercial Real Estate Community Development which further reinforced her desire to help both people and communities grow.


One of the things Patricia appreciates most about Wintrust is the commitment to work with and be involved in the Community outside the four walls of the bank although lately like the rest of us, much of this had been via Zoom. During the pandemic she had the opportunity to assist Wintrust’s lending team with the high demand and need for PPP loans. The ability to work as part of the dedicated team gave a very tangible way to help when people needed it most in uncertain times.


Patricia serves on several boards including Pulaski Elston Business Association and the Six Corners Association. Patricia also works with a number of other area chambers and business organizations including the North River Commission a designated Chicago Business Center providing workshops in Spanish for their business owners. She partners with nonprofits in her area including the Irving Park Community Food Pantry as well as other innovative business seeking to make an impact such as 2112. Patricia enjoys building relationships and recognizes we are better when we work together.


PROGRAM: “Covid-19: a Global threat to the Nervous system – and what you can do to help”


Join us on April 15 to hear Dr. Koralnik's presentation about the global threat Covid-19 poses to the entire nervous system. He will discuss his cutting-edge research, and how everyone can become part of the team and join the fight against COVID-19.


Dr. Igor Koralnik serves as Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Archibald Church Professor of Neurology, as well as Chief of the Division of Neuro-Infectious diseases & Global Neurology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He is a world-recognized expert in research on how viruses attack the brain. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Koralnik and his laboratory have focused and shown that virus variants with specific mutations can infect different cell types in the brain. He has discovered, named, and characterized three novel diseases of the brain caused by infection of neurons and meningeal cells with virus variants. 


In an effort to better understand and more effectively treat the neurological manifestations of COVID-19, Northwestern Medicine launched one of the first Neuro-COVID-19 Clinics in the United States in May 2020. By responding to the pandemic so quickly, the Division of Neuro-Infectious Disease & Global Neurology within the Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology has become an international clinical care and research leader as well as a trusted source of information. Dr. Koralnik and his team have developed unique expertise understanding how COVID-19 can lead to cognitive dysfunction, brain fog, and other neurologic problems experienced by patients after their hospitalization for COVID-19 pneumonia, as well as non-hospitalized COVID-19 “long haulers.” A study by Dr. Koralnik and fellow researchers revealed that almost one in three COVID-19 patients admitted at Northwestern developed encephalopathy—which means alteration of the brain functions. Their findings and medical recommendations have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and many international news outlets.


While much has been discovered about the short-term impact of COVID-19 on the brain and nervous system, little is known about the long-term impact of this disease. There is an urgent need for more research, and philanthropy will play an important role in enabling the Division of Neuro-Infectious Disease & Global Neurology to drive innovation in clinical care and revolutionize our understanding of how viruses, like COVID-19, affect the nervous system. 



Dr. Koralnik serves as Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Archibald Church Professor of Neurology, as well as Chief of the Division of Neuro-Infectious diseases & Global Neurology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He is a physician-scientist with 25 years of experience in caring for patients with infectious diseases affecting the nervous system, including HIV and COVID-19. His laboratory has made many important discoveries in this field, leading to improved diagnosis, management, and treatments. Dr. Koralnik and his team are closely affiliated with a number of Northwestern Medicine centers and institutes, including the Institute for Translational Neuroscience, the Institute for Global Health, and the Comprehensive COVID-19 Center. The Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology is consistently ranked in the top 5 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.


To see the American Academy of Neurology member spotlight highlighting the activities of the Neuro-Covid clinic, the research, and the participation of Northwestern medical students and trainees, please click HERE.


For Dr. Koralnik's bio and publications, please click HERE.

International Press Club of Chicago April 2021 Virtual Program in Partnership with IWA:

DATE:  Thursday, April 15, 2021



Dr. Igor J. Koralnik, M.D.

Archibald Church Professor of Neurology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Chief of Neuro-Infectious Diseases and Global Neurology at Northwestern Medicine

Director, Global Neurology Program, Institute of Global Health


The growing need for diversity in leadership roles is one of the most important topics in our society impacting all types of organizations. The United States military is one of the most notable. one of the least diversified branches of the military is the United States Air Force and this has been focal point of our guest speaker's career. To address and directly impact the succession opportunities provided to those men and women of diverse backgrounds in the USAF.


Ivan Thompson is St. Louis native, father of five and a 1986 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. He graduated with military distinction and as the Outstanding Cadet in Organizational Behavior. He retired from the Air Force in 2010 with 24 years of active duty and reserve service in the grade of Lieutenant Colonel. He served for one year as a government civil servant as the Deputy Director of the Defense Business Practice Implementation Board (DBB). The DBB was composed of senior executives drawn from the business community to make recommendations to the Chiefs of each Military Service, the Secretary of Defense and his key staff on effective strategies for implementation of best business practices of interest to the Department of Defense (DoD). As the Deputy DBB Director he facilitated and at times participated in the Task Groups chartered by the Defense Business Board. As it pertains to this book he co-led a complex and sensitive study of Minority Representation in DoD's flag officer ranks, assisting CEO team leaders in interviewing 20 of the nation's leading diversity strategy companies, distilling research from interviews, site visits and publications into succinct, feasible recommendations. He also led a segment of the research into the diversity of the senior leaders of the Armed Forces, interviewing top minority general officers and DoD leaders.


About Thompson:

Ivan Thompson is a 1986 graduate of the US Air Force Academy. He graduated with military distinction and as the Outstanding Cadet in Organizational Behavior. Ivan has over 25 years consulting senior military and civilian leaders. He has conducted senior leadership off-sites, strategic planning sessions and served as the Deputy Director of the Defense Business Practice Implementation Board. As the Deputy, he helped facilitate and lead Task Groups for the Secretary of Defense comprised of senior DoD civilians and retired and active Fortune 500 CEOs.


Ivan Thompson is the CEO of Launch Productions. He is a singer/songwriter, actor, author, business consultant, and inventor. He is a retired Air Force officer with five adult children and resides in Brooklyn, NY.


As a singer/songwriter, he has performed the National Anthem for the Los Angeles Lakers, Dodgers, LA Kings, St. Louis Rams, LA Sparks, NASCAR, NCAA, and was a guest soloist on the Bobby Jones Gospel show and Tom Joyner show. He has performed across the US and Europe as Tour Director of the Air Force’s Tops in Blue traveling entertainment team and The Color Purple national tour.


Ivan’s books and audiobooks include multiple Christian titles and two exceptional books about diversity in the Air Force--“The Air Force’s Black Ceiling” and “The Air Force’s Black Pilot Training Experience.” Ivan’s books have garnered rave reviews and are available on Amazon and Audible--several are also available in Spanish.


Ivan’s most recent significant accomplishment was leading a team to gain an honorary promotion to brigadier general for 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman, Col Charles McGee Jr.

International Press Club of Chicago March 2021 Program:

DATE:  Thursday, March 18, 2021


GUEST SPEAKER:  Ivan Thompson

PROGRAM:  "Building Senior Leader Diversity in the US Air Force."

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From the early days of the Silk Road and Mediterranean shipping to the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its successor - the World Trade Organization (WTO), trade has played an important role in supporting economic development and promoting peaceful relations among nations. 


Trade disputes and trade restrictions are the historical norm.  GATT and WTO were created post-WWII to promote a multi-lateral trading system aimed at reducing tariffs and other trade barriers.  This neo-liberal global order – is now in retreat. Numerous countries, notably the US and China, are raising tariffs on each other’s goods; others, such as Great Britain, are leaving their trade block.


Ann, a senior advisor to the United Nations, will be talking about how the system boiled  over into a retaliatory trade war, including the use of blunt instruments such as tariffs, quotas or bans? When do these instruments expand into political directives – designed to curb child labor practices, promote democracy, or even punish a sovereign regime? Following the elections, what are the priorities of the new administration and how will they shape trade polict and impact the economy going forward? 


About Ann Berg:

Ann Berg is a leading expert in commodities, commodity futures, and food security issues, and a senior advisor to the UN. She is a former grain exporter, futures trader and Chicago Board of Trade director. She has worked for intergovernmental organizations including the World Bank (WB) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the European Commission, policy think tanks and multinational corporations.


As an emerging market specialist, she has participated in commodity exchange development in Turkey, Egypt, India, Vietnam, Ukraine, and Trinidad. Currently, she is a senior advisor to the United Nations - Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome, Italy, where she recently presented Trade Disputes- Antecedents and Outcomes. Ms. Berg also writes for financial publications and is an exhibiting artist.


For more information about Ms. Berg and her great work, please visit her website:

International Press Club of Chicago February 2021 Program:

DATE:  Thursday, February 25, 2021



PROGRAM:  "Tariffs and Trade: Global Trade Tensions"

Ann Berg - IPCC March 2020 Guest Speaker

International Press Club of Chicago January 2021 Program:

DATE:  Wednesday, January 13, 2021


GUEST SPEAKER:  Stehpen Kinzer

PROGRAM:  Poisoner In Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind-Control


The award-winning foreign correspondent Kinzer's latest book, "Poisoner In Chief," is a stunning story of CIA's mind-control projects. Sidney Gottlieb made pills, powders, and potions that could kill or maim without a trace - including some intended for Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders. He paid prostitutes to lure clients to CIA-run bordellos, where they were dosed with mind-altering drugs. His experiments spread LSD across the United States, making him a hidden godfather of the 1960s counterculture. During his twenty-two years at the CIA, Gottlieb worked in the deepest secrecy. "Poisoner in Chief" reveals him as a clandestine conjurer on an epic scale.

About Kinzer:

Kinzer spent more than 20 years reporting for the New York Times, most of it as a foreign correspondent. In 1983 he became the first Times bureau chief in Nicaragua. Later he headed Times bureaus in Germany and Istanbul. He is the author of ten books, of which "Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control” is the most recent. Kinzer presently writes a world affairs column for the Boston Globe and is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

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