Mr. Nesbitt serves as Co-CEO of The Vistria Group, LLC, a Chicago-based investment company focused on the education, healthcare and financial services industries. Prior to co-founding Vistria, Mr. Nesbitt served as CEO of The Parking Spot, an owner and operator of off-airport parking facilities. Mr. Nesbitt conceptualized and co-founded the Parking Spot and was responsible for running all strategic and operating aspects of the Company. Mr. Nesbitt sold the Company in 2011 for $370 million. Prior to launching the Parking Spot, Mr. Nesbitt was an officer of the Pritzker Realty Group, L.P.
Prior to joining Pritzker, Mr. Nesbitt was an Investment Manager at LaSalle Partners with a variety of responsibilities including investment management for regional retail properties and management and leasing for office projects and parking.
In his various leadership capacities, Mr. Nesbitt has been successful at guiding executive teams toward the achievement of goals established to maximize returns on his investments. Mr. Nesbitt’s approach to the off-airport parking business was heralded by industry insiders as extremely innovative and has been recognized in national publications like The New York Times, USA Today, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business Magazine.
Mr. Nesbitt currently serves on the Board of Directors of Jones Lang LaSalle, Norfolk Southern Corporation and American Airlines Group. He is a Trustee of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and serves as Chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation. He is former Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Housing Authority and a former board member of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee. Mr. Nesbitt served as treasurer of President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
Mr. Nesbitt has a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science degree and honorary doctorate from Albion College, Albion, Michigan.
University of Chicago Booth School of Business John Templeton Keller Professor of Behavior Science and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow
Nicholas Epley conducts research on the experimental study of social cognition, perspective taking, and intuitive human judgment. "Most people are intuitive psychologists in their daily lives - wondering why people think or behave as they do. I just happened to find a profession that enables me to answer these questions for a living," explains Epley.
His research has appeared in more than two dozen journals, including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Psychological Review, and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. His research also has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Wired, and National Public Radio, among many others, has been funded by the National Science Foundation, and has earned the 2008 Theoretical Innovation Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the 2011 Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions from the American Psychological Association. He is the author of Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want.
Epley received a bachelor's degree in psychology and philosophy in 1996 from Saint Olaf College. In 2001, he graduated from Cornell University with a PhD in psychology, where he earned a Graduate Teaching Award from the Department of Psychology as well as a Cornell University Teaching Fellowship. Epley became an Assistant Professor at Harvard University, and then joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 2005. He hopes that his students gain an appreciation for the power of scientific methodologies to provide accurate knowledge about the determinants of human thought and behavior.
Christina Hachikian is the Executive Director of the Social Enterprise Initiative at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She leads the initiative’s work to support the aspirations of students and alumni to impact societal issues and to further research on how institutions help solve global problems.
Prior to joining Booth, she was Vice President and Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Development for Cole Taylor Bank. In this role, Hachikian was responsible for building relationships within the investment community and crafting financial communications. In addition, she managed projects such as corporate capital actions, strategic planning, and financial and trend analysis. Prior to joining Cole Taylor, Hachikian was an Assistant Vice President and Senior Project Manager for ShoreBank (now Urban Partnership Bank), a triple-bottom line community development bank. There she was responsible for managing projects including growth strategy, capital raising initiatives, and operational efficiencies. She held several other related positions at ShoreBank during her seven year tenure. Hachikian also has served as a research and planning analyst for Raytheon Company. There she directed research projects and developed leadership curriculum.
Hachikian holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with a focus on strategic management and managerial & organizational behavior. She also earned an AB in public policy from the University of Chicago.
MarySue Barrett is an expert on designing effective urban solutions through creative collaboration across governments, businesses and communities. As president of the independent Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), Barrett builds bridges between the public and private sectors to solve metropolitan Chicago’s urgent planning and development challenges, refining the tactics that can help regions everywhere prepare for the needs of tomorrow.
Barrett speaks and writes frequently about why and how cities must continually reinvent themselves. She deconstructs Chicago’s and MPC’s success stories as models for cities across the globe, while offering constructive analysis when we fail to unlock our region’s full potential.
Prior to joining MPC, Ms. Barrett served as Chief of Policy to the Mayor’s Office for the Honorable Richard M. Daley. She counts among her top accomplishments Chicago's early implementation of community policing and the City's successful bid to host the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Tapping her deep knowledge of government, Ms. Barrett has recently led transition committees for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Ms. Barrett is a steering committee member of World Business Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs, co-chairing the infrastructure team and serving on the board of Current. She recently joined the Board of Directors of IFF and serves on the Advisory Board of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust. Ms. Barrett is a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. She is also active with The Chicago Network and the Economic Club of Chicago. She has participated in leadership exchanges sponsored by the International Women's Forum (1996), Rockefeller Foundation (2009) and Brookings Institution (2008 and 2011). She has a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University.
Chris Wheat serves as Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Chris coordinates policies and projects across City Agencies to advance the Mayor’s sustainability agenda. His work has included expansion of the Retrofit Chicago Partnership, the passage of Chicago’s Disposable Bag Tax, and efforts to improve the City’s recycling program.
Previously Chris worked in a variety of policy areas as Director of the Mayor’s Innovation Team. Chris’ initiatives included the development of youth intervention programs, the establishment of Chicago’s minimum wage, and creation of the Mayor’s Second Term Priorities Report. Chris started his career in management consulting at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and in finance at Stephens, Inc.
Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, Chris earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and BA from Washington University in St. Louis.
Ms. Jackson is self-described as an Executive Producer of ideas that matter. She uses storytelling, media, technology and live experiences as a force for good.
She is Founder and Principal of Mantra for Good, an organization that unites people to collaborate on projects to improve humanity, build community and impact lives. She is also Founder and President of ReflectsUs Advisors, LLC, a management consulting company focused on strategy, corporate philanthropy, communications, executive coaching, relationship mapping and collaboration.
Previously, she was Managing Director of Corporate and Community Affairs for United Airlines and President of the United Airlines Foundation. Prior to United Airlines, Ms. Jackson held the post of President, BP Foundation and Senior Global Business Adviser for BP’s Global Social Investment Business Unit. She has also served as Executive Director of The Sears-Roebuck Foundation and Assistant Director of the Sara Lee Foundation.
Ms. Jackson has been honored for achievement and was named to Savoy Magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America” and “Top 100 Most Influential Women in Corporate America.” She was named to Today’s Chicago Woman’s, “100 Women Making A Difference in Chicago” and Chicago Social Magazine’s “Who Is Chicago.” She has also been recognized with the Chicago Defender’s “Women of Excellence Award,” Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization’s “Harte Award” and the Black Public Relations Society’s “Corporate Leader Award.”
Ms. Jackson lives in Chicago, Illinois and serves on the board of directors of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the Innovation Foundation of Chicago (Chicago Ideas), 100+ Who Care Chicago and the board of advisors of the Truman National Security Project/Center for National Policy. She is an Operating Advisor to L Street Collaborative and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is also a former National Board Member of the NAACP.
Many moons ago, a child just wanted to be a scientist so he could cure his grandmother's cough. That noble quest led Shegan to become an engineer, obtaining a BS in Electrical Engineering from The University of Michigan, a MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA with Honors from Chicago Booth.
Professionally, Shegan has designed systems at two well-known technology companies (Intel, Lucent), led teams at two venture capital-backed Bay Area start-ups, worked in atomic physics at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and spent five years investing $1 Billion in other companies at Prudential Capital Group. After a successful career, Shegan felt compelled to do something with a far greater positive impact by addressing the inadequate education our children are receiving in science. The result was the creation of Kids Science Labs, which he cofounded five years ago and remains as CEO. He is a Siebel Scholar, Toigo Fellow, and recipient of the Dean’s Award of Distinction from Chicago Booth. He lives in Chicago with his wife (a doctor and former environmental engineer), daughter, and two sons.
As President of the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education, Liz Thompson is deeply engaged in the non-profit community and passionate about youth development and education. She began her formal role working with non-profits in 1993 when she was named founding Executive Director of City Year Chicago, a national service organization that was the template for the AmeriCorps Program.
In 1995, Liz was named Executive Director of Family Star Early Head Start Montessori School in Denver, Colorado, where she led a $5 million expansion of the organization. In 1998, she became active with local boards in the San Diego area where she gained further insight and experience in education and expanded her interest in philanthropy. Prior to her work with non-profits, Liz had a ten-year career with Ameritech Corporation. As one of very few women in their Network Operations organization, she led various technical departments and was eventually named special assistant to the CEO of Ameritech Illinois and director of a three-state region for Field Operations.
Liz serves as Vice Chairman of The Partnership for College Completion and is a Special Advisor to OneGoal. She is a director for The Museum of Science and Industry and serves as co-chair of Purdue University’s Minority Engineering Program Advisory Panel. She is an alumnus of the Non-Profit Leadership Program of Denver and of the Leadership Greater Chicago Program where she currently also serves as a Director.
Liz is married to Donald Thompson, retired President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald’s Corporation. They live with their two children just outside Chicago, Illinois.
What if you blended your true life passion with your professional expertise? For Don Thompson, founder of Cleveland Avenue, LLC, that means helping entrepreneurs
succeed by imparting the wisdom, skills and knowledge he’s gained throughout his impressive career.
Don celebrates people and drives results. His 25‐year ascension through the ranks of McDonald’s Corporation to become its President and CEO is one of the most respected career trajectories in corporate America. An electrical engineer by education and trade, Don approached his leadership of the world’s largest restaurant chain in a strategically methodical manner, while still embracing the warmth and enthusiasm of the dynamic teams around the world. He’s a heart leader with a head for serious business, as evidenced by his achievements such as developing the global platforms for the company’s beverages, sustainability and digital initiatives.
In 2014, Don left McDonald’s to form Cleveland Avenue, LLC, bringing together his vast restaurant expertise and engineering experience with his passion for innovation, digital trends and startup concepts. Don leads the CA team in bringing creative and consumer‐focused restaurant, food and beverage ideas to reality.
A tireless advocate of diversity and inclusion, Don serves on numerous civic and philanthropic boards. He is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, the Commercial and Economic Clubs of Chicago, Business Council, World Business Chicago and the Arthur M. Brazier Foundation. He serves as a Trustee on the boards of the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Purdue University. Thompson also serves on the boards of The Northern Trust Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, Beyond Meat and as an Advisory Board member of DocuSign, Inc. Don previously served as a Director on the Exelon Board from 2006‐2012 and the McDonald’s Corporation Board from 2011‐2015.
Don received a bachelor of science in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and an Honorary Doctorate degree in Science from Excelsior College.
Don is committed to mentoring others, fueled by his foundation in faith, family and community. Not to be outdone by the culinary geniuses he regularly encounters, Don occasionally dons a chef’s hat of his own, and enjoys cooking for family and friends.