Why Solstice Loves ITA
Friday, June 7, 2019
Posted by: Kaylin Berg
Kelley Manthey, CEO, Solstice
Abbott J. Liebling may not have predicted the impact of his 1952 article titled “Chicago: The Second City” in the New Yorker. The nickname of “The Second City” has been synonymous for Chicago for well over a century. But what Liebling may have never thought about was how this moniker would apply to the age and maturity of technology. Not in the sense of second to someone else, but more of the second coming of a motion. Chicago is – in many ways – a driving force behind the next wave of technology thought leadership and innovation, and the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is a platform for supporting and amplifying technology innovation in Chicago.
It is this resurgent characteristic of the next technology thought leadership and innovation that drives me to support the Illinois Technology Association (ITA). One of this organization’s main missions is to build an “ecosystem and infrastructure to network with other similar-sized, fast-growing companies”. The existence of these networks allows the spread of thought leadership and innovation.
Additionally, ITA is dedicated to creating Chicago as a premier destination for technology companies and talent. This is seen in its mission around Talent. They advocate for Chicago conferences and universities throughout the country by creating visibility to the demand in Chicago.
As a business leader to a fast-growing business, I love that ITA not only serves as a resource to my firm but also as a venue for us to pay-it-forward to bring our expertise to provide support to the start-up and tech community.
ITA provides the ability for our people to grow as leaders through their involvement in ITA initiatives. Our female leaders at Solstice take part in an ITA supported initiative Women Influence Chicago (WIC). This initiative sets out to cultivate women leaders, connect the community and increase female leadership at growth and enterprise tech companies. We believe it’s important to highlight women in leadership positions so that we can provide an example of what is possible and provide necessary support as women navigate their careers. Our COO, Marisa Mann, is a member of WIC and has used WIC as her platform to drive awareness on change needed to help close the gender gap.
Our expertise in emerging technology is our core differentiator as a business. The ITA AI and Machine Learning Council helps us not only stay connected with the emerging tech scene in Chicago but also gives us an outlet to educate and share our experiences. The AI Council works to build connections, share expertise and establish a unified voice for artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies within the Chicago technology community. Our CTO of AI Technology, Ryan Maguire, has used the AI Council to engage with other business leaders on topics related to the emerging applications of AI technology that help inform our business strategy.
These are just a few of the reasons that I love the ITA and the value Solstice gets from ITA. I would encourage anyone interested in making meaningful connections within the Chicago tech scene or learning about support available for your growth stage business to attend an upcoming ITA event or program.
I envision being a part of ITA for years to come.