Left to right:
Left to right: (row 1) Michael Puente, Christen Carter, Margarita Geleske, Mara Hauser
Left to right: (row 2) Rob Metzger, Larry Moats, Gregory Swiegert, Max Temkin


Michael Puente, Reporter   |   WBEZ
Michael Puente is a reporter for WBEZ, covering northwest Indiana and Cook County government. Among his recent assignments was extensive coverage of then-Governor Mike Pence’s Vice Presidential candidacy and subsequent election. The first 13 years of Michael’s journalism career was in print, including as a reporter at the Daily Herald. He got his start in radio as co-host of the Latin Lingo Show on WJOB AM 1230 in Hammond, Ind., and joined WBEZ in 2006. His work frequently is aired nationally, and his WBEZ work has earned more than three dozen awards, including honors from the Indiana and Illinois Associated Press broadcasters associations, the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists and the ChicagoHeadline Club. He is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.


Christen Carter, President/Owner   |   Busy Beaver Button Co.
Christen Carter started Busy Beaver out of her college apartment in 1995, making merchandise buttons for Guided By Voices. Twenty years later, Busy Beaver has evolved into a 25-person custom button mecca, creating more than 85,000 designs and producing tens of millions of buttons for clients ranging from breweries to museums to individual consumers. Christen also serves as president and co-curator of the Busy Beaver Button Museum on Armitage Avenue, which shares a history of people and their thoughts, feelings and expressions through buttons. She is committed to the value of community and making change.

Margarita Geleske, Executive Director   |   INCubatoredu
Margarita Geleske developed her marketing and advertising career at the Leo Burnett Company. Since retiring, she has focused on raising her sons and matters that impact children. She serves as a trustee for the Barrington 220 Educational Foundation, and helped establish the INCubatoredu program at Barrington High School. She believes the combination of community business experts and educators creates an authentic learning environment for students, and she encourages all high schools to offer the program.

Mara Hauser, Founder/CEO   |   25N Coworking
Mara Hauser is an entrepreneur, interior designer, mother of two and the driving force behind the creation of 25N Coworking, a suburban co-working community and meeting space. A graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in interior design, she has been bringing a unique vision to the workplace of the future for businesses nationwide for 30 years. Her corporate design experience spans numerous industries and company sizes, and she is now focusing on building an innovative workspace for the home-based business entrepreneur, independent worker and contingent employee. She is involved in numerous civic and philanthropic activities that support the local community, small businesses and women in business.

Rob Metzger, Director, Investment Banking Academy   |   College of Business University of Illinois
Rob Metzger is the Director of the Investment Banking Academy and an investment banking instructor. He joined the University of Illinois faculty after an 18-year career in the investment banking industry. From 1999 to 2015, Rob was with William Blair & Company, a leading global investment bank focused on emerging growth companies. He was named a partner in 2005 and, in 2010, was named head of the Technology and Financial Services groups. During his career at Blair, Rob provided mergers and acquisitions and capital raising advisory services on a global basis to a broad array of growth companies, executing over 150 transactions. Prior to joining William Blair, Rob worked at ABN AMRO, A.T. Kearney, Price Waterhouse and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

Larry Moats, Owner   |   Moats Office Properties
Larry Moats is a businessman with a strong public service background. He began his first business as a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and, under his ownership, Moats Office Properties – a family-owned business that owns and operates office buildings across the northwest suburbs – continues to flourish. Additionally, his electrical contracting business provides power, control systems and other services to organizations including Great Lakes Naval Base and Fermi National Accelerator Lab.

Gregory Swiegert, Senior Manager, Sales   |   RACO Industrial Corp/Atherton Machinery
Gregory Swiegert has 35 years of experience selling and supporting CNC and manual metalworking machine tools for both chip and fabrication sectors of the industrial economy. He also knows the patent process, having worked with his father on the patent for the invention of the cordless telephone, among other ventures. A graduate of Indiana University, Swiegert also holds an MBA in organizational development from North Park University. He is active in fostering manufacturing education and industrial maintenance programs, and is a member of the Government Relations Committee for TMA (Technology & Manufacturing Association).

Max Temkin, Co-Creator   |   Cards Against Humanity
Max Temkin, a Chicago-based graphic designer, conceived the idea for Cards Against Humanity while home from college playing card and board games with high school friends on winter break. The group made up some games of their own, and one stuck. After crafting decks of the new game for the friends to take back to their respective colleges in 2009, the group realized it had fans outside their circle. When they reconvened over spring break, they set up a website, uploaded cards, designed a logo and took the project to Kickstarter, where it raised more than $15,000. Cards Against Humanity eventually became the No. 1 game on Amazon. Temkin has created other games, including Humans vs. Zombies and Samurai Gunn, and continues to innovate. Among his newest innovations is Podcast Thing, a website that helps people find great podcasts. He also is on the National Advisory Council for, connecting teachers in high need communities with donors who want to help.