Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Che “Rhymefest” Smith

Grammy-winning hip hop artist and songwriter and subject of the documentary, In My Father’s House

One of hip-hop’s most respected artists, Che “Rhymefest” Smith delivers powerful insight on healing divides, finding your purpose, and empowering communities through the arts.

Rhymefest is a writer, artist, activist and teacher known for shattering negative stereotypes about hip-hop and establishing himself as a positive role model for underprivileged youth. Among his career accomplishments, he won a Grammy for co-writing “Jesus Walks” with Kanye West, and in 2015, earned a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for “Glory,” his collaboration with John Legend and Common for the film, “Selma.” That same year he was the subject of the powerful documentary, “In My Father’s House.”

A dedicated community leader, Rhymefest is the co-founder of Donda’s House, a youth arts nonprofit that provides a safe and inspiring environment for young people in Chicago.

On stage, he takes audiences behind and beyond the music with visionary strategies for healing and restoring communities and driving positive change. Listeners walk away inspired and energized, as Rhymefest effectively illustrates his motto, “true power is the power to empower others.”

Financial Literacy Competition Host

Derrick Young

Reporter for the CBS 2 Chicago morning newscast

Winner of the 2011 CBS 2 Chicago Traffic Tryouts competition, Derrick Young was awarded a contract and works alongside the

CBS 2 morning news team.

As the show’s Traffic Reporter, Derrick provides regular, weekday updates on road conditions throughout the 180 minute newscast.

In addition to working as the CBS 2 Traffic Reporter, Derrick is also a motivational speaker and health coach focusing on building life-skills, character development, fitness and wellness.

Since 1990, Derrick has mentored, coached and trained individuals on a wide range of personal development topics.

Young grew up in the Roseland community and currently lives in the South Loop.

He graduated in 1990 from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Business Administration.

 

Special Guest

Kurt Summers

City of Chicago Treasurer

Kurt Summers is a son of Chicago and a pragmatic problem solver who is passionate about serving the people of the city.

As Chicago’s newest City Treasurer, Summers is the steward of the city’s $7 billion dollar investment portfolio and is responsible for maintaining records and accounts of the city’s finances while ensuring transparency and accountability for all transactions. Treasurer Summers also serves as an advocate to empower young people, workers and small business owners, as well as programs that promote economic growth and financial education. The Treasurer sits on five local pension boards with nearly $25 billion under management.

Since taking the oath of office on Dec. 1, 2014, Treasurer Summers has hit the ground running.

The Treasurer’s first act in office was the proposal of an ambitious and audacious 90-day-plan called “Invest in Our Chicago.” The plan was intended to act as a roadmap, focused on leveraging Chicago’s economic power to increase investment in its residents, workers, businesses and neighborhoods.

Summers began his career at McKinsey & Company, a preeminent global strategy-consulting firm. Most recently, Summers served as a Senior Vice President at Grosvenor Capital Management and a member of the Office of the Chairman. In that role, Summers was a leader of the Emerging and Diverse Manager business, which invested over $2 billion with minority- and women-owned firms.

With nearly 15 years of experience in the financial services community, a background rooted in service to others has guided Treasurer Summers throughout his professional career.

Prior to his time at Grosvenor, Summers was called to serve as Chief of Staff to the Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and as the appointed Trustee for the $9 billion Cook County Pension Fund. In that capacity, Summers led county-wide reforms to provide performance management in every department.

In his role as Chief of Staff for President Preckwinkle, Summers also steered the closure of a $487 million budget deficit while keeping the administration’s promise to rollback the county sales tax, saving taxpayers more than $400 million a year. Additionally, Summers aided in reforming the county’s procurement rules and helped pave the way for a more sustainable health and hospital system.

In 2008, Summers answered the call to serve as Chief of Staff for Chicago 2016, the city’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The historic plan called for development in struggling neighborhoods and sealed Kurt’s passion to help Chicago showcase all it has to offer.

Treasurer Kurt Summers is a lifelong Chicago resident and a graduate of Whitney Young High School. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Management Distinction High Honors in Finance and International Business, with a minor in East Asian Studies, from Washington University in St. Louis. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.