Thomas_KuczmarskiThomas D. Kuczmarski, President of Kuczmarski Innovation and Co-Founder of Chicago Innovation, is a nationally recognized expert in the innovation of new products and services. Over the course of his career, he has helped hundreds of clients, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 corporations, learn to systematically unlock the value of innovation. Chicago Innovation, co-founded 16 years ago by Tom Kuczmarski, has grown into a year-round series of events celebrating genius new products, services and organizations being created in the Chicago area. The organization has a STEM program reaching 3,000 kindergarten through eighth graders and a mentoring program for women that has grown exponentially. His seventh and most recent book, Lifting People Up, focuses on praise and recognition in the workplace. Mr. Kuczmarski teaches product and service innovation at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management where he is Senior Lecturer and Visiting Scholar in the Center for Innovation and Technology. Before founding Kuczmarski Innovation, he was a Principal at Booz, Allen & Hamilton. While there, Mr. Kuczmarski assisted more than 100 U.S. consumer and industrial goods companies in the areas of marketing, new product development, strategic business analysis and organizational planning. In addition, he led the firm’s in-depth research of the best practices employed by more than 700 U.S. firms in their new product management processes.


Elaine PofeldtElaine Pofeldt is an independent journalist who specializes in small business, entrepreneurship and careers. She is the author of The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business, a look at how entrepreneurs are hitting seven-figure revenue in businesses where they are the only employees (Random House, Jan. 2, 2018). Her work has appeared in FORTUNE, Money, CNBC, Inc., Forbes, Crain’s New York Business and many other business publications and she is a contributor to the Economist Intelligence Unit. She is also a ghostwriter. As a senior editor at FORTUNE Small Business, where she worked for eight years, Elaine was twice nominated for the National Magazine Award for her features and ran the magazine’s annual business plan completion. Elaine graduated from Yale University with a BA in English. She lives in in New Jersey with her husband and their four children and in her free time enjoys taekwondo, yoga and running.