The Executives' Club Of Chicago

The Flame


Volume 1, Issue 2

October 2017


“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” – Steve Jobs


As senior leaders, we must be the initiators for innovation at our organizations. We set the culture and enable our employees to look for innovative solutions to move our organizations forward. As an organization, The Club is committed to innovating internally and externally and encourage our members to do the same.


There are ways for all industries to be innovative and find solutions that make a big impact. One perfect example of leading innovation is the pharmaceutical industry. With research and development soaring to new heights, the pharma industry is working hard to innovate new healthcare practices and develop innovative new drugs to offset high prescription costs. On October 25, 2017, The Club will welcome three world-class pharma executives as they discuss the future of pharma innovation.


As members of The Executives’ Club, you have the opportunity to grow and develop personally and professionally and stay up-to-date with innovative practices. Our Innovation Forum, sponsored by KPMG, is a great place for members to share innovation trends and share best practices. In addition to discussing innovation topics, the group partners with The Club to host Innovation Programs throughout the season.


I would like to invite you to get involved: come to an Innovation Forum event, attend an innovation related program, or share your best practices and point-of-view on MY ECLink. Creating a culture focused on innovation will require an open mind and collaboration. We are here to partner with all of you, our members, on your innovation journey.


Ana Dutra

Chief Executive Officer

The Executives' Club of Chicago




Member Spotlight

Marsha Cruzan

Regional President, Commercial Banking

U.S. Bank

Board Member, The Executives' Club

What is your favorite quote or motto that you live by?

"Live out of your comfort zone."

What/who inspires you?

My husband, Tom, who recently beat stage 4 cancer.

What do you enjoying doing outside of work?

Rock climbing and anything outdoors.

What would colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

I wanted to be a librarian and a nun in grade school.

What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?

I am the best "dog" mother in the world.

Scott O’Neill

Director, Client Services

Robert Half Management Resources

What is your favorite quote or motto that you live by?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function” – F Scott Fitzgerald

What/who inspires you?

Challenges. Creating solutions that make the impossible, possible.

What do you enjoying doing outside of work?

Being with family, going to the dog park, and flying for Pilots and Paws.

In one word, describe yourself.


What would colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

I served in Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force before attending University.


Below are a collection of articles submitted by Executives' Club members on how their companies are on the cutting-edge of innovation.

Building Bridges in the Community to Create Innovation for a Pediatric ICU


“IGNITE Innovation” is an innovation program focused on critically ill children at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital for Children. Founded and led by Dr. Marcelo Malakooti, an attending physician in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Lefkofsky Pediactric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Read More...

Year Up & The Opportunity Divide: The Challenge and A Program Model Solution


There are 6 million young adults in the US, ages 18-24, who are disconnected from employment and education due to systemic socio-economic inequities. Too often characterized as an economic burden, these talented, motivated young adults are being overlooked by employers. Meanwhile, America’s employers face a real and growing need for talent. Read More...

Health Care Innovation: How Technology Can Improve the Health System and Make Care More Accessible


In recent years, there has been an incredible transformation in the health care industry, especially for consumers and employers. A decade ago, health plans worked directly with their employer customers to manage almost all employee health benefit decisions, leaving consumers relatively unaware of or isolated the costs associated with their health benefits and care decisions. Read More...


Rejecting the Status Quo: Innovation Can Be Taught


The dizzying pace of digital technology is driving seismic shifts in the global marketplace, demanding that companies and their people become innovation experts just to keep up. In today’s workplaces, the status quo is a recipe for stagnation. Read More...


Making More Noise about Chicago's Innovators


In 2002, when the Chicago Innovation Awards was launched, the goal was simple – let’s take the spotlight off the coasts and shine it right here on Chicago. As is the case with any new start-up, our organization started small too. In year 1, we had just a few dozen nominees and an awards ceremony that brought together about 75 people for a stand-up cocktail reception at the Sutton Place Hotel. Read More...

Organizational Innovation: Building Muscle Memory To Enable Long-Term Growth


For fifteen years, Insitum has successfully worked with top-rated companies, NGOs, and startups on innovation and strategic research endeavors all over the globe. From Chicago to Mexico, to Indonesia, we’ve been helping companies take a deeper approach to innovation. Read More...

Human-centered Innovation at NTT DATA


For any new product or solution to be successful, it must engage its audience and solve a real-world need. In short, it must be human centered. At NTT DATA Services, our approach to introducing any new technology revolves around users, their experiences and their behaviors. Read More...


Amazon and the Grocery Wars: How Can Small Grocery Retailers Compete?


It’s no secret that innovation is key to staying successful and competitive no matter what industry you are in. For every wildly successful business, there’s a company they have disrupted and left in the dust. Look at Blockbuster versus Netflix, taxis versus Ubers and hotels versus Airbnb, just to name a few. Read More...


Fostering a Culture of Innovation


It’s no secret that innovation is key to staying successful and competitive no matter what industry you are in. For every wildly successful business, there’s a company they have disrupted and left in the dust. Look at Blockbuster versus Netflix, taxis versus Ubers and hotels versus Airbnb, just to name a few. Fostering a culture of innovation is never a quick or easy fix. Read More...

Global Nonprofit Smile Train is Using Technology to Change the World One Smile at a Time


Each year, more than 170,000 children are born with a cleft lip and/or palate in developing countries. The impact on these children’s lives goes far beyond simply cosmetic. Often, these children cannot eat, breathe, hear or speak properly. They are routinely ostracized and don’t attend school, ultimately barring them from being employable as adults. Read More...


The January edition of The Flame will feature articles focused on finance. Please keep the word count between 500-800 words. The deadline to submit is Tuesday, December 15.


A Look Back in History

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Programs in Review

Operationalizing Diversity and Inclusion

Why should businesses care about diversity? Greg Jones, Chief Diversity Office of United Airlines, started his career as an electrical engineer, so he takes a hard-headed approach to questions about effective business leadership. As he put it, there’s no guarantee that hiring a bunch more women or people of color will make your profit skyrocket in the next quarter. Read More...



Building A New Global Food Giant

How do you rev up a huge international company in a traditional industry? How do you make the brands relevant and exciting? How do you stimulate growth? These are some of the challenges Bernardo Hees, CEO of The Kraft Heinz Company, talked about at the Executives’ Club of Chicago on September 11. Rather than focusing on one or two key points, Hees’ comments were wide ranging, focusing on high level strategies. Read More...

Way to Win: Achieving Excellence Through Teamwork

Wow! What a pleasure to listen to Debra Cafaro, CEO of Ventas, talk about her career and her achievements at the Executives’ Club Women’s Leadership Series on September 26. One of my pet peeves is when high-powered women act as if their success just happened to them. Debra did nothing of the sort. Throughout her conversation she identified a number of forces that led to her remarkable success. Read More...

A special thanks to Gail Golden, MBA, Ph.D., Principal of Gail Golden Consulting, LLC for providing these program recaps for members of The Club. You can read more of her work by visiting her blog.


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Chicago, IL 60603