Keynotes

NeoCon is complemented by first-class educational programming featuring keynotes that help continue to push the boundaries of design and be a crucial incubators of ideas in the industry.

2017 Keynote Speakers

Arianna Huffington [KE1]

Founder of the Huffington Post and founder and CEO of Thrive Global

This Keynote is full.

Details
  • date
  • TIME
  • LOCATION
    NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Fee Free (Registration Required)

Arianna Huffington is the founder of The Huffington Post, the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, and the author of 15 books, including, most recently, Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In August 2016, she launched Thrive Global, a corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success.

She has been named to Time Magazine's list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.

She serves on numerous boards, including Uber and The Center for Public Integrity.

Her last two books, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time, both became instant international bestsellers. She is a mother, sister, flat shoe advocate, and sleep evangelist.

Jessica Green [KE2]

Founding director of the Biology and the Built Environment (BioBE) Center and co-founder and CTO of Phylagen

This Keynote is full.

Details
  • date
  • TIME
  • LOCATION
    NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Fee Free (Registration Required)

How can we create sustainable cities and healthier buildings—including classrooms, hospitals, offices, and homes—by studying microbes? TED Senior Fellow Jessica Green explains how in visually rich talks that chart the frontier of bio-inspired design. She examines microorganisms to touch on deeper questions about humanity: What does it mean to be an individual? Where does your identity begin, and where does it end? 

Jessica Green is a world renowned scientist inspiring people to think about bacteria in entirely new ways. An Alec and Kay Keith Professor of Biology at the University of Oregon and professor at the Santa Fe Institute, Green is helping us see how the microbial blueprint of our bodies, homes, cities, and forests impacts our world, and our future. As co-founder and CTO of Phylagen, a DNA data harvesting and analytics company, Green envisions a future for urban design that promotes sustainability, human health, and well-being. 

Green is currently spearheading efforts to model urban spaces as complex ecosystems that house trillions of diverse microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans, and with their environment. She calls it the “built environment microbiome.” As founding director of the Biology and the Built Environment (BioBE) Center, she is working with architects and engineers to advance our understanding of how microbial communities assemble, interact, evolve, and influence public health. In addition, she is co-creating a graphic novel about the urban microbiome with graphic designer Steve Green and writer and TED Fellow Anita Doron.

Green is internationally recognized for highly cited publications in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Her work has been featured in TIME, ABC, NBC, NPR, Forbes, Discover, Scientific American, and The Economist. She is the recipient of the Blaise Pascal International Research Chair, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and a TED Senior Fellowship. She earned an M.S. in Civil/Environmental Engineering and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering, both at the University of California, Berkeley.    

John Ronan [KE3]

Founding principal of John Ronan Architects

This Keynote is full.

Details
  • date
  • TIME
  • LOCATION
    NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Fee Free (Registration Required)

John Ronan FAIA is founding principal of John Ronan Architects in Chicago, founded in 1999.  He serves as Lead Designer on all projects the office undertakes and is known for his abstract yet sensuous work which explores materiality and atmosphere.  John holds a Master of Architecture degree with distinction from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan.  

In 1999, he was a winner in the Townhouse Revisited Competition staged by the Graham Foundation and his firm was the winner of the prestigious Perth Amboy High School Design Competition in 2004, a two-stage international design competition to design a 472,000 square foot high school in New Jersey.  In December 2000, he was named as a member of the Design Vanguard by Architectural Record magazine, and in January 2005 he was selected to The Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices program.  John has lectured widely and his work has been exhibited internationally, including the Art Institute of Chicago and The Architectural League of New York’s Urban Center.  His work has been covered extensively by the international design press, and a monograph on his work, entitled Explorations, was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2010.   A publication on his Poetry Foundation building by the Center for American Architecture & Design at the University of Texas was published in 2015.  His firm has been the recipient of two AIA Institute National Honor Awards—for the Poetry Foundation and The Gary Comer Youth Center, both in Chicago, and is a finalist firm for the Obama Presidential Center. 

John is currently Professor of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture, where he has taught since 1992.  His interests include drawing, writing and fly fishing.  He lives in Chicago with his wife and two daughters.