Meet Little Black Dress Night’s Sponsors: ActiveCampaign and TechNexus

We’re pretty lucky here at Chicago Tech Academy to have the kind of sponsors we do. Little Black Dress Night was started by Ms. Tiara Wheatley, Assistant Principal and Co-Sponsor of the Young Women’s Leadership Society (YWLS) 5 years ago. This event has become the school’s biggest source of donations, while also fulfilling its real-world connection by introducing our young women to a diverse line-up of female all-stars and a social network. Recently, Jada Harmon, Sophomore at Chicago Tech Academy and a member of the YWLS spoke with ActiveCampaign (Elite Sponsor) and TechNexus (Gold Sponsor) about their own experiences in technology and entrepreneurship and why their organizations believe in the mission of ChiTech’s Little Black Dress Night (LBDN).

Meet LBDN 2019 Elite Sponsor, ActiveCampaign and Vice-President of People, Denise Bindelglass

Co-Host and Elite Sponsor of LBDN 2019

ActiveCampaign’s mission is to help growing businesses make meaningful connections with their customers. If you ask us, they are also committed to making meaningful connections with the Chicago community. ActiveCampaign graciously agreed to host the 5th Annual Little Black Dress Night, joining the ranks of past sponsors like CNA Insurance and mHub. Not only is ActiveCampaign an Elite sponsor of this year’s event but they are also providing the food, drinks, space, and volunteers to help make this event a success. ActiveCampaign excels at helping small to mid-sized business with their marketing automation. In fact, they have over 70,000 customers! Recently, ChiTech Sophomore, Jada Harmon spoke with the VP of People, Denise Bindelglass at ActiveCampaign, to learn more about the company and Denise.

Jada began the conversation by asking Denise why ActiveCampaign agreed to support LBDN2019. She was thrilled to learn that ActiveCampaign was impressed with the school’s mission and vision and that it fit with their company’s core value of Diversity & Inclusion. She then took the opportunity to do a little prying! Jada was interested to know what high school was like for Denise. Jada learned that one of the best things about being a grown-up is having the confidence to admit that high school can be difficult! Thanks for the honesty, Denise!

Denise went on to tell Jada that many of the employees of ActiveCampaign were excited about the event. In fact, there will be many ActiveCampaign-ERs, as we’re dubbing them, at the event and many serving in volunteer roles!

ActiveCampaign has its own giving vehicle called Active Impact. They partner with organizations that fit their company’s core values – mostly centered on diversity and education. Good thing ChiTech offers both! Jada found Denise to be extremely impressive and smart. One of the notes that stood out most to the ChiTech team was Denise’s comment that leadership is not only a gift but also a skill. She truly believes that early learning and practice of the skill in high school, especially for young women will serve them well later in their careers.

Jada couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask Denise if she had any advice for young women going on to college and pursuing careers in technology or entrepreneurship? Her response – never think that engineering or technology-based careers aren’t creative – because they are!

Meet LBDN2019 Sponsor, TechNexus and CEO, Terry Howerton

Gold Sponsors, LBDN 2019

Most of you already know that TechNexus founder, Terry Howerton, was instrumental in launching Chicago Tech Academy in 2009. Terry seeks all things tech and is one of the biggest advocates of the school and our students. Bet you didn’t know that he started his first company at the age of 16! Today, he is the board chairman of Chicago Tech Academy and has donated countless hours, resources and space at TechNexus to the high school. TechNexus finds, funds and grows technology ventures as a force multiplier for entrepreneurs and enterprises. As one of the original startup incubators, TechNexus has done so for dozens of corporate partners and more than 500 startups. The company curates the power of collaboration to harness disruption and create new market opportunities.

Recently, ChiTech Sophomore, Jada Harmon spoke with Terry, in celebration of TechNexus’s role as a Gold Sponsor of this year’s LBDN 2019 event. Jada asked Mr. Howerton what his hope for LBDN 2019 was as Chairman of the board and was surprised to find out that it centered on the school’s real-world learning and mentorship programs. If Howerton had his way, every professional who attends the event would agree to be a mentor to a ChiTech student. ChiTech agrees! You see, Terry truly believes that it’s important for more children, in particular students from underserved communities, to have access to tech jobs. He also advocates that the way to inspire students is by providing a direct social and professional network to them. Since 2009, Terry has been working with a talented board of directors and tech friends to connect the tech and entrepreneurial community with the students of Chicago Tech Academy.

Never has ChiTech known Terry or the TechNexus community to say no to a student in need or an outrageous request to host an event in their incubator space. TechNexus hosts student interns each spring and summer – helping to connect high schoolers with skills and income! We could go on about ChiTech’s relationship with Mr. Howerton and the school but that would make him blush. Instead, we’ll end with something we think Terry would appreciate. We need each of you to mentor and volunteer. Without access to you, our students cannot become the future pipeline of diverse tech talent in our city!

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