Freehand Chicago

19 E Ohio St.

United States

Women in Tech Breakfast

Friday, 9 September 8 – 9:30 am CDT

About This Event
We invite you to join us for this interactive breakfast for Women in Technology. We are featuring great women in tech to give their insight on how they reached their level of success, advice on navigating the workplace, and how we can help the next generation of women in tech.

Join us for lightning talks by a handful of amazing women in the Chicago tech scene and take a deeper dive into the issues women face in the tech industry and find solutions to how we can rise above the obstacles and thrive in this growing field.

Breakfast 8:00am-8:30am
Lightning Talks 8:30am-9:00am
Connecting and Sharing 9:00am-9:30am



Jennifer Viola Business Intelligence Professional

Jennifer Viola has 20-years of experience in the Data/Analytics Industry.  She started her career at Harris Bank as a data-entry clerk, where she quickly caught the data analysis bug by being curious about the performance of the team as a whole and in regards to data quality and accuracy. For the next 10 years, she worked her way up the ladder there focusing on reporting and analytics, while completing her undergrad degree during night school, gaining valuable technical expertise on the job and rounding out her proficiency with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She’s successfully niched herself between Business and IT, and spent the next 10 years of her career gaining invaluable experience in different industries doing everything from ETL integrations to high level analysis for C-level executives while earning a specialized Business Intelligence Master’s Program degree in SQL Server Technologies.   She’s a recent published author in the Data Analytics Industry, through TDWI and its premium publication The Business Intelligence Journal, having written a paper titled “Proven Tactics That Will Simplify Your Data Management Strategy.” She always looks forward to turning her invaluable experiences into teaching others how to achieve the same successes.

Ellen Prinzi Founder and CEO,
Olio City

Ellen Prinzi is the founder and CEO of Olio City. She came up with the idea while spending one too many hours researching trips and cities. Her passion for travel and love of experiencing new cities and places led her to create Olio City. Ellen wanted a way to discover a city in a single application instead of having to check four or five sites and with recommendations personalized to her tastes. She has a background in sports operations and marketing and has worked for several MLB teams including the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Leslie Vickrey CEO,
ClearEdge Marketing

After a short stint in Colorado post college graduation pursuing a career as a ski bum, Leslie Vickrey began her professional career in marketing for well-known companies such as McDonald’s Corporation and Junior Achievement. However, one taste of working for a technology company and Leslie quickly found her niche. As CEO of ClearEdge Marketing, Leslie is focused on making a difference in the Chicago tech community by raising awareness of the smart and wonderful companies headquartered here. Leslie’s passion for creating meaningful connections extends beyond ClearEdge. In 2013, Leslie Co-Founded ARA, a group dedicated to attracting, retaining and advancing women in tech. She’s also on the Board of Directors for i.c.stars and the Chicago Innovation Awards, and was recognized by The Blue Sky Vault, Blue Network, featuring 100 of Chicago’s most compelling innovators and entrepreneurs, was inducted into the UIC Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, was named one of the 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year and was part of Chicago Inno’s inaugural 50 on Fire.

Emilia Merchen General Manager,
Freehand Hotel

Prior to joining the Freehand Chicago opening team, Emilia opened PUBLIC Chicago and The Wit Hotel Chicago. Most recently, as the Director of Rooms for the Hyatt Magnificent Mile, Emilia actively managed a $25 million rooms renovation while executing hotel strategy and day-to-day operations. Emilia started her career at the Four Seasons Chicago after studying Hotel Administration at Cornell University. Throughout her career, Emilia has closely tracked international hostel and hotel trends through her ambitious travels.

La’Shon Anthony Small Business Consultant,

La’Shon Anthony is a consultant, speaker, instructor, and writer with over 10 years of marketing experience. She provides web development, promotions, and design solutions nationally for small business owners & nonprofits. She is also a speaker and mentor through several organizations. La’Shon received her Bachelors from Roosevelt University in Chicago and is the Community Leader for the Anita Borg Institute’s Chicago chapter.


About Our Partners

Freehand Hotel


Freehand Hotel is located in Chicago’s downtown River North neighborhood, housed in a classic 1927 building. Inside, we’ve collaborated with design firm Roman and Williams to transform the former Tokyo Hotel. On the lobby floor you will find a second edition of our celebrated Broken Shaker mixology bar, serving up signature cocktails and bites. Café Integral welcomes you as you enter the hotel to try out fine Nicaraguan coffee and seasonal dishes. With innovative design, affordable shared and private rooms, dynamic food and beverage programs and a comfortable community atmosphere your choice for a stress-free stay in Chicago couldn’t be simpler.

Freehand is part of a larger hotel group, Sydell Group, which includes NoMad, Line, and Saguaro.

Anita Borg Institute


The Anita Borg Institute recently launched a network of locally-organized communities to help women technologists get connected, find new opportunities and meet their career goals. This is an online & off-line system for individuals, academia, and industry leaders to provide resources, information, training, and professionals to their members locally. ABI’s mission has always been to advance women in technology to close the gender gap. However, their website at is also open to men and membership is free!


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