Immigrant Heritage Month – Immigration and Entrepreneurship in Chicago


June 04, 2015 at 7pm


20 N Upper Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606
United States


Antonio Garcia

Chicago has one of the richest immigration histories among American cities. Hailing from IrelandGermany, Russia, Italy, Austria, Asia, and Latin American, people have come to Chicago to work and build their homes. This June, celebrates Immigrant Heritage Month by bringing together a diverse group of immigrant entrepreneurs to talk about what makes Chicago the most welcoming city in the U.S.


Shradha Agarwal is the co-founder of ContextMedia, a healthcare media company recognized as one of the 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For two years running as well as a Top Gen Y Employer. She is a seed investor through JumpStart Ventures, mentor at the Founder Institute & Blueprint Health, serves on the boards of HY Connect and Northwestern Student Holdings, and is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. Shradha was honored as a Champion of Change by the White House, recognized as Best Female Founder at the United Nations, and won Tech Woman of the Year in Chicago in 2013. 

Tonantzin Carmona is the Deputy Policy Director and Director of the Office of New Americans in the Chicago Mayor's Office. She has worked in the Emanuel Administration on a wide range of policy issues – including immigrant integration policies, as well as sustainability, public health, and small business initiatives. Prior to her work at the Mayor’s Office, Carmona worked with Crimson Leadership Group to create opportunities for underserved communities, and immigrant students and families in Illinois high schools to engage with the college admissions process and leadership development. Carmona is the granddaughter of immigrants and community volunteers and was born and raised in the Little Village community. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Northwestern University and currently resides in the Avondale community.

Alpana Singh is the Proprieter and Master Sommelier of The Boarding House in River North. From an early age, she worked in her family's ethnic grocery store in Monterey, California. While waiting tables in college, she discovered her love for wine and found that it combined her varied interests of traveling, history and food. In 2000, at the age of 23, she became the sommelier for the highly acclaimed Everest Restaurant in Chicago. Three years later, Alpana passed the final level of the Master Sommelier exam. For ten seasons, she served as the host of the Emmy Award-winning restaurant review televison show, Check, Please!, which aires weekly in Chicago on the PBS station. Nationally, Alpana has appeared on The Today Show and Food Network's Iron Chef America. Most recently she received the 2013 Sommelier of the Year Wine Star award from Wine Enthusiast and was also named one of Food & Wine's Sommeliers of the Year in 2013. 

Terry Howerton is a lifelong entrepreneur, founding his first company in high school. He’s spent a career starting and leading ventures, mentoring other entrepreneurs and building organizations. Howerton is the founder and CEO of TechNexus, a venture development firm building a new, collaborative model for leading corporations to engage and extract value from the global entrepreneurial ecosystem. TechNexus also operates a start-up incubator from its headquarters in Chicago, where more than 200 ventures have grown. Howerton is a director of the National Business Incubator Association, serves as a director or advisor to several private companies, and is a member of the executive committee alongside leading industry CEOs at TechNet, the national advocate for important policies to the tech industry, including economic growth, immigration, STEM education and workforce development. 

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