For many years now, I have attended the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting to show my support for the organization’s ground-breaking philanthropic initiatives. This annual meeting is one of the most dynamic events I attend all year, and I am always inspired by the accomplishments that are showcased.
The purpose of CGI is to convene global leaders from across the political and economic spectrum to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. To date, the initiative has spurred investments and donations for philanthropic causes valued at nearly $90 billion dollars.
The annual meeting is a time to identify priorities for the year ahead, encourage discussion between global leaders, and, to rally CGI members. Held in New York, the theme of the 2013 conference was “Mobilizing for Impact.” Lectures and meetings focused on empowering organizations to tap into their potential, as well as women as leaders, and youth through education.
This year I learned that CGI-facilitated projects will provide for two million girls around the world to enroll in school, nearly 12 million children to receive a better education, and more than $7 billion to be invested in or loaned to small- and medium-sized businesses. I’m honored to be a member of CGI and I look forward to continuing to support this organization’s remarkable accomplishments.
Chopper Trading’s sponsorship of the annual PAWS Fur Ball is one of my favorite ways to give back to the Greater Chicago area, by helping to build ‘No Kill’ local communities for cats and dogs. PAWS has had a tremendous impact in the lives of animals and humans alike, by helping the two find each other, and by setting new standards in the way that homeless animals are treated. Since our firm is named after a dog I found through PAWS – my dog Chopper – it’s only fitting that the company give back to this organization.
The Fur Ball, held at the famous Drake Hotel, is one of the only black tie events I have been to where canine guests are treated as well as – if not better than –human guests! The dogs in attendance were able to enjoy a gourmet buffet, a complimentary spa treatment, and first class pet-sitting while their owners enjoyed live entertainment and dancing. There was even a dog communicator in attendance this year, which if nothing else sparked some interesting conversations.
As part of the fundraiser, PAWS held both a silent and live auction with unique prizes to generate some much-needed funds for the organization. Every year I’m impressed by the items up for bid; the notables this year included two all-inclusive tickets to the 2014 Super Bowl, the chance to rub elbows with celebrities on the red carpet of the premiere of the film “Transcendence”, a tour of some of the best golf greens in the country, and a ski trip.
With more than 700 people in attendance – including guests such as well-known musician Billy Corgan – the gala was a successful fundraiser, and by far one of my favorite events of the year!
Every fall I look forward to Chopper Trading’s annual golf outing, and I was not disappointed this year. Held at the Oakbrook Hills Marriott Golf Club, we were able to enjoy some of the nicest weather Chicago has had all year: 70 degrees and sunny. I think my colleagues here at Chopper would agree that there is nothing like 18 holes of golf on a gorgeous day, to unwind after long hours at the office and further reinforce our “work hard, play hard” attitude.
While all of Chopper’s team members are highly talented and experts in their profession, some of us have spent more time on the green than others, so we decided to play a scramble format amongst the 72 participants. In the spirit of good sportsmanship I won’t mention who won – everyone had a great time, which is incentive enough!
And of course, as with any fun sporting event, good food is essential; the “19th hole” included delicious Illinois barbecue to refuel and cap off a great day!