Rebecca Sive

Rebecca Sive has held executive positions in business, government, philanthropy, and nonprofits. She was a gubernatorially appointed founding member of the Illinois Human Rights Commission and has been recognized by her alma maters, Carleton College and the University of Illinois, for her distinguished community leadership. Sive was a founding board member of the Chicago Foundation for Women and was part of a national group of women leaders who developed women’s issues agendas for Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. She is the author of Every Day Is Election Day: A Woman’s Guide to Winning Any Office, from the PTA to the White House and has taught at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Sive lives in Chicago, Illinois, and Keeler Township, Michigan.



Tony Abou-Ganim

Tony Abou-Ganim grew up in the bar business, learning the craft from his cousin Helen David at the Brass Rail Bar in Port Huron, Michigan. He went on to develop the cocktail programs of numerous restaurants in San Francisco and New York, as well as the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. He operates his own beverage consulating firm specializing in bar staff training, product education, and cocktail development. He is also the national ambassador of the US Bartenders Guild.

Bridget Albert

Bridget Albert currently designs cocktails and trains bartenders throughout the Chicago area, while teaching at The Academy of Spirits & Fine Service on behalf of Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois. She has won numerous cocktail competitions, including the prestigious Bacardi Martini Grand Prix in Turin, Italy, and chairs the Illinois chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild.

Check out Bridget's Valentine's Day cocktails on

Kathleen Ameche

Kathleen Ameche is the President of Ameche Group LLC, a company she founded to be a friend and champion for businesswomen, based on her 20-plus years of professional experience. She is also vice president of business development for West Monroe Partners, LLC, a business and technology consulting firm. She lives in Chicago with her family.

Stephen Aris

Stephen Aris worked for the London Sunday Times for twenty years. He has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, The Economist, the Independent, and the Independent on Sunday, as well as for the New York Times magazine, Newsweek, and the New York Observer. He is the author of numerous earlier books.

Jim Banister

Jim Banister is a veteran media industry executive who started his career producing and directing high-end computer animation for technology, broadcast, and other industries. He has produced two short films (one of which he wrote) that were invited to premiere at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, produced two award-winning children's specials for the Walt Disney Company, and worked with Steven Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Project as director of multimedia and post-production. For six years he worked for Warner Bros. New Media, where he ultimately became executive vice president.

Mary Barranco

Mary Barranco is a trained educator with a career spanning 20 years in the adult beverage industry.

George Black

David Stowell and George Black are longtime chefs who operated their Veganopolis Cafeteria in Portland, Oregon, from 2003 to 2008, and re-opened it in their native Chicago in 2010.