CIW Stories: Shifting Perspectives & Ideas with Nicole Vasquez

In 2013, Nicole Vasquez attended 10 CIW events.

“My joke for the week was that if I attended any more events, I was going to be fired,” she said.

But what the week did instead was reinvigorate her work. An entrepreneur, Vasquez had recently started Blend, an events company that holds a monthly speaker series, hosts “modern day dinner parties” and views connecting people as its primary mission. In 2014, she launched The Shift, an Uptown co-working space that in many ways is a culmination of the work she does through Blend. There, she not only provides workspace, but hosts events on everything from how to “ditch the elevator speech” to “make your own kombucha.”

“It has become a modern-day community center,” Vasquez said. “We’re a hub on the North Side for learning, working, community involvement and political affairs.”

It’s the community and cross-industry connections that CIW has built that Vasquez appreciates most about the ideas platform. At CIW, she’s been inspired by Scott Case’s description of communities that foster entrepreneurship, Eric Lefkofsky’s commitment to entrepreneurial creativity and Marsha Serlin’s embrace of crazy as a “compliment.”

“I know that when you bring people together from all different backgrounds, amazing things happen…. Conversations happen and projects and opportunities happen that would not usually happen in the silo of people from all the same industry.”

Erin Robertson is managing editor at Chicago Ideas.

Comments (1)

  • Kathleen

    Nicole and The Shift are a tremendous asset to Buena Park and the larger Uptown Community. She is a true champion of the entrepreneur!


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