How Abbvie uses Chicago Ideas to encourage employee curiosity and development

Audience Q&A at Chicago Ideas’ Curiosity Series event, The Future of Intelligence

Lizelle Obana Weiss is a Project Director of Regulatory, Quality, Safety (RQS) Business Services at Abbvie, a research-driven biopharmaceutical company with a location in the northern Chicago suburbs. Abbvie’s mission is to use research and development to aid scientists in addressing the world’s health issues, from life-threatening illnesses to persistent conditions.

Obana Weiss’ department at Abbvie is a Corporate Member of Chicago Ideas, which means its employees are given access to Chicago Ideas events throughout the year. We spoke to Obana Weiss about what she has gained from being a Member, what Chicago Ideas has given to her department and how Abbvie employees can’t stop talking about Chicago Ideas’ events.

“As an organization, we are committed to the development of our employees, and Chicago Ideas Week provides an affordable option for people’s development.”

“I think Chicago Ideas Week provides an excellent opportunity to expose employees to the culture and diversity the city offers, as well as fantastic learning and networking opportunities through the various Chicago Ideas events,” said Obana Weiss. As she noted, Abbvie’s office is located outside the city proper, and many of the company’s employees don’t reside in Chicago. By becoming a Corporate Member of Chicago Ideas, Abbvie gained access to networking opportunities and Talks and Conversations from thought leaders from a variety of disciplines. “As an organization, we are committed to the development of our employees, and Chicago Ideas Week provides an affordable option for people’s development,” said Obana Weiss.

Since 2014, this group at Abbvie has been a Corporate Member of Chicago Ideas, and as Obana Weiss attests, “The events are as impactful as they are thought-provoking, and they give us pause to consider how we can apply some of the learnings to the way we do our work.” As she stated, it’s important for employees at Abbvie to be thinking about how to innovate within their industry, and that’s something Chicago Ideas programming offers time and again.

“I did notice a change among my colleagues,” said Obana Weiss, recalling a session with her colleagues that she opened by asking what people gleaned from Chicago Ideas’ programming. “People described how they felt after leaving the programs, and words such as energized, inspired and curious were mentioned. The challenge for us is keeping that sentiment going!”

As Obana Weiss put it, “Chicago Ideas provides a great platform for learning and inspiration,” and that’s something that touches companies and individuals in equal measure. With year-round programming and exclusive Member events, Chicago Ideas offers innovative solutions, networking opportunities and an engaged community that remains unparalleled.

For more information on Corporate Memberships with Chicago Ideas, contact Bonnie Shifrin at or 312.999.5809

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