Taking Names turns 10
June 8th, 2017
Taking Names debuted June 9, 2007, in Crain’s with a story about George Clooney holding a screening of “Ocean’s 13” to raise money for Sudanese refugees. Chicagoans who opened their wallets got a chance to meet Clooney and the film’s stars.
Donors included Neil Bluhm, Sam Zell and Mellody Hobson–they’re Chicago civic leaders and business personalities who have become fixtures in Taking Names.
It’s that intersection of business and civic interests that have remained staple in the column, along with personality profiles and good-old-fashioned news scoops.
J.B. Pritzker mulling a run for governor was reported first in this column, for example. So was a far-reaching Illinois Supreme Court ruling on divorce and the break-up of a deal between businessmen Marcus Lemonis and Phil Tadros.
Taking Names has evolved over the years–often depending on my editors and their interests. Social media has had an impact, too. When Taking Names began, there wasn’t a CEO in town posting on Facebook. Now they’re sharing personal news on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat–just like the rest of us.
Some other favorite Taking Names themes:
Scoops: Chicago restaurateur Kevin Boehm and his team served goat to Theo Epstein after winning the World Series.
Connecting the dots: Corporate Cleaning Services’ Neal Zucker and his friends have transformed a Chicago nonprofit.
Drama: The brouhaha at Museum of Contemporary Art is a good example.
Divorces (big drama!): I’ve followed the ins and outs of some of the most notable in town, including Ken Griffin’s, Jesse Jackson’s and Patrick Arbor’s.
I learn from and am inspired by every interview. I hope readers are equally informed and entertained.
When billionaire Jennifer Pritzker opened up for the first time about her trans transformation she told me how she approaches the world. What’s most important, she says, is “living a productive life.”
Cheers to that.