WBA Supportive Network Series: Power Couples

by Women's Business Association

Speaker Business Leadership Career Development

Thu, 17 May 2018

5:15 PM – 6:15 PM

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KGH - 1420&30

Global Hub - 2211 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208

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Part of the WBA Supportive Network Series, this event will feature a panel of professional 'power couples' to discuss their experiences supporting each other's careers, while dealing with tradeoffs and/or realities along the way to make it work. You won't want to miss this!

-Susan Abrams, current CEO of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, author, former McKinsey & Company consultant, and '90 Kellogg graduate
-Bill Abrams, current President of Distributed Products at Medline Industries, Inc., and '90 Kellogg graduate
-Jillian Chown, current Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at Kellogg and former management consultant at McKinsey & Company.
-Ian Chown, current Sr. Director of Manufacturing and Warehousing – Midwest Region at PepsiCo.
-Jamie Vail, current Head of North American Business Operations at Motorola Solutions, and '12 Kellogg graduate
-Brandon Hollembeak, current Product Manager at Devbridge Group
Dress Casual (jeans ok)

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KGH - 1420&30

Global Hub - 2211 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208


Jamie Vail

Head of North American Supply Chain Operations

Motorola Solutions

Jamie started his career following graduation from Davidson College with an economics degree in 2007 as a management consultant based in Chicago, but a constant road warrior. After 3.5 years consulting, Jamie joined the class of 2012 at the Kellogg School of Management with majors in Operations and Marketing. Following his graduation, Jamie joined United Airlines in their MBA rotation program eventually ending up in a full time role as Senior Manager for Fuel Efficiency Operations. Jamie is currently with Motorola Solutions as the Head of North American Supply Chain Operations, where he is responsible for a portfolio of products that account for approximately one third of revenue.

Brandon Hollembeak

Devbridge Group

Originally from Kansas, Brandon Hollembeak has called Chicago home for 13 years, and is a Product Leader and Entrepreneur in the Chicago tech community. Previous to joining Devbridge Group, he’s held senior product roles at Apartments.com, Trunk Club and Outcome Health. Brandon specializes in building B2B and Data products, SaaS platforms and eCommerce products for startups and growth stage companies. On the personal side, you’ll find Brandon enjoying wine, travel, and cooking with Jamie, and as well as studying personality types and transactionalism.

Susan Abrams

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Susan Abrams was appointed CEO of Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in April 2014, with more than 25 years of nonprofit, museum, business building, and financial management experience. Under Susan’s leadership, the Museum is leading globally in Holocaust and museum education, recently opening the groundbreaking four-gallery permanent exhibition, the Take a Stand Center. To support this new exhibition and other Museum goals, with Abrams’ leadership the Museum launched in 2015 and completed in 2017 its $30 million Commit to the Future Capital Campaign.

Susan was recognized as Innovator of the Year and Executive of the Year (Stevie Awards for Women in Business, 2016) and as an Influential Woman in Business (Daily Herald Business Ledger, 2017), and under her leadership, the Museum was recognized as Leader Institution of the Year (Illinois Association of Museums, 2016) and was named a National Medal winner (Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2017), the nation’s highest honor for a museum.

Susan previously served as the COO for JCC and has held leadership positions at Northwestern University and Chicago Children’s Museum, where she was instrumental in the planning and execution of the museum’s move to Navy Pier. She also has worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and an analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Ms. Abrams holds an MBA degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where she was an Austin Scholar and an Ardis Krainik Scholar, a BSE from the Wharton School and a BA from the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania where she was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar. She is the author of The New Success Rules for Women: 10 Surefire Strategies for Reaching Your Career Goals (Random House, 2000) and regularly speaks to students, alumni, and professional women’s groups on related topics.

Abrams serves, through the Governor’s appointment, on the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission. She is a member of The Chicago Network and C100, which connects leading Northwestern alumnae to female students, graduates and the University to further the advancement of Northwestern women. Abrams previously was a member of the Chicago Children’s Museum Board of Directors, the Board of Advisors for Kellogg’s Center for Nonprofit Management, and the Board of Directors and Board of Advisors for Leadership Illinois, for which she was in the Class of 1997.

Bill Abrams

Medline Industries, Inc.

Bill Abrams is President of the Distributed Products Division for Medline Industries, Inc.  In that position, he has overall responsibility of vendor relations, contracts and rebate management and day-to-day operational issues related to most of Medline’s third party distributed products.

Bill joined Medline in 2009 as Vice President of the Preferred Healthcare and moved into his current position in 2010.  Bill received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Jillian Chown

Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations

Kellogg School of Management

Jillian Chown is an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations (MORS) at Kellogg. Her research explores how organizations can adapt and change when their workforces’ are dominated by professionals and experts (who maintain a high level of autonomy over their work). She studies predominantly healthcare organizations and has studies examining, for example, how hospitals implement new practices and how government health systems influence physician behavior. She uses multi-method approaches in her research, which range from large econometric analyses to field-based ethnographic work. Professor Chown's research has been published in Strategic Management Journal and has been featured in Time and the Financial Times. She has previously worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, Deloitte and a boutique healthcare consulting start-up company. She is currently an advisory board member for Big Careers, Little Kids, an organization that connects Chicagoland's most elite female professionals in the fields of law, finance and business to empower them throughout the journey of both their professional careers and personal careers, as parents. Outside of work, Jillian loves her boxing classes and hanging out with Ian and her two kids—Owen (8) and Allison (4).

Ian Chown

Manufacturing and Warehousing - Midwest Region


Ian Chown is a supply chain professional with over 15 years of Food and Beverage experience. Ian joined the PepsiCo in 2003 as a campus hire in the Toronto facility. He built his PepsiCo experience through progressive supervisory and managerial roles in the Toronto and Montreal plants as well as the Canadian BU office. Currently, Ian is responsible for manufacturing and warehousing at the 8 production facilities in PepsiCo’s Midwest Region. In his previous role as the Supply Chain lead on the Beverage Application Strategy project, Ian worked closely with the field, headquarters and IT teams to develop and refine the long term systems optimization plan for the North American sector. Outside of work Ian is an avid cyclist and father of two – Owen (8) and Allison (4).

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Women's Business Association

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