Crain's annual roundup of '40 Under 40' future leaders is up, and includes some predictable names (Beth Swanson) and some interesting ones like Lupe Fiasco,
Christine Justine Nagan (Kartemquin Films) and Jose Ochoa, principal of Chicago's high school for the arts. Check it out below. Anyone else who should have been on the list, like Sharkey or Potter (and of course yourself)?
Almost six years ago, Jose Ochoa interviewed for the top job at Chicago's first public high school for the arts, a dream of philanthropic heavyweights including Polk Bros. Foundation Chairman Sandra Guthman and James Mabie, partner at William Blair & Co. The job entailed fundraising; Mr. Ochoa had never asked for a dime in his life.
With what Mr. Mabie calls “a wonderfully user-friendly personality,” Mr. Ochoa has kept ChiArts' powerful board happy (35 percent of the $8 million budget comes from private donors) and has recommended new directors, including Zarin Mehta, former president and executive director of the New York Philharmonic. Next up for Mr. Ochoa: adding a creative-writing program and, Mr. Mabie predicts, fielding job offers.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel will get the public praise or condemnation for how he's shaping Chicago Public Schools, but it's Beth Swanson who's in the hot seat to turn the system around. The mayor credits the education wonk with “driving reform within the city's youth-serving institutions.”Since Mr. Emanuel took office, Ms. Swanson has been in the thick of talks with the Chicago Teachers Union over contracts, promoted school closures and championed new programs for preschools and post-high school students. Longer school days became a mantra for Mr. Emanuel after many discussions with Ms. Swanson during his campaign for mayor. “We were researching best practices and the issue came up again and again,” says Ms. Swanson, who confesses she was surprised when teachers complained.
Under her guidance, Kartemquin also has strengthened fundraising and marketing. And it launched Diverse Voices in Doc, a program to mentor minority filmmakers. “We're busier and more productive than ever, but I don't think we're compromising on anything,” the Hyde Park resident says. Kartemquin releases about three documentaries annually, up from its previous average of one per year.“She thinks about where we're going and how we get onto digital platforms,” says Gordon Quinn, who co-founded Kartemquin in 1966 and still serves as artistic director. Steve James—director of Kartemquin titles including “Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters” and the forthcoming Roger Ebert portrait “Life Itself”—says Ms. Nagan is adept at helping artists finish their work and get it out into the world.