Originally home to an industrial 1920s hat factory, the team behind boutique production company ESP Presents has breathed new life into its new event venue, Exchange312. Better yet, the elegant yet approachable space located in the heart of Wicker Park was built by seasoned industry experts for planners. 

Skilled in planning and logistics, partners Matt Woodburn and Sarah Neukom drew from years of event production experience to create the ultimate customizable space. “We had the luxury of taking a raw space and making plenty of conscious choices while we built out an ideal interior design, including key details like extra wide doors, a beautiful built-in bar and bathrooms, and an amazing sound system,” says Woodburn. “We also kept the industrial-chic vibe with the original Chicago common brick, polished concrete floors and midcentury modern furniture and fixtures.”

With a color palette of deep blues and soothing grays, paired with plenty of wood and metallic accents, luxe lounge vignettes and lush greenery, Exchange312 creates a comfortable space for intimate dinners and corporate off-site meetings as well as large creative or social gatherings. A 2,550-square-foot open floor plan offers a variety of flexible layouts for gatherings of up to 100 guests seated or 150 standing and an elegant private boardroom can accommodate 12-14 guests. 

Planners will appreciate the venue’s on-site event liaison, back-of-house catering space with alley-accessible load-in, HiFi Sonos sound system, high-speed Wi-Fi and top-of-the-line appliances (including an espresso machine and draft beer dispenser), while guests will enjoy the venue’s creative atmosphere. Exchange312, which also houses The Collective at Exchange—a carefully curated network of creatives—was also designed to foster new ideas and inspire conversation. 

“We set out to create a space where guests could feel comfortable and excited to innovate,” says Neukom. “We’re so glad it’s become a place where new ideas and unique experiences and memories come naturally.”

For professional speakers, engaging with an audience can begin months before stepping out onto the stage. 

Their first audience interaction might come through a teaser video in an event promotion email, says professional speaker and author David Fisher. Or they might also begin cross promoting the event on social media, according to Rich Gibbons, president of SpeakInc., a company that books event speakers and headline entertainers.

 

“You talk. We draw. It’s awesome.” That’s the motto of Ink Factory, a live visual note-taking company in Chicago. The company literally brings meeting notes to life during events by illustrating key points from a company’s keynote speaker, discussion or meeting. Visuals help engage audiences, employees and clients so they can better remember and identify with a business’ mission. As the speaker talks, Ink Factory’s artists draw, and the result is a summary of the discussion in innovative text and visuals.

 

Corporate meetings just got a whole lot healthier thanks to KitcheNet, a Chicago-based company delivering fresh produce to corporate clients to promote employee wellness.

Founded in 2017 by Trista Li, KitcheNet offers services for corporate offices, meetings, snack breaks, retreats and more, allowing clients the option of healthy eating during the work day.