About This Event

Individuals and businesses have become increasingly committed to making a difference in their community and the world around them. Whether it be through the products we buy or the causes we support, giving back has become an important part of our daily lives. Businesses that give back, or prioritize corporate social responsibility, have been associated with greater employee retention, more enthusiastic employees and have been shown to attract top talent. Recent research has shown that companies that incorporate charitable, philanthropic efforts into their business tactics are more likely to create workplaces that are better for business, better for employees and better for the world. While some companies like Toms and Warby Parker have incorporated giving back directly into the business model, others focus on causes that align with their corporate mission. Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), the world’s largest and most successful college athletic recruiting network, has committed to making college accessible to all student-athletes, donating its services free of cost to athletes facing financial or personal hardship. In effort to help all student-athletes find a path to college through sport, NCSA donated over $23M in recruiting services to families in 2018. NCSA and sports companies across Chicago are committed to changing lives through sport and prioritize giving back as part of that mission. Join NCSA (Next College Student Athlete) and General Assembly Chicago to learn the value of giving back and how engage others in your organization’s social purpose.
  • Check-In Begins 5:30pm
  • Networking 5:30pm – 6:00pm
  • Panel Discussion 6:00pm – 7:15pm
  • Q&A 7:15pm – 7:40pm
  • Networking 7:40pm – 8:00pm

About the Instructors

Lisa Strasman Photo

President, Next College Student Athlete (NCSA)

Lisa Strasman is president of Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), the world’s largest and most successful college athletic recruiting network.

Lisa joined NCSA in 2004 as a recruiting coach and was instrumental in creating the digital platform that continues to help hundreds of thousands of student-athletes and their parents through the college athletic recruiting process. During her tenure as president, NCSA has seen steady growth in the number of active profiles, college commitments, as well as the expansion of its recruiting services into more sports. Under her leadership, NCSA has been consistently recognized as a top workplace; named one of the “Top 100 Digital Companies in Chicago” by Built In, “50 Best Companies to Work for in Chicago” by Forbes, and a “Best Places to Work” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Lisa is a pioneer in her industry and her sport. She was one of the first competitive female ice hockey players in Illinois and went on to become captain of the women’s hockey team at Yale University. After earning her degree at Yale, Lisa played professional hockey in Switzerland for several years.

Lisa was recently named one of the 2019 Top Women in Sports by Cynopsis Media. She is a frequent speaker and featured panelist at events including SXSW and has also written articles for The Women’s Sports Foundation, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and more.

Lisa resides in the Chicago area with her husband and two children and helps coach her son’s youth hockey team.

Annie Camins Photo

Sr. Director, Fan Development, Chicago Blackhawks

Annie Camins is in her 11th season with the Chicago Blackhawks and her third as Senior Director of Fan Development.

Camins’ department contributes to the overall growth of youth hockey in Illinois through MinorHawks and Little Blackhawks Learn to Play programs, serving kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the means to play the sport. Per USA Hockey, Illinois ranked fifth in the nation with 31,574 registered hockey players during the 2016-17 season, marking a 42 percent increase in membership since the 2007-08 season. In addition, Illinois has produced the fifth-most NCAA Division I men’s hockey players in the nation, marking a 48 percent growth over the last decade. The Blackhawks currently have partnerships with 72 hockey rinks in Illinois, including four within the city of Chicago. Camins was appointed the first NHL/NHLPA Female Hockey Advisory Committee to accelerate the growth of girls and women’s hockey.

Camins previously worked as Manager of Fan Development for the Los Angeles Kings before returning to Chicago to work for her hometown team, joining the organization as Director of Youth Hockey.

Camins graduated from the University of New Hampshire, where she captained her team to the NCAA Division I National Championship, beating Providence College in five overtime periods, the longest recorded college hockey game in history. She went on to become a finalist for the 1998 Olympic Hockey Team and continued to play as an Inline National Team player, winning both gold and silver medals. Camins was inducted into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.

Camins and her husband Michael Whittaker have a daughter, Amelia.

Tom Gimbel Photo

Founder and CEO, LaSalle Network

Tom Gimbel is the Founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing, recruiting and human resources consulting firm based in Chicago.

Gimbel was honored on Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40, and was inducted in the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He has also been named twice to Staffing Industry Analysts’ Staffing 100 list of most influential people in staffing.

Gimbel is an expert on organizational development, securing a job, career development and how businesses should hire successfully and company culture. He has been a guest on or featured in CNBC, The Today Show, Fox and Friends, FOX Business, NBC 5, ABC 7, CBS 2, WBBM 780, WGN TV and Radio, Wall Street Journal, Fortune Small Business, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Sun-Times.

Gimbel holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and is on the Board of Directors for the Ounce of Prevention and Lurie Children’s Foundation, both Chicago-based nonprofit organizations. Gimbel is also an active member in the Young Presidents’ Organization and is on the Board of Directors of the American Staffing Association.

Kate McAdams Photo

Managing Director, Arabella Advisors

Kate McAdams is a managing director at Arabella Advisors, where she works with a wide range of  families and individuals,  foundations, and  corporations  to design and deliver the solutions they need to achieve their social impact goals. Kate’s career demonstrates a commitment to public service and to solving difficult problems through partnership.  Prior to joining Arabella, Kate was appointed by President Obama to serve as senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker. She focused on growing entrepreneurship, strengthening community and economic development, and leading policy initiatives to support 21st-century skills development. Previously, Kate served as executive director of The Pritzker Traubert Foundation, where she guided investments to improve schools, health and fitness, and skills training in Chicago and nationally. She also held policy advisor roles in the Mayor’s Office in New Haven, Connecticut and the Office of Mayor Richard M. Daley in Chicago. Kate earned a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She lives in her hometown of Chicago with her husband and two sons.

Erin Griffin Photo

Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Riddell

Erin Griffin serves as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Riddell. Her responsibilities include leading the company’s integrated marketing efforts and corporate communications. She is a member of Riddell’s executive leadership team and reports to the President and CEO, Dan Arment. Griffin is also Vice President of Corporate Communications for Riddell’s parent company, BRG Sports.

Throughout her seven years with Riddell and BRG Sports, Griffin has played an integral role navigating communications and marketing challenges associated with the brand and sport of football. Under Griffin’s leadership, Riddell has been further positioned as the industry leader in football innovation, generated favorable media coverage and consumer sentiment, and built goodwill within the football community. Notable accomplishments include securing the company’s first ever brand-ambassador, Peyton Manning, supporting the successful launch of the SpeedFlex helmet and InSite technology, leading the USA Football partnership including the Protection Tour event series, and instituting Riddell’s cause marketing program, Smarter Football. With BRG Sports, Griffin has contributed to a series of divestures and acquisitions with responsibility for the internal and external communications.

Griffin first joined Riddell in 2012 as media relations manager and has swiftly advanced having held a number of leadership positions within the communications and marketing functions. Before Riddell, Griffin was an account director for Burson Cohn & Wolfe public relations agency where she served corporate clients in consumer and sports marketing, food and beverage, healthcare, retail, and technology, among others. She began her career in football leading team public relations for the Arena Football League’s Austin Wranglers. While with the Wranglers, Griffin also managed pubilicity activity for team part owner Deion Sanders.

Griffin has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and communications, with a focus in marketing and public relations from Aquinas College, where she played collegiate soccer and was named an academic All-American.