Past Event

The IHC Presents "At What Cost? Risk-Taking in the New Economy" with WBEZ

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The Illinois Humanities Council and WBEZ are bringing together scholars, business leaders, and the public to explore important questions about our economy.

Each day during the week of October 14th, WBEZ 91.5FM will broadcast a series of feature stories and in-depth conversations called At What Cost? Sponsored by the Illinois Humanities Council, At What Cost? will investigate what it means to take business risks in the “City of Big Shoulders” and how financial risk-taking affects the lives of everyday people who live here.

Daily features will be complimented by in-depth conversations on the Afternoon Shift program hosted by WBEZ’s Business Reporter, Niala Boodhoo.

Join the Illinois Humanities Council and WBEZ for the final culminating event in this timely series about the world of business to get at what’s really behind the financial numbers.

A distinguished panel will explore questions such as:  What has been the fallout from enormous bets in our financial markets? Does new legislation curtail reckless trading or hurt financial innovation? What are the ethical considerations for traders who play the markets with other people’s money? In the pursuit of ever larger profits, have we lost sight of the common good?

Panelists include:

Niala Boodhoo (Moderator) is WBEZ Business Reporter and host of The Afternoon Shift.  Niala joined WBEZ in 2010 as the reporter for Changing Gears, a multi-station project to document the economic transformation of the industrial Midwest. 

John R. Boatright is Raymond C. Baumhart Professor of Business Ethics and Professor of Management in the Graduate School of Business at Loyola University Chicago. 

Heath Carter is Assistant Professor of History at Valparaiso University, where he teaches a variety of courses ranging from the history of Chicago to modern United States History. 

Kristin Barret is Vice President of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC), a non-profit that supports entrepreneurs in building high-growth, sustainable businesses that serve as platforms for economic development and civic leadership.

Sharon Schneider is an Advisor with Impact Engine, a unique program to help entrepreneurs launch and grow successful start-up business. Sharon is founder and CEO of Moxie Jean, an online service for busy parents, which won COMMON Pitch NYC as “best collaborative consumption startup.” 

Piero Procaccini has been teaching improv and sketch comedy over a decade. He leads workshops with The Second City and works with The Second City’s Training Center  – the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world – and conducts a variety of classes and workshops in the performance arts.

Join us as we listen to provocative excerpts from the series together, discuss your favorite stories with us, and share your own ideas about what we’ve learned and where to go from here.

Light refreshments will be served at a reception to follow.


Feature Story: Chicago’s Risk-Takers, Then and Now

Afternoon Shift Conversation: Does Chicago take too many risks, or not enough?

A look at the historical evolution of risk management. Is Chicago more risk-averse than the coasts?


Feature Story: Ignorance is risk

Afternoon Shift Conversation: A new generation of risk-takers

How does a younger generation of entrepreneurs deal with risk in the new economy?


Morning Feature: It takes failure to succeed

Afternoon Shift Conversation: At what cost? The downside to risk

What can we learn from people who took enormous risks only to fail?


Morning Feature: The Psychology of Risk

Afternoon Shift Conversation: The Science of Risk

Are the brains of Chicago’s traders hard-wired for risk differently than the rest of us? A Northwestern neuroscientist has some surprising answers.


Morning Feature: Training Ourselves to Take Risks

Afternoon Shift Conversation: Cultural Entrepreneurs and Risky Institutions

How does creative risk-taking in the arts help drive the economy? We’ll also take a hard look at the risky expansion plans by Chicago’s cultural institutions

Business & the Humanities is made possible in part by the John A. Wing Society of the Illinois Humanities Council.



If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580 at least 72 hours prior to the event. For parking locations near the facility, please visit