The Z Summit provides a unique career exploration experience for our next generation of leaders. Through innovative career immersion workshops, inspirational keynote speakers, and exciting speed networking sessions, high school students from traditionally underserved communities are offered two priceless gifts: Exposure + Perspective
Inspire high school students to explore nonconventional career options that demand creative talents and energy
Connect the students with professionals who are excited about sharing the lessons learned on their personal journeys to success.
Give the students practical experience in navigating through a professional environment with confidence and grace.
This year's theme:
Check back soon for all the latest news on the 2018 summit.
An Emmy-nominated journalist, Cortney Hall joined CLTV as an anchor in December 2012. Currently, Cortney delivers the top news headlines in the 9 o’clock hour of WGN Morning News. She also is the in-arena host for the Chicago Bulls.
Previously, Cortney was a news anchor and reporter at WKMG-TV in Orlando, Florida. Cortney began her career at Bloomberg News in New York City, where she produced various morning news segments like Stocks to Watch. She started reporting at WCIA in Champaign, Illinois.
Cortney got her Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in 2003. She went on to get her Masters degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Cortney is from Oak Brook, a suburb of Chicago. She attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park.
When she’s not anchoring, reporting or producing, you can find Cortney literally running around the United Center during every home Bulls Game. As an avid basketball fan, hosting for the Chicago Bulls is truly the DREAM gig!
Jovanne Grace’s vision for Z Summit is fueled by her passion for empowering young adults and connecting communities. She has a heart for service and leadership development. A former financial services executive, Jovanne now heads Seeds & Sprouts Culture Cultivators (seedsandsproutsllc.com) – a Chicago based consultancy that specializes in business transformation & change management, program & project management, and individual & team coaching solutions.
Jovanne received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where she primarily studied Managerial & Organizational Behavior and Strategic Management. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from DePaul University, where she studied Finance and Business Administration. Jovanne is a certified Prosci Change Practitioner, a Six Sigma Greenbelt, and a trained Foursight Facilitator.
Dreana Johnson (3 Snapz), (Author, Poet, DJ and Inspirationalist) is a brand of inspiration. Receiving her calling at a young age, Johnson always knew her purpose was to put positive energy into the world when she discovered the power of faith, determination, and commitment of overcoming obstacles and accomplishing goals. Johnson knew that those characteristics would take her far in her journey of changing the world, one person at a time. Born and raised in Chicago, Johnson is motivated to not only use her crafts to survive, but to also use what she has learned to become more than what she has witnessed. The brand of Dreana Johnson aims to inspire and motivate individuals to live life and chase dreams no matter the circumstances.
Dreana Johnson is the founder of Black Women Rock! at the University of Missouri, 2011 BET We Inspire Winner, Published Author, and well known DJ.
(Brand Manager + Visual Artist)
Amber Marie Green Photography
(Director of Public Relations)
(Founder + CEO)
One Stock, One Future
(Logistics and Operations Manager)
Our community partners work tirelessly to invest in the hearts and minds of the next generation of leaders. It is our pleasure to come alongside them to support their incredible work.
Our generous sponsors allow us to create a phenomenal experience for participants in the Z Summit. We’re tremendously grateful that you chose to connect with our vision.
Carlton Gordon, Jr. is a Chicago-based Organizational Effectiveness Manager at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the largest customer-owned health insurance company in the United States. Carlton is a graduate of Morehouse College and holds an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Carlton is also President of the Chicago Area Morehouse Alumni Chapter and an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. In Carlton's spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.
Victoria Hefty is an MBA graduate from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with 10+ years of experience working in strategy and healthcare. As an independent consultant, she provides strategic guidance and market research for Fortune 100 companies. Victoria also has a passion for creating practical resources to help mothers navigate pregnancy, parenting, and professional challenges. Victoria is the author The Insider's Guide to Maternity Leave and host of Activate Purpose, a podcast about finding purpose while balancing motherhood and career.
Marquis Parker is a business leader, coach, advisor, and mentor. He has experience in formulating strategies and addressing mission critical issues for companies ranging from government and public sector entities to global private sector organizations. He has acquired a broad set of educational and career experiences grounded in Business Operations, Strategy, Professional Services, and Technology.
Currently, Marquis serves as Vice President of Business Services and Strategy for Management Recruiters International, Inc., one of the largest executive search and recruitment organizations in the world. In his role, he serves as a member of the company’s Leadership Team and is charged with driving a range of enterprise-wide initiatives that promote revenue and margin growth, optimize operational activities, and help the company to achieve its long-term performance goals. Earlier in his career, Marquis worked for McKinsey & Company, the global management consultancy, where he advised both private and public sector clients in several industries, including financial services, public infrastructure, and education.
Throughout his career, he has been recognized both internally and externally for his contributions and accomplishments. In 2014, Marquis was named by Diversity MBA Magazine as one of its 2014 Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders based on his professional experiences, educational background, and contributions to the community. Marquis holds an A.B. in Computer Science from Princeton University, an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, an M.A. in Education from the Stanford University School of Education, and a M.S. in Management of Information Technology from the University of Virginia.