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Tuesday, June 11th, 2025

University Club of Chicago

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The 2023 Chicago Family Office Conference

Chicago Agenda 2023

08:00 – 09:00 AMBreakfast & Networking
09:00 – 09:15 AMOpening Remarks
Denny Chared, Founder & CEO, DC Finance
Robert A. Romanoff, Past Managing Partner, Levenfeld Pearlstein LLC – Conference Moderator
09:15 – 09:35 AMFireside Chat
Paul J. Carbone, Co-Founder & President, Pritzker Private Capital
Ronald Diamond, Founder & Chairman of Diamond Wealth, Chair of TIGER 21 – Moderator
09:35 – 09:50 AMThe Burgeoning Cannabis Industry – Opportunities and Pitfalls
Richard Rowe, President & CEO, The Headquarters Group, Inc.
The cannabis industry presents a unique opportunity for generational wealth creation. Even in the absence of a federal framework, the industry has shown remarkable resilience and growth potential, paving the way for a safe and sustainable consumer category. Richard, a seasoned veteran in the industry since 2001, will share his wealth of knowledge and experience. He will discuss the industry’s transformation from an illegal market to an essential industry during the pandemic. Attendees can expect to gain valuable insights into the cannabis industry and its potential for long-term investment opportunities. 
09:50 – 10:00 AMAccess Noncorrelated Returns with Life Settlements and Private Credit
Matthew Mehr, Director, AIR Asset Management
AIR Asset Management’s life settlement investment multi-strategy has historically produced double-digit, equity-like returns with bond-like volatility, providing much-needed diversification. This session will provide background on the fundamentals of life settlements and their compelling risk /return profile, the benefits of implementing complementary investment strategies, and why AIR’s multi-strategy approach is well-positioned to help investors navigate the unpredictable financial landscape of 2023 and beyond.
10:00 – 10:10 AMThe Road Less Traveled: Investing In Under-the-Radar Startups the Big VCs Miss
James H. Spann Jr., Founder & General Partner, Boyd Street Ventures
Not all hugely successful startups come from East and West Coast universities or are funded by the big East and West Coast VCs. In fact, we founded our VC based on the idea that there can be huge advantages to investing in startups emerging from “flyover” universities that aren’t funded – or overbid – by the big VCs. Our performance to date suggests that a growing number of investors clearly love our strategy.
10:10 – 10:30 AMOverview of Litigation Finance as an Asset Class
Joseph Siprut, Founder, CEO & CIO, Kerberos Capital Management
Litigation finance is one of the hottest niche asset classes in the alternative investment world. But what is it? What types of strategies are available to investors, and what are the risk-return profiles of each? 
10:30 – 11:00 AMCoffee Break Sponsored by Selective Search
11:00 – 11:20 AMInvesting in Diverse Fund Managers to Fuel Diverse Business Ownership and Maximize Returns
Desirée Vargas Wrigley, Chief Innovation Officer, P33 – Moderator
Jennifer W. Steans, President & CEO, Financial Investments Corporation
Timothy Freundlich, Founder & Executive Director, Strategic Development, ImpactAssets
Sara Balawajder, Vice President, Builders Initiative Investment
This panel discussion will explore how family offices are investing in diverse fund managers as a strategy for maximizing both returns and impact. Panelists will cover the benefits of investing in diverse businesses, the challenges that diverse fund managers face, and insights on how family offices can identify and support diverse fund managers through innovative channels. 
11:20 – 11:40 AMWhat Family Offices Need to Know About the Corporate Transparency Act
Suzanne L. Shier, Of Counsel, Trusts & Estates, Levenfeld Pearlstein LLC
Robert Garner, Associate Corporate, Tax Planning, Levenfeld Pearlstein LLC
11:40 – 11:55 AMHow to Enter the Public Market and Build a Best in Class Biotech Company 
Gary Gentges, Executive Vice President Corporate Development, Kineta Inc.
Kineta is a Seattle based immuno-oncology drug development company. The company develops novel drugs that reprogram the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Kineta is listed on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol “KA”.
11:55 – 12:05 PMEmergence of a New Category in Mainstream Video Games – Fee Based Gameplay for Instant Payouts on all Platforms
Derek RathbunDirector & COO, is the first and only plug & play solution for the mainstream video game industry that enables game developers and publishers to offer fee-based games modes for instant payouts.  Currently, native gameplay within a video game limits players to earning digital rankings and high scores, however there is major market demand for players to play for real stakes.  Moxy is the only solution of its kind and will make gameplay for instant payouts as common as online gameplay is today, in a very short amount of time.
12:05 – 12:15 PMInvesting in Adult Beverage, a Non-Correlated Asset Class That Should be in Everyone’s Portfolio
Mr. Brian Rosen, CEO, InvestBev
All investors need non-correlated assets in their portfolio. The alcohol sector has provided a wonderful place for an ALT investment strategy, as liquor has historically gone up since 1933 and been recession proof. The InvestBev family of funds continue to provide out sized returns since inception.
12:15 – 12:25 PMQuantus Group
Shaun Eck, Chief Advisory Officer, The Quantus Group
12:25 – 12:35 PMExploring Investment Partnerships: 32 Biosciences Companies Welcoming Family Offices
Peter Farmakis, CEO, 32 Biosciences
32 Biosciences “Three Squared Biosciences” is building companies that are leveraging artificial intelligence to better understand the gut microbiome, and utilizing this information to create therapies that modulate the gut microbiome to prevent diseases. End-to-End Gut Microbiome Health Solutions.
12:35 – 01:35 PMLunch
01:35 – 02:15 PMPanel: Maintaining a Family Business Legacy after the Business is Sold
Michael Behnam, Dean, the Quinlan School of Business – Moderator
Lou Pagano, II, 4th Generation Family Member, Ferrara Candy Company & Chief Sales Officer, Mascot Inc
Bruce Taylor, Managing Partner, Taylor Investment Partners II
Todd Litzsinger, Former Chairman, CEO & President, Follett Corporation
For more than 30 years, Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business has been the home of the Family Business Center. Today, we are proud to present a panel discussion, moderated by our dean, to demystify the ways business leaders can continue to support family businesses well after they sell their own.  Together, we’ll hear the tale of each business, what factors contributed to the sale, and how the sale impacted the family. We’ll then hear more about what panelists have done since and why those contributions include continuing to elevate the family business community. 
02:15 – 02:25 PMOpportunity Zones & Bronzeville
Jamie Nahon, CFA, President, Eagle OZ Opportunity Fund
Bronzeville is about 4 miles south of where we all sit now. It is home to perhaps the most exciting revitalization happening in America today, with an unparalleled financial & social upside. Bronzeville is also where Family Offices can make a truly impactful investment. This session will introduce you to Eagle OZ – the only program building market rate condo quality multi family rentals on scale in Bronzeville, while offering Opportunity Zone tax incentives.   
02:25 – 02:45 PMFireside Chat: Transitions in Careers, Startups and Family Offices
Sara Crown Star, Venture Partner, FemHealth Ventures; Director, Crown Family Foundation
Elliott Robinson, President and 2nd Gen, Robinson Financial Group – Moderator
Please join Sara Crown Star and Elliott Robinson as they discuss the ability to grow in new directions with your career, how controversy can be used as an incredible marketing tool to catapult a company’s domestic and international sales, and the importance of governance as a Family Office transitions from generation to generation.
02:45 – 03:05Panel: Business Continuity Planning for the Family Office
Robert A. Romanoff, Past Managing Partner, Levenfeld Pearlstein LLC – Moderator
Jennifer Blockinger, CFO, Council Ring Capital LLC
David Golder, Managing Partner, Golder Investment Management LLC
Gillian Nagler, Vice President, Trust Services, Briar Hall LLC
Terry Robbins, Whistle Creek Management Company (WCM)
What keeps family office executives up at night?  What risks should family offices be truly concerned about?  This session will include insights from four leading family office professionals on how to build resilient and sustainable organizations.
03:05 – 03:25 PMFireside Chat
Todd Litzsinger, Former Chairman, CEO & President, Follett Corporation
Denny Chared, Founder & CEO, DC Finance – Moderator
03:25 – 03:45 PMThe Philanthropy Panel
Ankita Narula, Vice President, Development, Akshaya Patra USA – Moderator
B.V. Jagadeesh, Managing Partner, Kaaj Ventures
Vinodh Bhat, Co-Founder, Saavn
The panel discussion will explore the symbiotic relationship between technology, scaling efforts, and philanthropy. It will highlight how technology can amplify the impact of philanthropic initiatives. Additionally, the discussion will delve into the global impact of tech-driven sustainability initiatives and how organizations like Akshaya Patra serve as models for scaling sustainable practices through technology while ensuring equity and environmental responsibility.
03:45 – 04:45 PMCocktail Reception