The First Annual Autism Speaks to Young Professionals Chicago

May 23, 2013
Autism Speaks


On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Autism Speaks to Young Professionals (AS2YP) Chicago hosted its first annual Light it Up Blue reception, Illuminate at the Joffrey Ballet Tower at 10 E Randolph in Chicago, Illinois.


Figure 1: Illuminating the Joffrey Ballet

Figure 2: View from Illuminate!

The SOLD OUT event included Special Guests: WGN’s Ted Brunson; Ed Swiderski from ABC’s The Bachelor; Julian Nieh from Julian on the Radio; Eric and Laurie Chern, Light it Up Blue Chairs; Marisa Bucheit, Miss Heart of Illinois 2013; Alyssa Schwarz, Miss Illinois US Universal 2013; Local Recording Artist, Andrew Salgado; and Jen Wood of Chicago Parent Magazine.

Figure 3: Ed Swiderski and Stephanie Kezios enjoying Illuminate!

Figure 4: Our beautiful guests, Alyssa Schwarz and Marissa Bucheit!

Figure 5: Julian on the Radio pumping up the silent auction.


Figure 6: Mood Factory representative, Kristin Lugar and Jen Wood, of Chicago Parent Magazine, with guests.


Figure 7: Ted Brunson, Kate Jadwisiak and Chicago Board chair, Tricia Brouwers

Guests enjoyed the spectacular views from the Joffrey Ballet Tower studios and were treated to appetizers and desserts from generous Tasting Sponsors: Babycakes Gourmet, Chicago Kernel, Green Cuisine, Jersey Mike’s, Karyn’s Raw, Panaderia Azucar, The Publican, Rockit Bar and Grill, Rosebud, Toni’s Patisserie, and Waffles, while sipping top shelf drinks courtesy of Grey Goose Vodka and Goose Island Brewery, catered by Paramount Events.

Figure 8: Waffles and the Publican


Figure 9: Karyn’s Raw

Figure 10: Green Cuisine


Figure 11: Rockit Bar and Grill and Rosebud Prime

Figure 12: Babycakes Gourmet Pancakes


Illuminate hosted a full silent auction with prizes including four playoff tickets to game one or two for the Chicago Blackhawks courtesy of Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, amazing Cubs Bullpen tickets courtesy of Chicago Trading Company, an entry to the SOLD OUT Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 2013 Spring Line Sutton Handbag from Marc Jacobs, and the Autism Speaks Build-a-Bear among many other amazing gifts. Guests enjoyed outbidding each other for these prizes as well as participating in the LTS Chicago Raffle Game Board, paying $50 for a mystery envelope with prizes ranging in value from $50 to over $200!

Figure 13: Kacie Cysweski and Jennie Cimino run the LTS Chicago Raffle Game Board

Figure 14: Team Up! Chair, Eric Bursch filling out his LTS Connection Card

Figure 15: LTS Raffle Game Board connections

Figure 16: What does the mystery envelope hold in store for this guest?

Figure 17: Chris Scheidler making his bids!

Figure 18: Staff members, Jose Macias, Liz Klug, and Volunteer Juliana Spear close out the auction


Many thanks are owed to Illuminate’s Event Sponsors: West Monroe Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners, Mood Factory, LTS Chicago, Flirt Communications, Mitsubishi Automation, Inc., Tribute Tea Company, Stella Blu Clothing, Co, and @Properties, Drew Smith.

Additional thanks to Illuminate’s generous in-kind sponsors: M&M Special Events for the beautiful rentals, Best Booths Plus for the hilariously entertaining photo booth, Three 5 Media, LLC for the exciting music that kept Illuminate flowing, Viking Printing, as always, for the wonderful signage, Meg Kowieski for her talented designs, Public House for hosting Illuminate’s after party, and Pizzeria Uno for feeding our awesome volunteers!

Figure 19: LIUB Committee members Jim Holinka, Eric and Laurie Chern, and Tori Tasch


Figure 20: Illuminate Co-Chairs Sara Rebmann and Rachel MacEntee address the audience

Illuminate was a huge success based on the two goals of the ambitious committee: To raise funds for Autism Speaks and to host an event that is mission centered. Blowing past the $20,000 goal, Illuminate has now raised close to $40,000! The mission was celebrated at Illuminate through the LTS Chicago Raffle Game Board where players wrote posted their connections on the board, the Illuminate slide show (which can be viewed here), and stylishly through the guests’ blue ensembles.

Figure 21: Andrew Salgado, Maryilyn Lautenbali

Figure 22: Thanks Three 5 Media, Chris Corbett, for the musical selection of the night


Figure 23: Illuminate Committee member Austin Hall and guests pose in front of the step and repeat

Figure 24: Thanks to Best Booths Plus for the great photo booth

A great time was had by all and it was documented thanks to photographers and videographer Nes Davis, Monika Kocol, Libby McClintick, and Anthony Nunez. Check out the photos on our Facebook here and be on a lookout for a video from Anthony!

Don’t miss your chance to get involved for next year’s event as well as AS2YP’s upcoming events for 2013! Follow AS2YP on Twitter @AS2YPChicago and “Like Us” on Facebook. E-mail us with direct questions at AS2YPChicago [at] autismspeaks [dot] org and sign up for our newsletter here:

For more information call the Chicago Office at 224-567-8573 or e-mail at Chicago [at] autismspeaks [dot] org.