2018 Keynote Presentations

The NeoCon exhibition is complemented by world-class programming featuring some of the most creative minds and productive talents in the industry. Marquee presentations including panels, talks and keynotes reflect on innovations in the contract industry, and discuss the infinite possibilities for the future of commercial design.  

Keynote [KE1]
Unanticipated Opportunities - A Conversation Between Art Gensler and Cheryl Durst
Art Gensler, Founder, Gensler

Art Gensler
  • Date Held on Monday, June 11, 2018
  • Time 8:00 AM
  • Location NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Registration Closed: View Live Stream on Grand Stair off South Lobby

To be the best entrepreneur, you must trust your gut, take risks, and embrace opportunity by interacting with chance encounters and keeping a constant eye on what could be. It is astonishing how often unanticipated opportunities happen and the amazing places they will take us. Art Gensler will sit down with Cheryl Durst, IIDA executive vice president and CEO, to share some of the unanticipated opportunities that have helped shape his career.

Presented by
  • Aspecta By Metroflor Logo
  • IIDA Logo

Panel Discussion [KE2]
She Said, She Said: Extraordinary Women in Design
Moderated by Cindy Allen, Editor in Chief, Interior Design

Cindy Allen
  • Date Held on Monday, June 11, 2018
  • Time 2:00 PM
  • Location NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Registration Closed: View Live Stream on Grand Stair off South Lobby

In honor of NeoCon’s 50th Edition, Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen shines a bright light on those who dared to enter the boys’ club of architecture and design, voicing their struggles and victories. Now, as they lead some of the world’s most prodigious firms, we hear their vision for a more inclusive future.


Cindy Allen, Editor in Chief, Interior Design


Robin Klehr Avia, Managing Principal, Gensler

Gisue Hariri, Principal, Hariri & Hariri Architecture

Lauren Rottet, Principal, Rottet Studio

Keynote [KE3]
The Wired Future
Nick Thompson, Editor in Chief, Wired

Nicholas Thompson
  • Date Held on Tuesday, June 12, 2018
  • Time 8:00 AM
  • Location NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Register Now

The story of how science and tech will change our lives is one of the most important in the world. And no one’s more equipped to tell it than Nicholas Thompson. A veteran editor, he revolutionized The New Yorker’s online platform and transformed the magazine. Now, as the editor-in-chief of Wired, he’s working at the forefront of digital innovation—championing tech’s role in making the world a better place.

As the new editor-in-chief of Wired—one of the most prestigious positions in the world of technology—Nicholas Thompson is staking out a bold, optimistic vision for covering, and responding to, the changing realm of digital culture. From artificial intelligence to entertainment, privacy to social media, ethics to war, Thompson leads the news cycle—and in talks, he champions the ways tech can enhance our lives, both as a quick-witted, brilliant keynote speaker and as a charming, provocative host.

Presented by
  • ASID Logo

Keynote [KE4]
Future Cities-Creating Livable Environments
Carol Ross Barney, Founder and Design Principal, Ross Barney Architects

Carol Ross Barney
  • Date Held on Wednesday, June 13, 2018
  • Time 9:30 AM
  • Location NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Register Now

Honored with more than 100 design awards, Carol Ross Barney has been in the vanguard of civic space design since founding Ross Barney Architects in 1981.  Her projects vary in type and scale but uphold a deep commitment to the role architecture plays in life quality.  This has manifest itself in spaces that transition urban dwellers from point A to point B and enrich the metropolitan experience; to buildings that are environmental stewards, showcasing sustainability in an overtly compelling way; to spaces that inspire young children and the brightest minds of tomorrow to learn, invent and break boundaries.

Notable projects include the Chicago Riverwalk, CTA Cermak-McCormick Place and Morgan Street stations, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, James/Swenson Civil Engineering Building, Oklahoma City Federal Building, Bloomingdale/606 Trail Design Framework Plan, and design schools for Chicago and communities across the country.

Presented by
  • AIA Chicago Logo