2015 was a year filled with headlines both good and bad from entertainment to politics to fashion and everything in between. Fashion houses bid farewell to two iconic creative directors (Raf Simons at Dior, Alber Elbaz at Lanvin), How to Get Away With Murder’s Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, Beyonce, Rihanna, J-Lo all slayed red carpets this year epically; Drake had us all enraptured; Jim Webb needed more time; Kendall, Gigi, Cara, Jourdan were coined the new supers; Giuliana Rancic made Chicago her new home and so much more.
As we get ready to cap off the year and usher in 2016, which we hope will bring many blessings and more memes, we asked some of our favorite Chicagoans (and transplants) to share a memorable moment or two of theirs in 2015. Eater Chicago, editor Daniel Gerzina has the pulse on all things food news whether its an opening, closing or escandalo a la Karyn’s Raw Chicago. Kathleen Henson, founder & CEO of Henson Consulting Inc, had a momentous year, receiving accolades and awards, appearing on the Today show, co-chairing charity events all while moving and growing her company. Billy Dec, who rose from doorman to CEO at one of Chicago’s well known nightclubs and restaurant groups; though her engagement happened after the submission for this piece, ChiCity Fashion’s Jena Gambaccini and several others all share with us their memorable moment from 2015. As you read these, we want to hear from you, share with us via Twitter/Instagram/Facebook your memorable moment from this year using #SLCMemorable2015.
Billy Dec – CEO/Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions
My most memorable moment in 2015 was on May 2nd, during our huge opening weekend VIP Relaunch Party for Rockit, our first and flagship Rockit Ranch venue that we completely redesigned after pioneering the River North area 12 years ago when we opened it in the then desolate neighborhood! The night was called “Beard & Boxing,” co-hosted by and benefiting the James Beard Foundation. Before their awards ceremony, with the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather on live, the place was packed with screaming energy; friends at my table like rapper Common and actress Aimee Garcia, high five-ing with James Beard President Susan Ungaro next to me, the night was surreal! Although I felt like I lost with Pacquiao that night being a proud Filipino-American (and the only one appointed by President Obama to the White House Commission on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders), it was also a night where I got to intro a short film about our Rockit Relaunch to the crowd. The short film started out as a crazy idea in my head, that wonderful staff, friends, and business contacts in the room all chipped in to help make a reality; so great that it won an Emmy Award, making it all in all a winner of a night!
Meghan Janotka – Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase & Co
My memorable moment(s) of 2015 was definitely Lord Stanley’s glorious return to Chicago courtesy of the Blackhawks and the Cubs’ post-season run in the playoffs this year. Billy Joel’s rendition of “Uptown Girl” at Wrigley Field with special cameos by Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence gets an honorable mention.
Kathleen Henson – Founder & CEO Henson Consulting, Inc.
“2015 has been an incredible and exciting year of transition as we’ve moved into our new office headquarters overlooking the Chicago river, triple the size of our former space. During this time of growth, we’ve hired wonderful new people, worked on compelling stories about great Chicago companies and brands and supported wonderful causes and organizations along the way. The cherry on the top was being recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of 75 national companies with top cultures in the U.S. We are incredibly grateful and excited for what’s ahead for us in 2016.”
Shantell Jamison – Johnson Publishing Digital Content Editor
“In January, I got laid off, my apartment flooded and I got into a near death car accident in the same week! I couldn’t be more thankful for those instances because they propelled me to realize that life is truly precious, and that time waits for no one. So, I made the decision to no longer work in any role that does not feed my purpose. I woke up, wrote daily, and caught the attention of Ebony’s Vice President of Digital. Now, I’m the Digital Content Editor for Johnson Publishing. Live life on your terms and you’ll NEVER be disappointed.”
Azeeza Khan – Founder & Designer AZEEZA
“Having the Azeeza Shea body harness permanent collection accessory on the cover of the December “Fandemonium” issue of Paper magazine featuring Lucy Hale was a memorable moment for me and my business in 2015 as well as achieving the goals that I’ve set for the year. Announcements forthcoming #watchthisspace.”
Daniel Gerzina – Editor, Eater Chicago
“As a lifelong Mets fan that was raised in New York, watching the Mets advance to their first World Series in 15 years — right here in Chicago with one of the most historic and picturesque settings in all of sports as the backdrop — was my most memorable moment of 2015. It was an absolutely perfect 70 degree night at Wrigley, Cubs fans and Wrigley staff were class acts through and through, and a massive group of Mets fans including myself took over the section right behind the Mets dugout for the ninth inning and we partied with the players long after the final out. But I’m rooting for you in 2016 Cubs fans!”
Jena Gambaccini – Founder ChiCityFashion.com
“I started working with Giuliana Rancic on her clothing line, G by Giuliana, this year and it’s been the exact change of pace I needed. I’ve been wanting another outlet besides blogging and this was the perfect opportunity. I’m loving what I’m doing and it’s amazing to work with her…so this has definitely been the highlight of my year!”
image credits: provided by subjects; Paper magazine; underground.com