Billy Yost

Activist storyteller Tori Hagerty

A trip to Ghana in the summer of 2011 was a wakeup call for Tori Hagerty, serving as a catalyst for a project that now encompasses hundreds of interviews, two books and a nonprofit foundation that aids the orphanage where she volunteered for a month-and-a-half. “It changed my entire worldview and made me appreciate all the luxury that we have here in America,” Hagerty says of her trip. It also inspired her to combine a longstanding passion for storytelling with her desire to make the world a better place. While volunteering in Ghana in 2011, Hagerty met Amara, a young …

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Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose

Anthony Ambrose is having a busy year. Months after accepting the post of chief of police at the Oak Park Police Department in August, a place he’s called home since his patrol days in 1984, he was elected president of the Columbian Club of Chicago. “Everything is kind of happening all at the same time,” he laughs, “but it’s a chance to give back to the community.” “Community” is a word Ambrose returns to often. He has held eight positions over 33 years at the OPPD prior to his ascent to the top spot, but it’s his time as community …

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Restaurant exec Gabriella Littleton

  “I grew up in the kitchen. I didn’t walk in the front door of the restaurant, I walked in the kitchen door.” Gabriela Littleton has a little more skin in the game as director of banquets and private dining at Chicago steakhouse staple the Erie Cafe. To be exact, she has four generations worth, having spent the past two years working in concert with her grandfather, father, uncle and sister at the Lenzi-family owned business. Growing up in the restaurant world didn’t initially pave the way to Littleton’s current career. “We were really pushed NOT to be involved in …

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Tech entrepreneur Salvatore Camarda

What do Microsoft, GE, and the Chicago Police Department have in common? They’re all working to reach community and team members in a more meaningful way with the help of a Chicago-born tech entrepreneur with deep Sicilian roots. MeetApp North America co-founder and CEO Sal Camarda has taken his smartphone app from a lean startup to a company boasting some of the most powerful and well-known clients in the world in just over a year. While MeetApp boasts a variety of features and services, Camarda puts it simply: “We’re trying to solve problems using a vehicle people understand, and that’s …

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Accordionist Sam Franco

“I’ve still got all my chords memorized. Let me show you.” Sam Franco takes a moment to collect himself before rising from his easy chair. At 92, he doesn’t move quite as quickly as he used to, but he takes a few slow, smiling steps to his right. He bends over to the flip the switch on and old amplifier, and then sits down at a synthesizer keyboard. “Don’t even ask me what I’m playing,” he says. And he begins. Franco’s playing is slow and measured, in the same vein of his approach to the accordion, his one true musical …

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