While I can’t imagine life in Chicago without deep dish pizza or skyscrapers, I never knew the cell phone, remote control, dishwasher, and pencil were all born in the windy city too. That is until I visited the LinkedIn Chicago office with the Booth Technology Group. Outside LinkedIn’s cafeteria (not to be confused with the kitchens on nearly every floor) sits an impressive 3D printed art rendering of various Chicago inventions. As someone who played softball throughout college and studied art in undergrad, I was particularly interested and surprised that both softball and spray paint were also created in our backyard.
The day started with two Booth alum hosting the event, Matthew Saleski and Isha Sharma. Matthew and Isha’s passion for the company and connecting people across the globe on a professional platform shone through. Since it was International Women’s Day, there was a special focus on diversity and inclusion. I also appreciated the little hints of purple both Matthew and Isha wore as well as some of my Booth classmates, both female and male. Matthew and Isha spoke to “DIBs,” and not the beloved Chicago parking tradition, but the values of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. A point they made and a key takeaway for me was that any company can be diverse, but it takes effort and growing pains to cultivate an inclusive environment. The importance of inclusion and letting everyone have a voice at the table is clearly a priority at LinkedIn. I imagine this greatly helps employees comfortably bring their whole selves to work.
The hosts were followed by a panel and foam microphone cube for questions from the audience. As classmates threw the microphone across the room (note, it would be helpful if Booth embraced Chicago’s softball legacy), we learned more about LinkedIn’s culture and day to day operations. This creative tech environment embraces its millennial population and puts on a “Bring Your Parents to Work Day.” One other item the panel touched on was the act of a successful transformation starting with yourself, then leading to the broader company, then eventually the world. Globally, LinkedIn boasts 610 million members with 20 million job postings. The speakers explained how their passion for connecting people with economic opportunity creates an energy that brings them to the office every day. They also said how meaningful it is to have a small part in making an impact on LinkedIn’s 610 million users. The panel joked that the free snacks aren’t bad either.
On the tour of the office, we were encouraged to try said free snacks, play on the ping pong tables, and ride the office scooters. LinkedIn also brought in a photographer for those who wanted to update their LinkedIn profile pictures. I encourage you to not only reach out via LinkedIn to connect with us who attended, but also to search the hashtags from that day of #educatINday and #INitogether.
The LinkedIn platform continues to be a strong tool for all of us at Booth and we are very grateful for the opportunity to visit the Chicago office. Thank you Booth Technology Group and LinkedIn!
Stephanie Sorensen is an Evening MBA student and Technology, Media & Telecommunications Assistant Vice President at Huntington National Bank,