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Thread: City Club of Chicago

  1. #1
    Nov 2007
    Chicago, Illinois

    City Club of Chicago

    Is anyone a member of the City Club of Chicago?
    Has anyone been to any of their events?
    Is this a worthwhile civic organization to be involved with or is it just a thing people use to pad the resume?

    Basically, is it worth my 25 dollars.


  2. #2
    Dec 2007
    Chicago, IL
    Hi Kaleb!

    Before I say anything at all, let me first disclose that I am affiliated with the City Club. Despite that, let me be upfront.

    Honestly, a membership's worth it depending on what you're looking for. I don't really think many people pad their resumes with it, though I could be wrong (it happens time and again!).

    The City Club's highly worthwhile in two primary areas: public discourse and networking.

    Public Discourse:
    The events really are very interesting. It's not uncommon for speakers to announce new plans or unveil new studies to the room. I've learned an enormous amount about all sorts of areas from just listening in on talks, and consequently have become far more aware of how things work in Chicago. Often speakers will hand out packets of information to those in attendance, and more often than not they're quite interesting. (Not all of them of course; occasionally they bore me to tears!) Another fun standard of City Club events is the guaranteed Q&A after each one where anyone can get up and ask a direct question to the speaker.

    The people at the events change in relation to the speakers. When it's the ED of the Illinois Tollway, the room is packed with executives from big engineering and construction firms; when it's the President of the Chicago Crime Commission, it's local law enforcement and aldermen wanting to know what the Commission is doing about gang violence in their ward. Everyone sits at tables of 10, which offers a great opportunity to meet new people every time.


    One thing I feel is important that people know is that you don't have to be a member to attend the events. The luncheons (by far the most common event) cost $35 for members and $45 for non-members, meaning that - unless you really just want to call yourself a member - if you're planning on attending only 2 or 3 events per year, it's really not worth the price of membership.

    The other thing I try to be upfront about is the same thing I'm trying to change: it's not typically a young crowd. If you're looking for a group of young professionals, this probably isn't what you're looking for. Now that's not to say there are no young people in attendance - there certainly are - just not many. The place really needs some younger blood, but so far my attempts have not been highly fruitful (maybe it's because I tell everyone this stuff!). Personally, I'm 26, so for me it'd just be nice to see some younger faces around there, but I also think it'd be beneficial to have more of my generation in tune with what's happening with public policy in the area. Of course, maybe I'm just being selfish and trying to justify it!

    AND (to get my shameless plug in at last), if you join today we have our annual members' holiday reception tonight from 530 to 8! You can pay for a membership at the door with either cash, check or credit card (Visa or Mastercard only)! It's business casual, and there's free food and booze provided!

    Sorry, just had to get that out of the way. I hope I've been of some help, and I certainly hope this post doesn't discourage other people who perhaps hate the City Club from posting their thoughts in response to your question. Let me know if I can answer anything else!


  3. #3
    Dec 2006
    Heard about that group years ago. If you want to get into planning in Chicago, I recommend you get involved in the Chicago Metro Section of the Illinois APA meetings. They are usually once a month at various locales and cover a range of topics. MIght be more expensive than the organization you described.

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