ROCKFORD – Jason Todd, founder and president of Thinker Ventures in Rockford, was named one of the 2018 People You Should Know by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.
Todd was recognized at a special reception Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Tebala Event Center. The other honorees included executives or community leaders from organizations such as the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Rockford University, the YMCA of Rock River Valley, Larson & Darby Group and the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois.
The Rockford Chamber launched the People You Should Know program in 2011 and now has recognized 141 leaders. Todd was one of just seven individuals recognized this year from private businesses.
“It was an honor to be included in this group, and I thank the chamber for the recognition,” said Todd, who launched Thinker in 2011. “We’re a small company compared with most of the organizations represented, and being included is an endorsement of our role in building a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem in Rockford.”
Thinker is a business development company that helps companies launch and grow through website development, marketing, branding, media consulting, managed information technology, content management and executive coaching.
Thinker also hosts the weekly 1 Million Cups meetings, which brings together business owners and professionals at 9 a.m. every Wednesday for free coffee and to meet and mentor other small business owners or entrepreneurs. It’s a Kauffman Foundation initiative with chapters in more than 180 cities in the United States. Thinker also organized Startup Weekend Rockford, which drew professionals and students together to form companies from scratch over 54 hours.
This year’s People You Should Know featured eight women and 12 men representing a variety of industries, including health care, government, nonprofits, finance, education, manufacturing and professional services. According to the chamber, the honorees were chosen because they “are business leaders who impact their respective organizations and industries and who positively affect the local business.” R.