Monica Metzler is the Founder and Executive Director of the Illinois Science Council (“ISC”), an independent nonprofit she started in 2006 to increase public awareness and appreciation of science and technology. ISC offers engaging public science outreach programs for adult audiences that highlight the work of Chicago-area researchers and institutions. Monica has produced a wide variety of programs such as: Hands-On Chemistry (i.e., Chemistry of… beer, whiskey, chocolate, coffee, honey, etc.); panel discussions on interesting topics (e.g. cancer-causing viruses, paleontology, string theory, the neuroscience of baseball); author talks with the Chicago Public Library; film screenings (The Atom Smashers, The Believers), and more. In 2011, Monica worked with a researcher at Northwestern University to secure a National Science Foundation funding for a multi-year series of programs about brain science (e.g., Your Brain on… Happiness, Creativity, Memory, Exercise, Love & Sex, etc.). In 2015, Monica launched ISC’s inaugural Chicago Science Festival, which is on its way to being an annual spring event in Chicago.
Before devoting herself to ISC full-time, Monica served as Vice President at Conlon Public Strategies where her work focused on nonprofit strategic planning and management. She helped organizations navigate the political landscape and achieve their goals in the public arena using expertise gained from an accomplished 20-year career in the legal, political and nonprofit sectors.
Prior to joining Conlon Public Strategies, Monica gained wide-ranging experience in developing and marketing different types of large, transformative events for organizations. She’s worked with a law firm on a healthcare symposium, a transportation center on its 50th anniversary, a university on a $1 billion campaign launch, and a large corporation on a product roll-out.
From 1998–2002 Monica served as Director of Northwestern University’s 150th Anniversary, where she created and managed scores of events in a variety of venues, including small awards luncheons, an all-campus picnic, an academic symposium on the Human Genome, alumni events featuring Broadway and Hollywood celebrities, chartering ‘El trains to get 8,500 people to a Chicago Cubs baseball game, and a kick-off weekend of 37 events including fireworks and the world’s largest cheesecake. She developed the content and architecture of the Sesquicentennial website, oversaw publication of a book on the history of the University and supervised production of an award-winning historical video documentary. Based on her extensive experience in strategic planning around specific occasions, Monica still provides consulting services to nonprofits facing milestone anniversaries and significant events.
Monica’s skill in organizing complex events was honed in the political and legal world. She managed site logistics for the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and produced events and conducted policy research on a number of state and national political campaigns. She practiced intellectual property law at the Chicago firm of Winston & Strawn with a focus on marketing, advertising and event sponsorship agreements.
Monica serves on the board of directors of The Big Idea Forum, an organization that provides guidance to entrepreneurs in the development of innovative business ideas. She also serves on the advisory board for the Northwestern University magazine. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
You can reach Monica at contact@MonicaMetzler.com.