5:30 pm17:30

SIM in the Suburbs May 11 2017

  • Maggiano's Little Italy

Changing the Game in Illinois: Innovation With Constraints

In early 2015, Illinois started at the bottom 4th of 50 states in technology rankings. Within 18 months, by Q4 of 2016, Illinois moved up to the top 3rd. A lot of work got done along the way. Key ingredients for this stellar success were, Governor’s executive sponsorship, an amazing team that came together from inside and outside the government, a business mindset for running technology, a heavy focus on comprehensive digital transformation and many more. Along the way, Illinois also established itself as the first Smart State in the country and established national and international partnerships for that.

5:30pm - 6:30pm Social Hour / Networking
6:30pm - 7:15pm Announcements and Dinner
7:15pm - 8:15pm Keynote Speaker and Q&A
8:15pm - Adjourn

Member Cost
$50 per member. Includes meal and cash bar.

Guest Cost
$70 per non SIM member. Includes meal and cash bar.
*Must be accompanied by a SIM member and is limited to two visits per program year


About the Speaker

Hardik Bhatt
Chief Digital Officer and State CIO - Illinois

Hardik is a transformational leader with tremendous acumen in both strategy and execution for large transformations. Hardik has moved seamlessly between private and public sector.

After working for TCS in India and Oracle in the US, he became the CIO of the City of Chicago in his early 30’s.

He pioneered the Smart Chicago program and built it as a national model.

He went on to work as a senior executive for Cisco. He lead global business development for Cisco’s Smart & Connected Communities as well as Internet of Everything business. In that capacity, he worked with 30+ global cities, including Barcelona, Dubai, Copenhagen, Hamburg, San Francisco and many others.

In March 2015, he was recruited by Governor Rauner as the CIO for State of Illinois, to lead State’s digital transformation. In last two years, Hardik and his team have brought Illinois from bottom 4th to top 3rd in national digital rankings by creating a consolidated Department of Innovation & Technology with 1,700 people and $1B budget, building state’s first comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, increasing state’s mobile presence by 500%, launching state’s data practice and pioneering the Smart State concept by making Illinois the first state to have a clear Smart State vision and roadmap.

Beyond his day job as the State CIO, Hardik is an angel investor and a board member for two IoT companies, a non-profit charter school network serving predominantly Chicago’s Hispanic community and the Chicago Innovation Awards.

Hardik has a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from India and an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management

5:30 pm17:30

Spring Gala March 16 2017

  • Marriott Chicago O'Hare

Using Improv Techniques as Game Changers

The pace of change is more dramatic now than ever before, and it seems about the time we are comfortable with what is happening, the game changes. Sometimes the IT function is in the forefront of that change and sometimes we are playing catch up. Taking lessons from his time at Second City, Kelly Leonard understands the value of changing the game and in his book “Yes, And” he provides some valuable lessons for anyone traveling through the uncharted waters of digital transformation.


5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Networking and appetizers
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Dinner and Announcements
7:30 pm – 8:30 pm Keynote speaker
8:30 pm – Adjourn

Regular Registration -Ends on March 15, 2017 at midnight
$65 SIM member / $100 guest

Sponsor Information
The SIM Gala is a great opportunity to promote your company to a select audience of IT decision makers and influencers. We welcome your sponsorship at any level.

Event Sponsor (1 available) $10,000 SOLD
Speaker Sponsor (1 available) $4,500
Beverage Sponsor (1 available) $3,500SOLD
Appetizer Sponsor (1 available) $2,000 SOLD
Grand Prize Sponsor (1 available) $2,000
Door Prize Sponsor (1 available) $1,750
Parking Sponsor (1 available) $1,000 SOLD
Premier Table Sponsor (8 available) $1,000 - SOLD
Table Sponsor (8 available) $500

Special Thanks to Our Event Sponsor


Special Thanks to Our Beverage Sponsor


Special Thanks to Our Appetizer Sponsor


Special Thanks to Our Parking Sponsor


Special Thanks to Our Premier Table Sponsors



Event Policies

SIM Chicago events are focused on providing content-rich, peer-networking opportunities for the IT executive community.

As such, we strictly enforce a Dress Code PolicyNo-Solicitation PolicyGuest Policy, and Photo Release Policy.