Drone photograph by 380 Chicago Tours

We’ve been savoring these somewhat in-between days which happen after Labor Day and before the autumn equinox, i.e., the more scientific end of summer. 

But lo and behold, we’re staring that milestone in the face — the autumn equinox is today, September 22 — and it’s still hard to let summer go. We dwell in this mild discomfort every year… It’s kind of like “Sunday scaries,” times 52. 

But buck up, pal. Dry your eye. Don’t be sad that summer’s over! Be glad it happened.

We’re practicing gratitude and toasting to all that summer brought. Here are a few favorite happenings from Catalyst Ranch’s Summer 2023:

Sharing Our Experience with Fellow Chicago Businesses

In July, we were honored to welcome back the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, who invited us to weigh in on an important panel. 

Their Summer Education Program & Mixer brought Chamber members together to wrap up a Wednesday workday with guest speaker Stephanie Leese Emrich, Professor of Hospitality & Tourism at Roosevelt University’s Heller College of Business. Emrich shared key lessons she’s learned about providing “white glove customer service,” and then led a discussion on providing inclusive customer service in a modern day world.

We were proud to be asked to join the panel. Our Managing Director Lyndon Stewart shared how we work hard to make our creative space also a safe space for all identities. Lyndon said about the discussion: “It was the perfect topic. Catalyst Ranch prides itself on having top notch customer service and being inclusive is part of that equation. It was an honor to speak on the panel.”

And after that successful event rich with shared insight, Lyndon was able to touch back on topics discussed while enjoying the community fostered by the LGBTCC at their annual Lake Michigan boat cruise member event a few weeks later. It was certainly the cherry-on-top for a summer of purposeful Chamber goings-on.

A Season of Stand-Up Comedy

Summer isn’t summer without chances to loosen your collar and have fun, so we were lucky to be the chosen as base camp for the Run The Light comedy team throughout these warmer months.

It was a balm to have their recurring comedy showcases to look forward to and a pleasure to witness so many different stand up talents come through and bring their unique viewpoints and comedy styles to our space.

Seeing Ourselves Through a New Lens

There’s a unique sacredness about high school yearbooks that only deepens with time. They’re a portrait, literally and figuratively, of where you were and what you accomplished in a year.

This summer, Ranch alumnus Patrick McKay and the team he leads at 360 Chicago Tours let us experience that sensation of getting your yearbook and flipping through to see yourself printed in those pages for the first time. They gave us the full Glamour Shots treatment and produced a huge portfolio of photo and video content showcasing us through their dazzling viewpoint!

We’re excited to share more of this stunning work from this crew in the coming days, but for now we’re happy to leave this (giant) tidbit right here:

This breathtaking drone tour through our space captures us at our very best, and, like the most impressive portraits, is not just a capture of us in one moment in time, but a beaming representation of all the creative steps that brought us here and of the brimming potential for the seasons ahead.


These are only a sampling of what made Summer 2023 sparkle at Catalyst Ranch, where every guest either discovering us or returning is a cherished event. Thank you for being here with us!

What special summer memories are you commemorating? Treat this blog post as a yearbook page and share them with us here in the comments!