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Past Speakers

Marc Malnati

Chief Executive Officer of Lou Malnati's
Marc Malnati, owner of Lou Malnati’s Pizzerias, graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management in 1977. Shortly after, he started honing his management and leadership skills in the pizzerias. Since then, Marc has grown the company from two pizzerias to 47 throughout the Chicagoland area and an Arizona location opened in May 2016. Marc received Chicagoan of the Year award from Chicago Magazine in 1996 for his involvement in the opening of a Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in Chicago’s underprivileged Lawndale neighborhood. He has appeared on many Food Network and Travel Channel TV shows, including defeating Bobby Flay in 2009 on his hit TV show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay”. In 2014, he was honored as the “Executive of the Year” by the Public Relations Society of America for his attention-grabbing challenge to television personality Jon Stewart, who criticized Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Marc believes strongly that culture is the most critical part of a business and has built a relational business model which calls for investing time in relationships and actively pursuing personal and professional growth. As a result of his efforts, in 2016 Lou Malnati’s was named one of the top places to work by Chicago Tribune for the seventh year in a row. They were also named among the top 150 best places to work by Workplace Dynamics.

Marc plays an active role in the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR). In the past 10 years under Marc’s leadership, the Lou Malnati’s Cancer Research Fund raised more than $3 million to benefit organizations dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. He has established an annual Thanksgiving food basket drive donating hundreds of food baskets to Chicago’s under-resourced families each year. He has matched employee donations to local, national, and international fundraising efforts such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the tornadoes in Missouri and Illinois, and the tsunami in Indonesia. Additionally, staying local is important to Marc, so Lou Malnati’s donates upwards of $100,000 in gift cards and $500,000 in food annually to local non-profit community organizations and schools. Marc and Jeanne, his wife of 36 years, live in Chicago and have three adult children and three grandchildren.