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Chris Conley

Chris Conley

Chris is a seasoned designer, entrepreneur, and educator with a passion for fostering creativity and collaboration in professional work. Chris is currently the Interim President and CEO at Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and founder of Abundant Professional, an online professional development community.

As the founder of gravitytank, Inc., Chris pioneered innovative consulting practices known for their cross-disciplinary approach that drove clarity and alignment for client teams. Under his leadership, gravitytank successfully served a diverse range of clients, including commercial, philanthropic, and non-profit organizations. Additionally, the firm spun out several startups including dScout, a mobile research and insights platform and Skill Scout, a video company dedicated to telling the authentic stories of employees and their jobs.

Gravitytank was acquired by Salesforce in 2016 to serve their clients with an effective innovation capability.

With a background in engineering and a master’s degree in systems design and innovation, Chris excelled as both a consultant and a tenured professor at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). At IIT, he played a pivotal role in developing the first PhD program in design and innovation.

Chris is recognized as a pioneer in human-centered design and innovation, blending academic research at IIT with practical application of new methods at gravitytank to drive positive change. He is committed to helping leaders adopt more creative and human-centered approaches to work and management, sharing his insights through writing, speaking engagements, and coaching.

In addition to his professional endeavors, Chris has served on the boards of several Chicago non-profit organizations including the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) and Metropolitan Planning Council. At NLEN, he helped develop the vision for a new integrated campus that was instrumental in NLEN’s largest capital campaign in its history.

Chris lives in Streeterville with spouse, Cira – his lifelong business partner and an accomplished Spartan athlete. They have a daughter, Cilia, who is a junior at Walter Payton High School. Their son, Carlos, is graduating in computer science from the University of Illinois in 2024. They are all better at Wordle and Connections than Chris.


Chris Conley


Interim President & CEO

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