Meet TSG Associate Board Member, Leah Haselhorst

By: Alexis A

We are pleased to feature one of the board members of The Simple Good, Leah Haselhorst. Leah has been a long time supporter of TSG through supporting our annual fundraiser City of Big Dreams as the Venue Director & Events Manager at Chop Shop and she has formally joined the team this year! Leah has a passion for music and traveling. Not only has she experienced the world of journalism and music, she has also experienced the real world by traveling to other countries. Her travels have inspired her to make a difference in the world. Learn more about how her experiences in traveling and passion for music help her make a positive impact on the world as a board member of TSG:

Where are you from and what brought you to Chicago? I was born in Chicago, but my parents decided to move to Naperville after my twin sisters were born to raise our family. Growing up I was always making mixtapes and burning CD’s from Nichol’s Library because I was just fascinated by music. I never knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life until I moved to the city to attend DePaul University for my undergrad. I was done with the suburban life, and craved the connections waiting for me in Chicago.

What is your professional background? My sophomore year at DePaul, I met Patrick Welby and Domingo Meneses who hired me on as Brand Director to complete our team at CrowdNoize. CrowdNoize was my first taste of startup success — serving as a platform to collect, analyze, and report the demographic and social reach of a sponsored event. We would then give event professionals the tools to bridge that offline experience with online marketing. I started attending concerts like CRAZY — photographing performances, handling artist interviews and exploring the world of music journalism. I made friends and connected with my idols, including Lorin Ashton (Bassnectar). At our first CrowdNoize SXSW showcase featuring Chance The Rapper and Lizzo, everything clicked. I knew this beautiful world of music & events was blossoming into something amazing.

After college, I picked up a bartending job at Zella Clybourn where my managers allowed me to play with music programming — producing weekly Garage Band nights featuring various local artists. After a few years, I became Manager and Talent Coordinator for the brand, while also participating in music-related events any way I possibly could. As fate would have it, I was hired on to work as a “connector” for a pre-Spring Awakening event by Pro-Ject — an amazing agency that connects brands and focuses on experiential marketing, sponsorship consulting and development. There I met Matt Woodburn, Owner/Operator of the Chop Shop and reconnected with Sarah Neukom, the Venue Director for Chop Shop. Matt and Sarah then hired me on as an Events Manager, which was like a dream come true.

For the past three years, I have served as Venue Director and Events Manager of Chop Shop — booking, producing and overseeing all events-related business for the brand — from full building buyouts with Universal Music Group & M&M’s; to large-scale awareness events with the Alzheimer’s Association, Alinea and Common; to the City of Big Dreams yearly fundraiser for The Simple Good! I am one of the few people in the world who can honestly say they love their career and am lucky to have such wonderful mentors by my side.

How do you connect to the arts? Everything in the event industry is a work of art. Working with outrageously talented musicians, painters, dancers, poets, photographers, videographers, event planners and chefs inspires me every single day. I love seeing a vision come to life — whether that's a concert, art exhibit, fundraiser, fashion show, dance benefit, documentary screening. To have the opportunity to engage with local and international talents gives my life a sense of purpose.

What has it meant to you to be a member of The Simple Good board? For the past three years, I have seen The Simple Good’s yearly fundraiser City of Big Dreams grow into a wildly unique experience. Each year the artists get better, the crowd get bigger and the donations soar. To be part of that alone was a fantastic experience, but to be invited to join the board was an even greater joy because I missed being part of a non-profit organization. I have travelled the world and seen first-hand how diminished educational resources negatively impact a community. From Zambia to Honduras to Colombia, the lack of access to important programs like TSG’s is staggering. Priya’s work is an inspirational endeavor that I am honored to be part of!

Why do you think art is important for youth in Chicago? For the South Side? The nature of art to me is rooted in introspection. When you create art, you look inward to examine deep thoughts, traumas and feelings. These are then translated through whatever medium to create a tangible representation of our innermost humanity. Fostering imagination and expression in early development is essential. Even just reading through a few quotes from these children about their art, it is clear that creative outlets allow us to heal. For the South Side particularly, those youth require and deserve a soli and constant source of healing.

What impact have you seen being made by The Simple Good? This organization has made profound strides in bringing awareness to its mission to empower and connect us all. During the last City of Big Dreams fundraiser, I witnessed the direct impact of TSG as guests donated to the cause and engaged in dynamic conversations surrounding the art. Seeing so much love in one place gave me hope that we can actually make a difference in this world. I see this non-profit going in two directions — upwards and outwards!

What does ‘the simple good’ mean to you? The Simple Good means looking within before acting out. No matter what, we all need a healthy dose of self-reflection every single day. It is the only way we can fully be present and mindful in our interactions with others and with ourselves. The Simple Good means spreading the light of acceptance and peace through art and in how we treat people. Art sends such a powerful message that has the means to change the world. I firmly believe imparting mindful expression to our youth will alter our future forever.

My simple good is alone time with daily meditation — whether that be a completely immersive workout, extra long walk with no particular destination, or just burning some Paolo Santo and laying quietly on my bedroom floor listening to relaxing music. I have a playlist on my Spotify called “Inner Peace” that never fails.

You can follow Leah Haselhorst on social media and LinkedIn by clicking the links below

- LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/leah-haselhorst-06840016/

- Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/leah.haselhorst

- Twitter — @LeahHasel

- Spotify — search Leah Haselhorst or link — https://open.spotify.com/user/122655442

Please feel free to contact Leah Haselhorst at Leah@Chicagochopshop.com if you are interested in hosting your event at Chop Shop.

Interested in supporting The Simple Good? Help us make an impact by donating here.