My name is Benjamin van Loon (usually just Ben) and I’m a writer, educator, and communications consultant and proud Chicagoan. I have more than a decade of experience in writing, PR, and strategic communications, and specialize in brainstorming big ideas – and then putting those ideas to work.
Currently I serve as communications director for AFIRE, an international real estate investment association, where I’m in charge of member communications, external affairs, and thought leadership. Previously, I managed communications for SOM, a global architecture and urban design firm. Before that, I managed PR and marketing for World Business Chicago, an economic development organization partnered with the City of Chicago.
By night I serve as an adjunct professor of public relations at Northeastern Illinois University, where I hold a master’s degree in communications and media. It’s just up the block from North Park University, the college I graduated in 2009, with dual bachelor’s degrees in English and philosophy. And in 2020, I earned a certificate in editing from the University of Chicago.
As a writer, my work has been featured across a huge range of literary, professional, and business media. As a PR and strategic communications consultant, I have helped clients and employers gain placements in the New York Times, Forbes, TechCrunch, Fast Company, Financial Times, and dozens of other leading publications and networks. I’ve also presented creative and academic lectures across the US , and from 2011 to 2014, I also served as the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Anobium, an independent literary publisher and experimental writing collective.
When I’m not at work or teaching, I spend my time offering pro bono consulting to nonprofits with the Arts & Business Council of Chicago and the Taproot Foundation. And when I’m not doing any of that, I’m exploring, traveling, reading books, watching movies, and taking pictures of everyday life around Chicago.