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Our Story


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Our Story


We're social alchemists, idea yentas, play-makers, and discoverers of hidden gems. We understand the science of bringing good people, places and ideas together in creative ways to maximize utility, encourage collaboration, and kickstart serendipity. We started Drink Tank because meetups weren’t cutting it, bars aren’t equipped for it, and work was, well – work.

And while the world is full of talented people eager to lend a hand, it’s rare to find them working together in one place. So we decided to create what we couldn’t find: A party with a purpose where people can use their powers for good, make an impact, and meet others motivated to do the same.

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Co-Founders


Co-Founders


The brains behind the beers

Kate Garmey | Managing Partner | @kategarmey

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I apply human-centered design principles to create brands, experiences and technology solutions that strengthen communities and connect and inspire people.

For more than ten years, I’ve worked with companies and causes to build community online and off. I bring both strategic pragmatism and creative vision to a wide range of business contexts and questions and am experienced developing and executing strategies aimed at launching new products and services, deepening customer engagement, and driving revenue and profitability. As the Managing Partner of Drink Tank, I design creative workshops and brand activations that bring multidisciplinary groups together to collaborate, unlock creativity, and make impact. I also serve as an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern where I teach human-centered design and innovation at Medill IMC and the Segal Design Institute. 

I’m a proud Maine native (and a big fan of its breweries and sea-fetched crustaceans), but have lived in Chicago long enough for it to feel like home, too. I graduated with a Bachelor’s from Brown University and hold a Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications and Digital Media Management from Medill/Kellogg. More about me here

Annie Swank | Partner-in-Crime Emeritus | @annieswank

As CoFounder of Drink Tank, a recreational think tank, I design events to unlock collaboration, create serendipity, and support an individual’s instinct to help their community. I also work with companies to solve problems creatively by bringing interdisciplinary collaboration to solution design.

Prior to Drink Tank I served as the User Experience Practice Lead for Table XI, a software development and design firm, where I applied human-centered design to digital experiences. As UX client lead for The Field Museum, Chicago Ideas Week and the Medill School of Journalism, I translated user research insights into technology solutions. I am an instructor of design thinking for The Experience Institute, and have taught user experience research and design for The Starter League, and The American Design and Master Craft Initiative.

I’ve also spent years studying community design as applied to politics, government, and international development. I worked for the Obama campaign and Administration to supervise national advance teams, and design communications strategies for constituents from all backgrounds and political affiliations. In 2012, I assisted the re-election’s technology team by designing digital tools to empower, inspire and mobilize citizens.  I applied similar tools to the United Nations and the Millennium Development Campaign, where I researched youth political activation and strategy in Southeast Asia.

I’m a graduate of The University of Chicago, I’m from California, and I try to write my bios in first person whenever I can.

Update: In 2017 I stepped away from Drink Tank to focus full time on video and narrative projects. My goal is still to inspire / empower people to help their community and to aid organizations in (inclusively, creatively) articulating their purpose and impact. I’m grateful to have collaborated with so many outstanding people along the way. Thank you, cheers, and talk soon! (Oh and ps - More information and on what I’m working on these days can be found at aswank.com)