Founder: “I Hate Poetry”


Isaiah, his afro, and his spoken word group at Oak Park and River Forest High School.

“I Hate Poetry”
Isaiah Mākar once told his freshman english teacher, “I hate poetry and will never join the spoken word club”. After noticing a JAY-Z lyric used in a poetry workshop, Isaiah’s curiosity peaked once he found poetry in the music he listened to. A couple years later, Isaiah found his voice in the Spoken Word Club at Oak Park and River Forest High School (OPRF) in Oak Park, Illinois. Isaiah learned to overcome his fear of public speaking and social anxiety by teaching himself how to write poetry and perform in front of hundreds of people at the Spoken Word Club showcases.

Before graduating with his degree in Organizational and Corporate Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Isaiah presented his research on how poetry can be used in the classroom to enhance and sustain student engagement, at the Illinois Summer Research Symposium. He performed his presentation in spoken word style in front of professors from multiple universities and won the Outstanding Oral Presentation Award. Based on his research, he developed the Mākar Method™, which ultimately led to the creation of Impact Mākars.

Empowering Employee Voice
Mākar Method is a cross-interdisciplinary learning model focused on developing transferable communication skills from spoken word poetry that empower employee and student voice.

Isaiah first demonstrated the Mākar Method by teaching a workshop, entitled, Teaching Is a Performance, to undergraduate students at Roosevelt University. He taught them how to blend creative spoken word techniques into a teaching style that better engaged students.

He also led the Teaching is a Performance workshop at Uncharted Learning’s National Summit, instructing entrepreneurial educators on how to apply poetic performance techniques to foster an “edutaining” learning environment.

For the Disrupt-HR Chicago event at 1871, Isaiah performed an original rap titled, The Ten HR Commandments: Don’t Think Small. Think Biggie, in front of an audience of over 250 HR representatives from companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Google, and Amazon, among others. For each commandment he rhymed about how communication skills from spoken word poetry can train employees.

Next, Isaiah led the workshop, Your Emotions Are Your Employees, for nearly 200 HR professionals at the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) Conference, which focused on stress relief, team building, and learning creative transferable communication skills from spoken word poetry.

Isaiah has led trainings and presentations for organizations such as SHRM Chicago, Yelp Inc., Grant Thornton LLP, DisrputHR Chicago & Cincinnati, CUPA-HR, Gensler, UIC and many others.

Isaiah guest lecturing for a UIC communication class.


Empowering Student Voice
Isaiah was a spoken word teaching artist in Oak Park and Chicago Public Schools. Isaiah has designed curriculum, taught, performed, hosted, and organized poetry workshops and events for nearly 20 schools ranging from elementary to college. Isaiah is a mentor for OPRF’s Spoken Word Club and Louder Than A Bomb slam team. He is a two-time finalist in the Guild Literary Complex’s Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards and was an Arts Education Grants Panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Isaiah has been invited as a guest lecturer at several universities such as UIC, Roosevelt University, and Loyola University Chicago, amongst others.

A rough mock-up of the performing arts center.

Isaiah’s vision is to transform Impact Mākars into a social enterprise to open the first performing arts center focusing on professional development. The center will operate as a “co-playing” space where artists can create and professionals can reconnect with their creative side to renovate their work cultures.  

Isaiah has worked with…

Auditorium Theater
College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR)
Communities First Association

Ernest Hemingway Foundation
Frank Lloyd Wright Studio
Grant Thornton LLP
Guild Literary Complex
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
One Earth Film Festival
One Hope United
Oak Park Education Foundation
Oak Park Public Library
School of Rock
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Unchartered Learning
Urban Ministries
Yelp Inc.

Catherine Cook School
Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School
Haines Elementary
Joplin Elementary
Kennedy-King College
Kenwood Academy
Lake Forest College
Loyola Chicago University
Northern Illinois University
Oak Park and River Forest High School (alumni)
Percy Julian Middle School
Randolph Elementary
River Forest School Middle School
Roosevelt University
Tilden Elementary
University of Illinois at Chicago (alumni)

A better workplace culture is just one Mākarshop away.