Speakers

Alison Victoria

Keynote

Alison Victoria

Founder and President of Alison Victoria Interiors with offices in Chicago and Las Vegas, Alison Victoria is known for creating glamorous, modern interiors with a client list that includes high-end boutiques, resorts and private residences. AS a culmination of her design vision, Alison introduced the Alison Victoria Collection, a line of luxury furniture for the home. She went on to host Kitchen Crashers on HGTV and DIY Network, becoming the first female lead in the popular Crashers franchise. Her new show, Windy City Flip , follows Alison in her role as developer and designer, renovating properties in her hometown of Chicago. The show is set to air in 2017 on HGTV.

   

Emcee

Micae Brown

Micae Brown is the host of WVON 1690AM’s The Urban Business Roundtable, creator and host of The Micae Brown Report, and philanthropist. Micae’s media career began at the Chicago Sun-Times where she served as the National Business Development Manager, specializing in constructing advertising strategies for clients including Comcast, Macy’s and the Chicago White Sox. While holding this position, she conceptualized and hosted the “Minority Report” video series with the Chicago Sun-Times to showcase the city’s vibrant community of entrepreneurs and professionals of color. Micae conducted interviews with acclaimed guests as diverse as Chicago’s former Treasurer Stephanie Neely, advertising executive Sherman Wright, and NFL star Israel Idonije.

     

Special Guest Speakers

Kelly Hoey
Kelly Hoey
Author

Build Your Dream Network

Kelly Hoey is the author of Build Your Dream Network (January 2017 / Tarcher Perigee). She has been lauded from Forbes (“1 of 5 Women Changing the World of VC/Entrepreneurship”) to Fast Company (“1 of the 25 Smartest Women On Twitter”) to Business Insider (“1 of the 100 Most Influential Tech Women On Twitter”). Empowering A Billion Women By 2020 included her on their list of the “100 Most Influential Global Leaders Empowering Women Worldwide”. Kelly appears on CNBC’s Power Pitch and works with inclusive companies including Comcast and Capital One. Her career story is one transformation. Kelly’s career started in corporate law. A chance opportunity in 2009 to work with a visionary leader sparked her transition from earning a paycheck to seeking equity. Co-founding a startup accelerator then an interim CMO role are just part of Kelly’s journey of reinvention as an author, influencer and investor.
Shavalerie Thurman
Shavalerie Thurman
Producer

CNN

Shavalerie Thurman is a seasoned media professional and multi-talented producer at CNN, producing diverse, innovative programming. With more than 10 years spearheading original programming on news shows in top 10 and mid-level affiliate markets, Shavalerie brings a unique approach to problem-solving and the delivery of cutting-edge material. She has built a successful career utilizing her skills and talents producing, writing and editing, while balancing life as a single mother of two sons, putting herself through college and serving as a mentor for future journalists and single, working moms.
Tara-Tate
Tara Tate
Pro Snowboarder
+ Women’s Project Manager

Arbor Collective

Tara is an athlete, a skateboarder and eight-year competitive snowboarder. She is currently the head of the Women’s Program for an action sports and lifestyle brand called Arbor Collective where Tara advocates for women’s action sports.
Dr. Anitha  Roa
Dr. Anitha Rao
Founder/CEO

Neurocern

Dr. Rao is CEO and Co-Founder of Neurocern, an aging and caregiving technology startup that empowers caregivers with limited resources by creating custom care solutions in order to improve the quality of life of their loved one. Dr. Rao also practices part-time as a board-certified neurologist and specializes in memory disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Her additional interests include: public health, policy, big data, machine learning, and predictive modeling in health information technology. Dr. Rao has published several articles on neurological disease and public health outcomes, and served as an Advisor for the American Geriatrics Society and The American Academy of Neurology.

Theresa D' Ambrose
Theresa D’Ambrose
Creator

International Nourishment

My 3 favorite personal development playgrounds are marriage, golf and yoga. I am passionately curious and use my own life as a personal chemistry lab and psychology class. My passion around nutrition has shifted to deeper questions, like, what are you really hungry for? I foster puppies so I get to fall in love and then practice letting go. I’m a dogmom, a SuperAuntie, and a new grandmother. My gypsy soul love to travel, my love language is freedom, and my heart beats to rock-n-roll.
Headshot coming soon
Sydney Campos
Founder

Make Only Magic

Sydney Campos is a Leading Transformation Mentor supporting visionaries with comprehensive holistic wellness, business strategy and mindset mastery to live life beyond their wildest dreams. Sydney is a stand for bold authenticity, abundance, radical self-love and liberation and helps her clients achieve all of the above, which she knows starts with them thriving from the inside out.

In addition to being a seasoned expert in PR and Marketing Strategy, she is also a 200-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher and Meditation Guide, Reiki Energy Healer and Intuitive Guide. Sydney is also a Marketing Advisor to the hottest travel startup on the scene, SkyHi, which offers a subscription flight platform for the masses.

Sydney is an avid adventurer who can be found traveling between exotic retreats she hosts around the world throughout the year while having her home base in Ubud, Bali.

RIGHT?! WE CAN’T WAIT.

More Speakers + Coaches!

Headshot coming soon
Mel Safford
Founder

Love Your Selfie

Mel Safford is a classically trained dancer, choreographer, performer and an AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor and certified BOOTY BEAT Instructor. She has been featured on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Chicago Tribune, Windy City Live, WGN, WBEZ, and CBS News and has worked as an SCW Presenter.

With an extensive background in ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop and Pilates, she is known for her contagious energy and for making women both sweat and laugh alike in class. She strives to create an environment where women can let go of every day stresses–a place where they can take pleasure in themselves, the beauty of fitness, and feel strong and sexy.

When not dancing, Mel also works as a producer for A Drink With, DAYBREAKER and as the Director of Booking for Chicago Ideas, curating stage programming, speakers and community activations for the world’s largest accessible ideas festival. She is inspired most by kindness, people watching, belly laughs, early mornings, late nights, loud music, cheat days and her mother — she’s brilliant.

Elizabeth Brigham
Dorri McWhorter
CEO

YWCA

Dorri McWhorter became the CEO of the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago in March 2013. She has embarked upon a journey to transform the 140 year old social service agency to a 21st century social enterprise. Dorri is moving the agency into the digital age by re‐launching the TechGYRLS program, which focuses on developing STEM awareness for girls ages 9 through 14 and introducing 3D: Developing Digital Diversity, which provides web and mobile application development training to adult women. Dorri was included in the inaugural list of “The Blue Network”, comprised of the top 100 innovators in Chicago, by Chicago Tribune’s Blue Sky Innovation. In Spring of 2015, the YWCA launched its own e‐commerce site, YShop.org, which provides carefully curated goods and services from businesses that support the mission of the YWCA. In 2016, McWhorter was recognized by Good City Chicago receiving its Innovative Leader Award. A proven leader in the corporate and social change sectors, Dorri prides herself on being a socially‐ conscious business leader throughout her career. McWhorter is an active member of Chicago’s civic, business and philanthropic communities. Most recently, she was a partner at Crowe Horwath LLP, one of the largest accounting firms in the U.S. She has also held senior positions with Snap‐on Incorporated and Booz Allen Hamilton. Dorri is also active in the accounting profession having served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and a Board of Directors for the Illinois CPA Society. McWhorter also serves on the Board of Directors for several organizations, including The Metropolitan Club, Chicago Finance Exchange, and Chicago Child Care Society. McWhorter is also a member of the Executive Council of Ms. Tech advancing women businesses in technology and a board member of the Chicago Center for Arts and Technology. As an engaged community leader, McWhorter is a member of the Mayor’s Commission on a Safer Chicago and served as a member of Mayor Emanuel’s second term transition team. She is also a board member for the State of Illinois Charitable Trust. McWhorter received her bachelors in business administration from the University of Wisconsin‐Madison and her masters in business administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Jessica-tenuta
K Sujata
President/ceo

Chicago Foundation for Women

K. Sujata is a strong advocate for women and girls with broad experience in Chicago’s philanthropic, business and nonprofit communities. She has served as president and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women since 2011, a grantmaking organization focused on basic rights and equal opportunities for women and girls in the greater Chicago area. Sujata led the foundation through double digit growth, managing a strategic alliance with the former Eleanor Foundation in 2012. Sujata has worked at several notable nonprofit agencies in Chicago: Eleanor Foundation, Apna Ghar, Chicago Continuum of Care, among others. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, Sujata worked in the manufacturing industry. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University, and an MBA from IIT. Sujata serves on the Board of the Women’s Funding Network and the Steering Committee of the Asset Funders Network. Her blog can be found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/k-sujata/. Follow her on twitter @k_sujata.
Lola Wright
Lola Wright
Rev. 

Bodhi Spiritual Center

A fresh voice reminding us of our shared humanity. Lola Wright was raised by hip-hop and has navigated domestic abuse, addiction, corporate success, and welfare. Lola is the leader of a preeminent mindfulness-based community organization in Chicago. Wife and mother of 4 children, she is a reminder of power, faith, trust and straight up determination. A strong voice who reminds her listeners “We got this!”
Dena Khalafallah
Dena Khalafallah
Promotions

iHeartMedia

Dena is a Loyola University Chicago alumna, majored in Communication Studies with minors in marketing and Arabic. Last Spring Dena worked with Chicago’s #1 morning news show, WGN-TV and she currently works for iHeartMedia Chicago as well as a graduate student in journalism at Northwestern Medill. She’s an aspiring entertainment reporter who happens to be a first generation American, daughter of Egyptian immigrants!
Jessica-tenuta
Jessica Tenuta
Artist + Cofounder

Packback

bio coming soon
Alex Batdorf
Alex Batdorf
Co-Founder

ZipFit Denim

Alex Batdorf is the Co-Founder & CMO of ZipFit Denim, a venture backed eCommerce company solving for fit while shopping for designer clothing. Unlike the old way of shopping in trying to fit into clothing, ZipFit has developed proprietary technology that helps identify designer clothing that will fit and is customized perfectly to you. ZipFit launched in 2011 out of New Venture Challenge at the University of Chicago Booth School of business and started with men’s denim. They now offer a product assortment for men and recently launched their women’s denim collection. Their goal is to be your online destination for perfect fitting designer clothing. Alex obtained her BA in Sociology from the University of Chicago. Prior to ZIpFit, she worked in marketing for companies like Valspar, Starcom Mediavest Group, and provided freelance marketing consulting for local fashion brands in Chicago.
Headshot coming soon
Cat Aldana
Founder

EAT STRETCH NAP™ + Advanced Yoga Teacher

Cat Aldana is the Founder of EAT STRETCH NAP™, a boutique wellness company offering Yoga + Meditation Retreats, Corporate Wellness Consulting and Ayurvedic Cleanses. As an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500), Master AIR® Aerial Yoga Teacher Trainer and Mindfulness Expert, Cat is a widely sought after corporate wellness consultant and speaker. Her passion for yoga stems from her contagious love for dance, holistic wellness and personal + professional development. Cat’s fun loving + energetic personality, deep empathy, and gentle motivation create an extraordinary atmosphere of calm that inspires her students to trust their inner wisdom and strength.
Noeleen McGrath
Noeleen McGrath
Executive Media Trainer & Presentation Skills Coach

McGrath Comm

Noeleen McGrath leads McGrath Comm. The award winning television news journalist, media trainer and video producer started out her career in TV news in 1990. McGrath was just a junior in college when she started producing stories for network news giant, CNN. After three years at CNN’s Chicago bureau, Noeleen moved in front of the camera as an anchor/reporter. McGrath received many reporting awards, including a prestigious National Edward R. Murrow for Best Feature.

In 2002 Noeleen left TV news and began to focus on corporate communications and coaching. Three years later, she founded McGrath Comm. Noeleen tailors media training, spokesperson coaching and presentation skills training programs to fit an individual’s needs and style. She has coached people from a variety of backgrounds: corporate executives, professional athletes, attorneys, authors, doctors, sales executives, politicians, research scientists, fitness experts, school officials and mining industry spokespeople.

Specialties: Media Training, Presentation Skills Coaching, Spokesperson Training, Crisis Communications, Message Development.

What sets me apart from many media trainers or presentation skills coaches is my ability to quickly assess a person’s strengths and teach them how to make the most of them.

By the time I’m done working with someone, they’ll not only have new skills, but the confidence to use them.

Headshot coming soon
Kelsey Lutz
COO

Luxury Garage Sale

Bio coming soon…

Luxury Garage Sale
Northwestern University
Kellogg School of Management

Samara Mejia Hernandez
Samara M. Hernandez
Venture Capital Investor

MATH Venture Partners

Samara is an early stage investor at MATH Venture Partners based in Chicago. Prior to joining MATH, Samara spent eight years at Goldman Sachs, where she was continually ranked top 5 in selling financial products, providing market insights, advising on portfolio construction, and consulting on business practices. She started her career in the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodity (FICC) group where she lead multiple technology enhancing projects across global exchanges. Samara is actively involved in the Chicago tech community and passionate about helping underrepresented groups get into STEM education, venture capital and entrepreneurship. She is on the leadership council for Women Tech Founders and an active mentor at 1871 and with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Samara earned an Industrial and Operations Engineering degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University.
Charisse Conanan Johnson
Charisse Conanan Johnson
Partner

Next Street

Charisse Conanan Johnson, CFA (chartered financial analyst), is an

investing wealth expert, writer, public speaker and TV personality.

Charisse is the creator of the Charisse Says platform, where she

actively blogs and has also produced the Charisse Says Show and

Charisse Says Online Academy, where she makes investing simple,

easy, and fun. Charisse has also been featured as a financial expert

on FOX News and Experian. Charisse is a financial contributor to the

Huffington Post and American Express OPEN Forum. She has

pursued a life of purpose by investing in financial markets, teaching,

building businesses, and stepping out on faith.

In addition to her work on Charisse Says, Charisse is currently a

Partner and Head of the Chicago office at Next Street Financial,

which provides financial and strategic advice to small businesses

and the organizations that support them.

Charisse is also a General Partner for the Bulldog Innovation Group,

a venture fund focused on Yale alums investing in entrepreneurs

with a Yale affiliation.

Prior to launching the Charisse Says platform, Charisse was

Founder and CEO of www.smarteys.com, a web-app that helped

college grads manage their finances. Prior to building Smarteys,

Charisse was a Vice President at JPMorgan Asset Management in

New York City. She conducted stock market research as a

generalist, and her research covered 18% of the $10billion

JPMorgan Mid Cap Value Fund.

Charisse is also a graduate of Yale University and the University of

Chicago Booth School of Business. She loves building relationships,

traveling, sports, and exploring the world through international

cuisine. Charisse resides in Hyde Park with her husband.

Yanira Garza
Candy Scott
Founder

MOOD Design & Build

Candy Scott, founder of MOOD | Design + Build, has 15 years of experience in the field of interior design including both residential, and commercial settings. As the lead senior designer and creative director of the team, she has a genuine desire to create special places reflecting the heart and soul of our clients. Candy graduated from Meredith college in Raleigh, NC with a Bachelor’s of Science in Interior Design. Through the years, she has won multiple awards working with large developer and corporate clients outfitting high rise condominium lobbies, clubrooms, and model show homes. In 2014 she founded MOOD | Design + Build, where she has continued to work with residential clients and small business owners on their homes, offices, and small scale commercial interiors.
Headshot coming soon
Cayla Chambers
CEO & Founder

InvestHER Ventures

Cayla Weisberg is partner at InvestHER Ventures, a Chicago based VC fund that invests in female entrepreneurs with early stage software companies. She is focused on investing in technology enabled business services, data driven products, and disruptive solutions for large markets. With a track record for driving revenue for both fortune 500 and start-up companies, Cayla brings a strong sales focus to the InvestHERs growing portfolio of scaling businesses.
Lauren Scott
Lauren Scott
Software Engineer & Community Engineer

Braintree + RailsBridge

Lauren is a poet-turned-programmer working as a Software Engineer and Apprenticeship Director at Braintree in Chicago. She’s an advocate for women in tech, and gives back to her community by co-leading RailsBridge Chicago, teaching with Girl Develop It and other organizations, and mentoring students at Dev Bootcamp and beyond. In her spare time, she kills evil gods at the D&D table, teaches herself the ukulele, and perpetually gets songs from Buffy stuck in her head.
Ari Krzyzek
Ari Krzyzek
Creative Director & Chief designer

Chykalophia

Co-founder, creative director and chief designer of Chykalophia, Ari Krzyzek implements powerful branding strategies to provide distinctive designs for maximum impact via web, mobile and/or print. Additionally, she founded and hosts Creative Women’s Co., serving as design consultant, mentor and professional peer in support of fellow female entrepreneurs.
Jen Brown
Jen Brown
Founder

The Engaging Educator

JEN BROWN (OLENICZAK) is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Engaging Educator. Through EE, her pedagogical approach of Improv as Continuing Education has reached thousands of people – all non-actors! – with the awesomeness that is Improv.
Nancy Vaughn
Nancy Vaughn
Principal

White Book Agency

Nancy Vaughn is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and owner of an award-winning, full-service public/media relations, marketing and special events firm. She excels at assisting media professionals and clients alike, and is called upon frequently by media outlets for her PR/business knowledge, coaching and industry connections.
Yanira Garza
Yanira Garza
Beauty & Style Expert

YaniraGarza.Com

Megan is the owner of Megan Harrison Consulting, a digital agency that specializes in designing, developing and launching online courses. She’s passionate about helping business owners create leveraged income by productizing their expertise so they can finally break free from the trading-time-for-money trap. In the past year, Megan and her team have helped generate over $4 million for their clients through their online courses and programs.
Dannie Fountain
Dannie Fountain
Strategist. Author. Educator

danniefountain.com

Dannie Fountain is a marketing and PR strategist for creative entrepreneurs. She has more than 5 years experience working in marketing for brands such as Whirlpool, H&R Block, and Mr. Kate and more than 7 years experience as a creative entrepreneur. Dannie works with entrepreneurs to brainstorm, strategize, and implement strategic plans and processes to better their business.
Vunzai Yeazel
Vunzai Yeazel
Founder / Activist

GorgeousWithin & Livebold Consulting Inc

Vunzai T. Yeazel is the founder of Gorgeous Within L.L.C. , LiveBold Consulting Inc. Born in America and raised in Zimbabwe, she sees the world through a panoramic lens. Guided by her faith and life experiences, she founded this company in accordance with the core values and strategies she has applied throughout her life and business career.

Vunzai is innovative teacher and experienced business consultant who thinks outside conventional text. Her business, professional, and personal mission is

Denise Senter
Denise Senter
CMO

XXL Sales & Marketing

Denise’s experience bringing new products to market started with her very first project in her first job at Electronic Data Systems. Over the course of her career, she has been involved with the launch and marketing of more than 50 products, companies, and lines of business. She has worked with 7 startups, helped 4 early-stage European technology companies enter the US market, and served as an officer in 3 public companies. She is an advocate and mentor for women entrepreneurs and executives, focusing on bringing more women into the technology industry.
Colleen Wilson
Colleen Wilson
Founder and CEO

Collaborate Chicago

Colleen Wilson is a speaker, advisor and entrepreneur specializing in building SaaS and fintech products that scale. Colleen spent the first 10 years of her career at financial services company Edward Jones. While getting her MBA, Colleen served as a due diligence committee member for ArchGrants and as a venture advisor at the TRex incubator in St. Louis. Most recently Colleen led product strategy and product marketing for Square Capital, turning into the fastest growing product at Square.
Deena McKay
Deena McKay
Enterprise Architect

Discover Financial Services

Deena McKay has been blessed with an extensive career track in the tech industry. Her love of tech has allowed her to attend many tech events such as DigUndivided and Google Women Techmakers. She is also an associate council member and has been a supporter of Ms Tech for many years. Don’t miss Deena’s event coverage of Fear Paradox on her Twitter (@deena_mckay) and her website (deenamckay.com).
Headshot coming soon
Lisa Guillout
Founder

Be Bright Lisa

Lisa Guillot is a life, brand + business coach for entrepreneurs in Chicago and beyond. Dubbed a branding expert by the Chicago Tribune, Lisa brings heart, soul and action to every conversation as she delivers her big branding experience to motivated entrepreneurs through one-on-one coaching and workshop settings. Having worked with large and small design studios in San Francisco and Chicago since 1999, Lisa brings big brand and marketing techniques with a graceful touch of soul and sunshine to her work.Lisa’s experience working with Crate & Barrel, Paper Source, Pottery Barn Kids, The Gap, Sephora, Red Box, Orbitz, Discovery Clothing and Lifeguard Press has given her the opportunity develop branding expertise ranging from lifestyle branding, professional services, to tech-related industries. Lisa received degrees from the University of San Francisco and the Academy of Art University, and is a trained life and leadership Accomplishment Coach.Lisa’s passion is community building and creating shared experiences. She served on the board of directors for AIGA Chicago as their Developmental Co-Chair from 2008-2011, and in 2013 she co-founded Forth Chicago, a women’s entrepreneurial community. Lisa is also the founder of Step Brightly, a brand consultancy in Chicago, and her work has been featured in numerous design publications and lifestyle blogs including the Chicago Tribune, Pure Wow, Apartment Therapy, West Elm, Rue Daily, Chicago Inno, and HOW Publications.
Michelle Joseph
Michelle Joseph
CEO & Founder

PeopleFoundry

PeopleFoundry is a progressive recruitment consultancy that specializes in building teams for high-growth organizations. Michelle Joseph, Founder and CEO, started PeopleFoundry in 2013 to remedy what she saw as pervasive misalignment between companies’ talent needs and the ability of existing recruiting firms to meet them. The PeopleFoundry ethos is based upon putting people first, building teams around great leaders, and recruiting talent in a way that aligns the interest of everyone involved. PeopleFoundry’s values-driven approach challenges recruitment industry standards. We align with our clients to build a talent strategy that fosters growth and innovation. Starting as a one-woman team, PeopleFoundry has been profitable since its first month and has seen impressive growth since that time; 2016 growth is 52 percent over 2015 and 98 percent over 2014. PeopleFoundry is headquartered in Chicago, and due to client demand, PeopleFoundry opened an additional office in Cincinnati and established a permanent presence in Los Angeles. In addition, this growth has been achieved entirely through word-of-mouth and client referrals, which is a true testament to the value PeopleFoundry brings to every partnership. In 2016 alone, 53 percent of our clients were considered existing or renewal engagements. Out of the 30 organizations PeopleFoundry worked with in 2016, 855 total placements were made, 60 percent more than 2015. Throughout our 2016 growth, PeopleFoundry increased our community presence throughout a variety of social media platforms. By utilizing Facebook, Twitter, LInkedIn and BuiltInChicago, PeopleFoundry exhibited a total market reach of 10,000 with a month over month growth of 17 percent. In addition, our LinkedIn page content engaged nearly 60 percent of our overall efforts, capturing the appropriate persona for the recruitment industry. In addition, PeopleFoundry has partnered with FedEx Office to have Michelle guest blog for them and display thought leadership and PeopleFoundry’s recruitment expertise and innovative talent strategy to their large small business following. The tremendous growth that PeopleFoundry has exhibited to notable publications such as Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo, Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago, CBS News and more. In October of 2016, PeopleFoundry became a Chicago Inno 50 on Fire Finalist. In addition, Michelle was named a finalist in the 2015 Stevie Awards For Women in Business. Despite the company’s continuous growth over the past 12 months, Michelle has been able to maintain a culture that values teamwork, a healthy lifestyle, and giving back. Company outings, team building exercises and charity work are common. A few of the company outings and team building exercises include Cub’s game rooftop outings, blanket making for local charities, hosting client events and participating in local runs to support the community and give back as a team. PeopleFoundry has built teams for 47 companies to date, and continues to grow the client base and internal team exponentially. Throughout the year, our unique approach to recruitment has been acknowledged by several publications and companies such as BuiltIn Chicago, ChicagoInno, Crain’s Chicago Business and Jobvite, just to name a few.
Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams 
Founder

Tech Biz Gurl

Helping women conquer #tech & embrace side hustles so that they feel empowered, not defeated, behind the keyboard. Co-Facilitator, WiSTEM at 1871 and Founder of Tech Biz Gurl, LLC
Sarah Perkins
Sarah Perkins
Founder / CEO

Designer Share

Sarah Perkins is the CEO and co-founder of DesignerShare, the first truly peer-to-peer marketplace for women to rent their designer clothing and accessories to one another. She has a marketing degree from Santa Clara University and a masters in journalism from DePaul University, leading her to become a lifestyle journalist and editor before taking the entrepreneurial plunge. Sarah has loved fashion her whole life—she has visions of outfits based on mood and vividly dreams in color.
Tali Kogan
Tali Kogan
Founder, stylist and blogger

Tel Aviv Couture

Tali Kogan is the founder of Tel Aviv Couture, a growing platform that showcases Tali’s love for styling, international fashion, beauty, wellness, and her family. As a personal stylist, event producer, and business consultant, she combines her expertise in fashion and lifestyle with her unwavering love for Israel in every Tel Aviv Couture project. Her site also gives a stage to up-and-coming Israeli designers and helps international artists get noticed in the American market. After being a ranking officer in the elite Israeli Defence Force, Tali proves herself and others that with defined goals, hard work and discipline, anything is possible.
Ashley Logan
ASHLEY LOGAN
Founder

Yakkety Yak LLC

Ashley Logan founded Yakkety Yak to enable brands and businesses to tell better stories. Using best practices in digital marketing, she helps organizations send develop messaging that resonates with their target audience. Leaning on a combined background in sales and journalism, she developed a formula to effectively navigate the changing world of digital marketing—at a time when content has never been so relevant.

As a pioneer in content strategy, Ms. Logan works alongside her clients to
generate leads, increase revenue and reach the right people. As experts in blog writing, website content, video marketing, branding, e-newsletters and beyond, Yakkety Yak takes the mystery out of marketing in the digital age.

Ms. Logan has a proven track record in business, and unparalleled creative drive—a combination that has continued to drive results for her clients. An avid supporter of women in business, philanthropy and startup organizations, she believes in making a difference, a value that is built into the culture of Yakkety Yak.

Ms. Logan is a native Chicagoan, and a most-of- the-time fan of the Chicago Bears. She has a master’s of science in journalism from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in creative writing
from University of Tennessee.

Tiffany Louise
Tiffany Louise
Professional Coach, Therapist, Speaker

Tiffany Louise, LCSW

Tiffany Louise is a professional coach, therapist, and speaker, as well as a behavioral health consultant and spokesperson for nationally recognized wellness corporations. Her holistic approach to coaching is grounded in over 15 years of experience utilizing cognitive & behavioral therapies and motivational interviewing interventions. Over the past decade, she has facilitated in-demand workshops, lectures, and groups in some of the leading addiction treatment centers in the country. Tiffany is a regular contributor to media outlets such as The Huffington Post, Shape Magazine, Fox News, and The Washington Post. She was highlighted by Women’s Health Magazine as one of the top 16 “Healthy” Instagrammers to follow.

Megan McCann
Megan McCann
CEO & Founder

McCann Partners

bio coming soon
Rebecca Borges
Rebecca Borges
Landscape Designer

Nadi Design

A true multipotentialite, Rebecca Borges is on a mission to create a better world. As local president of FemCity, one of the nation’s leading networks of women in business, and designer and client relationship extraordinaire with Canadian-based Nadi Design, Rebecca works tirelessly to build communities that thrive. Whether the focus is on creating a network of women who support one another in business or developing land use strategies that adapt to our changing climate, the result is the same: implementation of solutions to obtain positive and sustainable social change.
Daliah Saper
Daliah Saper
Founder / Attorney

Saper Law

DALIAH SAPER has handled many high profile cases (including one she argued before the Illinois Supreme Court) and is regularly interviewed on national tv, radio, and in several publications including: Fox News, CNBC, ABC News, The Chicago Tribune, WGN Radio, NPR, and a slew of smaller websites. She has received the honor of being named a“Rising Star” 6 times by Super Lawyers magazine, is recognized as a leading Media and Entertainment lawyer by Chambers and Partners, featured on the covers of TheXemplar magazine and Chicago Lawyer Magazine , profiled by the Chicago Law Bulletin, and has been nominated for the prestigious ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award. In 2012, Law Bulletin Publishing Company selected Daliah Saper as a “40 under 40,” an incredibly competitive list of accomplished attorneys. Daliah is an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, teaching a Sports and Entertainment Law course. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, teaching an Internet Law course. She is on the faculty of PLI, Practicing Law Institute, and has been selected by Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society to be a member of Harvard’s new Online Media Legal Network (OMLN). In addition Daliah conducts Seminars at Saper Law on a monthly basis, and is a frequent lecturer, panelist, and instructor for organizations around the world.
Headshot coming soon
Corri McFadden
Owner & Founder

Shop EDrop Off

Corri McFadden, owner and founder of eDrop-Off, initiated a new kind of entrepreneurial ambition as she skipped out on her college graduation to attend eBay LIVE to find the software for an idea which would soon become one of the most popular businesses today – luxury consignment! In it’s 13th year, eDrop-Off remains one of eBay’s largest sellers in the Handbags, Shoes and Accessories category, and also expanded their posh Lincoln Park headquarters in Chicago with The Collection, a fixed-priced retail arm. The site has also hosted sales for talent including Giuliana Rancic, Kate Walsh and Sophia Bush. With these successful and thriving platforms, Corri McFadden continues to reshape the world of consignment with eDrop-Off.
With her knowledge of the fashion marketplace, Corri has appeared on Fox News, Entertainment Tonight, The Today Show, WCIU’s “You and Me This Morning”, and starred in her own reality series on VH1 “House of Consignment,” which followed her every day life as an entrepreneur. Corri has also worked with a number of brands including Coach, Farfetch, Eileen Fisher, Ted Baker and Ulta as a Brand Ambassador, Event Host, and Spokesperson.
Most recently Corri was inspired by the birth of her daughter Zelda to launch a second site, Glitter and Bubbles. The modern-day Moms guide targets those looking for inspiration through fashion, décor, and food. With the launch of Glitter and Bubbles, Corri also introduced the Mom’s Crew, an invite-only club created exclusively for the non-traditional moms of Chicago who are always on the search for unexpected events and outings to do with their babes. In addition, Glitter and Bubbles features exclusive interview profiles with from coveted Mom’s such as Taylor Sterling from Glitter Guide, Molly Mesnick of The Bachelor, and Jen Garcia of The Kardashians, among others.
Corri’s keen business sense and smart strategies have made her the true pioneer of luxury consignment and a popular Mommy Blogger that is sought after by many. Corri’s coveted and emerging style, in addition to her large outreach, continues to make her a major influencer in business, fashion and motherhood!
Dima Elissa
Dima Elissa
CEO & Founder

VisMed3D

Dima Elissa is CEO and founder of VisMed-3D, a biomedical design and consulting firm that has emerged as the leader for 3D biomedical visualization and printing in personalized medicine. Dima was selected by Chicago magazine as one of the top Women in Tech, ChicagoInno’s 50 on Fire, MakeItBetter’s Top Chicago Women in Science and by Chicago Tribune’s BlueSky Vault as one of the Top 100 entrepreneurs in Chicago. Her current venture, VisMed-3D, a biomedical design and consulting firm, is in keepin
Megan Harrison
Megan Harrison
Online Course & Launch Strategist

Megan Harrison Consulting

Megan is the owner of Megan Harrison Consulting, a digital agency that specializes in designing, developing and launching online courses. She’s passionate about helping business owners create leveraged income by productizing their expertise so they can finally break free from the trading-time-for-money trap. In the past year, Megan and her team have helped generate over $4 million for their clients through their online courses and programs.
Lauren Ash
Founder

Black Girl in Ohm

Lauren Ash is a multifaceted creative entrepreneur and visionary most-recognized for her leadership prioritizing black women in the wellness and editorial fields. As the Founder and Creative Director of Black Girl In Om, she promotes holistic wellness for women of color through BGIO’s online publication, wellness sessions, podcast, creative agency, and award-winning social media platforms. As co-founder of Lifestyle with Ivory + Ash, Lauren creates inspiring and educational affirmations on lifestyle goods for women of color. And as co-founder of award-winning Party Noire, she celebrates black womanhood through Black Joy centered parties and community gatherings. Lauren currently sits as an artist-in-residence with Arts and Public Life and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago. She is also a consultant for women of color led startups and guides group and private yoga and meditation. Her dedication and sustained attention to representing and unapologetically centering black women across all of her projects has garnered the attention of NYLON, Saint Heron, Vice’s i-D, Thoughtfully Magazine, ESSENCE, and many other platforms where she is recognized as a trailblazer and creative to watch. Lauren earned an MA in American Studies from Purdue University and a BA in Psychology from the University of St. Thomas.
Dr. Judith Wright
Dr. Judith Wright
Co-founder and Chief Academic Officer

Wright Graduate University

Dr. Judith Wright is Professor of Transformational Coaching and co-founder and Chief Academic Officer of the Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential. She is also president and co-founder of the Wright Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to helping individuals bring out their best personally and professionally. She is the author of
multiple books including Transformed: The Science of Spectacular Living, There Must Be More Than This, The One Decision, The Soft Addiction Solution, and The Heart of the Fight.

A pioneer in the field of human development, Dr. Wright first rose to national prominence by developing innovative education and early childhood development programs for individuals with developmental disabilities and demonstration programs for college students with
disabilities. These experiences fueled her passion for developing human potential as she then
applied the profound insights she discovered to the general population, spurring people from
all walks of life to significant success in personal transformation and leadership development.

A media favorite, sought‐after speaker, respected leader, bestselling author, coach, educator,
and corporate consultant, Judith’s work has been covered in over 1,000 media appearances, including ABC’s 20/20, Oprah, Good Morning America, the Today show, radio and television shows around the country, and magazines and newspapers around the world.

Dr. Judith Wright is the founder of the Society of Femininity in Action, providing revolutionary leadership training for women. She is also one of the country’s foremost experts on transformational leadership, having founded the Transformational Leadership Symposium, with
convenes experts from around the nation to recognize cutting edge transformational leaders
including Nobel laureate and congressional medal of honor winner, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, and
was named Visionary of the Year in 2016 by the NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Chicago Chapter.

Megan McCann
Michael Donnelly
Founder / CEO

Red Sued Shoes / FWD Collective

Michael Donnelly has been planning memorable experiences since her 7th birthday party at Leaps n’ Bounds. As CEO of VentureFWD and in consulting on events for clients, she carries the same tenacity as her 7-year-old self, and leads her team with the idea that “business gets done when people have fun.” Michael has been the force behind some of the Midwest’s most popular large-scale tech and business events, including Techweek, FUND Conference, and her most recent endeavor, the VentureFWD (For Women & Diversity) Summit, shining a spotlight on the incredible work being done every day by women and minority entrepreneurs while creating a platform for discussion around seeking capital, diversifying teams, and effectively growing a business. In addition, she has worked on events with Microsoft, Verizon, Walker Sands, and a number of Chicago’s small businesses and start-ups. Her vibrant personality shines through in building creative experiences and campaigns for clients, and on camera as an affiliate partner with Entrepreneur Media, where she creates content and reports live at national events for Entrepreneur Network. Additionally, Michael is the founder and co-host of re_define work, a growing digital resource for aspiring entrepreneurs. Michael resides in Chicago with her pup Lux, serves on a few local boards including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and the mHUB Venture Board, and is all about the #scrappytosavvy life.
Theresa D' Ambrose
Jessica Zweig
Cofounder

Fear Paradox

Bio coming soon
Lola Wright
Megan Taylor
Director of Programming

Fear Paradox

Bio coming soon
Nicole Yeary
Nicole Yeary
Cofounder

Fear Paradox

Bio coming soon
Michelle Menaker
Michelle Menaker
Host of B96 Morning Show

B96

Showbiz Shelly is the entertainment reporter and co-host for The J Show on B96 Radio (96.3 FM). At 7:15 am, every weekday morning she also takes on listeners in a pop culture quiz: The Showbiz Shelly Smackdown.

Growing up in Chicagoland, Shelly would listen to B96 while driving to New Trier High School. She later graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism with a degree in broadcasting. It is at Northwestern where she discovered her passion for entertainment news being head of the Arts and Entertainment division of Northwestern’s television station. She started as a B96 promotions intern her sophomore year of college and worked her way up to the morning show. During her last eleven years as an entertainment reporter at B96, she has met celebrities ranging from Kim Kardashian to Michael Jordan, Justin Bieber to Jennifer Lopez. Shelly has also contributed entertainment scoops to ABC’s Windy City Live, WCIU, FOX, CBS,TMZ and more.

When Shelly isn’t watching one of her favorite reality tv shows, you can find her playing beach volleyball or doing yoga. She’s very passionate about living a healthy lifestyle as evidenced by her blog Healthy With Shelly. Learn more about Shelly by heading to her website, ShowbizShelly.com!

Leslie Wong
Leslie Wong
Founder

Burgundy Fox

Leslie Wong is the Founder and CEO of Burgundy Fox, an e-commerce brand on a mission to celebrate all bodies and empower women. After experiencing how unenjoyable and antiquated lingerie shopping was, she set out to create a more modern and inclusive experience that celebrated all women’s bodies and minds. Leslie’s 10 years of marketing and partnership experience and service on the Rising Tide Society’s Creative Council, pushed her to follow her intuition and combine her passions: entrepreneurship, female empowerment and intimate apparel. Outside Burgundy Fox, Leslie practices vinyasa yoga, listens to business podcasts and enjoys a good Negroni cocktail. Check out Burgundy Fox.com, Burgundy Fox.blog, the Seamless podcast and their Spotify playlists.
Troy Henikoff
Troy Henikoff
Managing Director

MATH Venture Partners

Troy Henikoff is Managing Director of MATH Venture Partners. Additionally, Troy is also an active mentor with Techstars. Troy was a Co-founder of Excelerate Labs, which became Techstars Chicago in 2013. He also helps manage the FireStarter Fund, teaches Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, is on the board of the Chicago-land Entrepreneurial Center. Prior to Techstars Chicago, Troy was the CEO of OneWed.com, President of Amacai, and co-founder and CEO of SurePayroll.com. Troy built the technology for Jellyvision (creators of “You Don’t Know Jack!”), was the President of Systemetrics, and his first company was Specialized Systems and Software. Troy has an undergraduate degree in Engineering from Brown University and a Masters Degree in Project Management from Northwestern.

Kaeya Majmundar
Kaeya Majmundar
Founder

Kaeyos, Inc

While in college, I got a deal on the Season 5 Finale of ABC’s “Shark Tank” with a prototype for my first product, BZbox, a collapsible storage box. The episode airing brought influx of web traffic, media coverage, and explosive sales.

The experience was euphoric, and for me it was less about that product I pitched, but more about the process. I became obsessed with trying to figure out how to growth hack products, replicating that “Shark Tank Effect.” That led me to starting Kaeyos, Inc, a product development and viral marketing agency. My products have garnered explosive sales and features on TV shows and media outlets from Project Runway and the Steve Harvey Show to Complex and TMZ.

Daniela Anavitarte Bolzmann
Daniela Anavitarte Bolzmann
Founder & Marketer

Forever Bored

Daniela had had the honor to be one of 10 companies to pitch at Google’s first demo day in Palo Alto and is a Techstars Alumni. She’s founded and worked with startups for the better part of the last 10 years in edtech, logistics, real estate, and on-demand technologies, and has received investments from notable investors Steve Case (AOL) and Joe Mansueto (Morningstar). Fun Fact is that Daniela’s first investment check came from a MsTech event. She’s currently a member of the Chicago Leadership Alliance and working on something she is not yet ready to spill the beans about.
Steve Cozart
Steve Cozart
Owner &
Photographer

Steve Cozart Gorgeous Photography

Steve Cozart – known as “The Camera Guy, For the Camera-Shy”, is an award-winning photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was given his first camera by his
grandmother at a very young age. She taught him the love of form, beauty & light and was very instrumental in helping him find the uniqueness in people. Steve has always been attracted to “lifestyle” photography – the type of work that is less posed, more relaxed and feels “truthful”. Steve believes that in creating a space of ease and familiarity where his clients find or rediscover that child-like notion that anything is
possible, anyone can learn to enjoy being in front of the camera.  Regarding his lifelong quest of helping those who may be camera shy or unsure of how to feel confident and look great in photos, Steve says, “My work teaches anyone how to be thrilled to be photographed in any of life’s
situations.  There’s something powerful about owning even a single photograph of yourself that you absolutely love!
Colleen Fahey
Colleen Fahey

Sixieme Son

Colleen Fahey is a creative executive with deep expertise in branding and marketing at multiple touch points. When she learned of Sixième Son, a Paris audio branding agency that had created over 300 audio brands, she approached them about expanding their borders to North America. Four years ago, she opened Sixième Son in the US. Since then has led Sixième Son’s audio branding initiatives for the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Huggies, a major research hospital, a college, and a global vaccine launch.
Throughout her career, Colleen has worked for major marketing organizations and leading brands in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia.
She began her career with Frankel, where she served as Executive Creative Director. She also ran a thriving business unit and simultaneously carried executive responsibility for Human Resources and Employee Development managing over 150 mostly right-brained people.
Post the sale of Frankel to Publicis, Colleen moved onto a global Publicis Worldwide strategic team based in Paris, her role was to support the network of agencies with branding, path-to-purchase, activation and kids marketing initiatives with the goal of building the Nestlé’s business around the world. Raised in Madrid, she speaks fluent Spanish as well as conversational French and pathetic Portuguese.
CRYSTAL-SCHRIENER
Crystal Schriener
Carla Agostinelli
Carla Agostinelli
Executive Director

West Loop Community Organization (WLCO)

Carla M. Agostinelli is the Executive Director of West Loop Community Organization, a delegate agency of the City of Chicago whose focus is on Community and Economic Development.
Agostinelli has over 13 years of commercial banking experience and over 10 years working in not for profit sector. As part of her commitment to leadership and community, she has served on many boards whose missions are focused on empowerment and advancement of women of color, most recently having served as Alumnae Board Chair for Mujeres de HACE.

She is the co-founder of Our Stories of Impact, a storytelling platform, for people who want to share stories that have impacted their lives. Her goal is to help shed light on the challenges of reproductive health and infertility.

She studied Fine Arts at Columbia College Chicago and has completed the Nonprofit Leadership Program at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Founded in 1991, the West Loop Community Organization (WLCO) is a membership organization representing the business and residential communities of the West Loop. A delegate agency for the City of Chicago, WLCO is an advocate for positive growth and development and serves as a resource for the entire community. Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood is one of the city’s most rapidly growing and dynamic neighborhoods. More information is available at www.westloop.org.

Kathy Quinn
Kathy Quinn
President

The Q Group

Kathy empowers organizations to thrive. She has grown businesses over 400% in less than 18 months.Together, leaders think bigger about their roles and businesses. Kathy helps translate high-level strategies into identifiable actions. By understanding the psychological profiles of leaders, their teams, and organizations, she identifies the tools and behaviors leaders need to be more effective agents of change. Leaders quickly move from ambiguity to structure. Everything is approached from a customer-driven mindset, taking into account the nuances and culture of each organization.Working with both Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial ventures, Kathy has successfully helped organizations expand their markets, create new services and programs and, ultimately, shift the underlying thinking and processes resulting in business growth.
Heather Winia
Heather Winia
Master Trainer, Holistic Health & Nutrition Educator

The World GROOVE Movement

Heather Winia, Master Trainer and Educator for The World GROOVE Movement has been inspiring health and wellness in the fitness industry for over 25 years. She is coming to the FEAR Paradox to bring out your inner back-up dancer, your sexy diva and your best badass body moves! You cannot get GROOVE wrong! Her mission is to inspire the world to DANCE, LIVE in authentic truth and share POSITIVE VIBES with everyone she meets!
Kelly Page
Kelly Page
Founder

Live What You Love

Kelly has PhD in Psychology of Web Technology and over 15 yrs experience working in the social design of communications and human-technology interaction. She has spoken across UK, Europe, Canada, Australia and US on SocialTech, Digital Learning and Women; and at TEDx, Ignite and Pecha Kucha events. She opened TedxCardiff with her talk: “Rediscovering Friendship.” Her work was awarded a BiMA and featured in NYTimes, WSJ and Fast Company. Founder/Curator: Live What You Love, LLC & Grateful4Her.
Jessica Milagros Guzman
Jessica Milagros Guzman
A Chicago native, Jessica Milagros has been making moves in the Modeling Industry and shows no signs of stopping.

Jessica started modeling after winning second place out of more than 2,000 entries in the “Plus Model Magazine and DorthyCombs Models Model Search”.

She has since been featured in various publications and talk shows, has walked in many runway shows in Puerto Rico, Chicago and New York Fashion Week and has worked print jobs with brands such as Target, JCPenney, Ashley Stewart and Fashion to Figure to name a few.

Jessica is currently signed with IPM Model Management out of NYC. She is also a Photographer, Confidence Coach & Body Positive Advocate who works with people of all ages, shapes and sizes.

Jessica’s passion in life is to help other’s realize their full potential and individual beauty. She is currently developing workshops to help individuals build a more body positive relationship with themselves by helping build better self awareness through confident camera posing techniques.

Patrice Darby
Patrice Darby
Founder, CEO, Childcare Expert

GoNanny

Patrice Darby is the founder and CEO of GoNanny, a tech startup providing short increment care and care rides for busy parents with active kids.
With over a decade of childcare experience, Patrice is committed to helping families prioritize what matters most by merging childcare with technology. Her pursuit began as an assistant preschool teacher and continued beyond college as she earned her BA in Education. Patrice has operated in numerous leadership roles including preschool teacher, camp counselor, youth director, program director of over 126 kids, operations director, nanny for over 40 Chicago families and 4 agencies, and soccer coach throughout Illinois and Michigan. Recent accomplishments include the winner of the UPS Pitch Competition with Marcus Lemonis, Invest Chicago Women’s Innovation Award, and 1 of 14 women led startups accepted for 1871’s WiSTEM accelerator
Headshot coming soon
Leslee M. Cohen

Hershman Cohen

Leslee has been a principal at Hershman Cohen LLC since August 2010.  The firm specializes in helping its clients who are raising private funds or compensating service providers with equity in order to grow their businesses, start new enterprises or purchase real estate. Ms. Cohen is a specialist with respect to venture capital and private equity transactions as well as friends and family offerings. The firm also has a thriving general business practice, serving middle market companies by fulfilling all of their corporate legal needs, from general contracts such as supply and distribution, license, shareholder and employment agreements, to guidance with respect to mergers and acquisitions. The firm offers many years of large firm experience and expertise combined with small firm billing rates.

Prior to founding Hershman Cohen, Leslee practiced at a Wall Street corporate and securities law boutique, representing primarily publicly traded companies, then led the securities department at a mid-sized law firm in Chicago for 13 years.  Leslee graduated from the University of Michigan in 1989 and from New York University School of Law in 1992.

Since 2007, Leslee has served on the leadership team of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law.  She also runs venture pitch sessions through the Small Business Advisory Council.  In 2016, she was named one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in the State of Illinois and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the State of Illinois by  Super Lawyer, and was granted a 2016 Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Service to Entrepreneurs by the Daily Herald Business Ledger.

 

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