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Inspiring Stories from the North Side

The heart of our mission at VoyageChicago is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Chicago’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out North Side’s rising stars below.

Ellen Rogin

Early in my career as a financial planner I realized that smart, successful people sometimes spend a lot of their energy worrying about their money, even when they have a lot of it. I’ve seen others feel embarrassed (even ashamed) they aren’t better at saving, managing, and investing their money. Money can be a source of great joy and contribution and also stress and dysfunction. Read more>>

Jeri Yingling and Mike Weinberg

The story dates back to 2012 before Iron Heritage Grooming Co. began. At that time, Illinois licensed barber Mike Weinberg was barbering at a neighborhood barbershop on Chicago’s Northside and began to expresses the concerns of the Men’s Grooming industry that was being led by companies with no credentials and esthetic manufacturers produce products. Read more>>

Maribel Colón

MareLuna Essentials is the product of a long personal journey and it reflects the good and the not that awesome part of me. As its meaning, Mare Luna = sea & moon symbolizing strength and feminine balance. It all started around 2012, while I was learning on holistic healthcare, integrative nutrition and strengthening my knowledge on natural remedies. Read more>>

Peter Kong

We are a family-run business that has been serving the Lincoln Park area for over 30 years. My father, John, and my mother, Lucia, opened our first location near Belmont and Clybourn in 1985 as Continental Cleaners where he did wholesale pickup and drop-off for many of the cleaners in the Chicagoland area. Read more>>

Philip Schorn

I am a color pencil artist that paints with the pencil. My botanical renderings are not drawings of plant specimens as seen in scientific books, rather, they are renderings of plants as seen through with the eye of an artist. I can look at the ground I can see the shapes, light and shadows. Read more>>

Andrea Lubaway Kneessi

As a lifelong swimmer and as a triathlete, I’ve always been fascinated with optimizing movement patterns and the positive role that exercise can have on people’s bodies and as well as on their minds. So as a Chiropractor – focusing on physical medicine and rehabilitation – I have been able to combine my love of science, healing, and activity into one profession. Read more>>

Michael Dickenson

Was laid off from a big accounting firm in 1989. Took the severance, decided to go out on my own. Called everyone on my network and got my first gig as a subcontractor. Second job came from the network also and I never looked back. Read more>>

Alejandra Ullauri and Amy Weber

Two years ago, Amy and I decided to join our different areas of professional expertise and co-founded Chicago Hearing Care. I hold a doctorate of Audiology, and a Master’s in Public Health. Amy is an attorney with extensive experience in non-for-profit organizations. Read more>>

Tony Dreyfuss

Jeff Dreyfuss (my father) was a somewhat disgruntled Indonesian Language Professor at the University of Washington-Seattle in the late 90s. Everyday he would ride his bicycle to his favorite Capitol Hill roasterie/cafe (Caffe Vita) and have an espresso macchiato. Naturally an early-riser, he would be the first customer every day and the guy who let him in? Read more>>

Ramona Thomas

My Chocolate Soul grew out of my love of baking and sweets, particularly chocolate. I am a trained Mathematician with a Ph.D. in Education. I worked in education and philanthropy for 18 years before transitioning to the dessert industry in 2010. Although I baked for many years, the initial idea for starting the business came after taking an introduction to French pastries course at the French Pastry School in Chicago. Read more>>

Lauri Zessar

So here I was in 1990 … a 23-year-old career woman working for her father in a thriving premium and promotional business catering to the direct marketing industry. My specialty within the direct marketing field has always been with fashion, including catalogs, magazines, and consumer beauty product companies. Read more>>

Kate Merena

For many years my career was in finance and project management, and in 2011, I dropped out of the corporate world in search of a more fulfilling, sustainable, balanced life. I jumped into many different things in the following couple of years: event planning, retail, systems consulting, tech start-ups, public relations, storefront theater, alternative energy healing. Read more>>

Jen Zervas

I was always a do-it-yourself kind of person. In college, I would gather broken and used items at salvage stores, drag them home and revitalize them myself. When I came to Chicago I had dreams of opening my own art gallery and using rustic/urban pieces to prop art up. Read more>>

Scott Ladany

I started out as an employee of the family business with Vienna Beef in 1971, left after management bought the business in 1983, and founded Red Hot Chicago in 1986. After competing against Vienna Beef for (26) years, Vienna Beef acquired Red Hot Chicago in 2012 and hired me as president of the Red Hot Chicago Division. Read more>>

Lisa Scott

I grew up in an immigrant household in an immigrant community in Brooklyn, New York. It was a great experience being exposed to so many different languages, cultures and food. When the German food at my house was not appetizing, I could go across the street to eat Lebanese grape leaves, Italian ravioli, or Swedish Limpa bread. Read more>>

Lisa Rees

Sometimes luxury can only be recognized when it’s experienced at close range! Since 1995, FRENCH STUDIO IMPORTS has continued the legacy of importing the finest brands in European personal care, home fragrance and decor brands to the North American market. Read more>>

Seth Bender

My company, Savor – the food agency, is a marketing communications agency that specializes in working with food companies–such as food manufacturers, restaurants and retailers–on building their brands and increasing sales. The story begins with me inheriting the company from my mother-in-law in 2005. Read more>>

Lisa Senafe

I grew up with a passion for all animals. I knew I had always wanted to end up working with animals in some capacity. I was fortunate enough to be in the mortgage industry to learn more about finance and the business side of things to connect the passion I had for dogs and cats. Read more>>

Amy Pena

I was a professional dancer who had a career ending knee injury. I was searching for any type of movement that I could do without pain. The Gyrotonic Method was the only type of movement I found that I could do pain-free. I wanted to share this system with the world so I decided to become a certified Gyrotonic trainer. Read more>>

Ronald Clark

In 2009, I was working door to door sales for Comcast when I went sledding with my kids and decided to jump on a snowboard and to my surprise I made it to an ice patch at the bottom of the hill. I went airborne and landed on my right shoulder and unknown to me I had fractured my right shoulder. Read more>>

Ross Chapman and Nathan Paulsberg

Elevated Safety was founded to educate anyone who works with their feet off the ground in safe practices that ensure they make it home safely. We accomplish this through high quality education and training, in accordance with established standards and safe practices. Read more>>

Jessie Barber

I have been part of and working in the tattoo industry for many years and eventually found cosmetic tattooing to be the perfect mix of art and beauty for my interests. In January 2017, I became certified at the Advanced Permanent Cosmetics Academy and began tattooing full time in the city of Chicago. Read more>>

Duane Tornquist

First, I am a huge music fan. Second, I fell deeply in love with the art of technology-driven presentation, showmanship and building something from nothing in concert with enjoying collaborations with highly creative talented people. As a child in Southern, California, I was that strange kid who would produce the local backyard theaters. Read more>>

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