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Trailblazers: Downtown

The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us feel that media portrayals of women have been too one dimensional. Today, women are doing incredible things in all fields – from science and technology to finance, law, business, athletics and more.  With the Trailblazers series, we hope to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.

Below, you’ll find some incredible trailblazers from in and around Downtown that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Morgan Raphael

I started my Instagram account for accountability purposes as I signed up for my first Tone It Up challenge and became a nutrition program member (original name was morgmoves_tiu). I loved connecting with the community as well as the level of creativity having this platform allowed. Read more>>

Ann Krause

My career began not in the beauty industry, but in hospitality. I spent 7 years working in hotel management, in Wisconsin which is where I grew up. My job was challenging and exciting. I was able to meet a lot of interesting people, and no two days were the same. Read more>>

Erin Minckley

Relativity was a pipe dream in 2015. I was an MFA grad with boat loads of student loan debt, two young kids and three part-time jobs. I was teaching college and working in print manufacturing. I had to reinvent the wheel and take my art practice into the realm of product design. Read more>>

Melanie Stone

I started in real estate the summer before my senior year at DePaul University. For nearly a decade, I had been relentlessly pursuing a career in journalism. I wanted to move to New York City and become a famous magazine writer, or stick around here and become a digital editor at the Chicago Tribune. Read more>>

Carrie Shepherd

My style is an important part of who I am, and I know now that means so much more than clothes. It’s about the confidence I have in how I dress, and how it connects me with other people. Friends and strangers often asked me where I got something and one of my favorite things to hear is: “I thought of you when I bought this!” Read more>>

Ambar Mentor-Truppa

My career was calling for me to more strongly align my communications experience and passion for social justice. In 2016, I joined the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law as its first-ever Vice President of Communications. Read more>>

Sandy Lee

There was so much freedom from sharing my thoughts and feelings, creatively, in a way that I never had before. I was drinking with new friends from my first level FemCom class. I wished there was a place where women could organize and attend open mics together. Read more>>

Brenda Johnson – Castillo

I started my career late in my adult life. Cosmetology license in 2011, and again with my cosmetology educators license in 2013. Started by bartending at night and shampoo in the morning. So, I could build my clientele. Read more>>

Kristen Fleming

I think my loyalty and communication with the salon owners have really allowed them to put their trust in me and, in return, I can really represent my personal business in a way that’s totally my own under the salon roof at Mixed Co. It truly makes me happy and I’m incredibly lucky to actually love what I do and enjoy going to work! Read more>>

Farissa Knox

Almost 10 years ago, I worked for a company that sold advertising space for radio stations. I was a 27-year-old Account Executive going on 3+ years and the economy was turning upside down. This company was about to shut down and I had personal and professional decisions to make. Read more>>

Bridjet Morris

I use my blog and social media as a platform to connect with others and spread a message of positivity. I believe in living authentically and fully. Read more>>

Danielle Dang

I combed through every statement, every transaction, every step our partners made, I retraced them over and over looking for truths and wondering how people could be so calculated and cruel to us when we brought them financing and award winning product. Read more>>

Tracee Badway

I currently have over 500 pictures that have been sent to me by people on the actual Toilet, hoping I choose to paint them next. My Art studio is located in the Fine Arts Building which is a magical Chicago Historical Landmark, on the city’s famed Michigan Avenue. Read more>>

Gabriela Wilewska

As a passionate cook (and childhood baker), I loved cooking for those around me, letting them experience the culinary excitement that I felt when I cooked. It makes me so happy when people who try my food love it and come back for seconds. Read more>>

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