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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.

Jessica Goldman

I pursued dancing professionally for The Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bulls. After moving to Chicago, I noticed there was a lack of places to go and FEEL GOOD when you are dancing, SO I decided to open my own. I founded All About Dance in 2005 and never looked back. We have now been in business teaching kids, teens and adults to have fun, be young and dance forever! Read more>>

Ashley Kirkwood

My path has never been traditional. I almost failed out of undergrad and as a result, the first time I applied to law school, I didn’t get into a single law school – not a single one. But being the chick that I am, I didn’t let that stop me. I took a job down the street from the law school that I wanted to go to and went to visit the admissions office on my lunch breaks to use my skills of persuasion on them and it worked! Read more>>

Kori Coleman

I first started curating experiences when I was about eight or nine years old. I always thought each day should be filled with adventure and the unexpected, so I made myself the unofficial activities chair for any and all family gatherings. My skills were ultimately put to the test with our first ever Kwanzaa celebration. We came bearing gifts, my Mom helped make a custom soul food menu, and all around we created a potential new family tradition. Read more>>

Emilia Taneva

I am a Chicago-based orthodontist, travel blogger, and content creator. I run the travel site Bubbly Moments. I love to travel and share my adventures. So far, I have visited over 40 countries on five continents. My top five bucket list destinations are Cuba, India, Nepal, Peru, and Brazil. Through my travels, I get to express my love for photography and fashion. Read more>>

Casey Deeter

I began playing guitar at age 11. I discovered the band The Who, and it was all over for me! I had to play music like my rock and roll idols and wow, what a journey it has taken been. When I was a young girl I began playing the violin in my school orchestra. While I loved it, I felt that I wasn’t able to express myself fully on that instrument. That is right around the time that I discovered classic rock music and my whole world flipped upside down. Read more>>

Erin Miller

The makeup was incredible, and I found Beautycounter to be at this perfect intersection of beauty and wellness, something that could truly improve how we feel from the inside out. My business is booming, as is the clean beauty movement and making women feel their best is more fun than ever. Read more>>

Devi Vallabhaneni

Devi Vallabhaneni is an artist influenced by her twin passions for haute couture and mathematics. As a child, she avidly studied her multiplication tables before dinner each evening, but she spent her spare time coloring, painting, building LEGO houses, and learning macramé, cross-stitch, crochet, and knitting. During summer holidays in India, she learned beading and embroidery from local artisans. Read more>>


Never in a million years could I have imagined the unbelievable opportunities that would come my way just from having the blog and Instagram account. It took being a bit courageous and putting myself out there with starting the blog (was a little nervous on how it would be received), and here I am today. I find it all truly remarkable and I’m so glad that I took a chance and followed through with something so outside of my comfort zone. I do not take any of it for granted. Read more>>

Tammy Walker

As wonderful as my PR career was back then, I felt called to explore the new-to-me, wide wonderland of wellness in a deeper way. I had a lot to learn, but I was certain my experience and what I’d already learned could be of use to others. I wasn’t sure what that would look like, but when I discovered The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) existed, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Read more>>

Marti Konstant

My life changed right before I turned thirteen. The kind of change no one wants as they enter high school. Diagnosed with scoliosis, a crooked spine, I wore a full body metal brace. The brace was cold against my skin in the winter and the cast-like fasteners heated up in the summer. Immobilized from my hips up to my neck for three years, movement was limited. Read more>>

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