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Trailblazers: Northwest Side

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 the Northwest Side that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Lauren Stern

I get to use my skills as a painter and bring joy to someone. That’s what I love about art and how I choose to use it. I love painting pet portraits. I love it so much… as much as I love my cat. I’m still doing portraits like in my childhood and college. Read more>>

Julie Dwyer

Picked out our studio suite and kind of never looked back. We figured what have we got to lose, except everything. It was like a roll of the dice but a very exciting one! In order to make this happen we moved in with my parents for six months. Most people we told our plan to thought we were CRAZY. Read more>>

Melissa Martinez

For as long as I can remember, I talked about having my own business. I must have had a dozen businesses already (in my head) by the time I actually started taking steps towards working for myself. I’m a creative person by nature and have a passionate persona. Read more>>

Mariel Fechik

Sometime circa the fall of 2012, two different bands at the University of Illinois merged to play a house party. They so enjoyed playing together that they decided to merge permanently – thus, Church Booty was born. A year later, I joined the band as a second singer. Read more>>

Selina Diiacova-Montoya

I turned to makeup as an outlet for creative expression and a way to feel good about myself. Although I was a makeup fanatic, I never looked at it as a career choice. Growing up, you’re taught to strive for a secure 9-5 job. Read more>>

Cari Engelhardt

I learned to jump out of my comfort zone and say yes, and I got the opportunity to help with the Beauty Changes Lives fashion Show 2018 preparation, which was amazing, crazy, and so much fun. I moved back to the suburbs in July, and in August I found my home at Salon Coccole in Lake Zurich. Read more>>

Autumn Bastyr

I am an entrepreneur at heart and have over 15 years of restaurant industry experience. What I learned in the first year is that people want to be able to come to me on their own time. I was constantly asked while out on the mobile bikes where the people could find me. Read more>>

Lisa Kozlowski

I have been obsessed with makeup for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the 80’s where vivid bright colors were all things makeup. I’m sure my curiosity grew due to my Mom never wanting me to touch her makeup stash. Any time I could sneak an opportunity, I played. Read more>>

Simal Turan

I always knew I’d own my own clothing store. My dad owns his own business and always told me, “learn the business and when you are ready to let me know.” I bounced around managing different clothing stores until I finally just had it. I went home one day and googled “how to start a retail clothing store”. Read more>>

Ahriel Mullings

Modeling first came about because I had a friend that was a photographer and one day he asked if he could take pictures of me for fun. After the photo shoot, we both realized that this was something I was pretty good at. Modeling came pretty natural to me and the shots came out amazing. Read more>>

Oksana Kushitska

I started by watching YouTube videos and then took a course to get certified as a lash artist. After that, I started practicing on close family and friends to get more experience while building up quality before taking on actual clients. Read more>>

Sarah Schmidt

All my life, I’ve been an athlete. I grew up playing every sport you can imagine, so being active has always been important to me. When I went away to college, my studies took priority and I tried my best to stay active at the campus gym. Read more>>

Helena Osorio-Zavala

I decided to take my skills and passion for social media and I started offering virtual assistant services for e-mail and social media marketing strategy and management. I am happy to support small business owners as they not only create a presence on social media but establish an authentic relationship with their ideal customers! Read more>>

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