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Trailblazers: West 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 West Side that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Samaa Hamid

I was the only person who was free at that moment and one of the bridesmaids asked me to figure out what to do with the leftover flowers. I decided to just use some twine, put the flowers together and just see what happens. It was a hit! Everyone loved it, especially the bride who then asked me to make her wedding bouquet as well. From there, it was history. Samaasflorals was born and I’ve loved every second of it. Read more>>

Kendro Dro Tate

I was blessed with my many artistic talents from my father’s side. After illustrating mural like the artwork on my bedroom walls in permanent markers during my toddler years, my parents began prepping me to take my skill seriously. Throughout grammar school, I participated and won numerous visual art contests, eventually leading to speech competitions, acting, dance, music, and other forms of artistry. Read more>>

Cassandra Jamie

To start meeting new people and exploring Chicago again, I decided to start modeling for a few local portrait photographers. I had always wanted to model because of my love of makeup and fashion, but never had an outlet to explore these or improve my skills. What began as a few shots just to “try it out” turned into an exciting way to express my creativity. Read more>>

Sarah Coe

While working on re-doing her own home, one of the many projects included painting the outside of their brick cottage white, she started to receive more than one note in her mailbox as well as people stopping on the sidewalk commenting on how they loved the changes and asking for help on their own homes. She put a “Sarah Coe Design” yard sign in the yard and immediately started booking appointments and has been steadily successful ever since. Read more>>

Kayla Boddy

However, growing up, I always had in my mind that I would work in the field of criminal justice and more specifically become a lawyer. I went to Lewis University for four years and received my bachelors in Criminal Justice; however, it wasn’t until the middle of my junior year I realized that my love for makeup wasn’t just a hobby. Read more>>

Mary Simmons

I found myself working at a law firm and arranging flowers for friend’s events on the side–a light bulb went on. Once I realized that I wanted to be a florist, it was just a matter of having the courage to do it. I spent a good while doubting myself, but when I had my daughter it hit me that it may never happen. I didn’t want to regret anything, so I decided to go for it. Read more>>

Sharmeen Moinuddin

I looked at the work of other henna artists with years of experience and wondered why they were so much better. I wanted to know the secret to their success, but for some reason, the only advice they ever had for me was to practice. Ok… and what about the secret hand trick? Only years of practice and several sacrificed hands later, did I realize practice was the secret. Read more>>

Camryn Fiks

It was incredibly rewarding to see all of the big decisions and small details come together to the vision I had from the very beginning. I knew I had to make a career out this as weddings were clearly such a passion of mine. I decided to take the leap, started my own business and haven’t looked back since. Read more>>

Mariasa Slaughter

I started doing makeup shortly after graduating from UIC. I studied pictures and techniques and started practicing on friends. Once I felt confident enough, I started taking clients and working with photographers. As my passion grew, I decided to expand into esthetics to be able to assist my clients in achieving their skincare goals. Read more>>

Jennifer Enders

With over 16 years as an entrepreneur and a full-time career as a corporate sales executive, I use my experience to help women in business. As a Coach with The CEO Chick Network, I now help equip women to get clear about their passions and build disciplines that create profitability in their businesses and fruit in their personal lives. Read more>>

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