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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.

Anna Heyward

I have been taking photos since I can remember. To this day, one of my favorite gifts as a child was my point and shoot film camera that I would always carry with me, oftentimes trying to get whoever I could to let me take photos of them. Read more>>

Mindy Lam

After being laid off multiple times in the corporate world, I was in search of a better career solution. I decided I wanted to own my own business and found myself signing up for esthetics school at Universal Spa Training Academy in Downers Grove, where I was introduced to the world of lash extensions. Read more>>

Ashley LaHood

I found myself in a transitional point of life. I had just finished working as an after school program coordinator for Pre-K through 7th graders and I was open and excited to see what was next in life. I applied to other non-profit jobs, and doors kept shutting, which seemed confusing at the time as that is what I was “qualified” for. Read more>>

Vesna Tanasic

I started blogging at Motherhood Charm a little over a year sharing my motherhood journey in hopes of helping other moms realize that they are enough, as well as show that no matter what you’re going through you can feel beautiful in the skin you are in. Read more>>

Cait Wilker

I’ve always viewed writing as an outlet. I remember having diaries as an elementary school student all the way until high school. Blogging, back in 2010 was not as popular as it is today. I used it as a way to connect to other people not just in my area but around the world. Read more>>

Danielle DeGroot

I struggled with my body image and weight, as many women do. I had always enjoyed dance, yoga and being active, but it wasn’t until right before I went to college that I decided to change my diet. I was meticulous with my diet and lost a lot of weight. Read more>>

Sandhya Nair

As a creative person, I have viewed things around me differently. Growing up, I was always fascinated by colors and textiles, which made me curious to learn more about it. I did my B.Sc. in Fashion Technology from VIFT Bangalore, India. Read more>>

KT Speetzen

KT Speetzen Presents came as a result of friends in corporations and various other entities looking for advice on how to deliver a keynote, or how to engage their clients or teams. The thread of my careers is storytelling, and I’m excited to weave them all in KT Speetzen Presents. Read more>>

Jordin Ruthstein

I began to evolve from just local to-do’s to a positive lifestyle brand. I focus on being a “destination for inspiration on how to live your best, happiest life” and try to keep this at the forefront of everything I do. Whether it’s a quick restaurant shout out or a career/life advice column I try to maintain an optimistic approach to storytelling. Read more>>

Tia Brown

I grew up on the Westside of Chicago and attended Chicago Public Schools until I graduated from Lane Technical High School. Growing up on Washington and Cicero, I had many opportunities to see positive things, but the negative was much more prevalent. Read more>>

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