Meet the women from our workshops
Our workshops are designed to involve women who are authentic and want to help advance womankind.
tania haigh, curator & host
Marketing disruptor Tania Haigh curates and moderates our workshops with her customary flair and stunning track record in the women’s empowerment space. As founder & CEO of Magnolia Insights, Tania and her team are making strides at crafting brands and strategies to win with women consumers. Tania is also an organizer for the Chicagoland TEDxWomen events, where she highlights the progressive footprint that women are bringing to professional worlds in every industry.
erin phillips, marketing coordinator
Erin Phillips brings her passion for empowering women to the Magnolia Insights team and uses her experience to promote GET NOTICED and contribute to event operations. She also has a food instagram with her twin sister, @empty_platez; and teaches group fitness classes. Erin is a sophomore Marketing and Information Systems major at Loyola University of Chicago.
sarah gise, GN team member
Sarah is a professional actor, teaching artist, audiobook narrator, and casting director in the lovely city of Chicago. She is an active member of Interrobang Theatre Project where she has performed in several shows over the years, including the one woman show The Amish Project in 2016 (nominated for Best Solo Performance at the Joseph Jefferson Awards). She is so excited to be involved with Magnolia Insights and their GET NOTICED workshops, and is so grateful to Tania and Lynn for letting her join the team!
dani loumena, GN team member
Dani is very very excited to be working with Magnolia Insights to make Chicago Woman Week a great success! Graduating from Columbia College in 2011 to pursue a career in acting and stunts, Dani found her passion working on Indie films, so she started a production company in 2015 called, Reutan Collective; focusing on local artists and building a network of actor/combatants, writers, directors, filmmakers, etc. here in Chicago. Dani is also a Real Estate Consultant at North Clybourn Group and works other odd jobs, as well.
jill brown smith, GN team member
Jill Brown brings over 20 years of experience in the event and meeting management world to the GET NOTICED team. She splits her professional time as a freelance event manager and as an Independent Stylist for Cabi, a women's clothing brand. Cabi allows her to share her passion to empower women through fashion, grow a business and by giving back through the Heart of CAbi Foundation. Much of her time is also spent parenting two active boys; a road warrior to gyms and baseball fields throughout Chicagoland.
CORPORATE CAREER PATHING
Director, D&I Education and Supplier Diversity
Rona is an integral member of the global diversity and inclusion team of Walgreens Boots Alliance. In this capacity, she leads a team to impact the diverse owned business inclusion rate in contracting for merchandise, goods not for resale and professional services and she also oversees the integration of diversity and inclusion into training curriculum in partnership with the WBA learning leaders.
Prior to joining Walgreens, Rona held senior management roles in finance and accounting and led supplier diversity initiatives in both the private and public sectors. Rona directed the Chicago Minority Business Opportunity Center, a $1.2M US Department of Commerce, MBDA funded project. Rona has led information technology system design projects and has been cited in diversity publications, received recognitions for advocacy, commitment, and is an active member of the community serving organizations throughout the U.S. Rona was recognized in 2017 by Mass Market Retail as 1 of 6 who made a difference and recently received the Walgreens 2018 Champion of Champions award for Customer Care.
Chief of Staff, LaSalle Network
Jessica Schaeffer is Chief of Staff at LaSalle Network, a national staffing, recruiting and culture firm honored with more than 100 culture and revenue-based awards. Since joining LaSalle nearly seven years ago, Schaeffer has spearheaded LaSalle's marketing efforts, and been integral in the development and retention of employees, contributing to our training and culture initiatives. Schaeffer is on the Board of Directors for the Chicago American Marketing Association and Chicago SHRM. She has been quoted in Fast Company, Forbes, writes frequently for Marketing News magazine, and has been featured on FOX Good Day Chicago, ABC Chicago and WGN.
Senior Partner, Verde Associates
A Global Strategy Executive with passion for business growth, Victoria spent almost 20 years of her career helping businesses grow through better insights, improved team performance and streamlined business processes. Her diverse business background allows Victoria to effectively zero in on key issues that prevent a company from reaching its full potential. Her unique ability to implement change management initiatives, while minimally distracting existing company culture, assures that business evolution can be achieved without disrupting processes that do work. Victoria helps her clients build a culture of success by fostering collaboration and encouraging individual growth.
Prior to joining Verde Associates, a boutique growth consultancy specializing in organizational evolution and growth acceleration, Victoria spent over 10 years at IRI, a Chicago-based Big Data technology company, holding various positions in product management, client insights and corporate strategy. Before joining IRI Victoria spent 8 years at Philips Electronics, N.V., a global health technology company, working in finance, sales operations, and market research.
Victoria is the local Ambassador of the Chicago Booth Women’s Network, responsible for executing meaningful programming to support Booth students and alumni in building successful careers and fulfilling lives. Victoria sits on the board of Strive Tutoring, a Chicago South Side non-profit helping school-age children to reach their potential through tutoring and mentoring.
Victoria holds a BA in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA in Marketing and Strategic Management from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Chief Brand Officer, SHIFT
Lisa Magnuson is a communications expert and brand storyteller. With fifteen years of experience in communications strategy and brand reputation, Magnuson has helped major consumer brand and non-profit organizations leverage communication, storytelling and customer and employee engagement to drive business results and brand affinity.
Magnuson spent more than 10 years at McDonald’s USA building brand trust and driving communication strategies for the organization. Most recently, she served as Senior Director of Communications for McDonald’s USA where she led a team of communications professionals tasked with communicating brand and business strategy to internal and external audiences, enabling a culture of brand advocacy and ambassadorship.
Magnuson is known for her ability to use creative and compelling brand storytelling to engage audiences and drive results. With a passion for purpose-driven culture, she believes that tying business objectives to opportunities to address societal needs will inspire action to build successful businesses and stronger communities. She is highly regarded as a trusted advisor, coach and mentor.
Magnuson received her degrees in Organizational Communication and English Literature from North Central College in Naperville, IL. An avid reader and yogi, she currently resides in Oak Park, IL with her husband Ryan and two children, Madeleine and Holden.
Chief of Sales/ Client Solutions, BPI Group
Raheela brings more than 25 years of experience in executive outplacement and financial services to BPI group, with expertise in M&A, executive compensation, corporate delayering, and building and leading diverse teams. She develops market strategy and leads the client solutions team for BPI group North America, partnering with clients to understand their business and talent challenges and connecting them with BPI group experts, while also working with executives in career transition.
Previously, Raheela served as a senior vice president and chief strategy officer for a national boutique executive outplacement firm, where she led client relationship management and played a key role in executive career transition services. Earlier in her career, Raheela held several senior roles in the financial services industry and worked as an independent consultant with asset management firms on mutual funds and separately managed account vehicles.
Raheela holds a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts in molecular biology and French literature from Northwestern University.
Executive Chef, Bar Takito
Born in Toluca, Mexico, Yanitzin Sanchez loves the aromas and variety of flavors from her homeland. She has gained vast experience in haute cuisine in prestigious venues, such as the Ritz Carlton in Paris and The Mayan Palace in Cancun and Acapulco. She is now Executive Chef at Bar Takito.
Her talent and passion for the spirit of food have been honored by countless awards and recognitions, including a prestigious Michelin Award in 2011 and 2012 and Time Out Chicago’s Top 10 Best Restaurants in 2010.
Sanchez is also the creator of the Secret Society of Foodies in Chicago, where she offers up the intimate privacy of her Chicago home where guests feast on a five-course meal with wine pairings.
Co-Anchor, WGN Evening News
Lourdes Duarte is a co-anchor of WGN Evening News at 4 pm. Prior to WGN Evening News, Lourdes spent three years as a co-anchor of WGN Morning News. Lourdes has won several awards including four Emmy Awards for general assignment and investigative reporting. Most recently, she won an Emmy Award for her story titled, “Unlicensed and Serving.” Lourdes also hosts “Adelante Chicago” on WGN-TV, which highlights the city’s growing Latino community.
Director of External Affairs and International Relations, 1871
Diana Lopez-Obaldo is the Director of External Affairs and International Relations at 1871. In this role, Diana establishes and fosters ongoing relationships with key international community leaders, public officials, non-profit organizations and major corporations as the front line liaison between 1871 and the community. Diana previously worked as a Multicultural Group Account Manager for Marketing Werks and an Account Executive for Relay Worldwide. In both roles, she focused on both the Multicultural and Hispanic markets. In these roles she created, oversaw and executed a variety of strategic marketing campaigns to help meet the needs of clients. Prior to Marketing Werks and Relay Worldwide, Diana worked at Telemundo Chicago in the Special Events/Community Relations Department; in this role she worked closely with community organizations, city officials and police departments to plan and execute annual outdoor festivals for Telemundo. Diana also arranged and coordinated public appearances, speaking engagements, festivals, parades and other outreach efforts for on air talent. Diana graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Fine/Studio Arts. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband James, eleven year-old daughter Johanna and eight-year old son James Jr.
Manager, Brand Experience and Communications , YWCA
Jacqueline Priego joined YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, the oldest and largest women’s organization in the region, as Manager of Brand Experience and Communications in August of 2015. She manages strategic communications and marketing outreach with an emphasis on media relations, social media and event planning. In her role, Jacqueline also serves as media liaison to news outlets throughout the metropolitan area and surrounding suburbs. Her passion for social justice and women’s rights has manifested itself in the form of a web series she wrote and will co-direct in the summer of 2018. The show, PinkSlipped, follows the lives of three best friends navigating their careers while coming to terms that they are greater than the sum of their stifling jobs, self-sabotage and cultural stereotypes. With more than ten years of experience in marketing and communications, Jacqueline has worked with Prometheus (an Omnicom company), the Chicago White Sox and Planned Parenthood of Illinois.
Commissioner, Berwyn Historic Preservation Commission
Araceli has a passion for the built environment. With over 19 years of design, development and project management experience, she has charted her career to work on a multitude of project types, facets of development and client base. Born in Chicago, she moved to San Luis Potosi Mexico at the age 9 where she completed her elementary, high school and prep school education, completely immersing herself into the captivating culture and embracing the colorful, bright architecture surrounding vibrant cities she often visited.
Araceli’s biculturalism has enabled her to navigate the job site and the board room seamlessly, where she often is the only female present and yet the one providing the team with overall direction. Her passion is for building by creating spaces that will enhance experiences and therefore impact lives. Her experience spans various sectors including the private, public and nonprofit sectors, where her focus has been on developing affordable housing and federally funded projects. Araceli earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology, a Master in Advanced Architectural Design degree and Master in Real Estate Development degree both from Columbia University in the city of New York. In May 2016, Araceli was appointed to serve as a commissioner to the office of the Berwyn Historic Preservation Commission. She likes to spend her free time collecting rocks with her 4-year-old twins.
Founder, Military Mama Network
Geriann Wiesbrook is the founder of Military Mama Network and lead admin for over 100 Facebook groups as well as 4 Facebook business pages. She grew Military Mama Network’s Facebook presence from ZERO to 20,000 in less than 4 years and captured the attention of multiple team members of Facebook, Inc. Geriann has successfully (albeit unintentionally at the launch) launched a 501 (c) 3 corporation, maneuvered through several developmental changes in leadership and has created several subgroups within her non-profit. She successfully leads a team of hundreds on a daily basis while juggling a marriage, helping raise her grandsons, and visiting several long-distance family members. Sometimes she even gets to read a book! She knows how to run Facebook groups with great authenticity, so much so that Facebook has reached out six different times in six different areas within six months. The statistical likelihood of her recognition by multiple Facebook teams is 1:5 Octillion (that’s 27 0’s and 9 commas ONE BILLION BILLION BILLION) Why does that matter? Social Media is the #1 way to grow any small business and is particularly effective for charities. Facebook is just one tool we, as non-profit leaders, should have in our toolkit.
Director, Magnolia Insights
Lynn Fogarty is a Marketing and Advertising industry leader with over 16 years of experience building brands, providing strategic thought leadership, and creating advertising campaigns that connect with consumers. While Marketing is one of her talents, she has a passion for helping others and using her talents to give back. Lynn is part of the development and event planning teams at CureJM, a non-profit supporting children with a rare autoimmune disease called JDM, serves with her family at homeless shelters in the city, and leads care and grief groups in her neighborhood. Lynn also cares deeply about advancing women and currently is the Network of Executive Women's Mentoring Committee Co-Chair.
P.A.X.A. Parents Against Child Sex Abuse, Board Member
Micaela has always had a passion for two things: diversity and education. Part of this evolved naturally for Micaela having been raised by two Mexican immigrants, however, also self taught and learned through experiences. Upon attaining her undergraduate degree from DePaul University with a major in International Studies and testing the waters a bit, her heart drew her back to her core of wanting to put a bigger stamp on this world and so went back to DePaul to obtain her Master's in Bilingual-Bicultural Education.
It was through this experience and education she was enlightened and encouraged to fight for those who deserve it most: our children. She went on to teach elementary education until she and her husband were blessed with the arrival of their first child.
After the birth of their second child, Micaela decided it was time to get back to her passion for education and work with children with autism.
Micaela is proud of her heritage, her experiences and impact she has brought to this world. Furthermore, she is excited for this next chapter in not only continuing to educate, but also protect our children. A survivor of sexual abuse, she understands the emotional impact this brings and is encouraged to fight for awareness. She demonstrates her support of this cause as Board Member of P.A.X.A. Parents Against Child Sex Abuse.
Co-Founder of Black Girls Break Bread
Jazzy D. Davenport-Russ, co-founder of Black Girls Break Bread and Chicago native, is a high school educator, community college professor, mentor, and advocate for social justice, racial equity, and equality in the Chicago area. A champion of Black children, her servant leadership style nurtures an environment of excellence for her students, her school, and its community. Davenport is a lifelong learner. She prides herself on being Fisk made while also holding degrees from Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University, and Dominican University.
Director of Development, Chicago Public Media (WBEZ)
Kendra Waddington is a strategic, goal-oriented leader with broad expertise in nonprofit management. She currently serves as Director of Development at Chicago Public Media (WBEZ) with responsibility for major gifts and planned giving. She oversees a team focused on fundraising, donor stewardship, analysis & reporting, prospect research, and administrative services. Prior to joining WBEZ, Kendra consulted with several nonprofits on a variety of projects ranging from new business planning to marketing and communications to systems conversions. She spent the majority of her career at IES Abroad, a global higher education nonprofit headquartered in Chicago. There she held multiple roles leading fundraising and alumni relations, developing new lines of business, conducting institutional research, and managing governance meetings and events. Kendra earned her B.A. in Communications and International Studies and M.A. in Cultural & Educational Policy Studies, both from Loyola University Chicago.
Founder, Breaking Through Consulting
As a nonprofit advisor, brand strategist, humanitarian and founder of Breaking Through Consulting, Clara partners with organizations to help them find a breakthrough, advance and increase their impact by understanding and activating the power of their brands (their purpose), while deepening relationships internally, externally and with those they wish to Help. Trained as a communicator, marketer and journalist, Clara has been dedicated to activating, strengthening and growing brands; helping develop a culture of engagement; establishing and cultivating community relations; and educating organizational leaders and teams so they can increase stakeholder participation and achieve success and fulfillment. Her approach is to bring the organizations’ purpose as foundational to every aspect of their business - people, principles, programs, partnerships, etc., in order to achieve incredible heights, change and social good. Clara’s 18-year experience as a dynamic and versatile bilingual/bicultural leader includes working with non-profit organizations such as Ronald McDonald House Charities, Curamericas Global, Willow Creek Community Church, The People’s Resource Center; and for-profit companies like McDonald’s Corporation, The Hershey Company, Pfizer and Verizon.
Founder and Owner, ROWDYDOW bbQ WorldWide, LLC
Angela M. Keaveny is the Founder and Owner of ROWDYDOW bbQ WorldWide, LLC, a company born from a single family recipe, that has grown into the premier, authentically smoked, socially responsible pulled pork and brisket food company, on a mission to be the #1 selling, globally distributed and favorite American BBQ brand experience, in both foodservice and retail. Born and raised in Virginia, Angela is a creative spirit, with an eye for opportunity and ‘hustle to make it happen’ attitude. Her ‘rowdydow’ inspiration for starting her own business was like a lightning bolt from above – an ‘a-ha!’ - when she realized her Dad’s infamous pulled pork in a sweet vinegar barbeque sauce should be shared with the rest of the BBQ lovin’ world! In 2007, after a move to Chicago from her home in Virginia – armed with nothing but a handwritten recipe – she decided to take a chance and bring the “back home” barbeque recipe to life. The rest is her 7-year “overnight” success story, now almost a decade in the making.
Founder & CEO, evolveHer
Alicia Driskill, Founder of evolveHer, curates events and workshops that help women evolve and live a life they love. Prior to launching evolveHer, Alicia worked as Vice President of Global Partnerships at WME | IMG, one of the world’s most innovative companies. She also served as a Senior Executive at Live Nation and People.com.
After a 17 year career in entertainment media working alongside the industry’s most elite, Alicia decided to evolve her own career path and disrupt the Chicago market by opening evolveHer, Chicago’s first creative workspace designed for women. EvolveHer provides a beautiful workspace that fuels creativity and educational resources that evolve the way women connect and collaborate.
Alicia has always been a strong advocate for women. She worked on the founding team of the Together Live Tour and led business development for Pearl xChange, a women’s empowerment event co-founded by Nicole Richie & Ramey Warren. Alicia also serves as an active Luminary Member of Step Up, a non-profit organization that helps girls fulfill their potential.
President, Uplift Data Partners
Suzanne is an accomplished leader with over 16 years experience specializing in digital transformations, brand strategy, growth marketing, entrepreneurship and startup operations. Following 13 very successful years working for leading corporate brands (IBM, HSBC, GE Healthcare, SapientNitro) leading innovation and growth strategies, her passion for entrepreneurship led her career shift to build startup businesses since 2012.
She joined Power2Switch, a deregulated energy shopping platform, as Chief Marketing Officer in 2012 and experienced an acquisition by Choose Energy, a portfolio company of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, in 2013. She continued with Choose Energy as Vice President of Marketing leading brand development and marketing to take the marketplace national across all deregulated energy states. In 2015, she joined Mira Fitness as Creative Director leading growth strategy, marketing & product design. She joined Uplift Data Partners in 2016, a drone technology service company provides enterprise clients full implementation of drone technology.
Suzanne is characterized as a high-energy leader, a relentless optimist, and a creative thinker who thrives on the success of building healthy teams, cultures and businesses. She’s been recognized by Built in Chicago, as one of the leading women in Chicago driving the Digital Entrepreneurial Renaissance. Suzanne sits on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Children's Choir in addition to serving as an advisor within the advisory group for Women in Commercial Drones, part of the Commercial Drone Alliance. She holds a Masters of Science (MS) in Human Computer Interaction from DePaul University and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from University of Chicago - Chicago Booth.
Principal & Founding Partner, Capital Strategies Women’s Forum
Barbara’s primary focus is to raise awareness of her firm’s institutional investment advisory, private wealth advisory, and asset management services and to co-lead the Capital Strategies Women's Forum. Barbara’s passion is to financially empower others, especially women, so they are free to live the life of their dreams.
CEO & Founder of L3 Agency
Larvetta believes, ‘Your personal energy feeds into your business.’ She lives by that as the CEO and Founder of the L3 Agency (formerly L3 Eventeurs), a full-service marketing and communications agency focused on influencer marketing and delivering authentic content for brand engagement. For over 16 years, she and her company have been responsible for executing award winning marketing and branding campaigns for Verizon, Bacardi, Toyota, McDonald’s, CVS Pharmacy and The Chicago Community Trust, to name a few. While growing her agency, Larvetta has also built an incredible career as a content creator, brand marketing strategist, authentic speaker, media personality, master networker, community advocate and social entrepreneur. As a successful industry leader for over 20 years, she saw an opportunity to pivot her agency as a thought leader for women and millennials. She recently launched her own web series on Youtube for women of color in Chicago to pitch for capital. She serves on the board of directors of Brand Chicago and on the Chicago Leadership Team for Upward Women. Although she has received numerous awards for her personal achievements, she believes in a collaborative, relationship-based approach in her work. She also attended The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth on performing a high performing enterprise and participated in the Google Digital Business Cohort. In her free time, she mentors and empowers young women and girls on creating scalable businesses- Her motto ‘doing what you love with kindness, grace, and excellence.’
For more info on her company, visit www.theL3agency.com and follow her socially at @larvettaspeaks.com, ouTube: @LarvettaSpeaksT
Owner of Serendipitous Psychotherapy, LLC
Kelley Kitley, LCSW is a Chicago native and owner of SERENDIPITOUS PSYCHOTHERAPY, LLC on The Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago. She is a sought after international women's mental health expert and author of an autobiography of survival ‘MY self.’ Kitley has appeared in over 100 publications, podcasts, live news, and radio including WGN, NBC, The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Parent Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Self, Shape, and is a columnist for Fitness Magazine, Recovery Connection, and Thrive Global. Kelley has shared her experience, strength, and hope on national media outlets such as Dr. Oz and as a TEDx speaker.
Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Co-Anchor, WGN Evening News
Performance Coach, Chicago Bulls