May 3, 2021
Sharmila Fowler, MBA, MCPC
Champion and Advocate for succeeding through Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Cultural Intelligence in all facets of our lives
When you surround yourself
With the pinnacles of success
You’ll find ample inspiration
To fulfill the dreams you possess
…maximizing my talents, interests, personality, motivations, and skills in order to identify the best mountain for me to climb
…understanding your experiences and passions in order to support you on your journey to the top
…empowering those less fortunate than me to believe in themselves and build the confidence they need in order to rise up
…self-awareness and cultural identity to shape my goals and overcome obstacles
…social-awareness and curiosity to appreciate your stories and stretch my mind
…compassion and empathy to embrace diversity and create greater good
…appreciating the climb to the top but also recognizing when to switch mountains
…knowing that I was able to provide you a helping hand along the way
…applauding those who worked hard to find their mountain and begin their ascent
Apr 26, 2021
Marketing Mana LLC, Big Kahuna
Success happens when I focus on what I have, instead of what I don’t have. I became an entrepreneur in 2018 to solidify marketing strategy for small businesses through action plans focused on goals and customers. I gained control of my time and my choice of clients. I am fulfilled when I guide my clients in the right direction for their business, having a difficult conversation as needed, as I stay true to my mission by choosing pono (acting righteously). I remain authentic through my interactions, volunteering, supporting other women entrepreneurs, and being present for my family.
Success takes strength, persistence, and focus. Mental strength takes daily practice through mindset, gratitude, and recognizing the smallest wins that can get drowned out by other realities. We are stronger than we realize; we are powerful as we support one another and share “We’ve got this”.
Apr 17, 2021
Dena Perry, MBA. CSR certified
Author, model, inventor
Success is the journey of self love. When you choose self love, don’t be shocked at how the universe will move with you once you’ve decided to make a change. Surround yourself with family, good friends and the peacemakers. This energy will sustain you in making lasting changes. I will get to where I need to be. Taking one day at a time, I strive to be the best version of myself. I may hold onto old habits but I can make incremental lifestyle changes for better balance. To create better balance, I love to pray and meditate. Share my truth. Be patient. Be present. Be ready to do the work in order to learn, earn, give, and grow stronger in my self love journey.
Apr 12, 2021
What success means to me by Margaret M. Mueller, Ph.D.
President and CEO at The Executives' Club of Chicago
Living true to your standards of integrity, and at the best and highest use of your purpose. We each have gifts that we bring to this earth.
I am big on leading from your towering strengths. What is the one thing that is unique to you that you do better than most people? Find out what that is and then be that everywhere you go.
People often say they want to find jobs or companies to work for that are purpose-driven. In the meantime, find the purpose within yourself and then bring that to whatever job you have at the moment. You can live your purpose almost anywhere. For me, it’s creating connection. I’m a connector in all ways. There are lots of ways I have lived that purpose over the course of my life. I connect ideas. I connect strategies and tactics. I connect problems with solutions. I connect people. Anytime I create a connection where there was empty space, I am living my purpose. To me, that is success.
Apr 12, 2021
Versatile, Results-Driven Director of Demand Planning & Replenishment
Success to me means setting goals for myself, working towards those goals and then achieving them. It's not always easy and sometimes the goals transform into other goals that I didn't even realize I wanted. It gives me a big sense of achievement when I can look at my plans, review what I set out to achieve and say: "yep, I achieve this!" It's also important to be deliberate and intentional about what I want to improve in my life and to understand the why. This motivates me to try strategies and ideas to help me achieve my goals.
This past year of pandemic crisis has shifted the paradigm of what's important to me and it made me reevaluate my idea of happiness. I became much more intentional about connecting with those that matter to me, seeking out to see if they need help or simply to bring them some joy and positivity. In the summer, I’ll move to a warmer area of the country with the intention of escaping Chicago winters and being closer to the
Mar 22, 2021
What success means to me by Emma Farrell
Senior Research Chemist at McCrone Associates, Inc.
Any day that I can contribute to society is a successful day, and my method of choice is the elegance and objectivity of science. Though often seen as an individual pursuit, science is built on the cumulative successes and failures of countless other scientists. We are an intrinsically connected and interdependent community, and together we are much greater than the sum of our parts. We cannot practice science without engaging in this greater sense of purpose. The success of one of us is the success of all of us.
Mar 13, 2021
What success means to me by Kandice Henning
Founder and CEO of the nonprofit Alive Center.
Entrepreneur and change-maker that loves to empower others to be their best selves.
Success to me means living your best life. I believe that we were all born with unique gifts and talents, with ways that only we can contribute to the world. When we focus on sharing our own gifts with the world, we thrive. Unfortunately, so many people get caught up in who they think they’re supposed to be rather than focusing on who they really are. Societal pressures and the quest for material success too often win out over living our best, most authentic life.
Imagine a world where each and every person is living their best life, sharing their gifts and talents each and every day. Not only would everyone be happier, leaping out of bed each and every day to do what they love, but their contribution to the world would be so much bigger as they would be bringing passion and purpose into what they do. Oh what a beautiful world it would be!
That is what success means to me, living a life that makes you come alive. So what makes you come alive? That is the question we should all answer.
Mar 8, 2021
What success means to me. Danielle Norman
Mother, Wife, HR Exec, MBA Student with a passion for making things better, construction skills, dog owner.
While I have achieved some very cool things, my true success has been finding happiness. Genetically, I was born just the opposite, with a mental illness that pulls me into the deepest dark depths of depression so I had to learn how to be happy. I’m so grateful that God placed some wonderful mentors in my life to help teach me. Happiness is a choice we make despite our circumstances – rich or poor, fat or thin, employed or not, married or single, healthy or sick. It doesn’t mean everything is always perfect but rather that you can still be content during both wins and losses. Sometimes we have everything but are missing the one thing that matters – happiness. Sometimes we have nothing but the only thing that matters – happiness. I’ve learned we can always choose to be happy despite what is going on with us or around us. Learning to choose happiness is what made me really feel successful.
Feb 12, 2021
What success means to me by Laticia Thompson, MSMOB
Founder & Chief Legacy Partner at Legacy Blueprint, LLC | PhD Candidate, Business Psychology | TEDx Speaker
If you would have asked me that question 15-20 years ago, my response would have been something like have a great career, accomplish my goals, be comfortable financially, raise children who contribute positively to society, etc, etc
As I’ve gotten a little older (a little more seasoned ?), I’ve discovered that true success isn’t the stuff we acquire or obtain. The kind of success I’ve grown to appreciate doesn’t have a finish line. Success, to me, is doing the hard work of peering into the inner most part of self, honoring the core of me that’s amazing, acknowledging the ugly that doesn’t serve me or others well and being deliberate about addressing it. Success is being able to look in the mirror, love and adore what’s looking back. Is all that other stuff great to have? Absolutely!! It doesn’t mean much, though, when you’re smiling on the outside to the world, but your heart and soul are weeping. Success is the doing the work that challenges me to be a better version of myself every day.
Feb 8, 2021
What success means to me by Anita Knotts
Senior Executive in Wealth Management
Advocate for women, wealth & leadership
Success to me is purely defined by how I feel about myself at any given moment. Did I make an impact today? Did I help someone? Did I overcome a challenge? When I look at myself in the mirror just before I go to bed every night, am I happy with what I see? Personally, I am at my happiest and feel successful when I take calculated risks in life and come out on the other end still standing – sometimes failing, but always growing. I need to feel that the work I’m doing is making a positive impact in some way. I am blessed to work in an industry – financial services – where I can help people in such a meaningful way. I am now finding that I can use my experience as a woman of color in this male dominated field to help other women navigate their career and achieve financial stability. It took me a while but I finally found my “why” and along with that comes success!
Jan 27, 2021
Former Google leader turned Authenticity
Advocate, Speaker & Executive Coach
What success means to me by Erika Gerdes
I used to think success was about checking boxes and collecting gold stars: I was a corporate-climbing mom who could "do it all and do it with a smile". It looked great on the outside. But, on the inside, I felt hollow and like I was never doing enough. There was always more to do/be/achieve. When my infant daughter had serious spinal surgery 7 years ago, it made me reevaluate how I was living, and for whom. Thankfully, she’s healthy, but it became the pivot point where my life has since become before and after.
Now I know success means having the courage to create a life of authenticity and impact. By letting go of who I think I should be, it freed me up to embrace who I am and who I am to become.
We are most impactful when we’re most authentic so, ultimately, success is living into my full range and building a life aligned with my values, purpose and gifts in order to inspire others to do the same. # #success #inspiration #motivation
Jan 18, 2021
Dr. Karen Bartuch, MA
Former Chicago Police Officer turned business leader & adjunct professor
What success means to me by Dr Karen Bartuch
Success means crushing your goals, right? Wrong. I’ve learned that success comprises several critical factors: unconditional self-acceptance, personal growth, meaningful relationships, purpose and authenticity. All of which also lead to psychological well-being (aka happiness). There will always be ups and downs and wins and losses in business. Rather than chasing that next big win or major achievement – I focus on enjoying the journey, connecting with others, learning from the experience, pursuing my passion(s), and staying true to myself. So at the end of the day, success for me is about happiness.
Jan 13, 2021
Diana Leviton Gondek
American and International Artist
What success means to me By Diana Leviton Gondek
Success to be me comes from continuing growth. A personal journey. From there the reward is the opportunity to continue without barriers. My artwork is inspired by real and imagined images. I work primarily with oil on canvas, but use mixed media if the work requires it. Observations of human nature. The work shows a certain kind of genetics, and even sometimes transparency, to color and uncomplicated straightforwardness. My own visual vocabulary. If as an artist I can be true to myself I am truly successful.
Jan 11, 2021
Portraits of Successful Women 2020, by Steve Ewert
I want to thank all the women who participated in my portrait project in 2020. I enjoyed working with all of you, and hearing what success means to you. Lily Liu, Brandis Griffith-Friedman, Cindi Ferrara-Elstien, Laura Chavez, Kate Sullivan, Bela Moté, Lynnette VanDien Bertolotti, Dominique Jordan Turner (DJT), Dolly McCarthy, Vicki Reece, Candace Jordan, Nicki Anderson
One of the reasons I worked on this project is that I believe that the leadership of women is crucial for the well-being of the world. I wanted to support that idea by capturing images of strong women and posting what success means to them along with their portraits.
I dedicate this portrait series to my mom, Claire Ewert, an activist for the rights of women, who was ahead of her time.
Jan 2, 2021
Faculty / Kellogg School of Management
What success means to me by Suzanne Muchin
It took me a long time to figure out what was mine to do, and longer to design a life where it became my “work.” We are our best selves when we can spend our days not just “doing a job that”, but “being a person who.” So what is mine to do? I quarterback ideas that matter. Sometimes those ideas are products. Sometimes they are social change strategies. Sometimes the ideas are people. Therefore, success, to me, is doing what is yours to do, and then becoming known as “a person who (does that).” Success is richer when you are clear about your why. Mine has always been: in order to make the world more beautiful, equitable, sustainable or enlightened. Enjoying my success and getting better at what I do is the result of having a 2+ decades long business partner (Rachel Bellow). And my family? They are a given. I don’t mention them in response to questions like these because it would be like mentioning breathing if you asked me what “health and wellness means to me.” My husband, my children. They are the oxygen in my success tank.
Dec 16, 2020
Director of L.E.A.D.S., Women’s Leadership Program at Benedictine University
Tireless advocate for positive change for the good of all
What success means to me by Nicki Anderson
For me, success starts with knowing that there is absolutely nothing I can’t do if I set my mind to it. Nothing. The exclamation point on success is pushing through the barriers, coming out on the other side, knowing that I worked hard to accomplish what I set out to do, and didn’t let challenge slow me down. Whatever the goal is, success doesn’t happen without failure which is why reaching stated accomplishments are so much sweeter. Ultimately, success is the realization that I’ve overcome, and I’m still standing, with a smile on my face and an eye out for the next opportunity!
Nov 5, 2020
Publisher of Park Ridge Living and Be Local NW Chicagoland magazines;
Host/Executive Producer of The Dolly McCarthy Show
Former News Anchor CLTV News
Mother of 5
Sister to 13
Only you can write your own definition of success. Many people chase career titles, money or social status and don’t feel successful when they get those things. That’s because your success is your own. Whatever makes you happy, fulfilled and gives you purpose is what success means. Success means doing what you love with your whole heart and soul. It means taking your passion which is essentially you and sharing it with the world around you. It means being vulnerable, taking risks and opening yourself up to challenges that force you to grow, become stronger –mentally, spiritually and professionally.
If you have a happy life, no matter what you do, or how much you make, you are a success!
And there’s no deadline. You can be successful at age 24 or age 82. Here’s to your success!
Nov 2, 2020
Vicki Reece, Founder and CEO of Joy of Mom
Photo of Vicki and her daughter Robin
What success means to me by Vicki Reece
“What success means...” is so beautifully unique for everyone. For me it means showing up and standing up for what you believe in. Digging deep and being as brave and courageous as you need to navigate challenging tides and weather scary storms. It's how you live your journey, your story. Especially as you fight the good fight. It's a feeling, a passion, a commitment that you live everyday, asking yourself before you go to sleep at night "have I done all that I can do today to protect, guide, enrich and empower my mission”. I connect with millions of Moms daily on Joy of Mom. It's the greatest privilege and honor being able to do so. To help positively impact one another’s journey. Being there for the good and the bad, the celebrations and the unthinkable. Staying true and real to your mission, your passion, your calling…that's success to me.
Oct 24, 2020
Dominique Jordan Turner, CEO Chicago Scholars, Obama Fellow
What Success means to me by Dominique Jordan Turner (DJT)
In very simple terms, success to me means the ability to choose and have personal agency over my life. To be able to do something because I enjoy it rather than being obliged. So many people are waking up everyday going to jobs that they hate and doing things that don’t align with their purpose, gifts or talents because they have to pay the bills. Everything I do, I want to choose it freely. Freedom to me is synonymous with success
Sep 30, 2020
Bela Mote, Chief Executive Officer at Carole Robertson Learning Center
What success means to me by Bela Mote
There are attributes of success that are defined by societies and cultures across the globe—what career you’ve chosen, how many degrees you hold, how much you earn—and most people feel successful when they continue to check these prestigious boxes and ascend.
So one could look at me and say ‘yes, she seems to fit the bill as a successful and accomplished woman’, and I wouldn’t disagree. But success to me as the CEO of the Carole Robertson Center for Learning, as a woman, as a mom, as a child of immigrant parents, is deep and personal. Success requires a moral compass, thoughtfulness, righteousness, values, and will. Success is when I have arrived personally and professionally at my destination and learned something on the journey that can be shared with others in the world, but that also fuels me to do more and to do it better.
Life is short. One’s career and the success attached to it is even shorter. Ultimately, success to me means that I leave whatever it is that I worked on or cared for better than when I first found or received it.
Sep 16, 2020
Kate Sullivan, Host/Executive Producer of To Dine For with Kate Sullivan
What success means to me by Kate Sullivan
The definition of "success" is a funny thing for me because it's always changing. At different points in your life, your definition of success changes and evolves.
When I started TO DINE FOR, success was just getting it on the air. That was a huge accomplishment for me. Now, it's much bigger. Every episode is intended to inspire the viewer. Every season shows a diverse collection of stories of creativity and innovation and going after "the American dream." I want to tangibly improve the life of the viewer through these stories. Success for me is using every bit of talent God has given me to tell incredible stories of tears and triumph of uncommon success and service. Success is serving others, helping others, inspiring others in small and big ways. It's the ability to find joy in small things and gratitude in all things. It's a beautifully prepared meal for my family and it's also a fast food burger to-go with a great friend. It's making moments that matter. Saying something that matters. Finding ways to help the world in small and big ways. It's making my kids laugh. It's dreaming big and inspiring others to do the same....that's success to me.
Sep 15, 2020
Partner and Executive Producer Exit19
What success means to me by Laura Chavez
When I was young, my parents asked my sister and me one question when we were struggling: “Who does the world belong to?” While this is a large question for anyone, let alone a kid, only one answer was accepted. When they asked, we answered, “The world belongs to those who can make decisions and carry them out.” This question is the baseline for how I approach success.
My outlook on success stems from having the strength and the courage to make a decision and carry it out with conviction. Risky or safe, those decisions are mine and once made, I commit. No matter the choice, each path has pros and cons, but the opportunity to try is always the genesis of success. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? There is power in deciding and owning something. I saw this in the women who mentored me in the past and it's something I emphasize to the women I mentor now. You don't need to be an Executive, a CEO, or President to believe in your gut.
So for me, success is being brave enough to make a decision and focused enough to carry it out. After all, your world, no matter how big or small, is shaped by your decisions and your drive to carry them out.
Aug 28, 2020
President - People by CFE
Board Emeritus – Chicago SHRM
Imerman Angels - Mentor
What Success means to me by Cindi Ferrara-Elstien
Success for me is realizing my full potential as an individual and as a professional. The world of Human Resource Consulting and HR Best Practices has allowed me a career of growth, success, and personal satisfaction. Growing as a person and helping others grow and understand how they judge themselves as human beings is a commitment and part of my life’s aim.
I decided early on to mentor people in organizations in realizing their potential as individuals and as part of their career growth emphasizing the “Human” in Human Resources.
I also find a great satisfaction in mentoring women who have gone through or are going through their medical journey of treatment for cancer. This gives me so much happiness in helping someone as I am a breast cancer survivor and have great empathy!
Aug 23, 2020
What success mean to me by Lily Liu
Managing Member at Lidi Real Estate L.L.C.
President at Lily’s Talent Agency Inc.
President at F.A.M.E. (Foundation of Artists Mentored in Entertainment)
My passion for real estate began in 1979, when I sold my first property for a significant profit just three years after I purchased it. Since then, investing in both residential and commercial properties has become an exciting hobby and lucrative business.
When I started my talent agency in 1983, I thought that success meant achieving my business and financial goals. I worked hard and the agency prospered.
Now I realize that my greatest accomplishment was choosing careers I was passionate about that allowed me to raise my three daughters and watch them succeed.
My message to anyone who is willing to take an educated risk is to believe in yourself and don’t let self-doubt hold you back.
Aug 23, 2020
What success means to me by Brandis Friedman
Co-anchor/Correspondent for Chicago Tonight
The definition of success is the accomplishment of a goal. Doing what you set out to do. Technically, I've done that, and am grateful for it. But success is so much more. It's also being in a position to open the door for the person behind me. And, I still have work to do. I still need to learn and grow every day. Success is also difficult for me to claim. I've learned, though, that if you don't claim your power, you can't use it for yourself or others. So, I think success is not only to be achieved, but used for good. I keep trying no matter how successful I may already seem.
Mar 7, 2020
"Creativity is my imagination brought to life by the spirit and energy of the children I teach, and the patience needed to proceed one step and day at a time to make dreams come true. It has filled 50 years of work with joy."
Stephanie Clemens, Director, Academy of Movement and Music
Feb 20, 2020
"I work in technology and I discovered that solving problems as well as building solutions requires a lot of thought and creativity. I think at times, it is a form of functional art. With technology taking over so many aspects of our lives we can expect that many functions will be replaced by use of AI. However, there may be no way to replace human creativity. Beautiful and creative human minds cannot be put into an algorithm. I think that those irreplaceable aspects will be more emphasized in the future and creativity will be what will set us apart."
Marlena Stark (Dziwir)
Founder, Dexpro Dynamics
Jan 13, 2020
"Creativity is a tricky word. It has so many facets and has been packaged in so many ways. But at its essence is the idea of bringing something into being. That's a powerful idea. So naturally you want those new things you're creating to delight people."
Creative Director, Writer
Apr 22, 2019
"Strength training is more than just a job to me. It's my entire life. I live to be as strong as I can be, and by doing what I love I have been enabled to help so many others become strong. That may mean getting a heavier bench press or fixing someone's posture or helping someone maintain a healthy lifestyle. It's all excites me. People like it when I care for them and show commitment to them. I love my job and I wouldn't have it any other way." Matt Heffernan owner Alchemy Athletics and Performance.
Apr 1, 2019
Kelly and Masin have known each other since they were 10. They are the co-owners of Ahimsa Yoga. Kelly told me what makes her happy.
"What makes me happy is creating spaces where teachers and students feel comfortable and safe to practice yoga. I like working with my mom, sister, dad, best friend Masin, and really kind and awesome teachers and managers."
Mar 24, 2019
Stephanie Clemens founded The Academy of Movement and Music in 1971 in her living room. In 1983 the academy moved into its current location in Oak Park. Many generations of students have learned to dance at Stephanie's academy. The Academy classes have always been welcoming to all ages, ethnicities and abilities for both dance and music.
Mar 21, 2019
VonOrthal Puppets is composed of a group a Chicago-based artists dedicated to bringing children and adults quality cultural experiences
in the puppetry arts. VOP has been captivating audiences for over 2 decades with a unique combination of traditional European, Japanese
and American puppetry techniques. The VonOrthal Puppets style blends imagination, music and story with expressively alive characters
and a refined artistic quality.
Mar 14, 2019
Laurie and Lynne Hamilton are the owners of Shirley Hamilton Inc. Their mom, Shirley Hamilton, founded the talent agency in 1962.
Mar 5, 2019
“Immigrants are about twice as likely as natives to start new businesses,” Kauffman Foundation. Steve Cirjakovic president of DMS Industries is a first generation American and 5 of the 6 men in this photo are first generation Americans
Feb 24, 2019
Margaret Sawczuk art conservator in her studio
Feb 24, 2019
Athena Uslander came to this country at 18 alone and speaking no English from Iran. She earned a BS in Engineering Mechanics and a MS in Metallurgical Engineering. She opened Silverland Bakery in 1983
Feb 23, 2019
Jim Lasko (Redmoon ), @Elyse Agnello, AIA, and Mike Healy are making a new kind of social club for building, baking, brewing, and everything in between. www.guildrow.co
Feb 17, 2019
Jim Lasko, the founder of Redmoon Theatre, met Mike Healy and Elyse Agnello at Harvard Design School. Together they are creating https://www.guildrow.co.
Feb 17, 2019
Roy and Walter have been partners in Oak Park for 19 years.
Feb 17, 2019
Deborah Pieritz owner Pieritz Brothers Inc founded 1895
Feb 15, 2019
"Element Worx is a small design-to-build construction company that specializes in remodeling and expanding indoor and outdoor spaces in Oak Park. I love working with clients that want to make something different, something special. Other companies can have the cookie cutter projects, I like to work on projects that require custom creative solutions. Its extremely rewarding to help clients vision of their living space come to life."
Brett Williams owner
Feb 9, 2019
Gabriel Tetrev discovered what he loves to do in High School.
He skipped college and opened GP Tetrev Pottery in Oak Park. www.gptetrev.com
Feb 9, 2019
Alan Taylor and Emily Gage are the ministers at Unity Temple in Oak Park.
The Unity Temple building is a world class building designed my Frank Lloyd Wright and build between 1905 and 1908
Feb 9, 2019
Brandis Griffith Friedman is a correspondent for Chicago Tonight
Apr 23, 2018
Ann Scholhamer-Co-Founder and Board of Directors Women's March Chicago.
Mar 28, 2018
Miguel Paloma and Tony Arce- Founders of Red Ivy Studios
Mar 15, 2018
Pat McDonald- Film Critic, Writer
Jan 4, 2018
Pia Singh- Arts Administrator, Independent Curator & Policymaker
ABOUT MY BLOG
I use my blog to post my personal projects. My current project is "Portraits of Successful Women". Other personal projects have been "Small Business Owners", "Portraits of Creative People" and "Thoughts on Creativity". These projects give me a chance to create images where all the creative input is mine, although often the people I photograph have some great ideas too.