IWD 2020 Women Meet-Up at DL Studio!

IWD 2020 Women Meet-Up at DL Studio!

With most of my friends currently in a social distancing mode, it’s almost hard to believe that just a couple of weeks ago we gathered at the gorgeous DL Studio to celebrate International Women’s Day. ⁣Thank you to every woman who said YES to being a part of the biggest women meetup in Chicago event celebrating women’s achievements and supporting women-owned brands. I knew that amazing things happen when women come together, but last night’s energy exceeded my highest expectations. We welcomed over 60 attendees, shopped from 10 women-led small businesses, and had the honor of listening to 6 amazing panelists, and 1 incredible moderator!

Alice Waters once said, “This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.” I’m quite confident I speak for every women when I say that Water’s words perfectly capture the feeling we all left with that evening. Listening to the women killing it in their own unique ways made us feel empowered, inspired, and newly energized to pursue our own passion projects. Heart-full. Soul-full. Uplifted.

The evening started off with cocktails from FINO tequila, co-mingling, and the first round of shopping from the women-run Chicago businesses set up in the room. At about 6:45pm Suzie and I officially welcomed everyone gathered at the event. Our amazing moderator (and the coolest mom in Chicago aka @mamafreshchi), Jenny LeFlore, took it over from there. After brief introductions and a healthy dose of humor, Jenny eased us into a thought provoking discussion with our panel of inspiring women:

  • Kris Christian (@krisdchristian) — founder of Chicago French Press, publisher of MADE Magazine and it’s sister channel the MADE Maven;

  • Parmita Katkar (@blushwithme_parmita) — YouTube content creator (she just hit 1 million subscribers — congrats!), inspirational speaker, positive self-image coach, founder of women’s image empowerment app hiitide, and Miss India;

  • Lindsay Pinchuk (@lindsaypinchuk) — founder of Bump Club and Beyond, a wonderful network connecting parents and parents-to-be with the best products, resources, information and each other – both online and through thousands of premier events nationwide;

  • Lindsay Avner (@lindsayavner) — founder of Be Bright Pink, national non profit focused on the prevention of breast and ovarian cancer;

  • Vicky Baftiri (@roamingproducer) — supervising producer of the WGN Evening News at 6pm and Emmy Award winning journalist who interviewed President Obama, Kanye West and “Top Chef” Stephanie Izard, just to name a few.

The conversation touched on several topics related to entrepreneurship, motherhood, being the only woman in the room, finding your strength and passion, and sharing it with others, forging new paths, raising future generation of women leaders, and creating a gender equal world. Some of my favorites quotes from the evening included:

  • Jenny LeFlore on finding actionable solutions to creating a gender equal world: “You got a pony tail? Put it in, girl, because we are here to do work!”

  • Parmita Katkar on your body language and image: “You need to find your power pose.”

  • Vicky Baftiri on being first generation American, her upbringing and finding your voice: “My mom is my shero".

  • Lindsay Pinchuk on her biggest inspiration: “Everything I do, I do for my daughters.”

  • Kris Christian on empowering women in business: “As the leaders and households, we have the power to support women in business through our purchasing decisions. We must choose to influence individually to close the gap.”

  • Lindsay Avner on self-care, monthly breast self-exams and 9:30pm bedtime: “Take care of YOU and sometimes that means going to bed early to clear your headspace.”

Thank you to the amazing vendors who were a part of the evening:

  • Annabella with her gorgeous curated gift boxes benefiting people of Rwanda (@cornerdreamsbox),

  • Lauren with skin care and make up products from Younique (@laurengsbeautyboutique),

  • Payal with the stunning hypoallergenic collection of earrings for moms and daughters (@lola_b_jewelry),

  • Briana with her newly launched apparel brand for tween girls (@nadiagirlstyle),

  • Mary Beth and her deliciously flavorful organic pasta made right here in Chicago (@pastapappone),

  • Shannon with her newly launched ‘Live What You Love’ apparel brand (@houseofshan),

  • Abby with her gorgeous bags and jewelry designed in Chicago and made by women in East Africa (@abbyalley_thebrand),

  • Regina with her mouth-watering crunchy cactus snacks (@nemiholisticks),

  • Kelly the “sleeping” queen we all need in our lives (@kellymurraysleep), and,

  • Cara with lifestyle and skin care products from Shaklee (@carajean7).⁣



Special thanks to Kamilah from Intoxicakes for sponsoring martini-infused and vanilla mini-cupcakes (@intoxicakes), to Johanna from Graze Gourmet for creating the piece of art charcouterie board (@grazegourmet), and to Jana and Shannon from FINO tequila for providing delicious tequila drinks throughout the evening (@finotequila). ⁣Thank you to Debi Lilly for generously sponsoring this event in her gorgeous space @dlstudiochi.⁣ Thank you to our photographer Daniela (@danielas_ph) for capturing the vibe of the evening in such a beautiful way!


The #womenmeetup was the easy part and the real question is this: how can we keep up the momentum and find actionable solutions we can implement on every day basis to create a gender equal world? Below I’ve listed some of the ideas from the event!

  • Read more works by women authors.

  • Support women-owned ventures whenever possible — we are stronger together!

  • Stop worrying about what others think of you!

  • Free therapy session for adults suffering with different illnesses.

  • Free childcare for all.

  • Gender neutral education starts at home with the way we talk to our children, through the movies we watch and the books we read, the clothes and toys we choose to surround them with.

  • Give women more flexibility to work as the need.

  • Bring men into the conversation.

Connecting with women in real life is my favorite part of building a community. When I founded my maternity fashion business, deep in my heart I knew I also wanted to create space for women to gather, tell their stories, and feel truly supported. The #womenmeetup reminded me of the power behind in-person interactions, and I’m already craving the next one.


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