“Watch – To look at or observe attentively, typically over a period of time…..”
Each year I feature people making their mark in Chicago as well as nationally and internationally. This year I’m excited about the list as its overflowing with creative thinkers in business, fashion film and TV and just plain fun. So check out the 2019 People to Watch List.
Dominique Jordan Turner – “Superwoman”
Dominique Jordan Turner currently serves as the CEO of Chicago Scholars. Chicago Scholars is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to uniquely select, train, and mentor academically ambitious students from under-resourced communities. By helping these students to complete college, Chicago Scholars will prepare them to become the next generation of leaders who will transform their neighborhoods and Chicago. Chicago Scholars has selected over 2500 students and 86% of them have graduated from college!
She is also the founder and face of DJT Speaks™; a weekly video blog focusing on leadership, success and what she calls the ‘art of winning’. Because we spend most of our waking hours at work, she wants to help you be great when you are there. But before all of that, she says her most important job is being the mom to her daughter Kennedy, who is a brilliant, talented, kind and funny 4th grader at Morgan Park Academy.
Dominique is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated and a graduate of Clark Atlanta University. She has been recognized numerous times for her work in the community. In 2016, her sorority named her Woman of the Year, Glamour Magazine recognized her as one of their 50 hometown heroes, and the esteemed radio show Café Mocha acknowledged her with the Community Activist Award. Given her leadership in the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed her to both the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Public Library Board. Additionally, Dominique is one of the 20 leaders selected from more than 20,000 applicants from 191 countries to be an inaugural Obama Foundation Fellow. This Fellowship will be a collaborative effort to elevate and continue to empower the next generation of Chicago leaders. Outside of work, Dominique is fluent in Spanish, loves to dance, travel and spend time with her “Fit Chics” family working out. Her home and office is filled with inspirational quotes and one of her favorite is “I’ll find a way or make one”. Dominique has a new book “Finding Your Superpowers” coming Spring, 2019!
Kristie Jorfald is a personal wardrobe stylist dedicated to women in transition and in the media who are ready to live their best lives. She teaches women how to shop for their body shape, develop a personal style, and build self-confidence through wardrobe styling.
In Her Own Words…
I grew up in a loving, multicultural family in the north shore of Chicago with three very unique priorities—language, culture and diversity were continuously the focus of my upbringing. Raised by my Colombian mother and Norwegian father, I was taught Spanish as my primary language, and I also became fluent in English and French at a young age. I began my fashion career journey in college and interned at Hearst Corporation: Teen Magazine in Los Angeles in the summer of 2007 and then at CosmoGIRL! Magazine in summer of 2008. These two internships shaped my skill sets to take on many projects that led me into celebrity styling. My first celebrity client was Taylor Swift while I worked at CosmoGIRL! Magazine. After completely my Bachelors Degree in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing at the University of Colorado, at Boulder, I moved to Los Angeles and began interning at the prestigious PR Firm: Seventh House PR and worked in their showroom office: Showroom Seven.
While working at Showroom Seven, I interned in their sales and press department. I got to fly to Vegas and represent designer + creator of: Allan J at the PROJECT trade show and got to assist many iconic celebrity stylists (Luke Storey, Edgar Revilla, Monica Rose, Jessica Paster, Zoe Joeright, Tara Swennen, plus more as they pulled designers from the showroom for their red carpet debuts. The relationships I built with these stylists brought me into the lime light of celebrity styling and soon after a few years of assistant work, I too became a celebrity stylist. Styling spreads for PAPER Magazine and stars such as: Sarah Hyland, Anna Kendrick, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Cat Sadler, Christopher Brown(model), Lance Gross and more.
While freelancing as a celebrity stylist, I got picked up to work with the legendary director: Joseph Kahn and assisted the wardrobe department in styling his thriller movie: Detention. I wrapped up the film and then got hired as the assistant wardrobe stylist for the two-time Emmy Nominated makeover show: “How Do I Look?” on the Style Network / E! in 2011 for Season 12.
At the end of 2011, I decided to take a break as a full time stylist to purse a Masters Degree in Education at Columbia College in Chicago and worked part-time as a Personal Shopping Assistant at TopShop’s Flagship store located on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Even in Chicago– I got to work with more celebrities and was given the opportunity to style, assist, and throw events for Alecia Moore(PINK! and her backup dancers), Jennifer Lopez, and Beyonce. I managed to find time on my days off too to style commercials and advertising campaigns for companies such as: Walmart, Purina Dog Food, RSM, Headliner Performer: Sashe Taylor and her dance crew for the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Wella + Kudus Professionals.
Upon graduating I knew teaching was a forever passion; a skill I could intertwine with any future project I’d take, but not one that I would dedicate my time in a classroom setting with children. I plan to use my Masters of Arts in Teaching to create a non-profit organization focused on building career opportunities for orphans in Colombia, South America, where my roots are in. In 2014, I was recruited by the reputable Burberry Chicago Flagship Store as their Private Clients Assistant and had the opportunity to build relationships with a multitude of Chicago’s best concierge teams, businesses, clients, and employees offering elite customer service and throw luxury store events. In 2016, I decided to take a leap of faith and embark on my most exciting adventure yet. I created my own company: Kry Media Group, LLC, d.b.a. Kristie Jorfald.
Kristie Jorfald is based in Chicago and travels internationally to style those in need.
WHO I HELP:
✯Women that are ready to invest in themselves
✯Women in Transition (weight loss, divorce, promotion, new job, etc.)
✯Women in Executive, CEO, and Entrepreneurial Roles
✯Women in the media & celebrities
✯ Initial Consultation Session
✯ Body Analysis
✯ Style Personality Road Map
✯ Closet Cleanse
✯ Clothing Consignment
✯ A Digital Closet Inventory File
✯ Personalized Shopping List + Budget
✯ One-on-one & Virtual Personal Shopping
✯ Seasonal Digital LookBooks
✯ Fashion Packed Style Services
✯ Wardrobe Branding for Businesses
The oldest with two siblings, Tiffany was raised in a single parent home. “My grandparents and great aunt and uncle, had a great impact in my life during my grade school years when my mother needed the help while working long hours, I’m thankful to them for stability and discipline.” Throughout her life she has been continually placed in leadership positions.
Armed with an entrepreneurial dream, Tiffany attended Northern Illinois University where she studied finance and law and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Chicago State University. Thanks to the course selection that these fields offered, Tiffany fueled her passion for all she does including her strong, professional communication. Later obtaining her license as a real estate broker Tiffany developed strong negotiation skills that make every difference for her clients.
For 8 years, Tiffany held a position with the federal government as a Personnel Security Specialist, where she acquired resilient investigation skills and the ability to communicate with people in all situations. In addition, her administrative background that measures over 15 years, including working as an assistant to government officials.
In July of 2000, Tiffany founded Taylor Business Solutions, a firm designed to provide off-site administrative support to small businesses and also specialize in affordable income tax preparation. Her goal is to complement her natural technical savvy with a strong foundation in business growth and highly customer-centric ideas. Tiffany evolved her business to fit innovative industry demands and later developed a successful wine brand.
As she entered the real estate industry in 2005, Tiffany’s passion to education her clients and her drive for results is her leading force providing high-quality service in all aspects of residential real estate. Currently, Tiffany Taylor is President of AmeriDream Tax Pros, incorporated in 2016 and Managing Broker of Taylor Realty Group, founded in 2015.
An important aspect in her life is family. This native of Chicago is a proud mother of two daughters. Tiffany is a member of Trinity United Church of Christ, the Order of Eastern Star, Dearborn Realtist Board and the Women’s Council of Realtors. Dedicated to giving back to the community, supports several local causes and she served as a mentor in Trinity’s Intonjone Ministry, a program for girls ages 8-18, intended to nurture and provide support as they experience life.
Mary Kay Sergo – “Serving Up History”
An energetic leader who specialized in the development of fiscal resources for socially responsible programs, with over 20 years of experience in organizational, team, and program development for education and social justice programs, Mary Kay’s former career gave her national and international opportunities to excel at organizational & staff development, policy development, program planning, design & implementation, strategic planning and execution of memorable executive leadership conferences & special events. In 2012, Mary Kay’s decision to
leave her job to become a business owner was based on her dream of establishing an “off- the-beaten-path” property that provides space for people to love, laugh and connect. Raised in asmall town in Wisconsin, used to hard work and high stress and with a BA in Organizational Administration, she has designed The Homestead 1854 to merge three distinct services: Intimate Wedding and Luxury Occasion Experiences; Wellness, Adventure and Corporate Retreat
Experiences and Overnight Accommodations. Located less than 60 miles from downtown Chicago, in Plano, Illinois, The Homestead 1854, with 6 guest rooms, is a unique property where friends can laugh and enjoy much needed time together, family can gather to share stories and individuals & teams can be inspired, create harmony, learn and think beyond the boardroom. Mary Kay frequently works with clients to create retreats with inspiring workshops, wellness, mindfulness, self-care & light adventure activities. Mary Kay, most recently, designed and facilitated a customized retreat for a team of international social workers and psychologists titled “Avoiding Burnout; Strategies for Staying Well”. And, in the summer of 2019, The Homestead 1854 will be offering it’s first 3-week, 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Immersion Training! She is a lover of travel, a coffee red wine junkie, enjoys being on the water and her yoga mat, evening campfires and crème brulee. Mary Kay’s life goal is to live a matchless and brilliant life,
with humility and grace.
Steven Galanis – ” Transforming the Shoutout”
Steven Galanis is the CEO of Cameo, the world’s leading marketplace for personalized video shoutouts. He launched with the ideal that selfies are the new autograph. To date the company has sold over 140,000 Cameos and seen over 7,500 athletes, actors, and influencers join the platform. In 2018, Steven was named “50 on Fire” and “B2C InnoBlazer of the Year” by Chicago Inno. Cameo was also named one of the “50 Genius Companies of 2018” by Time Magazine. He has been prominently featured in top media outlets around the world including BBC, CNN, Forbes, NBC, & the New York Times. He is a LinkedIn alum who previously worked as a trader on the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, and founder of two film investment companies where he produced movies featuring stars such as Bruce Willis and Robert De Niro. Outside of work he is an avid Chicago sports fan and serves on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity Chicago. Steven is a 2010 graduate of Duke University where he majored in History.
Inez Woody – “The Rising Star”
Inez Woody, Creator & Lead Copywriter of Nezabelle Copywriting & Co. is a mother and entrepreneur. She transforms the brands of change-makers and entrepreneurs through storytelling and clarity cultivation. A native of the far south side Roseland, she is an experienced technology professional with 16 years providing strategic solutions as a systems
Inez is passionate about mental health awareness and lends her voice to sharing her story of coping with her mother’s disease. Inez is the brand ambassador of Two Sisters Organic Skincare. The local business was launched by her sister after surviving breast cancer in 2016.
In 2017, Inez launched a podcast, Cocoa Convo of WLLF Radio, a show that unapologetically tackled the concerns of black women. Inez was recognized and honored by Chicago Young Women Professionals League as a Rising Leader, 40 Under 40 Award Ceremony in 2017. She is currently the Co-Chair of YWPL’s Sisterhood Committee. Inez is a participant of the 2019 Grant Writing & Fund Development Fellowship facilitated by Demoiselle 2 Femme. When she’s not at her favorite coffee shop developing brand story strategies for solopreneurs, you can find her court-side at Chicago high school gyms, rooting for her son, all around point guard, #1, Isaiah. Go Eagles!
Esther Kovacs – “The Renaissance Woman”
Esther is a modern Renaissance woman. Hungarian by nationality, she grew up in
New England and lived in India, Thailand, Hungary, Denmark, and Ghana before
moving to Chicago. As an emerging mixed media artist Chicago known for her
innovative style in each piece she creates, she had her first solo show this past
February in Chicago. Her art career had a soft start in 2011 with the publication of
her 2011 Calendar: Beautiful People of the World, which highlighted people
changing the world with their kind, creative, spirited, and loving presence in their
Her passion for healing and integrative medicine lead her to earn a B.A. in
Psychobiology from Wheaton College in 2008, then opening up her own holistic
health practice in 2011 upon moving to Chicago. There she utilized her study of
Vipassana meditation, her certifications as a Yoga Teacher and Energy Medicine,
practitioner, as well as her knowledge Ayurvedic Medicine she had gained through
her coursework earning her a Diploma in Ayurveda from Pune, India. She did a
series of community presentations educating on research behind holistic medicine
and tips for living a healthy life. Meanwhile, she went on to complete her M.S. in
Oriental Medicine and B.S. in Nutrition from Midwest College of Oriental Medicine,
readying her to add acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to her toolbox in
As a strong advocate for human rights, she has also directed an intersectional
feminist nonprofit in Chicago: The My Body, My Choice Project. Alongside a team of
three other directors, Diamond Weems, Joslyn-Marie Alvarado, and Andrea Serrano,
the group fundraised for local women’s health organizations and spread an
empowering message of strength, solidarity, and sisterhood through the sale of their
original apparel and events, namely the launch of their music statement video. The
group plans to continue their work, gearing up for events and productions for
Summer 2019. Esther’s passion and commitment to human rights stretches back by
about 15 years and includes the honor of working with a nonprofit in Budapest, The
Cordelia Foundation, where she contributed in writing a Manual for Professionals in
Refugee Care published along with the United Nations.
Esther’s goals are to integrate her passions for holistic health, human rights, and
mixed media art to create impactful, far-reaching work.
Tressa Epps – “Bringing ideas to Life ”
Tressa Epps brings film scripts to visual life via production design and producing feature films scripted and non- scripted television. Her career in the industry started when she volunteered her decorating skills for an independent film called “Black Butterfly. Afterward the film wrapped she began to do set design for several local playwrights and production design for shorts and full-length feature films. She enjoys seeing the completed work from every cast and crew associated with each project. The “village” it actually takes to complete a script.
Her goals for 2019 and beyond are to continue to share stories via the “Big Screen” Securing additional independent films for television and theatrical releases as well as working on several television series. In A larger goal is to do a major studio film and major television network television series. (Stay tuned for the network television premiere of the feature film “Everyday is Christmas” during the 2019 Holiday Day season)
When not bringing films to life, her favorite activities include reading, travel working with youth focused not for profit organizations that help “empower and mobilize young adult voices”. And spending as much time as possible with her 3 year-old grandson Austin.
Olga Batrich – “Educating on Wellness as a Way of Life”
Caring for your body should not be considered a luxury, but a true necessity. Olga Batrich leads her practice with a deep passion for wellness that focuses on physical and emotional well-being.
After working a number of years with a premiere resort spa, and then with a luxury skin care brand providing treatments to fashion models and celebrities, Olga decided to open and nurture a private practice close to home. “Being trained in many disciplines allows me to better care for each person I see on a wholistic level.”
As a Licensed Esthetician, Licensed Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, and Certified TRE Specialist, Olga leads her practice with a firm foundation of the best quality services, premium products and innovative techniques. She is one of the few in the Chicagoland region that is trained in a specialty stress release technique called Trauma/Tension Release Exercises (TRE). Used in the US military to help with PTSD, it is a simple technique that because it works so well with trauma, can be used for everyday stressors.
Whether it’s dry skin, tights hamstrings, or a rain cloud over your head, Olga will help you reach the best version of you.
Cheresa Purnell – “Empowering Young Women as Leaders”
Cheresa “Reese” LaFrances Purnell is a Strength-based Leadership Development Consultant, Idea
Curator, and Certified Masterforce Life Coach. She has used her 17 years of mentoring, facilitating, and
training experience in the nonprofit sector to lead and create platforms that support the spiritual,
personal and professional development of women leaders and girls of color. Cheresa studied Sociology
at Saint Xavier University. She currently works as the Founder and Executive Director of the Young
Women Professionals League (YWPL).
The Young Women Professionals League’s mission is to build a network of young professional African
American women who support the holistic development of girls as future leaders through the conduits
of leadership development, service, philanthropy, and sisterhood. The organization selects 40 rising
millennial women leaders who are inducted into the League at their annual award ceremony. The YWPL
was founded in 2015 as initiative with Demoiselle 2 Femme, NFP. Since it’s inception the League has
inducted three cohorts of women and in just three years the annual awards event is standing room only
and has been featured in Rolling Out, Jet Magazine, Ebony, and N’Digo Magapaper.
To date, under Cheresa’s leadership, the Young Women Professionals League has hosted monthly
support conference calls and shipped over 150 Care Packages for Demoiselle 2 Femme’s College
Connection Program participants; completed 100+ hours of service; hosted quarterly networking events
that allowed over 200 young women professionals to connect and receive personal and professional
development; participated in over 25-hours of Leadership enhancement sessions with top industry
professionals such as Barbara Bates, Amy S. Hilliard, Chrishon Lampley, and Yanni Brown to name a few.
Ms. Purnell began her journey in the nonprofit sector in 2001 as a part-time Outreach Specialist for
Demoiselle 2 Femme, NFP (D2F). Over the span of the next fifteen years, Cheresa would work in several
capacities to further the organization’s mission. Those positions include Senior Outreach Specialist,
Social Media Coordinator, and Education Manager.
In her last position as Education Manager, she was responsible for the development, implementation
and training of D2F educational content and curricula. During her time as the Education Manager,
Cheresa developed and piloted D2F’s “Pathways to Peace” P2P was first piloted at Fenger High School
and reduced suspensions among high-risk girls by 80% over a ten-week period. The impact of P2P has
been also been integrated as a strategic goal of the Chicago Coalition on Urban Girls which is convened
by D2F. The results of P2P helped develop D2F’s SB100 initiative which is to educate youth and families
on school discipline reforms in Illinois.
Aside from her work at D2F and with YWPL, in 2018 she launched her Leadership Development
Consulting brand, Reese LaFrances. Reese teaches good leaders how to become great leaders and great
leaders to become excellent leaders. I accomplish this by collaborating with my clients to assess their
current leadership styles, using Gallup’s strength-based approach, to determine their area of genius
which then provides them with the tools they need to maximize their productivity, boost team
engagement, and increase business revenue. As a Certified Master Force Life Coach, Reese also assist
clients with releasing personal baggage and overcoming the barriers preventing them from finding the
freedom to follow their dreams. She believes healing, happiness, and hope are the key ingredients to
live, love, and lead a fulfilling life of limitless possibilities.
Known as a Nonprofit Professional and Award-Winning Community Leader, Cheresa "Reese" LaFrances
Purnell has gained a reputation for building platforms that support the personal and professional development of business and community leaders. Through unconventional approaches to leadership
development and aggressive creative strategies, Ms. Purnell continues to build a brand that is one of
Chicago’s premier organizations for young women leaders. If you asked her what motivates her, should
say, “I am passionate about empowering millennials to not only connect to what they sell but more
importantly to how they serve.” For more information on Cheresa Purnell or the Young Women
Professionals League, visit 40under40ywpl.org.
Keisha Rose – “#IAM Relentless”
stamp on everything as she strives to become an influential figure on both sides of the camera. “People don’t go to the movies to see you, they go to see themselves” make it good! I’m just the vessel, its all GOD! I’m so thankful.”
What is TBOX®? The short answer is, an acronym for Twelve Bars Of Xmas, a pub crawl started in 1996 for a few friends by Chicagoan Christopher Festa, which has grown to become the world’s largest and longest-running pub crawl, serving over 200,000 costumed crawlers over 22 years. Mr. Festa is recognized as the originator of the commercial bar crawl industry, and his company TBOX Bar Crawls (www.tbox.org) has helped bring millions of dollars of business to Wrigleyville. In addition to their flagship Christmas event, TBOX also hosts the Mardi Gras “BeadQuest” and “Cover Your Bases” baseball crawls, focusing on a creating a unique and memorable experience for every customer. TBOX has also donated over $263,000 to local charities, and is working in partnership with the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce to disburse this year’s donations, which will include Lighting and Streetscape Improvements along Clark Street in Wrigleyville – a true Win-Win for the Community! #TBOX2018 will be Festa’s 23rd Annual 12 Bars of Xmas, taking place on Saturday, December 8, 2018, from 10AM to 8PM at approximately 40 Wrigley Venues. With their admission wristbands, crawlers choose their own itinerary among participating taverns, with Cubby Bear hosting a festive Opening and Closing Ceremonies one hour before and after the event hours. For the ticket price of $29-39, participants receive event admission with wristband and souvenir badge, and a Chicago Flag-themed Gym Bag serving as the “swag bag”, containing valuable coupons and product samples. Participating venues are asked to remain exclusive to the 12,000-16,000 expected crawlers during the event hours. This year’s TBOX® is sponsored by Bud Light and Goose Island Beers (our partners since 2014), Effen Vodka, Fireball Whisky, Cruzan Rum, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Illinois Lottery, LA Tan, and other local businesses. Participating venues are asked to feature drink specials on sponsor beverages, to the benefit of customers. TBOX Bar Crawls (Festa Parties Incorporated) also fully permits the event through the City of Chicago, hires private security, and pays for barricades, toilets, cleanup, and other logistics. The event is approved by the 44th Ward Alderman and 19th Police District. And unlike other street festivals, the eating, drinking, and spending at TBOX happens exclusively inside the brick and mortar businesses that inhabit the street year-round! TBOX has been featured extensively in media, appearing on FOX, CBS, ABC, CLTV, and WCIU TV, WGN Radio, RedEye Newspaper, Thrillist, Chicagoist, and TimeOut. And this past year, Country Music Superstar Brett Eldredge attended the TBOX event as “Disco Santa”. And the TBOX reputation is nationwide, with 20% traveling from out of state each year. Christopher Invites all to be a part!.
Tags: C. Lynn Williams, Cheresa Purnell, chicagonow, Christopher Festa, Dominique Jordan Turner, Eric Hampton, Esther Kovacs, glenn murray, Inez Woody, Keisha Rose, Kristie Jorfald, Mary Kay Sergo, Olga Batrich, People to Watch 2019, Sarah Perkins, Steven Galanis, stop look listen, Tiffany Taylor, Tressa Epps