(this website) is not only a platform for global collaboration between women entrepreneurs…it’s the face of our brand. As you navigate our website, you should see diverse women working together.

The problem is…it is easier to find stock images of pregnant women eating salad than of diverse women working together.

To see our world depicted through stock photography is a bizarre and comical reminder that there is no culture for real women. As our team gears up for our official launch this September, the shortage of viable background images has been a roadblock in the development of our web platform, social media pages and other marketing collateral.

Our motto is “create the change you want to see in the world,” so we have decided to turn this challenge into an opportunity to lay the foundation for a new consumer culture. With help from 22 change-making Chicago women, we will create a collection of original stock photography that authentically and inspirationally represents liftUPlift Allies.

liftUPlift photoshoot

liftUPlift: The Photoshoot is sponsored exclusively by woman-owned businesses, including Holly Kapsalis, Finding Ferdinand, Creative Coworking, Lashbella, Life Elemental, Chykalophia Designs, Kathmandu Yogi,, and The Skin Spa .


This event will double as our nonprofit’s inaugural fundraiser.

We used social media to issue a call for participants and sponsors. We said, “We’ve encountered a problem that impacts us all, and we have a plan to create the solution. We need your help.” The enthusiastic response blew us away and reaffirmed the core belief behind our mission — powerful women make change happen. 

Celebrity stylist, Holly Kapsalis, has volunteered to provide natural hair and makeup styling for participants. Angela Valavanis, owner of Creative Coworking and Director of CRAVE Chicago, immediately offered to host the photoshoot at her coworking space and art gallery in Evanston, IL.

There is incredible momentum around women supporting women in Chicago.

We believe Chicago is the Women Power capitol of the world, and we’re honored to be part of the effort to elevate women entrepreneurs in our community.

Nora Brathol, CEO of Arak Pana Consulting, was the first in a line of women CEOs, Founders and Directors to reserve her session at the Photoshoot. Soon after, Ari Krzyzek, Creative Director of Chykalophia Design, and Natasha Casanova, Founder of Kathmandu Yogi, enthusiastically threw in their support as both participants and sponsors.

Others followed in quick succession, including: Dorri McWhorter, CEO of YWCA ChicagoHolly Copeland, Associate Director of Public Affairs & Corporate Social Responsibility, Horizon Pharma; Terri Brax, CEO of TeacherCare and Co-Founder of Women Tech Founders; Sharon Schneider, CEO of Moxie Jean and Co-Founder of Women Tech FoundersDima Elissa, CEO of VisMed3D; Shivani Jain, Co-Founder of Fitness Cubed; Nicole Meyerson, Founder of Chicago Coworking Women; Heather Claxton-Douglas, Co-Founder of Science Solved; Rosey Berroya,Creative Director of Marriage Material App and IT Strategist for United States Gypsum; Angelica Ross, Founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, and more!

Word of the event began to spread, with support and sponsorships coming in from around the country. Nhu Le, Founder of NYC-based Finding Ferdinand, sent their 16-shade lip color palette, so stylists could blend the perfect shades for a diverse group of women.

Other Chicago-based sponsors include Sheila Peterson, Founder of life elemental, DiVina Lewis, Owner of Lashbella, Leslie Voegltin,, and Shana Irish, of The Skin Spa.