Megan Taylor, MEd, DJ, Fig Media
Megan Taylor is an international DJ and resident artist at Fig Media. She is sought after to play the top events in Chicago and has held residencies at Vertigo Sky Lounge, Le Bar at the Sofitel, Rockit, Nellcote, and more. Her bookings include charity gala’s, destination weddings, corporate events, fashion shows, and many more. In 2011 she was nominated for Chicago’s DJ of the Year by Bizbash and in 2012 she was chosen as Chicago’s DJ of the Year by Bizbash. Her stellar list of clients include: Chanel, Vogue, Vera Wang, Nike, Ted Baker, Intermix, Juicy, Saks, Ann Taylor, Ted Baker, Modern Luxury, Chicago Magazine, Michigan Ave Magazine, Bon Ton.
“I am so grateful to SOFIA, Dr. Judith Wright, and the whole SOFIA curriculum for teaching me the power of what it means to lead as a woman. These life lessons combined with a powerful network of women who kick my butt to help me achieve excellence is a gift that keeps on giving.”
Kathleen M. Kearns, Principal, Kearns Design Group
Kathleen is a creative, solution driven and highly skilled designer, with 25 years of professional experience. She is an accomplished creative design director and brand specialist and offers extensive experience across agency, client, and consulting roles. Kathleen has successfully performed all phases of branding and design development, as well as leading cross-functional teams to brand and design products and services for business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) contexts. Her easy-going professional manner and on the mark deliverables have endeared her to clients and vendors, resulting in many long-term professional relationships.
SOFIA has influenced Kathleen to use these feminine values, as keys to success in business and in life: empathy, passion, collaboration, relationship building, teamwork, intuition, and creativity.
“I run my design firm according to my feminine values. I believe my clients feel more comfortable to express and share honestly about their goals and objectives as a result. Our process is inclusive: we work collaboratively to create marketing communications that effectively reflects their messaging.”
Ruth Minnick, MEd, Director of Business Development, Unispace
Ruth is the director of a business development team for a global commercial design firm where she’s in charge of generating millions in client revenue.
“SOFIA has given me a glimpse of what is possible along with many mentors in the community of women that I aspire to emulate. The women in the leadership program of SOFIA are incredibly inspiring and teach critical lessons that are not taught in the workforce or in school. I have gained a greater sense of self-awareness, have learned how to become a better manager and leader in the business world, and have created a deep intimate relationship with my fiancé.”
Jennifer Stephen, MBA, Principal, Boundless Brands Corp.
Jennifer Stephen is a 30-year marketing, communications and business strategy veteran, and is also an educator, executive coach and human performance enhancer. As a brand strategist, she employs a unique blend of key insights and sensitivity to the emotional connections consumers forge with brands. Jennifer serves as an adjunct faculty member for the Wright Foundation for the last 20 years, where she has coached hundreds of executives, entrepreneurs and aspiring managers to be leaders and high performers in their fields using the Wright Integrative curriculum to develop their social-emotional intelligence and authenticity.
Jennifer has an MBA in finance and marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is an accomplished knitter and chef, and participates in annual spiritual Pilgrimages with the Wright Foundation to sacred sites around the world.
“SOFIA is the best support system I can imagine for bringing my dreams to life. The members provide daily inspiration and guidance in living to my highest potential and making the unique mark on the world that only I can make. The curriculum has empowered me to lead from feminine values, and bring those much-needed skills to bear in my work and family life. Because of SOFIA, I am a better wife and partner, mother and executive than I ever would have been.”
Barbara Burgess, COO, Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential
A corporate consultant, coach, trainer, and specialist in the areas of transformational leadership, transformative education, and employee empowerment, Barbara is the former Director of Internet Marketing at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. She brings over 25 years’ experience in diverse industries—including healthcare, industrial supplies, association management, financial services, and food and beverage—to her role in helping individuals vision and realize meaningful, successful lives. She credits SOFIA as the main driver behind her becoming the leader she is today—having discovered vast untapped resources in skills she had been taught were unimportant or weak but that, today, are the most important keys in her success.
Beryl Stromsta, MSW, Senior Coach , Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential
Beryl coaches individual clients and students in both our introductory and advanced personal growth groups. As a coach, she has led and trained hundreds of people to have the biggest impact on the world as they possibly can and to develop a mindset of success so that they can overcome the barriers that limit them from being their best . She holds a BA in Psychology from DePaul University and an MSW from Loyola University. Beryl is trained in bodywork and breathwork harnessing conscious breathing to create growth and freedom from old patterns. She is currently getting a masters in Transformational Leadership and Coaching from the Wright Graduate University where she is learning how to integrate the intellect with human experience and create new possibilities.
“To me, SOFIA has meant embracing my femininity and power as a woman in the world, learning to partner with and empower others in more synergistic ways, learning to love getting and giving nurturing with women, and expanding the horizons of my consciousness.”
Kate Holmquest, MA, Campus Director, Wright Graduate University
Kate strives to be an agent of transformation in all areas of her life. Through the Wright Foundation, she coaches and supports others to bring out the best in themselves and those they lead and influence. Kate runs an intensive Social and Emotional Intelligence training lab and coaches students in Wright’s Year of Transformation program. Prior to Wright, Kate served in a fundraising and congregational outreach position with Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education from Augustana and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
“Being a SOFIA-trained woman means I’m in touch with my immense capacity to lead and influence my world. To a woman in leadership, everything matters. My feedback to my employees represents my investment in them. My dress and accessories reflect my essence and my love for myself. The table I set reflects my care for my guests. My SOFIA sisters help me hone my skills and gifts in ways that go beyond just getting a job done well, to becoming who I can become and bringing others along in the process.”
Sahar Malik, Research Associate, Egon Zehnder
Sahar is a Research Associate at Egon Zehnder in the Health Practice. She was most recently the Director of Research and, prior to this, Sahar co-led practice operations for the North America Health Practice at Egon Zehnder as the Life Sciences Practice Specialist. She began her career at Egon Zehnder as a researcher for the Global Chairman of Life Sciences at the firm. Egon Zehnder is the largest, privately-held executive search firm worldwide, equally owned by more than 230 partners, with more than 420 consultants working in 69 offices and 41 countries. Sahar’s executive search and talent assessment experience spans across the pharmaceutical, consumer health, and medical device/technology sectors, focusing on VP and C-level executive search.
SOFIA has been an integral part of Sahar’s life, especially in her career day in and day out. Sahar has used SOFIA to work on her own feminine leadership, taking on several leadership roles throughout her career. She has used SOFIA’s guiding principles and leadership training to bring her own feminine leadership into the professional services world, both leading by example and by championing and supporting female talent and female leadership in the business world. Sahar was recently part of the global launch of “Leaders & Daughters, “held across 15 cities around the world.
Denise Delves, EdD, RN, CNM, MS
Trained and educated as a nurse and as a certified nurse midwife, Denise Delves has always been a champion for women’s health. Denise is a long-standing leader in healthcare, in hospital systems. As a director of Perinatal and Pediatric Services in large urban hospital settings, Denise worked to promote quality services and provide an environment where healthcare workers thrived to be their best in remarkably challenging situations. She used her doctoral studies to provide ethical support and training to teams of nurses and other healthcare providers. Thoughtful and compassionate care to those responsible for high risk pregnancies and fragile newborns was the profound result. Her model of Perinatal Ethics Councils has since been replicated in other hospitals with great success.
She credits SOFIA as the single most guiding force in her development as a woman and leader. Denise used the training in SOFIA to develop a life of purpose and deep meaning by valuing the quality of all experience. She passes this on to all she comes in contact with. Whether using her SOFIA training to bring her marriage back from the brink of divorce many years ago or raising her daughter, Denise embodies the power of living feminine values.
Sarah Hraha, PsyD, Social and Emotional Learning Consultant
Dr. Sarah Hraha has been a teacher for over 25 years, 18 of them as a Montessori teacher. She received her undergraduate degree in education from National Louis University and her Master’s and Doctorate degrees from the Adler School of Professional Psychology. Upon completion of her doctorate she returned to the classroom to develop and implement an SEL curriculum. She also presents professional development workshops for teachers and on SEL for adults. Dr. Hraha’s passion and mission is to support all those involved in education to reach their potential and be the best people they can be.
Sarah is a member of SOFIA and through her work in this organization she has come to realize how SEL is raising awareness of feminine values in our world.
Karen Terry, EdD, Adjunct Faculty, Northwestern University and Wright Graduate University
Karen Terry, Ed.D, is a human emergence coach and group leader with the Wright Foundation and adjunct faculty with Wright Graduate University. Trained in a trans-disciplinary approach to fostering human potential, Karen has worked with more than 100 clients since 2008 on advancing their careers and personal lives. Karen has also been an award-winning writer, corporate television producer, and creative team member with more than three decades of experience in communicating complex ideas to and for business and healthcare. She holds a bachelors degree from the University of Michigan and masters degrees from Northwestern University and Wright Graduate University.
“In SOFIA, I get the contact I long for from women who are savvy, funny, out there, loyal, and wise. They steady me when I falter and cheer me when I win.”
Faith Laux, MEd, Spanish Teacher, Carleton Washburne School
Faith Laux is igniting her world as a Spanish educator, teacher trainer and national presenter. Together with other passionate educators she is transforming the face of language education in our country, bringing it to the 21st Century with best practices in language acquisition that lead to fluent and self motivated students. She holds a Bachelors and Masters degree from the University of Florida. Faith has used SOFIA to infuse her teaching with fire and become a professional who is known and respected at a national level.
“SOFIA challenges me to dream bigger, take risks, be vulnerable and a live as a powerful woman of substance. It helps me remember to orient to things that really matter and live my life from a place of vision. I also have an absurd amount of fun.”
Jillian Eichel, MA, MEd, Director of Coaching and Programs, The Wright Foundation
Jillian earned her MA in Transformational Leadership and Coaching from Wright Graduate University, her MEd in Community Counseling from Loyola University, and her BA in Psychology and English Literature from Northwestern University.
Jillian helps her clients transform their lives through the use of tools, techniques, and theories from past and current psychologists, philosophers and educators. She strives to educate and train herself in the most effective and powerful methods of personal growth. Jillian is in charge of programs and coaching at the Wright Foundation and was on the original team who developed the Wright Graduate University’s Coaching Curriculum, and is one of the senior coaches in the Year of Transformation program.
“The most enjoyable aspect of being part of SOFIA is bearing witness to hundreds of women waking up to the wisdom of their feelings and intuition.
Never a day goes by that I don’t remember and heed a lesson that I learned from Wright’s ‘Woman’s Essential Experience Weekend’ – even 15 years later – that is how powerful and awakening that weekend was for me.”
Sanjida F. Chowdhury, Senior Director, Fresnius Kabi USA LLC.
Sanjida is the Senior Director of Financial Government Compliance at Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC. As a partner with Legal and Regulatory functions, she ensures company compliance to federal and state regulations. She has over 15 years of experience, spanning the pharmaceutical and consulting arena, with a specialty in Government Pricing and Compliance. Considered a subject matter expert, she is a regular speaker at national industry conferences. In her previous role, she worked at KPMG, LLP’s Forensic Investigative & Integrity Advisory Pharmaceutical Practice focusing on compliance matters.
She holds a Master of Science from Boston University, in Biomedical Engineering with Clinical Research focus in Neuroimaging, and a Bachelor of Science from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chemical Engineering with Bioengineering Specialization.
“As an executive, a mother of two, supporting spouse of a high level executive, and an active member in my community, I am consistently challenged with priorities. SOFIA has been a supportive and nurturing group that reminds me that I am a woman of infinite capacity. It is a group of inspiring women who help me see and believe in the woman leader that I am becoming, not dwelling on the woman that I was.”
Gertrude Lyons, EdD, Wright Foundation
Dr. Gertrude Lyons is a senior life coach, group facilitator, and director of the Family Program at the Wright Foundation. She is also adjunct faculty at The Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential. As a founding member of SOFIA, Dr. Lyons has brought to focus her training in feminine leadership into her doctoral work on mothering as a vehicle for transformation. This cutting edge area of human emergence applies the robust theories and applied technologies of Wright Performative Education to not only support the emotional development of women who choose to raise children, but of all women. Whether it is a talk on preparing for mothering, leading a family or parenting weekend training or supporting an individual or couple in bringing out their best, she is dedicated to do her part as change agent dedicated to restoring conscious sustainable living to the planet.
Dr. Marilyn Pearson
Dr Marilyn Pearson was voted one of the top internists in Chicago by Chicago Magazine and the “best general practitioner in Chicago” by the Chicago Reader. In 2015, she was recruited by Northwestern University, where she now a primary care physician in Chicago’s Loop. Marilyn is a board-certified internist who has worked in primary care in Chicago for the last 30 years. Her path to internal medicine includes a combined AB-MD degree from Boston University at the age of 23, a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Illinois, a year as Chief Medical Resident at the West Side VA Medical Center, and a fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at the University of Chicago.
Her personal and professional skills have been enhanced by her 25 years of personal growth and development work at the Wright Foundation, where she has participated in intensive training and coaching in social and emotional intelligence, and in 2014 she earned a Master of Arts degree in Transformational Leadership and Coaching from the Wright Graduate University.
Her practice is grounded in the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and its contribution to health and well-being.
“As a woman in a man’s world, I learned to succeed by being one of the boys, at times minimizing the very things that make me good at what I do – sensitivity, compassion, and truly caring about people. SOFIA has taught me to use my masculine gifts – my drive, my logic, my competitive nature – in the service of the feminine.”
Jacki Davidoff, Principal and Senior Consultant
Jacki Davidoff is principal and senior consultant at Davidoff Mission-Driven Business Strategy. Davidoff is known nationally for providing strategic leadership for national and local nonprofits, foundations, associations, and corporations.
Jacki brings strong expertise in marketing, strategy, and corporate/philanthropic partnerships as she bridges both corporate and non-profit sectors. Her background includes 30 years in major Chicago advertising agencies and senior executive positions in Chicagoland nonprofits.
Jacki has been a student at the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential for over 20 years. She has been actively involved in SOFIA (Society for Femininity in Action), a women’s leadership group led by Dr. Judith Wright. Through her work in SOFIA, Jacki has developed her leadership which manifests in business, her marriage, parenthood and community. Jacki leads workshops for women and men to develop their potential and potency as agents of change in their worlds – – working to bring feminine values of inclusion, responsibility and ownership, excellence in all aspects, and consideration of what serves the whole.
Rachael Marusarz, MBA, MA is Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations at Sinai Health System
Rachael is a passionate advocate for a more caring, intentional charitable sector. Over more than a decade, Rachael has provided fundraising leadership for health and human service organizations across the Chicago area and raised tens of millions of dollars for their programs. Rachael is also a board member and executive committee member for Chicago Women in Philanthropy, an organization dedicated to facilitating dialogue and uncommon connections that positively impact the lives of women and girls.
“Participating in SOFIA has helped me build deeper, more genuine relationships in my career and throughout my community.”
Jennifer Masi, Principal Director of Creative Services, Torque Digital
Jennifer is a designer, art director, creative director and principal. She has a BFA in Graphic Design from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and am currently enrolled in the Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential getting a Masters in Transformational Leadership and Coaching.
Jennifer is a partner at Torque Digital as well as Creative Director. Torque was founded in 1992 with her husband Eric and brother-in-law Kevin. She is known as the Process Queen and loves creating processes and structure in order to have a work flow that is fluid and productive but also as a way to make sure there is a thriving, vibrant culture with people that enjoy growing, creating and being together.
“SOFIA is an organization that cares about making women more effective in all areas of their lives. I learn how to be a better wife, a more satisfied mother, and a more productive and effective woman leader in my business.”
Edda Coscioni, Owner, Natural Elements Salon
Edda believes that beauty begins the moment a woman decides to be herself. She is a stylist and salon owner who has won national awards for her updo designs and has built one of the top rated salons in Lincoln Park. In addition to raising twin girls, she has partnered with her husband to create a loving family environment.
Edda brings over 20 years of communication and relationship training to bear as she is on the adjunct faculty of the Wright Foundation, teaching courses for couples and parents.
Anne Gallagher, RN, MSN, MA
Anne serves as a mother –baby nurse at the University of Illinois Hospital. A longtime midwife and teacher of religious education, women’s health and family planning, Anne also has a Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership and Coaching, and has developed and delivered seminars on social-emotional intelligence and self care to fellow nurses. Anne’s social emotional intelligence led her to be selected to represent her profession in a video commercial for Pampers in which she teaches new mothers and fathers ways to develop along with their newborn babies. Anne was recently certified as a Sacred Passage Doula-trained to accompany those dying and their families on the transformational journey of completing this life with a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, gratitude and wonder.