The past few months have been busy and exciting here at dough. Our co-CEO, Kristi Ross, was awarded the Women in Tech award at the Moxie Awards by Built in Chicago, named the Prominent Woman in Tech at the ITA’s 15th Annual CityLIGHTS Awards, and honored as an Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.
In honor of Kristi’s recent awards, we wanted to shine a light on the great contributions from other female CEOs and founders in Chicago. As our startup scene grows, these 10 women are paving the way, bringing more awareness, and leaving a lasting impact.
1) Amanda Lannert, CEO, Jellyvision
2014 has been a banner year for Amanda: The Moxie Awards selected her as CEO of the Year, among all the other nominees in Chicago. As CEO, Amanda has led Jellyvision to off-the-charts growth, and the company was named one of Chicago’s Best Places to Work by Crain’s Chicago. Amanda recently came on tastytrade’s Bootstrapping in America segment to share more about her work at Jellyvision.
2) Jayna Cooke, CEO, EventUp
Earlier this year, Jayna was named the new CEO of EventUp, an online marketplace for venues, and secured new funding to grow the company. Jayna has been crucial in growing several of Chicago’s leading companies – including Echo Global Logistics and Groupon. We know Jayna is going to do amazing things at EventUp, and she’s a founder to watch.
3) Desiree Vargas Wrigley, co-founder and CEO, GiveForward
Desiree stands out from the pack in Chicago. She’s been named to Inc.’s 30 under 30 list, and her company, GiveForward has helped its users raise more than $82 million to pay for medical expenses. Desiree made it her mission to raise funding for GiveForward while pregnant, and paved the way for other women who want to balance family and work.
4) Sharon Schneider, co-founder and CEO of Moxie Jean
As CEO of Moxie Jean, a curated web site for busy moms to buy and sell high quality, like-new kids’ clothing, Sharon is one of the pioneers of Chicago’s tech scene. She recently appeared on Chicago Tonight to discuss "brogrammer" culture, and has been an outspoken advocate for other women in tech.
5) and 6) Nicole Yeary and Lisa Russell, Ms. Tech
We couldn’t split these two apart, as both have been instrumental in highlighting the success of Chicago’s female founders. (Bonus points: We love that Lisa started her career in finance and trading!) Ms. Tech helps women start and scale their businesses by providing mentors and connections, and they also highlight top females on their blog. Check out their profile of our very own Case Sosnoff here.
7) Genevieve Thiers, founder of SitterCity
Genevieve has been a powerhouse in the Chicago startup scene as the founder of SitterCity, an online resource to connect families with caregivers. As an experienced and successful entrepreneur in Chicago, Genevieve gives back to the community by speaking at Chicago Founder Stories, sitting on the board of 1871 and investing in Techstars.
8) Maria Katris, CEO, Built In
In the midst of Techweek’s email scandal, Maria published a thoughtful, insightful open letter to women and men on how to promote female entrepreneurship. As CEO of Built In Chicago, she’s grown a website that highlights local startups, and developed the Moxie Awards, which honor growing startups and leading entrepreneurs.
9) Shradha Agarwal, president at ContextMedia
Shradha’s accomplishments expand far beyond her excellent work at ContextMedia. In 2011, she co-founded Jumpstart Capital, a seed stage venture capital firm, which actively invests in Chicago-based companies, including Ifbyphone, WeDeliver, BaseCRM and Packback Books. For Chicago’s startup scene to succeed, we need more venture capital, and Shradha is powering the way for startups here.
10) Daniela Bolzmann, co-founder of WeDeliver
Daniela’s entrepreneurial spirit is evident the minute you hear her speak about her journey to WeDeliver. Daniela is an advocate for other women and entrepreneurs alike, and loves to share advice and insight with others. Earlier in 2014, Daniela pitched WeDeliver at Google’s Demo Day and scored $100K at the event from AOL founder, Steve Case. She has been featured on Bootstrapping in America on multiple occasions, the interviews can be found here.