The Year of The Women: "Nonetheless She Persisted"

The Year of The Women: "Nonetheless She Persisted"

skastrul's picture

We just celebrated Women’s Month, but I prefer to think of 2018 as Women’s Year!

I believe this is going to be a great year for women, in fact, we are already seeing such great advocacy around pay equity and support for women with the #MeToo movement. I just want to give a shout out to some of the great organizations here in Chicago that I love and that i.c. stars is blessed to be connected to.

ARA, Attract, Retain, and Advance women

ARA does fantastic work! It is truly a labor of love by Megan McCann, Leslie Vickrey, and Jane Gilligan Hamner. These women came together as both professionals and friends to bring to life an idea where senior-level women could come together. From there, they imagined this event with their collective of senior women mentoring women just getting into IT. And BAM! It’s grown exponentially and regionally. They’re just doing such great work around mentorship, attracting women and supporting women throughout their careers. So yay ARA!

The Anita Borg Institute called ABI

The Anita Borg Institute called ABI, and Anita Borg is a fantastic and powerful mentoring organization for women in STEM. They hold provocative events and with the impact that they are making for Women in STEM I’m really just proud to be associated with them and the great work that they do.

50 Action 50

50 Action 50 is the brainchild of Karen Gordon. I love them because it’s really all about bringing 50 men and 50 women to the table to talk about everything from gender and pay equity to the actions we can take to address the disparities. This platform enables us to transform our entire communities, our households, and our industries to have more equity for women, and it’s just very thoughtful. In fact, nothing is subjective. It’s data-driven, focusing on the impact of not having that equity.

Chicago Innovation

Chicago Innovation is the brainchild of Tom Kuczmarski and Dan Miller. Most people associate it with the fantastic annual awards, but it’s much more than that. They have an event practically every month and they celebrate innovation in Chicago.

One of my favorite initiatives of Chicago Innovation is the Women Mentoring Co-op and they have managed to get all-star mentors from all kinds of industries in Chicago to mentor folks across the city. I participated in it last year, and my mentee and I, are still going strong. We didn’t stop after the program ended.

We are continuing our relationship and our growth together and celebrating and honoring the power of standing by each other as sisters in this idea of “IT Takes a Village,” and I think it’s a wonderful program. I love the way Chicago Innovation honors and celebrates all of our residents in Chicago as innovators.

Shayna Atkins, Queens’ brunch

Shayna Atkins brings together millennial volunteer entrepreneurs for these wonderful brunches where there’s thought leadership, learning, and networking and I just think they’re fantastic. She has even grown their impact. She notices that there’s was more opportunity to make an impact in the digital and marketing space. She is really elevating women and she does so without a lot of fanfare, just being there and supporting women as we do our daily work to elevate our families and our communities.


Jessica Williams and Nicole Yeary facilitate and run the program at 1871, and they do fantastic work.


And then WTF, best name ever, Women Tech Founders, love them, and they honor and celebrate Women Tech Founders across Chicago. They hold great events, built an amazing community around Tech Founders and women who are thinking about becoming founders.

I could go on and on! These are just a few of our favorite organizations. Check them out in honor of Women’s Month and the Year of the Women. PERSISTENCE creates change.

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About Sandee

Sandee Kastrul's photo
I believe that the definition of leadership is making opportunities for others. I am a leadership geek and find that the richest opportunities for all of our futures lie in education. I am a believer in reciprocity in education and that as educators we are both teacher and student. I believe that the world can be a classroom if we open ourselves to the notion that application, concatenation and liberation start with listening. Schedule Sandee to Speak

About i.c.stars

i.c.stars is a non-profit organization in Chicago for adults with a high school diploma or GED. Using project-based learning and full immersion teaching, i.c.stars provides an opportunity for change-driven, future leaders to develop skills in business and technology. To learn more go to

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