Click/Hover on each Fellow's Photo for Bio
Daijah Giles is a licensed cosmetologist with a diverse set of skills and a passion for helping others look and feel their best. As a natural hair specialist, educator, and nail tech, she has honed her craft to provide comprehensive beauty services. Her journey in the world of beauty began during her middle school years, where her fascination with hair took root. Daijah's self-starting spirit emerged when her sister challenged her to learn how to braid her own hair, igniting her journey into hairstyling. With years of hands-on experience, Daijah's dedication has resulted in her becoming a certified haircutting and coloring expert and a licensed mini-salon owner.
Notable achievements mark her career, such as graduating from cosmetology school, giving birth to her child, and launching her business in the same year. In September 2022, she unveiled her first website, and by September 2023, she secured her first salon suite. Daijah aspires to create a haven for mothers, offering a space for self-care and relaxation amid the demands of motherhood.
Genesis Marie Valdovinos is an Associate Architect at SPACE ARCHITECTS & PLANNERS. Her journey into architecture began during her high school years when she was introduced to the field during an engineering class. This early spark of interest led her to further her education, first at Triton College, earning an Associate in Arts in 2018, and then at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where she completed her Bachelor's in Architecture in 2022. During her academic journey, Genesis interned with Architectural Lighting for two years, gaining valuable experience in the industry.
Genesis is a strong advocate for meaningful architectural design. Her goal is to use her skills to design and build for low-income communities and countries, focusing on projects like schools, community centers, housing, and clinics. She believes in the power of architecture to shape human behavior and well-being, emphasizing the importance of elements like natural light in design.
Tania Gutierrez is a dedicated and compassionate individual with a diverse range of qualifications and aspirations. As a Nanny with seven years of experience, Tania has cultivated a deep understanding of child care and family dynamics, fostering a nurturing and trustworthy environment for those under her care.
Beyond her role as a Nanny, Tania is also a Student pursuing a degree in Psychology. Her commitment to education is underscored by her certifications as a Phlebotomist and Registered Behavior Technician. These accomplishments showcase her determination to expand her skill set and positively impact the lives of others. Tania's ultimate goal is to attain a master's degree in psychology and become a therapist. Her passion lies in helping her community and advocating for mental health awareness, particularly within the Latino community. This drive highlights who she is, as her kind heart and selflessness consistently shine through in her actions.
Diontae Norwood is a dedicated financial professional and Consumer Lending Specialist. He holds a bachelor's degree in Finance and a membership in the National Association of Black Accountants, alongside a Dean's List accomplishment during his college career. His journey in the financial world began at Wintrust Banks, where he's thrived for the past 3.5 years, guided into this fulfilling career path by a supportive colleague.
Diontae's journey to success hasn't been without challenges, but he proudly graduated from college despite facing doubters along the way. His resilience and determination have been the driving force behind his achievements. He underwent a personal health transformation that has led him to value wellness and health like no other. During his free time, he balances work with quality time spent with his beloved son, showcasing his unwavering dedication as a father.
Gaby Hernandez Franch
Gaby Hernández Franch is the Chief Operating Officer of Fig Factor Media Publishing. With four years of experience in publishing and marketing, Gaby is no stranger to the intricacies of the industry. She excels in project management and operations, demonstrating an impressive track record in orchestrating numerous author projects, marketing campaigns, and book launches around the world. This has led Gaby to receive great recognition such as being named an honoree for the Publicity Club of Chicago's 30 Under 30 Awards in 2020 and 2021 and a Rising Star in Marketing from Ignite Visibility, highlighting her exceptional achievements in her field. Gaby holds a bachelor's degree in Spanish and Biology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, which has equipped her with a unique blend of skills and perspectives.
Brooklyn Smith is a driven and multifaceted individual with a rich background in administration and logistics. With seven years of military service as an Automated Logistical Specialist, she gained valuable experience in precision, organization, and efficiency. Following her military career, Brooklyn embarked on a journey of entrepreneurship, establishing Brook Knows Best, LLC, a company specializing in Commercial and Residential Professional Organizing and Executive consulting.
Brooklyn's overarching goal is to ascend to the position of CEO in a major global corporation, a testament to her ambition and long-term vision. Her innate ability to grasp complex concepts, coupled with a high tolerance for risk, has proven to be a winning combination in her journey. She places great importance on mentorship and sponsorship relationships, recognizing the value of wisdom and support they offer.
Kiara Sotelo is a multifaceted individual with a passion for creativity and entrepreneurship. As a full-time working professional, she is diligently pursuing her dreams of owning a business specializing in press-on nails. Her journey into this venture began with a personal love for nail art, where she enjoyed the freedom of expressing her unique style on her fingertips. Kiara's creative spirit led her to craft her own press-on nails, infusing each set with her artistic flair.
Beyond her nail art venture, Kiara has ambitions of establishing a customized clothing business, which serves as her primary goal. Her interest in both fashion and beauty reflects her diverse talents and dedication to personal expression.
James Stubbs is a dedicated Museum Ambassador at WNDR and a skilled Audio & Video Producer. A graduate of Curie High School in 2017, and current Illinois Media School student, James's journey has been marked by resilience and unwavering commitment to his passions. In 2018, while contemplating his career path outside of college, James was introduced to WNDR when it was just a temporary "pop-up" museum. As the museum evolved, so did James's role, becoming a permanent fixture even as he pursued his education. This adaptability and dedication have been hallmarks of his professional journey.
James also has a passion for sports and has played football since he was young. His team won two city championships during high school and earned a first-team designation in the NCFA in his last year of playing football. To give back to the sport he loves, he became a coach, guiding other young athletes. His determination was forged early in life, surviving a life-threatening heart condition and bouncing back to become a male student-athlete of the year.
Maryanna Ornelas is a dedicated hospitality professional with a passion for making a difference in both her career and the community. As the Front Desk Lead at Hyatt, she brings seven years of invaluable experience to her role. Maryanna's commitment to customer service shines through in her daily work. She thrives on assisting others and brightening their day with simple acts of kindness.
Not only is she a dynamic leader, focusing on ensuring the seamless functioning of her front desk team, but she also utilizes her creative talents to motivate employees through her imaginative arts and crafts projects. Her commitment to excellence has earned her recognition, including multiple nominations for the prestigious Golden Pineapple Award and the recent honor of being named Employee of the Month.
Brandon T. Griffin is an aspiring artist with a passion for music creating impact. Raised in a musically gifted family, Brandon embarked on his musical journey, despite initial skepticism from those around him. His debut song, "Glow," released in June 2021, marked a special point in his young career. The song, meticulously crafted over years, achieved remarkable success, reaching the top 10 gospel and inspirational songs on Spotify and even inspiring its dedicated channel, "Glow radio."
Beyond music, Brandon possesses a unique blend of talents, holding qualifications in electrical engineering and security training. These experiences set him apart in allowing him to approach his musical and professional craft with a distinctive and compassionate perspective.
Jimena Arboleda, known as "Jem," is a dedicated professional currently serving as a National Virtual Business Sales Consultant at Verizon, where she brings a wealth of experience and a unique blend of skills to her role. Over the years, she honed her expertise, climbing the corporate ladder from sales representative to sales manager. Today, she stands proudly at Verizon, excelling in their business department.
Her qualifications are underlined by her commitment to education, currently pursuing a degree in Cyber Security. In addition to her academic pursuits, she holds an IL Real Estate license, which speaks to her diverse skill set. Jem's success isn't confined to her professional life. She's a real estate enthusiast, having bought her first property at the age of 24. Her goal is to acquire a multi-unit rental property and create passive income. Her accomplishments include securing an Illinois Brokers License, a testament to her dedication.