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We are the North Shore Professional Women

Learn more about our fascinating ladies and their wonderful businesses!

Cindy Smolin with Guaranteed Rate (Co Founder of Group)

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Cindy Smolin is currently ranked in the Top 1% of loan officers in the country. Cindy and her team are respected by the real estate community for unprecedented customer service, honesty, and integrity. Helping my clients successfully navigate the mortgage process to make smart financial decisions for them and their family is my passion. Purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions of someone’s life – and the financial piece of that can be daunting. After 10+ years in the mortgage industry, seeing my clients dreams of home ownership come true is what continues to motivate me. My number one goal when I meet a new client is to make sure they understand all of their mortgage options. I strive to be an educator and problem solver to ensure they make the decision that is right for them. I pride myself on my honesty and transparency and always treat their money like it is my own! Past clients continue to refer me business because of the positive experience they had working with me and my team during the largest purchase of their life. I am available 24/7 for my clients, which is what makes me unique. My team and I simplify the process for every client, relieving stress and guaranteeing a successful closing. My ultimate goal: always offer the BEST customer service with low rates, low costs, in the shortest amount of time for my clients.

Lisa Schulkin with @Properties (Co Founder of Group)

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I pride myself on a strong work ethic, high motivation and always make all of my real estate clients a top priority. I am proud to have the support of the #1 realty in Chicago and to be a key member of one of our top producing teams.

I have years of experience in both real estate and public accounting, which enable me to guide my clients through all of the detailed points of the buying and selling process. With a knack for numbers and an analytic approach to the market, I provide great market research for my clients. As a full time realtor, I pay close attention to the specifics of what my clients are looking for, so I can find the right home to fit their needs. I appreciate that a home is one of the biggest investments my clients will ever make, and I am happy to help them through the process every step of the way. I try to help guide my clients in all aspects of their move and believe in providing a full service, concierge level approach to each of my clients’ moves. I know that the process is more than just to find the right house, but the perfect place to call “home”.
When listing a home I believe it is my job to sell my client’s home, therefore I make a point to be at the showings of all of my listings so I can really point out all of the wonderful and hidden features of the home. In addition, having a teammate is very beneficial to my clients, since two of us really learn their property to sell or our client’s criteria to buy a home. Since the process is time sensitive, we believe having two of us available adds value to all of our clients.
I grew up on the North Shore, currently live in Highland Park and lived in the city of Chicago for 10 years, therefore, I pride myself as a local market expert.

Please feel free to reach out if you a market analysis on your home and to discuss the current market. Even if you have no intention of selling your home, I am happy to keep you updated on your biggest investment!

Cindy Bloom Owner of Blooming Marketers

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I got started online in 2011 as an internet marketer and found immediate success. I invested time and thousands of dollars to learn new skills and investing in new products. I learned so much about Blogging, SEO, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and website building, that I started teaching people in my network. People could not get enough and that is when I started my first coaching course. I realized that I enjoyed coaching and consulting, so now I do that in addition to being part of an amazing Internet Company.

When people ask me what we do, I tell them  I wear many hats.  I teach individuals and or groups everything  and anything related to Social Media. I also help with Social Media Marketing, email list building and social media manage.  Contact me and lets get your Business Blooming!

Laurie Gens with Events by Michaels

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Iconic Michael’s Chicago-Style Hot Dogs in Highland Park offers on-site events in our restaurant’s event space as well as off-site catering through our Events by Michael’s division. Michael’s/Events by Michael’s is best known for our delicious, Chicago-style comfort food, our community atmosphere and friendly customer service.

Talk with our professional, seasoned Events by Michael’s staff about your next social or corporate event, milestone celebration, reunion or fundraiser. We accommodate up to 100 guests in our semi private space or up to 225 guests for full venue buy-outs. Our events team can take care of your every need from menu, entertainment, décor and more! Events by Michael’s caters both either at our place or yours!

Michael’s recent, full-scale renovation resulted in a more upscale, contemporary look with a nod to the nostalgic. Our event space offers sophisticated state-of-the-art A/V, including custom colored lighting, 11 plasma screen monitors and a 180” projection screen. We host a fully-equipped bar and our elevated DJ booth is now located by our dance floor — in the back area where the ceilings are high. Contact Laurie Gens, Director of Events and Catering, for more information or a personalized quote. We look forward to earning your business and trust!

Joyce Fox Owner of 4Keepsies

Email Joyce at

847-274-2766 or Visit our Etsy Store by CLICKING HERE


We all have stacks of t-shirts that we don’t wear but just cannot part with. T-shirts from school, fraternities/sororities, concerts, teams, trips, sporting events, favorite restaurants, businesses, etc. are filled with memories. Let me transform them into a cozy blanket so you can wrap yourself up in the warmth of those memories.

T-shirt blankets make the perfect gift for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, retirements, engagements, weddings, to remember a loved one, just because… Contact Joyce Fox today to bring your memories back to life!

Julie Kaplan Owner of Julie Kaplan Photography

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I have been in love with Photography since I was 12 years old and my Grandfather taught me about F stops. Well, it didn’t stop there! My passion for taking pictures turned into years of study in both school and with master photographers. Film and the darkroon turned into digital and computers and I have enjoyed every step of the journey.

I feel blessed to have my own business doing exactly what I want to be doing and meeting and working with wonderful people.

Julie Kaplan Photography is a boutique portrait studio located on the Northshore of Chicago, Illinois.

Beth Krouse Kaufmann – Owner 

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Beth Krouse Kaufmann is a person who has always loved numbers. That’s why she chose to study accounting at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where she received her BS in Accounting with highest honors. She is also a CPA and went on to earn her Masters in Tax from DePaul University.

Beth realizes that while she loves the order and balance of numbers, most people do not share her passion. And that’s why in 2001 she created her own bookkeeping business. Her practice primarily involves small business owners who own all types of businesses. Her passion for bookkeeping comes from knowing that she is helping a business owner by bringing order to their books, taking an unwanted task away from the business owner, and freeing up the business owner’s time to pursue their true passion – their own business.

Having worked at one of the Big Four accounting firms for several years, Beth also considers herself an interpreter between the business owner and their tax accountant. She loves finding ways to take the numbers and information that are in a business owner’s head and put it to paper in a way that their tax accountant can then use to prepare annual tax returns.

Jillian Alyse Spector Owner of The Fitt Chick

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If you’ve found me, you know I live each and everyday to help empower others to achieve their optimum health. As your certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, I will help you develop and implement a wellness plan in order to achieve long lasting results. Whether your focus is on health, weight management, chronic disease or sports nutrition, I will design a customized program to help you get there.​

​At the end of our time together, you will walk away with recipe ideas, motivational techniques and helpful tips to make losing weight easier for you. To make sure you stay focused, I promise the ultimate support throughout your weight loss journey. Your program will be structured to fit your schedule, your lifestyle, and we will communicate constantly to keep you motivated and stay on track.

Amy Herzog and Debbie Kanter Owners of North Shore College Consulting

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North Shore College Consulting’s mission is to help make each student’s college preparation, search and admission process as organized, productive, stress-free and, obviously, as successful as possible. Our goal is to demystify the process and help our students unlock their potential, thereby reducing fear and creating excitement for each student regarding his or her future.

We offer comprehensive college consulting to students beginning as early as 8th grade starting with our pre-college advising services to help our students build their high school curriculum and discover interesting extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities. Our goal is to assist with personal development and ultimately balance and enhance each student’s application profile. We then help our students through a very individualized college search process, administering various assessment tools and interactive games to help NSCC build a completely personalized and detailed “best fit” initial college list for each student.  The process of researching the colleges on this list, removing colleges and adding new colleges, all with the hands-on assistance of NSCC, will take place over most of junior year, ultimately resulting in a final list of colleges to which your students is excited to apply.  Last, we will guide each student through the college application process with the same comprehensive hands-on approach and level of support that we employed since day one, navigating every single step of the application process so that no detail is overlooked.

Laurie Zessar Owner of Bienali Promotions

Email Laurie at


bienali website

BIENALI PROMOTIONS, LLC is the premiere North American import company and domestic supplier of customized consumer promotions and premiums. The Chicagoland area-based firm handles a wide range of client needs in the areas of product development, product management, sourcing, importing, and distribution across a broad spectrum of industries. Bienali is both a certified woman’s- and minority-owned business.

Sara Kahn Wool Owner of Sara Kahn Wool, Esq. LLC, Family Mediation and Law

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Sara Kahn Wool has been practicing alternative dispute resolution and family law in Chicago for over 10 years. Sara has been appointed to the 19th Judicial Circuit Family Mediation Program as court- approved mediator and court-approved minor and disabled adult guardian ad litem for Lake County. She frequently serves as a mediator in Lake County and currently serves as an arbitrator for the Circuit County of Cook and Lake County Mandatory Arbitration Programs. Sara is also on the DCFS Statewide Adoption Attorney Panel. In addition to representing families in Illinois, Sara volunteers and serves on executive boards in her community and schools.
Sara served as an Assistant Public Guardian at the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian Abuse and Neglect Division where she represented minors as Attorney for the Child and/or Guardian ad Litem in Juvenile Court under the Juvenile Court Act and Adoption Act. In this capacity, she represented minors in Mediations, Temporary Custody Hearings, Adjudication Trials, Dispositional Hearings, and Termination Trials. As Attorney for the Child, she represented and advised teenaged minors who were in independent living arrangements of tenant, educational and criminal legal issues. Sara understands the complexity of issues within family law and she is committed to working with her clients to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Kailey Dreyfus Owner of Coach K

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Coach K provides academic coaching services to families looking for a tutor to help their children succeed academically. Whether it be to get extra help or to get further ahead, Coach K caters to all students. Coach K tutors in the following academic subjects: elementary and middle school reading, writing and math, high school algebra, geometry, trigonometry, Spanish, essay writing, organization/study skills and ACT/SAT prep. Located at 493 Laurel Avenue in Highland Park, Coach K welcomes students of all ages. Coach K uses a holistic approach, allowing for a full understanding of the student in his or her entirety. Coach K aims to help students build confidence and self-esteem by helping them reach their true potential as well as creating a positive learning environment. Coach K consults with families to determine what resources would be most beneficial for their child. Coach K also conducts preliminary evaluations, testing for learning disabilities, ADHD, executive functioning issues and anxiety before referring students to a neuropsychologist for a full academic evaluation. Coach K’s mission is to be the go­-to resource for parents seeking advice for their children’s success in all aspects of their lives: educational, social, emotional and psychological. 

Blair Miller Owner of Apple Learn

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AppleLearn offers customized solutions for your Apple products for individuals, small businesses and independent business professionals. Sessions are individually tailored to your needs and priorities. We meet in your home, office or in our Highland Park shop. Classes are offered on Thursday afternoons, in subjects ranging from iCloud to “Making a Montage” to “Getting Started with your iPhone”.

Sandra Schiffman with GCG Financial

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Sandra Schiffman has been a Senior Associate of GCG Financial since 1995, but has worked in the financial services industry since 1987.

Sandy has the unique ability to maintain warm relationships with her clients while accurately advising them on insurance and financial matters. Her clients — executives, professionals and business owners benefit from Sandy’s knowledge in risk management (life, disability and long term care Insurance), retirement strategies, estate planning and group/ancillary employee benefits.

She is a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) and the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). Sandy is a past member of GCG Financial’s Black Tie Club which is reserved for the firms top advisors. Sandy has also been a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table since the 1990’s. She strives toward greater achievement through continuing education on a regular basis.

Sandy is a registered representative with Securian Financial Services, Inc. and holds the designation of Corporation for Long Term Care Certification (CLTC).

Sandy lives in Highland Park and her hobbies include traveling, music, dancing, literature and arts.

Stefanie Penner Owner of Inviting Designs by JAMD

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My name is Stefanie Penner. I am the owner of Inviting Designs by JAMD.

I make sure you have everything you need for your custom Mitzvah, holiday, party, announcement, new home, wedding, shower or birthday invitations.  I also sell personalized notecards, thank you notes, stationery, stamps, embossers, kippahs and cocktail napkins too!  Please contact me the next time you have an event to plan.

Heads will turn from the moment the mail is opened! Start to finish, you have my one-on-one personalized expertise and attention.  I will provide you service and reply to all questions in a timely manner as I know how important your time is!

I absolutely love what I do and look forward to meeting you soon!

Judy Chrustowski-Garfinkel Owner of Smish Home Organizing

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Smish Home Organizing provides professional organizing for the way we live today

Smish can help you simplify, streamline and bring calm and order to your home and office. Too much “stuff” everywhere makes it difficult for everyone within the household to find things. Clutter can be overwhelming, but it can be controlled. I believe the right way to organize is to customize according to your lifestyle. Whether you live alone or have a large family, Smish can help.

Simplify your life, clear your mind and allow more time for yourself. I do more than just organize, I help you rethink, re-purpose, and simplify your home, office, and life!

Barbara Ellis-Racic of Cres Corp

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With over 25 years overall experience, Barbara Ellis-Racic advises organizations on finding the right space, in the right place, at the right price. Her clients include healthcare entities, service businesses, local retailers, non-profits and technology firms. Barbara helps her clients locate industrial, office, and retail spaces in the Chicago Loop, the neighborhoods of Chicago, and all major Chicago suburban submarkets. She can answer any of your commercial real estate questions.

Tracy Fisher Owner of Tracy Fisher Events

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Tracy Fisher, owner of Tracy Fisher Events, has been a highly regarded force in the Chicago event planning industry for 15 years. Together with her staff, she has coordinated unique and wonderful events at the most extraordinary venues in Chicago, on the North Shore and in the surrounding suburbs. With impeccable taste, an innate sense of style and an eye for detail, Tracy will work with you to plan the event of your dreams—in your time frame and within your budget.

Specializing in fantastic weddings, corporate social events and Mitzvahs, Tracy Fisher Events collaborates with the best vendors in Chicago to create spectacular décor, scrumptious menus and first-rate entertainment. Tracy has customized hundreds of events at city parks, historic hotel ballrooms, hip restaurants, museums, country clubs and private residences.

Miriam Kaufman Owner of Oakleaf Treeworks

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Oakleaf Treeworks serves customers in the North Shore of Chicago. Santiago Soto founded the company on the principle of respect for nature and pride in a job well done.

Our services are based around specialty tree care. Every estimate and every job is led by Santiago Soto, tree care expert and owner. He is the single point of contact for all services provided by the company, and takes a personalized approach with each client. We are a company that is big enough to handle any job, but small enough to care about every detail. You have found a partner in Santiago and Oakleaf Treeworks.

Jennifer Riback  & Jill Leshtz Owners of Lice Clinics Northshore

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Welcome to Lice Clinics of America-North Shore! As mothers of school-age children, we understand first hand how difficult it is to get rid of head lice. When our families experienced a lice outbreak, we spent many long and frustrating hours combing and nitpicking to treat the infestation. We knew there had to be a better, safer and more efficient solution to this very common problem. Our research led us to Lice Clinics of America. We are excited to bring you the AirAllé, a revolutionary research and science-based technology for eradicating head lice. It’s an FDA cleared medical device that kills lice and its eggs in a single treatment using a specific combination of temperature (heated air), airflow, time and technique. All of our technicians are trained and certified to use the AirAllé. We are focused on delivering the highest standard of care for professional head lice removal with guaranteed results. Given the effectiveness of our treatment, we are confident that you and your family can leave our clinic not only LICE FREE but also STRESS FREE!

Sherry Levin Owner of Style Shack

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Style Shack, the popular destination boutique nestled in the heart of downtown Highland Park, is revolutionizing retail with a new LifeStyle boutique, an experience designed to improve the entertaining and design skills of customers.

After years of trendsetting hospitality, Style Shack is making fabulous accessible to everyone. Through creative ideas, fun tools and insider how-tos, the personal service and warm retail vibe gives customers a sense that they are not just shopping, they are guests in a home filled with little luxuries. Highly distinctive and hard to find, gift, jewelry, fashion accessory and home decor items radiate luxury with moderate prices.

The uniqueness of Style Shack is reflected in the personalities of owners, Dawn Pye and Sherry Levin. We are motivated to understand our customers interests and help them achieve lifestyle they desire. Through our love of design, we provide helpful tips on how to use much of what we sell. Customers count on us to style a bookshelf, create a table setting, provide a delicious recipe, detail a room, accessorize for a party and more. Style Shack is an extension of our personal tastes and interests; it’s where our inspiration and information intersect.

Diane Steinmetz Owner of DC Cosmetics

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When you look good you feel good! I am a certified makeup artist and carry my own line of DS Cosmetics products. I rent studio/retail space at The Nail Shop and go on location as well. I do makeup for all occasions, makeup lessons and specialize in brow shaping.

In addition I participate in vendor shows and go to senior communities where I do a program called Wakeup with Makeup. I bring my beautiful makeup display cases along with inventory and demonstrate easy makeup tips on the ladies. They can purchase makeup afterwards with my guidance. The women love it because as one resident told me it makes them feel normal.

Barbara Traycee Owner of Traycee Home Care

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Some people are just born caregivers. You’ve met them. They focus on you, they listen to you, they empathize with you and they try to help you. This is Barbara Traycee, wife, mother, grandmother, and also founder of Traycee HomeCare along with her husband, Sheldon Shlossman.

Barbara is one of those people who connect instantly with others because she is a genuinely compassionate person. It was not surprising then, as a young mother, she was able to locate skilled, trustworthy childcare and in turn found her friends asking her to do the same for them. They were so pleased at Barbara’s ability to find the right child caregiver for each family that she was more than ready when her husband said, “Why not make this our business?”

That was in 1974, almost four decades ago. Long before there were terms like “in home senior care” and before there was a caregiver “industry” with franchises, investors, and mass web-recruitment of caregivers, Barbara was building her business. It started with childcare, expanded to domestic care and then added in home senior care.

STACEY FLASTER Director/Choreographer/Private Acting Coach

Email Stacey at


If you are interested in private acting coaching for monologues, scene work, or song work, I can help! I can help your child do their best for their upcoming audition for the school play or musical. I am excellent at preparation and confidence building, too. My school The Performer’s School offers classes in musical theatre, A capella, dance, improv, film and acting for many age groups. Please check out the website and call or email me with any questions. We strive to provide a quality atmosphere for your kids with the most professional, trained teachers in the industry.

Stacey Flaster co-founded The Performer’s School in 2013 with her collegue Liz Fauntleroy after teaching successful audition workshops to kids on the North Shore. Stacey also choreographs Highland Park High School’s musical, as well as many other musicals and workshops in musical theatre in the Chicagoland area.

Most recently directed Hair and Ragtime (Broadway World Award, Best Director and Best Musical) for Big Noise Theatre. She directed and choreographed the Jeff Award winning production of A Class Act for Porchlight Theatre. Flaster’s credits include Godspell, Little Shop of Horrors, The Wiz, Jesus Christ Superstar (Broadway World Award, Best Musical and Best Choreography), Footloose, Cats (Jeff Nomination, Best Choreography) and A Wonderful Life for Theatre at the Center; Joseph…Dreamcoat and Route 66 for Paramount Theatre; Married Alive for Metropolis Performing Arts Center; and CabaretCarousel and The Secret Garden for Light Opera Works. As choreographer: Joseph… Dreamcoat (Jeff Nomination, Best Choreography-Theatre at the Center), Miss Saigon and Something’s Afoot (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Willy Wonka (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Marriott Theatre); I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Noble Fool Theatricals); The Spitfire Grill and Smoke on the Mountain (Provision Theatre); Master Harold…and the Boys (Steppenwolf Theatre); and Madame X(Alley Cat Productions). Stacey worked on the film The Dilemma, directed by Ron Howard.  Stacey has done choreography for TV commercials and for the Amazon series The Patriot.  Stacey is also a local casting director.

Sheree Nathanson 

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Sheree Maree is a life strategist and heart & soul coach dedicated to empowering women to create the life they desire. 

Sheree works with smart, successful women who are living a great life but know that something is missing.  Their heart and soul are calling for more. Sheree helps them get in touch with that calling. 

Sheree works with her clients to heal any feelings of discomfort in their lives and move into the feeling of harmony.  What brings them happiness will become clear and be the catalyst to set up a plan with the strategies to get their desired results.

Sheree delivers information in an empowered, loving and inspiring way which include solutions.  Sheree will guide her clients to their desired goals while assisting them in removing obstacles along the way.  She provides a sacred space for her clients to create a higher alignment with their soul.

Sheree is an alchemist that changes people from one state of being to another.  She allows them to see the balance in life.  She offers not just a solution to the problem of the moment but support in development of using those skills to navigate future situations. 

It is her passion that everyone she works with receives the gifts, insights and perspectives that inspire them to create their best life and experience of themselves.

Melanie Ruben 

Email Melanie at

(312) 600-TATT (8288)


Melaine Rubin’s story behind her business, Laine Too Temporary Body Art, is just as unique as the beautiful designs she creates. This Northbrook mother grew up in a very traditional Jewish lifestyle, one that does not condone tattoos. Using this important part of her background, Melaine decided to create a product that anyone can enjoy. Part of what makes Melaine’s business so remarkable is that it allows people of all backgrounds to enjoy artistic and meaningful designs, without the permanency of a real tattoo.

Melaine’s vision started simple – she wanted a one-of-a-kind party favor to offer at her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah Party. Through research she found that the temporary tattoos were a fun way to make special occasions even more memorable. The Bat Mitzvah tattoos were a hit, with parents asking Melanie to create more imaginative tattoos for their own children’s parties.

This success led Melaine to delve deeper into the industry, utilizing her skills of marketplace knowledge and creativity that she gained as an event planner. Leaving the corporate world behind, Laine Too was officially created. Melaine’s original designs have become a sensation at birthday parties, music festivals, and fundraisers alike. Each tattoo is hand blended and set with powder, lasting as long as 2 weeks – the longest lasting temporary tattoos in the industry.

Melaine offers a variety of services including temporary body art, hair fashion add-ons, nail art, metallic flash tattoos, and even dog tattoos! Laine Too can help make any event memorable and bring a new, unique element of fun.