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Charlene is a woman near and dear to my heart. A fellow entrepreneur and first-generation American, this vivacious and effervescent spirit glows from the inside out. Whether she’s out playing basketball at the park or volunteering at the local food pantry, Charlene’s an active part of both the American and Assyrian communities. But that’s not all that sets her apart.
In the fall of 2010 her world was shaken when her, then fiance, canceled their big day – suddenly and without warning – just three weeks shy of the occasion. Rather than succumbing to the shock of the breakup, Charlene turned her focus outwardly to help other women in similar situations.
“After not being able to find helpful resources online I decided to start an online network to help others who had a similar experience.” Launching “My Wedding Got Cancelled,” Charlene created a virtual community that connected current and ex-brides with one another’s stories and goods – providing both sides a chance to connect.
The website and network provide:
- Professional licensed marriage and family councilors to assist in break-up coping.
- A personal page for each person to share their story, make friends, and seek help.
- Each member with an option of opening their own online store where they can sell their unused wedding and engagement materials.
When looking to recruit models for my Pierogi Picnic shoots there’s one thing that always gets my attention: enthusiasm. Whether a passion for their work, life or just a general glee-fulness of spirit, the people you’ll find showing off my designs have a charisma that’s unique and all their own.
Diane Maxine is one such vivacious spirit. A talented musician, she plays the bass in our church’s worship team, which is how the two of us initially met. When she’s not bopping away and plucking her bass strings, Maxine loves to bake and watch the noshers faces light up after tasting her yummy creations.
What I enjoyed most about taking Maxine’s pictures was her easy-going attitude and big beautiful smile. Her last name actually means ‘happy’ – which is why you’ll see her always flashing her bright whites. With this kind of charm both inside and out – it’s no wonder she turned out so stunning in each shot.
Katie is one special lady. Not only is she a kind-hearted, compassionate individual who works with special needs children, she’s also my younger brother’s fiance – earning her a special place in my heart. Driven and active, Katie is passionate about serving others and teaching. She believes this is God’s calling for her life and knows how instrumental she can be in making a positive impact in peoples’ lives.
When Katie’s not busy working with kids or spending time with loved ones, you can find her stalking Pinterest, planning her wedding or cuddling with her sister’s dog. Something many people don’t know about Katie is that she is driven to scrap booking during thunderstorms. All that thunder and lightning ignites her creativity and we’re happy to see its results!
A woman on a mission – Kelli is a career adviser at the Institute of Art and shapes the futures of cinema’s budding filmmakers. When not busy making films herself, Kelli also coordinates events for Women in Film Chicago.
Kelli’s energy and with light up even the dullest of crowds. Having a debilitating weakness for kittens – she cherishes what little free time she has by cuddling up with her own four cats, spouse and a hot chai latte.