Super Moms. Power Moms. No matter whether you spend your day kicking butt as a stay-at-home mom or busting through glass ceilings in life, all moms are pretty incredible. We made it our mission to find working (outside of the home) mom role models who are not only masters of their industries, but set the example of achieving professional success with integrity intact. Meet just a small representation of Chicago’s Power Moms: women who carry an incredible amount of responsibility and commitments to careers, family, friends and community, all with kindness and humility. From a freelance writer to a nuclear power exec, we’re proud to have these women, and you, as part of our village. Click the slideshow to meet the moms.

Melissa Salvatore, Owner/Photographer, A Little Photo Studio

Growing up in Phoenix, Melissa thought she’d be one of two things: A photographer or she’d live on a farm, wear overalls every day and marry a guy named Bob. Well, some poor schmuck named Bob missed out, because, lucky us, she chose photography. But, as mom to Bennett (5) and Owen (1), she has managed to maintain that girl-in-overalls mentality, really taking the time to enjoy the simple pleasures in being a parent – bike rides to the lakefront, relishing in those quiet moments at home where her oldest says something mind blowing or feeling pride when they take the time to interact and say hello to a stranger on the street. When she’s not at her adorable Lakeview studio, this Fulbright Scholarship recipient serves on the Special Service Area (SSA) and local park committee, contributes her photography skills to Chicago Public Schools and has started a “Service Sunday” tradition where her family picks a weekly task (big or small) to stay engaged altruistically with their community.

Advice for a young girl today:
”I think it would be to say “it’s ok” - whatever path that you choose: Stay-at-home mom or working mom OR not a mom. I think that currently women have created so many roles for themselves that they have to feel good about what they choose and not put so much pressure on themselves because you can’t have the best designed home, be involved in every kid and school activity, be the most successful at your job . . . you have to let a few things go and leave room for different things to take the front seat at different times in your life."

Tried and true tips for balancing work commitments and family: “I read somewhere at one point, ‘don’t balance, integrate’ and the minute I switched my mindset to that, everything became ok. I integrate my kids into my work life and vice versa.”

Favorite quote: “Everyone has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth.” -Mike Tyson

  • Melissa Salvatore, Owner/Photographer, A Little Photo Studio
  • Amanda Morgan, US Sales Leader, Biotech Industry
  • Monika Pandya Burchfield, Assistant Executive Director of Development, Annual Fund, The Salvation Army
  • Julie (Greenberg) Jenkins, Co-Founder, Artistic Director, Midnight Circus in the Parks
  • Alisha Sommer, Freelance Writer and Photographer
  • Robin Boren, President, Pivotal Home Solutions
  • Emily Winkler, Director, Dance Academy of Libertyville/Jazz Theatre of Illinois Not-For-Profit
  • Dina Hall, CEO, Champion Logistics Group
  • Nicole Grimaldi, Senior Vice President Capital Markets and Corporate Finance, InvenTrust Properties Corp.
  • Kara Pelecky, Vice President of Information & Communications Technology, Nuclear Power Generator in the United Arab Emirates
  • Monica Royer, CEO + Founder, Monica + Andy
  • Christine Schirtzinger, Triathlon Coach, T2 Coaching

Know any Chicago Power Moms? Brag about them in the Comments below!

—Maria Chambers