Parents are rock stars — and they have the pint-sized fans to prove it. Some really bring it on. It’s time to celebrate them. Meet Chicago’s power moms — local heroines that work hard, play hard and appear to do it all with ease. From an event planner adored by Oprah to a pastry chef that competed on Top Chef: Just Desserts, they inspire us both personally and professionally.

Our list is just a taste of things to come from Red Tricycle Chicago, your local digital guide of things to do, see, eat and explore with your kids. We launch next month and can’t wait to play with you.

Debi Lilly
Founder and President, A Perfect Event

The quintessential hostess, Debi started her event planning company right after college graduation. “I have always planned events, catered and cooked, styled settings, and designed flowers and gifts,” she says. Her list of accomplishments includes arranging Oprah Winfrey’s televised 50th birthday bash and the wedding of award-winning Broadway actress Heather Headley. Debi cherishes spending time with her kids, Lilly (11) and Parker (9). A typical day in her Lakeview neighborhood includes walking them to school, meeting with designers, eating healthy at Julius Meinl and helping the kids with homework. To truly escape, Debi spends summers in Paris with her family for “sacred, quiet, together time away from the pressures of entrepreneur life.”

ChicagoPowerMoms_Debi (Photo credit- Suzzane Brown)

Malika Ameen
Pastry Chef and Owner, By M Desserts

This Old Town resident is the epitome of sweetness. After attending New York’s Institute of Culinary Education and the French Culinary Institute, Malika was a pastry chef at several fine-dining restaurants, including her own Aigre Doux in Chicago. She then launched her own dessert business, creating cookies with a twist of spice. Along the way, she competed on Top Chef: Just Desserts and appeared on Martha Stewart. Life at home with three boys — Sumair (10), Uzair (8) and Riyaad (5) — is “loud, rambunctious and loads of fun,” she says. Her average day starts by preparing a healthy breakfast for the boys and taking them to school before heading to her kitchen. Nighttime is for relaxing. “Fantasies of working out for 30 minutes sometimes come true here and there if I am up to it,” she jokes.


Sarah Cobb
Executive Director, Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN)

Home and work life have amazing synergy for Sarah, who heads Chicago’s go-to resource for parents, from pregnancy all the way through finding the right elementary school. In her three years at NPN, she’s been instrumental in creating new events like the Developmental Differences Resource Fair and the Strollers in the Front 5K — all while squeezing in time for barre workout classes and bonding with her daughter, Avery (6). “We love museums, going out for sushi and ice skating,” says Sarah. In 2013, expect more from Sarah and the NPN team; they’re growing South Side programming to bring events and support to the neighborhoods that need it.


Terri Hickey
Director of Public Relations, Four Seasons Hotel Chicago & The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, A Four Seasons Hotel

Growing up in a small town in Mississippi, Terri always dreamed of working in a big city. It couldn’t get more cosmopolitan than her job in communications at two of Chicago’s premier luxury hotels. The former reporter also worked in politics for two Illinois gubernatorial candidates. Life is good for this down-to-earth sweetheart, who lives on the Near West Side and is mom to Liam (5). Together, they enjoy playing board games and romping around Terri’s family farm in the South, frequenting places she went to as a child. “No two days are the same,” says Terri, who dishes that 2013 is the year she’ll push the envelope with creative promotions for her hotels and restaurants, as well as “really wind down with family.”


Miss Lori
Recording Artist, Kids TV Host, Writer & Speaker, Miss Lori’s CAMPUS & MissLori.TV

Recognize Miss Lori? Of course — she was the first-ever live host on PBS Kids’ preschool block, which aired nationally from 2006-2009. The engaging host, motivator and entertainer has since evolved her company into even more: She produces and performs digital media and live performances for families across the country, while hosting her own video blog on MissLori.TV and doing original concert-style musicals for the WTTW PBS Kids outreach tours. Her heartfelt energy and perspective comes from her own experience being mom to Jaedyn (9), Kaiann (11) and Skyler (14). They live in Chinatown near Ping Tom Park, where they enjoy hearing the roar of the railroad and whoosh of the Orange Line. “It’s a five-senses kind of home,” says Lori. Look for her second album, AWESOME Fun, this spring.


Lindsay Pinchuk
Owner and Founder, Bump Club and Beyond

New and expectant moms have a friend in Lindsay. The Bucktown local — and mom to “J” (2) — connects with women during life’s most exciting time through her company, Bump Club and Beyond. At a dozen events each month across Chicago, Austin and Minneapolis, she introduces moms to resources, products and (most importantly) each other. Even with her busy travel schedule, Lindsay spends plenty of quality time with her daughter, often at Green City Market or Lincoln Park Zoo. In 2013, she’ll take one of Bump Club’s signature events, Gearapalooza with The BabyGuyNYC, on the road to six cities across the country. We can hear the roar of the crowd already.


Heiji Choy Black
Fashion Director, Chicago Magazine

Say “hello” to one of Chicago’s biggest tastemakers. As Fashion Director of Chicago magazine, she puts together articles on locals with influential style and produces fashion features on the season’s trends. Naturally, you can find her in the city’s hottest shops, as well as near the runways at New York Fashion Week. Formerly, Heiji owned Wicker Park’s design-focused lifestyle boutique, Hejfina. As well as scoping style, Heiji has a trained eye on family. She loves life in Lincoln Park with her sons, Cyrus (5) and Sebastian (3), and travels with them as much as possible. “Giving back is [also] crucial to my well being,” admits Heiji, who is on the board of Marwen, the Renaissance Society and Re-Build Foundation.


Genevieve Thiers
Founder and Board Member,

If you’ve ever been stuck playing babysitter roulette, Genevieve likely helped. Her first company,, connects parents with child (and pet and senior) caregivers and was America’s first to do it online. She was recognized by the White House as Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur Champion of the Year in 2006. She is now on the board of SitterCity; co-founder of Contact Karma, a business-to-business recommendation and deals engine; and founder of OperaModa, a company that helps opera singers land jobs. It all keeps this Lincoln Park mom to identical twins Leo and Ari (15 months) on her toes. She loves watching her boys play in their ball pit when she’s not “getting on stage in a 40-pound costume to sing opera, {which is} petrifying, every time.”


Kiran Advani
Vice President, SKOOG Productions

Kiran knows how to spread a message. For 15 years, the trend-aware powerhouse has worked in marketing and communications, with time spent in the position of Fashion Programming Director at the office of Tourism and Culture for the City of Chicago. Today, at boutique agency SKOOG Productions, she creates media relations and advertising campaigns, event concepts and more for brands such as Burberry, Gucci and LOFT. Yet she’s most proud of being mom to Sela (3) and Neve (6 months). In their Bucktown home — when work, baths and meals are done for the day — their favorite thing to do is have dance parties. “Both girls love music and I was a former dancer, so it’s my chance to share my passion,” says Kiran.


Jacqueline Edelberg
Director of Strategic Partnerships, & Author of “How to Walk to School”

Not one to just talk the talk, Jacqueline led grassroots efforts to better Nettelhorst School in East Lakeview — and tells all in her book How to Walk to School: Blueprint for a Neighborhood School Renaissance. She applies the same can-do spirit to her role at Youtopia, an online rewards program that tracks, inspires and rewards civic engagement. Jacqueline never stops fighting for her wish that every kid, in every community, deserves a great neighborhood public school. Her own children, Maya (14) and Zack (12), go to Nettelhorst and are raised much as Jacqueline was. That includes, as she says, “enjoying a crazy-good after-school snack, followed by cooking and eating dinner together as a family.”


Do you know a power mom (or dad!) and want to see them featured in our next list? Email and let us know!

— Kelly Aiglon

Photos: Debi Lilly and Lindsay Pinchuk taken by Simply by Suzy Photography