Araceli Esparza is the founder of Wisconsin Mujer, a multimedia social engagement company, who has more than 15 years of nonprofit and diversity experience. “I’m a poet first, speaker, content producer, with a side of a culture connector diva for good measure.”
Jacquelyn Ikonomov is the founder of Wisconsin Dells-based Rooster Calling Running, in which she provides habit-formation tools, group accountability and weekend running challenges with other like-minded and supportive walkers/joggers/runners. “I empower walkers, joggers, trotters, sprinters or those who run many miles to love their whole self. “
Takeyla Benton is a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion analyst by day–but her long list of talents doesn’t stop there. The self-described “melanated mystic mamma” is also a tarot reader, Reiki practitioner, guided meditation coach, ordained minister, writer, poet, storyteller and head of Key Transformations, a personal empowerment practice.
After starting a food blog to document recipes, Sujhey Beisser of Five Senses Palate decided to explore becoming a personal chef after she successfully donated a five-course dinner for a fundraiser. “I still share recipes from time to time, but my main focus is cooking for dinner parties and special occasions.”
Shawna Jade Enright is the owner of West Bend’s Kalon Salon + Extension Bar and Kalon Extensions, a 100-percent cruelty-free mink eyelash line. In the spring, Enright even added “bicoastal hairstylist” to her resume, flying from Wisconsin to Phoenix every few weeks to provide services to Arizona-based clients.
Kelly Kussman is the founder Cayla Gray, a luxury clean fragrance company that was named after her first child, who tragically died in 2017. “I really wanted to create a legacy that not only honored the beauty and heartbreak of this bittersweet experience, but also fueled my personal passion for fragrance.”
Dominique Lenaye of Stoughton-based Itty Bitty Bookstore, the only Black-owned bookstore in Dane County, hand-selects books with the community in mind. “Itty Bitty Bookstore was created to diversify each and every one of our book collections with authors and characters from different marginalized groups.”
Grace Wang is the founder (and self-described “petrepreneur”) of three-month-old Petphoria, which specializes in delicious and nutritious luxury dog treats. Plus, the company is committed to providing people living with disabilities the opportunity to learn basic job functions as they make all Petphoria treats by hand.
Lauren Montelbano is a plant-based chef and holistic nutritionist with The Vibrant Veg, which offers cooking classes, nutrition coaching and whole-food plant-based meals, fresh-pressed juices and healthy desserts in Madison. “My business is an expression of everything I am passionate about.”
Katie Soyka is the owner and photographer at Katie Soyka Photography and is the market manager for The KNOW Women in Milwaukee. “After photographing the amazing women leaders, creators and entrepreneurs in the inaugural Milwaukee KNOW Book, I was inspired to be more involved [with The KNOW Women].”