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Miss NJ USA
Chhavi Verg, from Edison, NJ, is Miss NJ USA 2017 and became 1st runner up to Miss USA this past May. She is currently a student at Rutgers University studying business.
For Chhavi, competing for Miss USA was not so much about the crown, but a way to bring awareness to a cause she cares deeply about, women's empowerment and equality through education.
Chhavi lives her life by this motto and hopes to motivate others to do the same, "Dream big and no matter what anyone else says, always believe in yourself and your vision. Life is limitless and the only limits that exist are the ones you create in your head. Be sincere, give it your all, and never lose grit…that’s the key to making your dreams a reality."
Co-founder of ISHTA Yoga
Sarah is the co-founder of ISHTA Yoga, LLC and the private yoga teacher of Dr. Deepak Chopra. She recently co-created an online course, “Finding Connection Through Yoga,” with Dr. Chopra in partnership with Yoga Journal and The Chopra Center. She teaches trainings, workshops, and retreats internationally with her husband, Yoga Master Alan Finger, and is a featured expert on Jiyo, a revolutionary new digital platform that brings health and wellness to online communities all over the world. She is a legacy ambassador for Lululemon, a Satya Jewelry Soul Sister, and a Zenflluencer for Rituals USA. Her values of self-empowerment and authenticity led her to join the Board of Directors for Exhale to Inhale, a non-profit organization that teaches yoga to survivors of domestic violence. Her daughter, Satya, inspires her every day to live a life based on love and unbound potential.
ISHTA Yoga blends the ancient and contemporary sciences of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda. It is an authentic lineage of modern yogis which caters to the individual through alignment based flow, breath work, and visualization.
Stacey Ciceron is a name you can associate with beauty, innovation, passion and determination. The beauty powerhouse has been carving out her own path in the beauty world for over a decade and has no intentions of stopping when it comes to growing the Stacey Ciceron brand. Ciceron attended well-known Dudley’s Cosmetology School and then further sharpening her skills under the reigns of industry icons like: Vidal Sassoon and Bumble and Bumble.
Ciceron later advanced her expertise as a Beauty Ambassador and trainer for Sheamoisture and has worked with companies like Bumble and Bumble, Tresemme and Sheamoisture on product development, tutorials, campaigns, training stylists and retailers on proper care of textured hair and product usage. Ciceron was also a Tresemme style team manager, an opportunity which has led to styling during New York and Miami Fashion Week. Ciceron has also participated on runway shows for Milan and Paris Fashion Week.
As a celebrity stylist, Stacey has created innovative looks for celebrities and supermodels for TV, film, editorials and runway. Success didn’t stop there, her resume also includes a list of televisions shows: America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway and Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which, is televised around the world where millions of viewers get see and admire her work.
Crystal McCreary has taught yoga and mindfulness since 2007. She is committed to creating and holding safe spaces for people to heal, learn, and build resilience in a world that often takes relentless hold of our bodies, minds, and hearts. Having experienced yoga and mindfulness to be extremely effective techniques for cultivating vitality, Crystal’s mission is to offer these modalities to support wellness in under-resourced communities and soothe the toxic stress that too frequently leads to severe health issues and death. Her adult yoga classes and lovingly curated yoga and wellness retreats are influenced by mindfulness and knowledge of anatomy, and are a exploratory blend of vigor, breath, and precision. Crystal facilitates New York based Exhale to Inhale’s trauma-informed yoga teacher training, and speaks and leads professional development workshops on yoga and mindfulness as tools for wellbeing internationally. She also facilitates 100-hour kids yoga and mindfulness teacher trainings for Little Flower Yoga nationally and facilitates yoga programs throughout New York City Schools. Crystal participates regularly as a curriculum consultant and lead teacher for research studies on yoga and mindfulness conducted by CUNY-Hunter’s public health department, and teaches public classes regularly in New York City. Crystal is a graduate of Stanford University with a BA in African and African American studies and completed The American Conservatory Theater’s Master of Fine Arts program in Acting.
VP of Business Development at SME Branding
Sophia Kelly is Vice President of Business Development at SME Branding, an agency rooted in the philosophy that connecting with human emotion is above all. She earned a B.A. in International Studies at the University of California, San Diego, an M.S. in Nonprofit Leadership at Fordham University, and has found success driving growth in digital agencies for nearly a decade. Her diverse upbringing, education, and experiences align with her open nature and willingness to embrace life's moments as they come. Sophia joins us to share her insight on finding victory despite unexpected tragedy, discovering the ability to succeed through the storms of her most challenging seasons, and above all, how to keep hope even in the face of great loss. She believes there is massive potential that resides in every one of us, and that often our most difficult moments are what force us to rise above, know our own strength, and own our story.
April Maroshick is a 24 year old from Long Island, New York. April is the reigning Miss New York United States and advocates for the mental health community. She is currently a partner with YouTube and makes video content about personal development in her "Tea Talk" segments where she drinks an assortment of teas from around the world. April is the youngest of 5 children and the owner of 3 adorable cats. She graduated with a degree in Law and Economics and is currently in the decision making process of choosing a school for holistic medicine.
Co-Founder of RefuGirl
Jaslin Kaur is the Co-Founder of RefuGirl, a mentorship organization geared towards leadership and sisterhood for young refugee women and girls resettled in the United States. RefuGirl was featured at the 2017 Clinton Global Initiative University Summit. Jaslin is also a Newman Civic Fellow with Campus Compact where she is developing a project mobilizing young women against domestic violence. She was a Summer Empowerment Program Facilitator with Sadie Nash Leadership Project leading activism workshops with young women of color in high school. Previously, Jaslin received her A.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies from Nassau Community College where she received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. At NCC, she served as president of both the Women’s Student Association and Speech & Debate Team. Currently, she is pursuing a B.A. in Women & Gender Studies and Human Rights at Hunter College. Jaslin has been featured in various media, including make/Shift magazine, Glimpse Magazine, WBAI 99.5 FM Pacifica Radio, and on ITV Gold.
Board President, Metro NY Chapter, US National Committee for UN Women
Ms. Luke is a passionate advocate for women’s empowerment and gender equality. She has 35 years of leadership positions in women’s reproductive health and rights programs. She served as Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Alameda-San Francisco for nearly 10 years. This was followed by 25 years as a senior manager in three global women’s health org. where she designed and supervised programs in 30 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. She was based in Bangkok, Thailand for four years.
She joined the board of the Metro NY Chapter in 2015 and became its President in 2016. Her goal as President is to increase the visibility and support for UN Women through expanded educational programs and advocacy, and to raise more funds to support UN Women’s mission and programs globally. She is also on the Steering Committee of the NYC for CEDAW Coalition whose goal is to pass a bill of rights to support women and gender rights in NYC.
Co-Founder and Co-President of A Better Balance
Dina Bakst is Co-Founder and Co-President of A Better Balance (ABB), a leading national legal advocacy organization, headquartered in New York City, dedicated to advancing the rights of working families, promoting fairness in the workplace, and helping workers across the economic spectrum care for their families without risking their economic security.
Bakst has ushered A Better Balance through to several accomplishments, including the recent passage of the New York State Paid Family Leave Act, landmark legislation which guarantees 12 weeks of paid leave when caring for an infant or family member. In 2012, Bakst’s op-ed in The New York Times – “Pregnant and Pushed Out of Job” – inspired the introduction of the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Dina also helped draft, and contributed to passage of the New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2013, which inspired passage of similar laws in 10 states and 5 localities. Her work successfully enforcing the NYC PWFA through representation of several low-income pregnant workers has been featured twice in The New York Times. In 2015, Dina was awarded the Edith I. Spivack Award, named for the woman who was a pioneering lawyer and role model for generations of women, for her work championing women’s rights. Dina is also co-author of Babygate: How to Survive Pregnancy and Parenting in the American Workplace, a groundbreaking national know your rights guide for expecting and new parents covering everything from pregnancy discrimination, leave and breastfeeding rights, and workplace flexibility.
Founder, Women's Education Project
Zoë Timms first discovered the world of grassroots nonprofits as a student of the University of Wisconsin’s College Year-in-India program. Working with child laborers who had left work factories and fields and were studying for the first time, Zoë realized how much she wanted to help these ambitious children. “At this point,” she says, “I knew my career would be in grassroots education.”
After three years of working in New York with the Near East Foundation, Zoë returned to India. During this time, she met young women with dreams of becoming teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs who had worked hard to complete their high school education.
In 2002, Zoë founded Women’s Education Project (WEP) to help women in South India from the poorest backgrounds succeed in college and careers. Together with Kathryn Ugoretz, a founding board member, Zoë envisioned an organization that would help young women from poor backgrounds succeed in college, a goal few nonprofits target.With the guidance of the local community in Madurai and Hyderabad and the students themselves, Zoë developed the center’s concept: a comprehensive program in a caring, supportive, environment of classrooms, libraries, and computers and gardens. Students receive scholarships to college and attend training sessions to gain knowledge of health, environment, finance and civic issues.As graduates, WEP students are knowledgeable, capable, community role models – leaders who, with a lively awareness of life’s possibilities, and are prepared to make important change in their own lives, families and communities.
Editor at The Eye
Ana Espinoza is a junior at Columbia University studying English Literature and Latin American Studies. She is an editor at The Eye, the magazine of the Columbia Daily Spectator, where she has covered Columbia’s expansion into Harlem and the university’s policies towards undocumented students. Ana has also interned for Guernica Magazine. You can check out her work here!
Contributing Editor at Refinery29
Lily Herman is a contributing editor at Refinery29 covering news and politics. She's also a regular writer to Teen Vogue and Allure, where she discusses the various intersections of politics, feminism, gender, careers, and wellness. Her work has been featured on Cosmopolitan, ELLE, TIME, Mashable, and more, and she believes it's important to discuss women's leadership in media to not only confront bias and other tough industry issues but to also help other women see the variety of career paths that exist in the field.
Campaign Producer at Vox Creative
Alexandria Fontanez is a Campaign Producer at Vox Creative, Vox Media's branded content team based in New York City, and a Career Coach for students and young professionals. Prior to her role at Vox, she held several positions at A+E Networks in international content sales, on-air promos and digital media production. She previously served as Co-Chair of the Producer's Guild of America East Chapter student program. She is an alumna of the T. Howard Foundation internship program, and is a member of NAMIC and JHRTS.
In addition to her work in media, Alexandria is passionate about supporting the development of young professionals from college to career. Her freelance work includes one-on-one coaching, resume writing, leading workshops and joining speaking engagements at colleges. She volunteers as a mentor for the StreetWise Partner program and T. Howard Foundation, and is a recipient of the 2016 Mentor of the Year Award from Mentor Scout and NAMIC. Alexandria graduated Summa Cum Laude from SUNY New Paltz with a BA in Digital Media Production.
Culture Writer & Editor for Slate
Aisha is a culture writer and editor for Slate and the host of its podcast centered around representation in film and TV, Represent. Since the show began in July 2016, guests have included Barry Jenkins, Rita Moreno, Larry Wilmore, Marlee Matlin, Alan Yang and many other vets and newcomers in the Hollywood industry. Elsewhere, she's contributed to the New York Times online, The Dissolve, Marie Claire Italy, and has been seen and heard her as a guest on NPR, BBC, CBC, MSNBC, NBC, CNN, WNYC, and PBS. She's also been featured as a panelist and moderator at events like SXSW, Comic Con San Diego, and more. She is an alumnus of Northwestern University and New York University with degrees in theatre and cinema studies.
Reporter at The Independent
Mythili is a reporter in The Independent's New York bureau reporting mostly about foreign policy, defense, climate change, and politics. Previously she worked as a freelancer reporting from places like India, Morocco, France, Poland, and Peru. In her previous life, she was a Licensed Customs Broker and international trade specialist but furthering women's rights have always been a passion. Mythili hopes to one day get a dog so she can dress it up in Star Wars costumes.
Emma Gray is the Executive Women's Editor at HuffPost. She is also the co-host of the "Bachelor"-themed podcast, "Here To Make Friends," which was named a must-listen by The Daily Dot, and she has appeared as an expert on the Today Show, Good Morning America, The Insider and Entertainment Tonight. Her forthcoming book, A Girl's Guide To Joining The Resistance, will be published by HarperCollins in 2018.
Blogger & Professor
Lyn Slater is currently a professor of social work, a cultural influencer, a model, a writer, partner, mother and grandmother. She started her blog, Accidental Icon, in September 2014 because she could not find a fashion blog or magazine that offered an urban, mod-ern, intellectual aesthetic and also spoke to people who live “interesting but ordinary lives” in cities. At the age when many people retire, Lyn Slater has reinvented herself as an influencer of popular culture, fashion model, and global icon. Lyn’s rejection of age as a variable to be considered in how one dresses has resonated and her blog has fans from around the world. Her Instagram has over 250,000 followers, most of whom are young. Lyn as Accidental Icon has been on the cover of Grey Magazine and featured in W Magazine, Vogue.com, Harper’s Bazaar Brazil and Netherlands, Le’ Officiel Italia and Manila, Milk, Women’s Wear Daily, Marie Claire Espana, Elle Germany, Cosmo-politan Japan, Vogue Espana, Vogue Italia, InStyle, Washington Post, NBC Nightly News, Who What Wear, WWD, and Refinery29. She has done campaigns for Valentino Eyewear, Mango, Uniqlo and other beauty and lifestyle brands. Lyn was signed in Janu-ary 2017 by Elite Models London, Talent Division, The Collective.
CEO & Founder of art & eden
Susan Correa has successfully built and led multi-million dollar operations in India, Europe, Canada and the United States. And yet, despite these rich and incredibly fulfilling years, something was missing. Inspired by the purpose-driven lives of family and friends, Susan felt called to do more than simply "achieve."
Susan decided to exit her executive position in the two multi million dollar businesses she was leading, to build art & eden. art & eden is a sustainable line of children’s clothing born from a dream to build a business that strived to be the best it could be in the world by being the best for the world. It was created by slowing down the fast fashion momentum and taking the time to build thoughtful, intentional business processes that are better for the planet. Susan chose her factories carefully and put great consideration into all her choices along the supply chain. She had dreamt of a better way forward - a world where profit had a greater purpose and a shared value. She wanted improved livelihoods for farmers, dyers and tailors. Susan wanted a world of collaboration and connection where beautiful people worked alongside each other to create a better world for all. A world where profit for some did not have to come at the cost of others.
art & eden was that dream that became a reality on January 25th, 2017.
Co-Founder of Queen of Raw
Corporate attorney turned fashion tech entrepreneur, Stephanie is the Co-Founder of Queen of Raw, an e-commerce platform connecting designers to suppliers of innovative & sustainable raw materials. Prior to starting Queen of Raw, Stephanie worked as a lawyer in the fashion, media/entertainment, start-up, and technology industries and co-founded a sustainable textile manufacturing facility. An advocate for women in business and sustainable fashion, her companies have been featured in Vogue, WWD, InStyle, ELLE, Wallpaper*, Interview, Fortune, Entrepreneur, WIRED, and Fast Company. Stephanie is a NASA/NIKE/IKEA/DELL LAUNCH.org Innovator, was nominated as a Founder to Watch by Women 2.0, and was a Finalist for the WGSN Global Fashion Awards, Rent the Runway/UBS Project Entrepreneur, and the $1M Verizon Powerful Answers Award. She serves on the Board of Advisors of the New York City Fair Trade Coalition and as co-host on Material Is Your Business podcast.
Human Rights Lead at EILEEN FISHER
As Human Rights Leader and a member of the Social Consciousness Team for women’s clothing designer EILEEN FISHER, Luna facilitates the company’s human rights work for its supply chain. In her role, Luna helps expand the company’s human rights program by engaging internal teams, and going deeper and wider into the supply chain. She has launched innovative programs such as a cellphone survey of workers in India and Peru, brought trainings on human trafficking and ethical trade to company employees and held a worker video contest in China factories. Luna is also a member of the Sustainability Design Team; a cross functional team that leads the company’s sustainability work. She came to EILEEN FISHER with extensive volunteer background with the YWCA. Originally from Malaysia, Luna can speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, and English.