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The Daisy Diaries

Chef Chat

Step Up’s Chef Chat, posted each Tuesday leading up to Shine & Dine, features discussions with Chicago’s top chefs who will be offering exclusive tastings at the August 7 culinary event benefiting Step Up’s programs that ignite girls to fulfill their potential. Today’s edition highlights ZED451’s Michael McDonald and Paramount Events’ Jodi Fyfe and Devon Quinn.

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Modeling School

CEO Jenni Luke

In this monthly column, Step Up CEO Jenni Luke shares her take on mentorship through role modeling.

The cycle of graduating – making it through a challenge, celebrating accomplishment, and taking stock before moving forward – is something I sometimes forget to do for myself. When we’re younger growth comes with markers that are pretty clear. High school, college, sometimes graduate school, first job. At some point growth becomes more incremental than exponential, sometimes more internal than external. If you’re not looking for it you can miss an opportunity to up-level how you think about yourself to match the growth you’ve actually experienced. Take the time to think about how you’ve graduated – personally and professionally – in the recent past. Acknowledge and celebrate even the smallest of learnings. Take stock of who you are now that you know what you know. Move forward secure in these new strengths and take them confidently into your future.

Teen of the Month: Chicago’s Luisa


Luisa “Lu”  Alvarado, is a 10th grader from Carl Schurz High School.   She is constantly demonstrating respect and interest in being a leader for her Step Up sisters.  During afterschool programming, there was an activity that required the girls to write positive words about each other.   Lu went out of her way to write a unique and individual poem about each one of her Step Up sisters.  The girls were all amazed by her powerful and moving words.  Lu is always present for Step Up, not only in attendance but in mind and spirit.

Volunteer of the Month: Los Angeles’ Monica Cooper

Monica Cooper

Monica Cooper became a member last year while volunteering at Step Up Los Angeles’s 10th annual Inspiration Awards. She joined on the spot and has been highly involved ever since, participating in the connections committee, spreading the word to friends and colleagues at JPMorgan Chase Bank and mentoring at various events. Monica lights up the room with her enthusiasm and passion for helping others and we at Step Up take pride in having the support of such an inspiring woman. Thank you Monica for your commitment to Step Up!

Luminary Circle Member of the Month: New York’s Marietta Daniel

Marietta Daniel

A longtime advocate for women and progressive causes, it is no wonder Luminary member Marietta Daniel has made such an impact with the Step Up organization. Marietta joined Step Up last September and is an active presence at member events and serves as both a Young Luminary mentor and a member of the Teen Programs committee.   She is a friendly, talented, career-driven woman which makes her a role model for our teen girls and an exemplary Step Up member. Marietta is an accomplished political and communications professional, but to Step Up she is so much more. Thank you Marietta for inspiring others and dedicating your time and talents to our organization.