International Women’s Day is observed annually on March 8 and is dedicated to acknowledging the global cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. Despite glass ceilings in a multitude of industries, women continue to shatter them to pave the way for future generations. In Chicago Northwest, we have an endless list of women who have made our region special. They’ve played a crucial role in making the Northwest suburbs an incredible place to call home, worth visiting, or to plan an event.
GRACE GOUDIE, Executive Chef at Scratchboard Kitchen
Chef Grace grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago as the youngest of five siblings. While in college at the University of Missouri, she studied journalism and food science. After graduation, she was accepted to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley.
It was in Napa where she found herself working for the world-renowned Chef Thomas Keller and his restaurant group. She first worked as a sous chef at Ad Hoc and later at the three-star Michelin rated French Laundry. That time helped shape her work ethic, attitude and the way that she presented herself as a chef and as a leader.
“Kitchens are usually all male and as a woman I had to work harder for respect. I had to go the extra mile to prove myself. Even today, I still have people asking me to speak with the executive chef,” says Chef Grace.
Chef Grace started with Scratchboard Kitchen in early 2020 and says it has been especially interesting to open a new restaurant in the midst of a pandemic. Nevertheless, she says her life is cooking and always has been. In her off time, she enjoys spreading her cooking passion through her online brand, GraceGoudie.com. There she teaches others composed but not complicated recipes and pro techniques. Find Chef Grace mornings at Scratchboard Kitchen in downtown Arlington Heights or on her website.
MALLORY LORENCE, Event & Corporate Services Manager at Hoosier Grove Barn
For Mallory Lorence, International Women’s Day means celebrating the undeniable strength that women have. Mallory leads the events team at Hoosier Grove Barn in Streamwood. The historic venue dates all the way back to 1888, when it was an actual working dairy farm. Today, Hoosier Grove Barn has consecutively won The Knot’s “Best of Weddings” Award seven times.
Mallory says the best part of working at Hoosier Grove Barn is that she gets to be a part of so many couples’ best day ever.
“We work with couples in the months leading up to the wedding and day-of and do everything we can to ensure they have the day they’d hoped for. It is so rewarding to get to witness so much love and celebration of that love and family.”
To assure the Big Day goes on without a hitch, Mallory and her team go the extra mile to make it all happen. Some wedding moments are so rewarding, she says they stick with her forever.
“The most valuable moment to me was at a wedding where it was raining consistently throughout the day, but the bride really wanted her wedding outside. We must’ve dried the chairs off three times, and on the way out the door, the maid of honor stopped me and said, ‘Thank you so much for making my best friend’s dream come true’.”
Hoosier Grove Barn continues to host tours for future bookings. To book an appointment for your future birthday, anniversary or event, contact Mallory Lorence at 630.483.3169.
LISA GREGOR, Owner of Church Street Brewing Company in Itasca
Lisa Gregor grew up in the small town of Leland, Illinois. Her family’s brewing journey began when her son started home brewing as a hobby and introduced the process to his father, Joe, a UOP chemical engineer at the time. After five years of home brewing as a hobby, they decided to start Church Street Brewing. After trying out several recipes, The Gregors opened the doors to Church Street in 2012.
Lisa and Joe’s son, Sean, spent five years at Bircus Brewing in Ludlow, KY but has now taken over as head brewer at Church Street. Their daughter is also a brewer working for Three Notch’d Brewing in Virginia Beach.
“Owning a brewery is hard work,” said Lisa Gregor. “Making great beer is a necessity, but you have to make sure people know about it. Sales and marketing are more important than you can imagine!”
For International Women’s Day, Church Street Brewing has partnered with the Chicago chapter of the Pink Boots Society and several other female-run/owned breweries to produce a pink boot beer, an American Pale Ale named Cosmic Nunchucks. The Pink Boots Society is an organization dedicated to assist, inspire and encourage women in the fermented beverage industry.
Cosmic Nunchucks is now available at the Church Street Brewing Company taproom.
MARTYL LANGSDORF, artist and former owner of The Schweikher House
The Schweikher House is the only listing on the National Register of Historic Places in Schaumburg. Martyl Langsdorf and her husband Alexander purchased the home of master architect Paul Schweikher in 1956, after renting it for three years. Schweikher designed the home and its studio; it was completed in 1938.
Martyl is best known for designing the Doomsday Clock, a symbol for the potential devastation of nuclear weapons and the apocalypse. The purpose of the clock for the cover was meant to signify urgency, with the hands counting down to midnight.
Martyl was a life-long artist and fell in love with the former architectural studio. She used the space to paint her masterpieces until her death in 2013. Martyl heavily painted abstract landscapes and still lifes – she had nearly 100 solo exhibitions during her eight-decade career.
Today, the Schweikher House Preservation Trust offers guided tours of the house and tells the stories of both Martyl and Paul Schwewikher.
We appreciate these women (and many more) year-round, but further appreciate their efforts in the Chicago Northwest region on International Women’s Day. If you ask us, every day is Women’s Day!
Sources: The Knot and The Schweikher House