Meet Rebecca Martin | Founder and Head Organizer of Chicago Women Rising

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A Personal Piece by Rebecca Martin

I seek inspiration like it’s my job, through daily quotes, the pictures I take, the books I read, and the films I watch. I figure if I continue to seek inspiration I will be able to truly understand myself and life. But usually you find the most inspiration by looking within, embracing all of you, and not just the parts that seem to be your best.

This blog we’re showcasing women, who I’m inspired from, and so happy to get to know. And my plan is to show we’re not one dimensional, we are composed of different facets that make us, us. We’re not a headline, we’re an ellipsis, because we’re never finished, always evolving and discovering.

With that said, for my personal piece, I thought I’d break up the bits that are driving me today, and the excitement for the possibilities to come, in hopes that it can inspire myself and those who read this blog.


The birth of Chicago Women Rising came from my conversations with my female friends and clients. With my friends there seemed to be this anxiety, that I shared, about what was missing in our lives. Usually revolved around a balance of our love life, professional life, and health. Professionally I felt strong, but alone at the same time. I had my work days full of meetings with clients and working on creative projects, dream come true you’d say. But outside the day to day, couldn’t quite figure out what to do with myself. I’ve been fortunate to have women co-workers and clients foster and inspire my career. I wanted more of that, outside of the work place, kind of a marry between what I shared with my friends and my co-workers/clients. I realized there was a need there to create a meetup for professional women to support one another in our passions, professional lives, and emotionally. We’ve met a few times now, and it’s so exciting to see this group come in to fruition. I can already see the relationships and support systems that are starting to grow. There is excitement in this evolvement.


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There are parts of my life I’ve closed recently, and it feels natural. Sometimes you have to close doors to make room for open ones. Because those doors are closed, I don’t feel the need to write about them. This piece on me is the essence of where I am today and I’m looking forward and basking in the new and possibility. I do not try to compartmentalize my past, I’ve learned that’s a dangerous thing to do, but when you come to an end of a journey that you feel has naturally come to an end, you recognize the value that it brought you, and you move on.


Regarding journeys and moving on, there are two trips I took that inspire me to keep moving on . . .  and that I can keep evolving . . . and that there is power in the ellipsis . . .


Sundance was a bucket list trip for me. In 2015 I decided it was time to make it happen. I spent a couple months researching, carefully planning, and then it happened. Even now I go back to my blog about Sundance to remember the memories, the lessons I learned, and continue to be inspired to seize the moments.

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Sundance 2016

It is important to let yourself be rediscovered, you’re never finished.

This journey helped me realize that my life is not in a box, I can leave that box anytime, and my life is not spelled out, there are still many letters and boxes to discover that encapsulate me, and I should never limit myself because of this.

Take care of yourself so you can continue to have adventures.

I have a tattoo of a sail boat on my inner wrist that I forget about, but the reason why I have it is to remind myself that life is an adventure. I realized during this trip is that adventures aren’t always about being extreme, yes I wanted to see at least 6 films, but I only saw 4, but I got to do other things like hang out in a cafe, go to an art exhibit, see Charlie Kaufman talk, ride the bus with a bunch of locals, and then another bus ride with the filmmakers heading to the awards ceremony to see who won for each competition.

To immerse myself in the full experience I’d like to remember to take care of my body and rest because I can then fully enjoy myself, and that’s what I did here, everything was balanced, and if something didn’t happen that I planned, I let it go, looked at it like an adventure, rather then a mis-step. I allowed myself to open up to the unplanned. This is something I can take back with me.


Last year I was fortunate to go to London and Dublin. Five takeaways from my trip:

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(1) You can handle so much more then you give yourself credit for. (2) True friendships are the gems in our lives that bring more meaning to our heartbeats, invest. (3) When you feel lonely, it’s ok, not every moment has to be full, what’s empty now can give us empathy later. (4) Don’t just discover what’s around you, take a moment and discover within. (5) Celebrate joy, it’s everywhere, remember we have one life, and humanity is precious, everywhere


I’ll admit I still get down about what’s lacking in my life, but also am grateful for what and who’s been in my life. It’s ok, I’ve learned to feel these different emotions. It’s ok not to be full energy and on cloud 9 all the time. I’d like to give a shout out to some people in my life that really have kept me inspired and hopeful . . . my family, my college friends, Jason Leon (and his husband Steve Dobbins), Noelle Nightingale and Kendal Webb. My childhood best friend Amy Marek, my Chicago/International friends Ana Souza, Susanne Weber, Willeke Ensink, Franziska Blum, Ray Ren, Flavia Lelis, and Becca Covey. Lisa Petrik, in her own category :). Fabiola Auxila too. Alan and Brittany Rosenbloom, also too. Ellen Seagraves, best pal at TASIS. My film group/podcast buddies, Jeff Broitman, Lisa Stran, Brian Thompson, Shay Filer, Srujana Kuna, Julie Tuohy, Armando Maggi, Christopher Grace, Collin Souter, Al Kwiatkowski, Brad Strauss, Angela Shershin, Dave Clingerman, Meara Brady, Jenn White, Hobin Lee, Gari Hart, Ian Mason, Jessica Schanberg, Emily Riemer, and Kate Rackow! The new friends who are now my CWR organizers, Laura Kunzie, Christine Sellin, and Erin Wolgamott. And the women who have inspired me in my career, Catherine Sanders Reach, Dana Zivkovich, Elaine Wyder-Harshman, Kristen Sonday, and Michelle Silverthorn. That’s where I leave you, and I’m very excited about the journey ahead. Can’t wait to share more stories about women. Stay tuned . . .



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