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Gorton’s Masterclass Series: Women Who Venture Wednesday, March 17

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Gorton’s Masterclass Series: Women Who Venture Part of the Masterclass Series

  • Date: March 17
  • Time: 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
  • Price: $10 – $25
    Use discount code WOMEN for Women's History Month and purchase your ticket for $10-adult and $5-student

This event is virtual. Join us LIVE via Zoom, on March 17th at 12:00pm.  Recording available after.

By purchasing a ticket, you will receive a zoom webniar link which you can access on March 17 at noon, to watch this vibrant and insightful discussion among these local women entrepreneurs.  


Women Who Venture” hosted by Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the College and local partners brings the Lake Forest + Lake Bluff community together for inspiration and conversation around women and entrepreneurship. This virtual event celebrates Women’s History month by showcasing women in our community who are acting boldly to break barriers, blaze trails, and launch new ventures in our community. Moderated by Kate Jackson, of Lake Forest College’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Department.

Featuring a Discussion with Women of our Community:
-Addie Gundry, Founder of Pluie
-Pim Alley, Co-founder of Suite Escape
-Kate Holland, Co-founder of Suite Escape
-Rebecca Asfour, Dailey Method
-Mary Hess, Trend Event Rentals and serial entrepreneur

KATE JACKSON Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Lake Forest College

Kate teaches design thinking, inclusive innovation, and the resilient entrepreneurial mindset. She also leads the college’s elevator pitch, social innovation and business venture pitch competitions.

Passionate about building inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems, she focuses on reframing entrepreneurship as a positive-sum opportunity open to all. She believes expanding access for entrepreneurs builds more resilient communities, cultivate jobs skills, provides more tax revenues, and lifts more people out of poverty.  Helping lift and launch entrepreneurs regardless of place, race, or gender is not just the right thing to do it’s the smart thing to do. During the pandemic, Kate launched Mother Funders, LLC to support women, especially mothers, disproportionally affected by the crisis.

In her decades-long career at Accenture and Deloitte Consulting, she designed and implemented major change initiatives at both Fortune 500 companies and non-profits to improve performance and build greater resiliency. She has worked across multiple cultural contexts and industry verticals from the west coast to the east coast to the midwest to Asia and Europe, making change happen in large, established organizations. She learned that taking a human-centered approach (i.e., focusing on and working with the people impacted) is what makes change stick.

Kate received her BA and MA from The University of Chicago and her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. She lives in Lake Bluff with her husband and two sons.





Addie Gundry is the founder of Pluie, the first and only self-sanitizing changing table for public restrooms, coming this fall! Addie received her bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior from New York University and masters in culinary arts at Auguste Escoffier in Avignon, France. She was a chef and spent 12 years cooking, for some pretty cool people, including Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Martha Stewart. In 2015, she won Cutthroat Kitchen on The Food Network, and most recently competed on The Food Network Star! Addie developed new food and beverage products for large companies while working at an innovation consulting firm as a culinary designer, and most recently as the executive producer for RecipeLion, Addie wrote 11 cookbooks, published by St. Martin’s Griffin. A foodie at heart, she had no idea that product development (in the baby space) was in her future. But she had a baby, two now, and realized how horrific changing tables were, so she changed them.

Addie lives in Lake Forest, IL with her husband, their two children, Cooper and Claire, and their labradoodle, the real foodie, Paisley. Cooper, just about two years ago, was the inspiration for Pluie, and now, potty trained, but in a world where safety and cleanliness is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, Claire (in diapers) has become a constant reminder of the difficult changing situations that parents face in public.

There is this word, mompreneur, she now understands and deeply feels. Raising money and running a company during their COVID-19 quarantine has been, and will continue to be an incredibly challenging yet inspiring time in her life. Addie feels lucky to have the luxury and flexibility to stay home, unlike so many others, but also the immense pressure to execute in the midst of toddler activities and baby spit-up. She believes the need for a better table, and for that table to be for everyone despite race, ethnicity and gender (many men’s rooms lack them). She is starting the long-overdue conversation, and believes that together, we can change the table #pluie.




 Pim, a graduate of DePauw University, has over a decade of experience working with business, political, and community leaders.  Her experience as a political campaign coordinator oversaw the successful election of several national candidates.  Following her campaign experience, Pim went on to work as a private consultant in the areas of corporate policy and public affairs.

Kate, a graduate of The College of William & Mary, and Washington University School of Law, practiced intellectually property law for over a decade with a focus on patent and trademark prosecution and litigation.  Following her time at a large law firm Kate provided intellectual property counseling to the technology transfer department of a private medical research institution.

Pim and Kate stepped away from these careers while their children were younger and are now excited to be back at work, collectively launching Suite Escape.  The challenges faced in 2020 led Pim and Kate to closely re-evaluate the need for a dedicated workspace. The Suite Escape is a luxurious environment for women to read, write, meet, collaborate and get inspired.  The Suite Escape also hosts relationship-building opportunities, educational and creative events, and more.


Rebecca Asfour is the studio owner and master instructor at The Dailey Method in Lake Forest and Vernon Hills. With a degree in Economics from Boston College and a background in retail marketing at Bloomingdales and experience at a private equity firm, she’s spent the last six years as a studio owner. In this role she manages the day-to-day operations of the studios, all marketing and social media campaigns, and teaches upwards of 18 classes each week. Her approach to business is to build an inclusive community with a positive spirit, and she believes in working hard and leading with kindness.

During the pandemic, Rebecca kept her communities moving by quickly pivoting to an online format, and now has an online library with over 500 recorded barre and cycle classes. The studios eventually re-opened with outdoor classes, limited capacity indoor classes, and still maintain a robust virtual schedule. Most recently, Rebecca launched an e-commerce shop of women’s stylish and casual apparel and accessories called Raleigh Bird, named after her daughter, Raleigh.

The quick and effective launch of an online workout studio and a successful online store saved the studio from closure during this last year and Rebecca is excited to share her insights and experience about this journey.  She lives by the mantra, “we can do hard things” and knows that this last year proved her mantra to be true!



On a family vacation in Florida, when I was about 4 years old, I longed to jump off the high dive (just like my siblings were doing). I climbed the BiG steps of the HIGH dive and cautiously stepped to the end of the board. There I stood, full of fear, feeling my heart beating out of my chest. Then my brother appeared. Right behind me. He said, “You got this! Jump!” And you know what? I did! I spent the rest of that vacation – and my life – jumping off the real (and proverbial) high dive time and time again. I feel grateful for the experience, thrill and exhilaration you get when you simply take a chance and jump!

Please allow me to jump right in and let you know how my company got, well, “jump started.” =)

After examining my life during the recent pandemic shut down, I did a deep dive into my heart and thought, “What do I want to do with the rest of this one, amazing life?” I began (and finished) an online business school program, and; in the process, event rentals broke to the surface and spoke to my soul. My small business allows me to combine my skills, passion and purpose while focusing on creative collaboration with amazing clients who want events that spread joy.

My career started in advertising in Chicago and San Diego and eventually grew into co-ownership of a full-service advertising agency that specialized in major motion picture marketing. I worked with some of the greatest press, celebrities, producers and directors of all time. My event, publicity and promotions skills grew as I learned from legendary marketing professionals at studios including: Warner Bros., MGM, Paramount, New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures, Columbia, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Lionsgate.

Now that you know a bit about me, I’d love to get to know and work with you! I invite you to “jump in,” shop our inventory and get a feeling for the pieces that speak to your heart as you design your next event experience.

Please reach out with any questions. I can’t wait to work with you on your next event!


Film and Event Refund and Cancellation Policy: There is no refund given for unused film or event tickets.

By purchasing a ticket to an event at Gorton, I acknowledge the contagious nature of COVID-19 and voluntarily assume the risk that my child(ren) and/or I may be exposed to or infected by COVID-19 by attending or participating in a program, event or activity and that such exposure or infection may result in personal injury, illness, permanent disability, and death. I understand that the risk of becoming exposed to or infected by COVID-19 at Gorton may result from the actions, omissions, or negligence of myself and others, including, but not limited to, Gorton employees, volunteers, and program participants and their families. I voluntarily agree to assume all of the foregoing risks and accept sole responsibility for any injury to my child(ren) or myself (including, but not limited to, personal injury, disability, and death), illness, damage, loss, claim, liability, or expense, of any kind, that I or my child(ren) may experience or incur in connection with my or my child(ren)’s attendance at Gorton or participation in a Gorton program, event or activity (“Claims”). On my behalf, and on behalf of my children, I hereby release, covenant not to sue, discharge, and hold harmless Gorton, its employees, agents, and representatives, of and from the Claims, including all liabilities, claims, actions, damages, costs or expenses of any kind arising out of or relating thereto. I understand and agree that this release includes any Claims based on the actions, omissions, or negligence of Gorton, its employees, agents, and representatives, whether a COVID-19 infection occurs before, during, or after participation in any program, event or activity that took place at Gorton.

Artists, dates, times, prices and fees are subject to change.