EXECUTIVE TEAM

ANNIE WARSHAW
CEO + CO-FOUNDER

RYT 200, RCYT
K-9 Educator, IL Type 22
M.A. History (Roosevelt University)
B.A. History and Women’s Studies (UCF)
2013 NFTE Teacher of the Year
JUF’s 36 Under 36
Chicago Founder’s Circle Alumna
CFW Pioneer Recipient 2016

After experiencing significant abuse at the age of four, Annie established her life’s purpose: to empower young girls to raise their voices and become leaders. At age eight, she wrote a letter to then-president Bill Clinton, asking why there had never been a female president. From there, Annie studied women’s history and ultimately earned a master’s in the field. While in undergraduate and graduate school, Annie led and organized several women’s rights organizations. Following her post-graduate studies, Annie joined Teach For America. As a corps member and teacher, Annie gained firsthand insight on the challenges girls face in academia, including the lack of girl-focused programming.

To remedy this, Annie developed and piloted her own girl-power curriculum. In 2013, she supplemented her original curriculum with yoga because the discipline helped her find a positive inner voice, and she wanted to make this inner cheerleader available to other young women. The same year, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship named Annie the teacher of the year.

Beyond the workday, Annie serves on the boards of many women-focused organizations, planning events and fundraisers for the likes of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Teach for America, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Chicago Foundation for Women.

JILL CAREY
PRESIDENT + CO-FOUNDER

E-RYT 200, RCYT
K-9 Educator, IL Type 22
M.A. Teaching (Dominican University)
B.A. Journalism & Political Science (UW-Madison)
UW-Madison Forward under 40 Award Recipient

Jill has always had a heart for making the world a kinder, fairer place. While studying journalism and political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she directed her focus toward developing solutions to educational inequity and gender inequality. Jill’s studies led her to the south side of Chicago, where she taught second grade. In addition to delivering award-winning literacy instruction, she served as the school’s math coordinator. In this role, she composed standard-aligned lesson plans and test materials for three grade levels. Following her classroom time, Jill worked at Groupon where she served as a writer, editor, and international editorial liaison to 46 countries. Throughout her time with the company, she developed and led skill-based volunteer initiatives serving children throughout Chicago.

As a seasoned yoga practitioner, Jill can testify to the life-giving benefits of the discipline. In addition to fostering physical health, yoga clarifies the mind, fosters gratitude for one’s body, and generates a deep, transcendent stillness. In Jill’s eyes, these are the most salient benefits of the practice — and the most valuable for young girls. Through her work with Mission Propelle, Jill connects her teaching experience with her desire to empower young girls to feel confident and capable of realizing their potential.

BUSINESS TEAM

LINNEA BIRDWELL
SCHOOL MANAGER, LEAD TRAINER

My work at Mission Propelle combines some of my greatest loves in life: Working with children, teaching yoga, and making a difference through the empowerment of young girls and women.
E-RYT 200, RCYT
B.A. Dance (University of Oregon)
linnea@missionpropelle.com

MELISSA LESSARD
PROGRAM DIRECTOR (WESTERN SUBURBS)

Girl empowerment means that these girls will be strong inside and out and have the tools to face any ups and downs that come their way.
RYT-200
M.A. Social Sciences (University of Chicago)
B.S. Psychology (Loyola University Chicago)
melissa@missionpropelle.com

TEACHING TEAM

Mission Propelle‘s teaching team mirrors the diversity of the girls whom we mentor. We come from all different backgrounds, beliefs, and professions — we are teachers, lawyers, therapists, journalists, and counselors. But most importantly, we are sisters on a mission to unlock the leadership potential in young girls.

Before earning lead teacher credentials, all Mission Propelle instructors complete observations, participate in trainings, log apprenticeship hours, and undergo thorough evaluations.