Meet Kelly Allison, Julie Schumacher, Kelly Connolly and Lisa Guillot
These are the dynamic women behind: Forth Chicago. Forth Chicago is a community for entrepreneurial women of influence. Forth hosts seasonal salons, gatherings and outings for participants and public events that put a premium on sharing time, space and bright ideas. It’s the creative collaboration of the Three Forths: life, brand and business coach Lisa Guillot, photographer Kelly Allison, event rental proprietress Kelly Connolly and copywriter Julie Schumacher.
What expression or saying do you love? (or which one do you hate?)
I do not like “It is what it is.” and “This too shall pass.” I know they both get bandied about in times of hardship but the first feels so passively present and the second so sad panda future looking. If something sucks, you can be damn sure I’m going to be trying to do something about it. Or aggressively drinking wine and grousing with a bit more oomph than those two sentiments allow.
If you had to change careers what would you want to do?
I feel silly lucky that I’ve already gotten to do a fairly significant career switch (I taught middle school history for 10 years). My secret dream job is working for public radio. My gosh, I love NPR. I’m more likely to wind up a therapist, especially one who works with couples. I cannot get enough of how people and relationships tick. Part of what a copywriter does is help better articulate what people are already trying to say about themselves, their brand or business and I think all our important relationships could benefit from the same investment in intentional communication.
What is your hidden talent?
I have two. One is chopping the exact amount of herbs, vegetables, etc needed for a recipe. You need a tablespoon of something? I shall provide. The other is parallel parking, which by sharing means I’m bound to never fit into another spot again.
What do you suck at?
Scheduling. I suck at it more than anyone could suck at it. I suck at it and I hate it. At least once a week i find myself needing to be in two places, and even though I actively and intentionally pad my schedule to ensure moments of breath, I’m constantly running out of time and pushing deadlines to the very last minute. Process is surely key here, and my processes probably suck, too. Or I just like to consider myself a super woman, when realistically I’m more closely aligned with the likes of Myrtle the Turtle.
What do you believe?
I believe in goodness. I believe it is real, and I believe people are good. This world is sick, and there is terrible darkness, but there is goodness. I am prone to falling into darkness, so I have to cling to this goodness, or the belief that it’s there.
I also believe so strongly in the power of human connection to heal the darkness. Together we are more powerful than the sick and disturbed world that we live in, it’s now a matter of figuring out how to unite our power as a force for good.
What do you geek out about?
People, and relationships, and love. I know. It seems silly and even a little gross, but it’s true. I love people, and I get freaked out when community building works, and people connect, and they like each other, and love begins. To read these words back seems trite and saccharin even to me, but it’s so sincere it’s almost ridiculous. We each have a story, and that story matters. When our stories connect in meaningful ways, magic happens.
What’s your craziest idea?
My craziest idea really wasn’t all that crazy because I don’t do crazy, I do to-do lists. In 2012 my crazy idea was to bring together a group of entrepreneurial women of influence in Chicago so I could meet cool bad ass women and we could grow, learn, laugh and commune over a few glasses of Prosecco. I called Julie and Kelly, because they are badass women, and asked what they thought of the idea. They were down, and Forth Chicago was born. And then we made to-do lists and did them. The crazy part of Forth is that we don’t have a master plan, it is growing, moving and shaking based on what the Forth founders and our community want to do. In 2015 there is talk of an apple orchard, more public events and of course more Prosecco.
How long do you think you would you survive the zombie apocalypse?
Shannon, I know you are being 100% serious with this question, which is why I am 100% serious too. Ask my husband, I have told him multiple times that we need an Apocalypse to-go bag Zombies or not, we need to be prepared, right? If there were zombies I would find a boat and go out to the middle of a large lake with my to-go bag and kids. I am doubting Zombies know how to swim.
(Clearly she hasn’t read World War Z!)
What don’t people know about you?
I love bluegrass and house music.
What makes you laugh?
I like specific, closely observed, absurdist sketch comedy. I think we're in a golden age right now with Key & Peele, Amy Schumer, Nathan for You, Review, Portlandia...
What do you geek out about?
My disposition is set to political. I created a separate Twitter account recently just to keep track of all the reporters and political operators on the issues and candidates I'm interested in. I find that I can only talk about politics so much with/at a few people who I'm close to/married to, so I have go outside my circle to get my full political nerd on. Something about this election cycle has also caused me to start raising my voice like that Will Ferrell character that couldn't modulate his voice, so I'm nearly shouting after I'm taking for a few minutes. It's weird. Trump better not get elected or I'm just going to be shouting all the time.
What’s the best advice you have ever given?
My dad told me once that you have to give people the opportunity to save face and I've found that to be helpful in all kinds of situations.