Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle
President & FOUNDER
Mary Kate (we call her MK) created Obvi, We're The Ladies in January 2014. The non-profit Obvi and the high school workshop series Lady to Lady have been her vision ever since. She attended DePaul University in Chicago, and currently works as a project manager (road warrior) for an experiential marketing agency. MK drinks a lot of diet soda and would be a terrible secret agent because her tall frame and even taller top-knot stand out in a crowd. Her favorite color is glitter and people often buy her items with unicorns on them. She abbreviates words unnecessarily, and has a bit of a potty mouth. She's loud, chatty, intense, driven, and she loves hard. She recently read a quote that said something like, "if you're not willing to give the shirt off your back to make your business happen, don't bother," and she said, "Bring it on." She wants to spend the foreseeable future amplifying women's voices, educating them on how to share their stories, providing a platform to do so, and hugging them super hard.
Chief Of Staff
Madelaine is the Chief of Staff and Managing Editor of Obvi, We’re the Ladies. She grew up in the Chicago ‘burbs with a ridiculously wonderful family support system and spent her favorite childhood summers in south Texas. She loves learning about all things ancient. The older, the better. She also loves learning about living people, good and bad. She’s got a BA in anthropology from UIUC, a fierce belief in continuous self-education, and is currently working any gig she can to support herself while this Obvi thing gets off the ground.
Jessa has had a diverse career that has included magazine writing, fashion merchandising, owning her own retail business, marketing strategy, and tech product development. When she was 24 she founded Pivot Boutique, Chicago’s first shop devoted to high-end eco fashion and lifestyle. Jessa was featured during Chicago's Fashion Focus week in 2008, speaking alongside Mayor Daley about the importance of supporting the local fashion industry, and her work with Pivot was recognized through several awards including Chicago magazine's Green Award and Fashion Group International's Rising Star Award. After closing the boutique, Jessa worked in marketing and management roles at a Chicago technology start-up and later joined global marketing agency, MKTG, in an account management and strategy position. Developing community and encouraging young women to think entrepreneurially has always been important to Jessa, and she looks forward to bringing her experience to Obvi to foster growth,
Kara first came across Obvi We're The Ladies in early 2015 at an anti street harassment event hosted by Hollaback! Having been involved in anti street-harassment and gender-based violence work via the Courage Campaign: CTA which she founded in 2014, collaborating with Obvi seemed like a natural fit. Raised in and totally obsessed with being from Chicago, Kara's passion for social justice work goes way back to her years in high school working with student organizations and communities on issues such as immigrant rights and fighting Chicago Public School closings. She comes from a long line of badass black folk, including her Tuskegee Airmen fighting grandpa, and a socially and politically active mom who revolutionized teaching in CPS for many years. She's currently pursuing a JD/MSW at the University of Michigan, which she hopes to use in her quest to slay injustices throughout the world.
Sarah has been a Lady since she was born, and a friend of Obvi, We’re The Ladies since 2014. After living abroad for a few years, roaming the globe for work - casual, we know - Sarah returned to her college-town of Chicago in 2015. That's when she began to help us bring our vision for Lady to Lady to life through her exceptional talents in the worlds of experiential marketing, event production, and being a straight-up badass. Sarah began her activistic career at the age of 12 by raising money for a battered women’s shelter in her hometown of Lakeville, MN. Though as the daughter of a proud Muslim, immigrant ESL teacher and a strong-willed, Irish Special Education teacher, one could argue her activism is a genetic gift she’s been given. Sarah is a Lady who stands to serve Ladies around the world, with a passion for justice and equality that runs rivers through her lineage. Basically, she’s dope AF.