Annie Warshaw is in the “girl power” business. In formal terms, her life mission is “to make the world a kinder, more equitable place for women.” As the founder and CEO of Smarty Pants Yoga, Inc., Annie believes that what women and girls discover on a yoga mat will help them navigate their lives.
Smarty Pants Yoga unlocks the leadership potential in young girls through in- and after-school programs (and birthday parties, of course) that incorporate reading and crafts. To broaden her reach — literally and charitably — Annie also leads yoga sessions to raise money for causes and volunteers at the Libenu House as an instructor.
A Teach for America alumna who also taught on the South Side for three years, “Annie has been rated an expert teacher in classroom culture throughout her career because she is able to navigate the line between fun and serious, ultimately creating a calm and welcoming classroom,” said Kathy Silver, Annie’s friend and one of her nominators.
Annie is also generous with her time connecting and supporting women through organizations related to leadership, education and entrepreneurship. She works with the Young Activist Council: Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship E-Council, the National Council of Jewish Women Chicago and more.
CEO and Founder, Smarty Pants Yoga Inc.
On the side:
I take ridiculously long walks with my husband and our dog. I throw dinner parties. I love the gym and yoga. I love to cook and bake. I blog and run www.sisteractnow.com (advice for women in their 20s)
How do you give back?
I volunteer with the Libenu House in Skokie. I teach yoga to the women each month, I absolutely love it! I also teach free yoga classes to raise money for various organizations. I really love connecting people, especially women who are trying to change the education and entrepreneurial landscape in Chicago. I leverage my roles on various boards to begin dialogues and strengthen relationships because I really believe it takes communities to build movements. I am excited to be a part of the Ms. Tech workshop lineup in 2015 and other female entrepreneurial collectives that work to empower women to start companies and take ownership of their futures!
Describe yourself in 10 words or less:
Ambitious, driven, motivated, empowered lady who makes funny voices.
Celebrity doppelganger/who would play you in a movie:
I've been told I look like Dr. Faye Miller (Cara Bruno) from Mad Men and I wouldn't mind if she played me. I would love to see Lizzy Caplan as Annie Warshaw!
How do you Jew in Chicago?
I love Shabbat. I go to Shabbat every Friday at my adopted family's house in Skokie. After a long week of work there is nothing better than coming together with the people you love, eating some matzo ball soup, drinking wine, and laughing together.
My mission in life is to make the world a kinder, more equitable place for women and girls. Like so many amazing, strong Jewish women who have worked in social justice in the past, I believe we need to leverage our power as a community to make change.
If time and money were limitless, I would:
Do exactly what I'm doing but bigger. I created Smarty Pants Yoga because it's everything I love: empowering girls, teaching, yoga, and being silly. I would hire additional program managers so that Smarty Pants Yoga can reach girls in other cities, publish all of our materials, and get the ball rolling for our upcoming cartoon.
Chicago's Jewish community in 10 years:
Larger presence in the city and more accessible programming for Jews of all walks of life.
Me in 10 years:
Happy and fulfilled. - Gearing up to campaign to represent Illinois in Congress- Super in love with my husband- CEO of Smarty Pants Yoga- President of the PTA