2016 AMBASSADOR Team
Venus de Miles thrives off its community. Community of riders, runners, Scholars, volunteers, and supporters. And our Ambassadors are an integral piece of our community.
The Venus de Miles Ambassadors are women just like you. They are healthy, they are active, they are mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends, they are always on the go, and they are passionate! Their enthusiasm for Venus is rooted in the personal challenge it presents, but also in the opportunity to encourage other women to achieve their goals while supporting Greenhouse Scholars.
Our Ambassadors help us to expand our supporter base so that Greenhouse Scholars can fulfill its mission of supporting exceptional students from Illinois who are creating change in communities at home and across the globe. Ambassadors are spreading the word, hosting events, and fundraising.
We hope you'll attend one of the events hosted by Ambassadors leading up to July 23 (join our MeetUp group for updates) and be sure to say hi when you see them at athletic expos, other events around Illinois this summer or at Venus de Miles!
meet the Ambassadors
Cheryle's first Venus was in 2013 when she rode the 25 mile course. Overweight and new to cycling, she didn't think it was for her but registered because it looked fun. She had a great time with amazing women of all ages and fitness levels. Faced with health news in 2014 that required a focus on eating better and following a daily fitness routine, Cheryle quickly learned that if you change your perspective you can change your world. Since then she's completed twelve 5Ks and a 10K run, a kayak mini-triathlon and a bike tour. She hopes to inspire women to be bold, set aside fear and embrace life.
Dawn is an avid road and fat bike cyclist who enjoys long endurance events. She has an extensive background participating in various rides, including La Vuelta Puerto Rico in 2014, and 2015. In addition, in 2015 Dawn rode in the Fat Bike Birkie Race, the Dairland Dare 300k, and Paris-Brest-Paris. With servant leadership, Dawn empowers individuals to lead more active lifestyles using cycling as a medium for this transformational growth. Dawn is excited join the Venus sisterhood and support Greenhouse Scholars!
Follow Dawn's adventures at Inspyrd Cyclist
Deborah is an English professor who loves to bike and run. When she learned of Venus de Miles' connection with Greenhouse Scholars and promising college students, she knew that this was a ride she wanted to be affiliated with. Venus provides her a unique opportunity to blend her career with her active lifestyle. Deborah is a League Cycling Instructor and serves on the board of Ride Illinois, Illinois' bicycling advocacy organization. She is passionate about cycling's benefits on individual health and fitness, but also its ability to build a real sense of community.
Karen is a wife and mother of two small kids and an ultra-marathon runner turned aspiring triathlete. This is her second year as an Ambassador for Venus de Miles. She loves being part of this "amazing and encouraging event for women." The fact that Venus raises money and awareness for Greenhouse Scholars is important to Karen, who also counts Venus as her hands down favorite event from 2015. Karen writes about her fitness journey at Trading in My Heels.
A Lake Forest resident, this year will count as Karena's fourth Venus de Miles. In 2013, after reading about a woman's charity bike ride right in Lake Forest, she and her daughter rode the 25 mile course - their longest to date - and had a blast. She's describes Venus de Miles has having a gorgeous course, the best after-party EVER, and the feel-good factor of benefitting an organization now very near and dear to her heart. While everyone has their own obstacles to overcome, she believes the young men and women of Greenhouse Scholars are true inspirations to us all to conquer our own personal challenges. She's thrilled and honored to be an Ambassador this year.
Kristina is returning to ride Venus for the fourth time - her third as an ambassador. She was inspired to ride Venus de Miles for the first time after a friend sent her a message saying, “Let’s do this!” Physical fitness is a huge part of Kristina’s life. After making her own personal weight transformation by shedding 80 pounds, Kristina became a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and teaches full time at multiple facilities. In addition to teaching fitness, Kristina has become an adjunct faculty member at a Chicago-area university, teaching physical education.
Melanie is a stay-at-home mom of three, blogger, ultra marathoner, cyclist, Pinterest addict, and optimist. She blogs about running,cycling, and "mommy'ing". Melanie’s kids inspire her to stay active (mostly so she can keep up with them), and to be a positive role model for them to be healthy, fit and always reaching for the stars! This will be Melanie's fourth year participating in Venus, her third as an Ambassador. She loves riding Venus and in turn, helping to support Greenhouse Scholars!
Michelle balances her family life - wife and mother of four young daughters - with her passion for endurance sports as a triathlete and ultra-marathoner. She wants nothing more than to teach her daughters to be strong and healthy. With heaps of enthusiasm and love for the event, this will be her second year participating in Venus de Miles. Michelle loves that the event supports Greenhouse Scholars which helps exceptional students from Illinois reach their full potential. Although she's a 'newer' cyclist, she's embraced the sport and loves each challenge it brings.
Nancy is a Certified Yoga Therapist and soon-to-be certified Clinical Somatics Educator. For Nancy, Venus is a family affair. Not only will this be her fourth Venus, but her husband also volunteers! She's passionate about Greenhouse Scholars because she believe these young people are our future leaders and we need to do whatever we can to help them get the education and guidance they need to change the world. She loves the camaraderie of Venus, the supportive atmosphere, encouraging volunteers, and the fantastic post ride party. She loves to bike longer distances for the challenge and the satisfaction that they bring.
Natali is a marathoner and triathlete who loves beer, bacon and peanut butter (but not necessarily together). She stumbled into running and has grown to love it. As a triathlete she's realized that she's much stronger than she thought and its improved her life even beyond the course. Not only has she lost 50 pounds since she began running, but her accomplishments continue to amaze her. She loves Venus de Miles, in part, because she loves the supportive environment it creates for women to realize their potential as athletes. She believes that we're all much stronger than we're often given credit for.
Tami has a deep, personal connection to the Greenhouse Scholars mission. As the first in her family to attend college, she highly values higher education and is passionate about supporting the Scholars and helping young adults expand their horizons. An avid and passionate cyclist, runner, and coach, Tami has participated in every Venus de Miles ride in Illinois with her team, the Pedal Pushers, and this year, the men in the group will be joining the fun as part of the Tutu Crew! Tami - a wife and mother of two adult sons - says there is nothing that makes her feel better than giving back to her community.
Wendy is excited to be a Venus de Miles Ambassador after participating for the first time last year. An avid runner, she loves to cycle for cross training. Venus de Miles appealed to her because she loves the mission of Greenhouse Scholars and that the organization doesn't simply provide an education, but also mentoring and other crucial support for the Scholars. As a nurse practitioner she was excited to meet several Scholars at Venus last year who are pursuing a nursing degree. Wendy was deeply impressed and inspired by the Scholars and is excited to be back this year as an Ambassador.
Get inspired by Wendy's blog Taking the Long Way Home