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Mentoring the Marketplace

About Each Influencer

Having influence is not about elevating one's self, but about lifting others and mentoring them through inspiration.

Local Influential-Chicago introduces residents to local area influencers who are making a difference in the lives around them by following their passion and believing in themselves, despite obstacles that are presented along the way. Behind each and every establishment is someone inspirational who has a unique story to share.

Each story is compelling, sharing a unique path to success. Our featured local influencers provide inspiration and words of wisdom for residents who share their passion for leading a success-driven lifestyle, both personally and professionally.

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HOLLY SIMON of CHICAGO | Meet the Founder of I Am Who I Am Foundation

Holly Simons, I Am Who I Am, Local Influential-Chicago


Realizing that No Child Should Be Born Into the World with an "I'm Sorry", This Chicago Area Mom of 5 Started Her Own Down Syndrome Inclusion & Awareness Foundation In Honor of Her Son, Nate

CHICAGO– “I will roar louder than any lion - these children deserve it. It’s time for our world to change. We need acceptance, awareness, inclusion, friendships, understanding, kindness and love.” A powerful statement by Holly Simon, who founded “I Am Who I Am” after being inspired by an insensitive statement made after the birth of her son, Nate, who was born with Down Syndrome. “The doctors told me they were sorry,” Holly shares. “I immediately realized that no child should be born into the world with an ‘I’m sorry’.”

Holly has five children (14 to 23 years old); she is a breast cancer survivor; the author of “I Am Who I Am” and spends 40 hours a week running the foundation and their new “I Am” bath and body products line created to give teens and adults with special abilities something to work at and to believe in. They currently sell soaps, bath bombs, lotions, lip balm and inspirational jewelry. Holly has created a job platform for all abilities, which also includes designing beautiful artwork and producing posters, holiday cards, and ornaments.

Holly’s commitment is fueled by passion and the aspiration to create positive change.



"I designed I am who I am to educate, bring awareness, acceptance, inclusion and love to all those born different; to celebrate each and every unique life. I am the Executive Director for the foundation. We go into schools, doctors’ offices and educate that our children are more alike than different. We host HollyDays every November where we showcase the talents of our amazing community. I am on WGN Radio (The Patti Vasquez show) where we discuss and educate about all different special abilities and we use social media to brag and bring awareness. That inclusion and friendship begins with learning at home, around the kitchen table. I work with The Ray Graham training center high school in Chicago where we create art to sell. We JUST began the I am... Bath and Body product line where our community has the ability to learn and perform, all levels of business. From labeling to the artwork, to the board meeting and to selling the products giving them pride, self-worth, and extra cash!

I wrote a book called I am who I am that talks very openly about the challenges and gifts that a child with special needs brings to a family!" –Holly Simon


My specialty is my FIERCE love for these kids. As a proud mom of 5 and a mom to an amazing Down Syndrome child I believe we are the chosen ones put here to shout from the highest mountain that our kids are WORTHY and SPECTACULAR!​


"My fave quote is "It is what it is" so accept and move on, while moving forward with life try to move a few mountains. Do what you can to help others along your journey as I promise it will be life changing. To accept people just the way they are. We are all a bit different, so do not judge. Make this a better world by extending your hand, say hello and smile. It’s that simple. It really does take a village. Just do what you can to be the change." -Holly Simon



  • 2016 Iconic Women of Beverly Award

  • 2017 4 Star Chicago ABC-7

  • WGN Chicago's Very Own (2013, 2016)

  • Guest Host on the Pretty Late with Patti Vasquez Radio Show WGN Radio

  • Featured Top Chicagoan in Chicago Parent Magazine

  • Founder of the Annual HollyDays Awareness Event

  • CEO of the New I Am...Bath and Body Products

  • 2018 Mary Potter Humanitarian Award (Little company of Mary Hospital)

  • Named One of Glancer Magazine's 15 Most Charitable Women of 2017

  • Featured On Windy City Live ABC-7


Holly Simon

10440 S. Campbell Chicago IL 60655

(773) 547-3300


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