GAZELLE STL DECEMBER 2017 - Page 77

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE was great in sports, but I gained confidence, and I embraced Mathews- Dickey’s three ‘R’ values of respect, restraint and responsibility.” In her teens, she discovered the Upward Bound Summer Program at Saint Louis University, and was exposed to new possibilities - like becoming a lawyer. She earned her Juris doctorate at SLU, and the rest, as they say, is history. “In my opinion, being a judge is the highest form of public service,” Colbert-Botchway said. “I am thrilled to be in a position that deals in fairness and impartiality. Penelope Schmidt Entrepreneur, Community Advocate We all know about the effects of 9/11 – the loss of life and suffering of the families left behind. But what about those who lived near ground zero? That fateful day, Penelope Schmidt lived with her husband at 10th Street and University Place in Manhattan. “We watched it unfold, then had to wear masks, keep our windows closed, and our IDs were checked when we came into our neighborhood. There were pictures of missing people everywhere,” she said. “It was life-changing.” So much so that they left their jobs, and decided to do something of greater service. Schmidt grew up in Elsah, Illinois, graduated from Principia College with majors in art history and French, and later opened the exclusive Schmidt Bingham Gallery in Manhattan. After 9/11, she closed the gallery and became a private dealer. Then she became very sick. She was weak, exhausted, lost weight, lost hair, and couldn’t walk. She returned home, and was diagnosed with adrenal exhaustion and PTSD. Eventually, she made Alton, Illinois, her permanent home, and converted a large commercial building into a high-end mixed-use development, which she stills owns and manages. She became an active member of the community, involved in many organizations. She said her life change was – without question – triggered by 9/11. Studies show that many Americans experienced symptoms of stress after the attacks, and living so close made it especially difficult. Diane Tessman Textile Artist A seamstress all of her life, Diane Tessman’s family tree has a long line of textile artists, and she is no exception. And quite by accident, 30 years ago, her specialty became hats. “I started making teddy bears, dressed them in hats, and for some reason, the hats stuck,” Tessman said. All of her chapeaus are hand braided, made mostly of recycled material that started life as draperies, jackets, sweaters, or a pair of blue jeans, though she occasionally utilizes new fabric. Her former husband’s family was in the foundry business, which brought them to St. Louis 40 years ago, but Tessman has not lost her Minnesota accent that only adds to her charm. “I also read and feel subtle energies, and I am very conscience of what I feel when I’m sewing,” she said. “I want all of my hats to ‘feel good.’” She operates Tessman Textiles with her sister, Sharon Tessman Hoiland, who still lives “back home.” Their grandpa was the patriarch who started the textile tradition as a weaver. And now, Tessman’s two daughters and granddaughter have picked up the proverbial thread, and are carrying on that tradition. To see more of her hats, visit tessmantextiles.com. Penelope Schmidt Diane Tessman SAVVY I SOPHISTICATED I SASSY 75