727 Howard Street, Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 859-9427

Our Team

Empowerment Center

Our Team

Laura Litton

Laura Litton

Change Instigator, Board President

Laura takes big problems and breaks them down into manageable chunks while brainstorming, collaborating, and delivering solutions. Her passion is enabling teachers to feel confident and supported so they are able to stay in the classroom and bring more continuity and dynamic teaching strategies to our students. From teaching, coaching, leading a school, and working in the education technology start-up world, she has grown her skills in identifying issues and then working tirelessly with students, teachers, school leaders, and software engineers to promote positive and sustainable solutions that continue challenging students and bringing teachers joy.
Tara Photo

Tara Brinkman

Change Agent, Center Admin

Tara lives with her family and two dogs in Rogers Park near the Evanston/Chicago border. She has worked in organizations/positions that seek to help empower women, girls, and families all of her adult life, and is excited to be a part of the Hip Circle community. Tara’s top three “happy places” are, in order, listening to/watching live music, playing at the beach with her kids, and taking yoga classes. Tara uses the pronouns she/her/hers.

Susan Emery

Change Instigator, Board Secretary, Teacher

Susan is an information management specialist and technologist who seeks all forms of physical movement to offset her computer-focused career. With experience working at companies ranging in size from a one-room startup to an enormous global tech company, Susan enjoys working in small groups best and finds the Hip Circle vision and mission as well as the challenges of providing quality services to local communities inspiring. Susan moved to Evanston in 1996, left and then returned in 1999 and through Hip Circle has committed to being a positive influence through action to bring access to the special empowerment services of Hip Circle to more women.
Picture of Tiffany Gorman

Tiffany Gorman

Change Instigator, Teacher

Tiffany Gorman is a poet, doula, and yogi. She went to Fisk University for undergraduate school and Johnson & Wales University for culinary school. After years in professional kitchens, having her daughter caused Tiffany to change careers to early childhood education. She has a Master's degree from Erikson Institute in early childhood development. Tiffany aims to project love and pride for her people by utilizing all of the wellness techniques available to her.
Profile of Rose Sunila

Rose Sunila

Change Instigator, Teacher

Rose is a dance educator and RYT500 yoga teacher, whose journey in life has taken her to living in three continents. She has been collecting her craft of movement from these corners of the world. Rose is a lover of all movement; mindful, experiential, introspected, and movement that simply feels good. Through the practice of yoga and self-study, Rose re-centers and grounds the body, mind and spirit.

Malik Turley

Change Instigator, Founder, Executive Director, Teacher

Malik Turley is a passionate and highly capable woman who, when she does something, goes all in. Perhaps surprisingly, her first career was IT. The experience of attending the home-birth of her friend’s child led to her becoming a Doula, which led to the discovery of belly dancing as a beneficial pregnancy exercise. This changed the course of her life. Belly dancing as exercise–and its impact on women–fully activated Malik’s interest in physical health. This propelled her through a procession of certifications and levels of instruction: Certified Datura Style™ Belly Dance Instructor (the only one in the Midwest); Licensed Zumba and Zumba Gold Instructor, Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach. When we say your physical health is in good hands with Malik, you can believe it.   Her fitness instruction took her to facilities all over Chicago and the suburbs. What she found was a lot of dissatisfied women: women who felt uncomfortable in the typical health club, who didn’t want a co-ed space, who wanted more personal attention and guidance. Essentially, women who wanted to be seen, heard, and celebrated for who they are. Hip Circle was created for those women. As she worked closely with women and girls at Hip Circle, she observed a link between self-worth and body image that she didn’t herself have. She was compelled to unpack these two ideas and work with women to help them see that they ALL have worth above, beyond, and independent of their physical shape. She continues to explore and foster that philosophy at Hip Circle and has codified it in the Empowering through Movement™ teacher training program.

Daina Jauntirans

Change Instigator, Board Treasurer

Daina is a lover of languages, which she gets to use daily as a professional translator of German and Latvian. Her translation business has been going strong for nearly two decades now. An ETHS grad and long-time Evanston resident, she is also the mom of two feminist daughters. When she is not taking fitness classes and co-working at Hip Circle, Daina enjoys her dog and cat, reading, bullet journaling, listening to podcasts, and traveling, hiking and camping with her husband.

Kjerstine Humiston

Change Agent, Center Admin

Kjerstine is an artist, a mom, and a fan of strong women. She is very happy to join the Hip Circle family. Raised in Evanston, she is happy to return to Evanston to raise her own daughter here. Kjerstine uses the pronouns she/her/hers.
Stephanie Draus

Stephanie Draus

Change Instigator, Board Member, Teacher

Stephanie Draus, ND, RYT-200 is a naturopathic doctor, a yoga and meditation instructor, and a lifelong defender of the right of all women to speak our minds, own our power, and take up space. A native of Chicago and a graduate of Loyola University, she is proud to support Hip Circle's mission to empower women in Evanston, Rogers Park, and beyond from her current home in Mystic, CT. Stephanie is certified in Embodyoga and Mindful Yoga Therapy. Her meditation instruction is based in Vipassana practice as taught in the Shambhala tradition. Her teaching focuses on a rooted experience of body, connecting breath, mind, and spirit to bone, muscle, and fascia. She finds joy in movement and in the marvels of the body (anatomy is power!) and finds peace in the connection of breath to movement and body to mind. Breathe, laugh, honor your skeleton!
Nancy Syburg

Nancy Syburg

Change Agent, Center Admin

Nancy is a 45 year resident of Rogers Park. After retiring from school administration she does childcare, goes to the theatre, reads and comes to HCE as often as possible.