Classic Chicago Woman May 2017
Illustrated by Rosemary Fanti
Written by Megan McKinney
Meredith Wood-Prince: One of the prettiest women in Chicago . . . as gracious as she is lovely . . . devoted to family and animals . . . amazingly centered . . . balances family and community involvement while radiating glamour.
Once: New York City upbringing . . . nine years at Chapin School . . . graduated from Aiglon, boarding school in Switzerland . . . attended Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida for four years.
Then: Moved to Atlanta, Georgia . . . worked at BBDO, advertising agency for three years. “I enjoyed my time working for a huge, national company.” Through a family friend received “the incredible opportunity” of helping a small business. Owner Laura Pearce “took me under her wing . . . introduced me to the incredible world of estate jewelry and the fun of working for a small, local business and learning its importance in the community.”
Then Again: “It was in my last two years working there that I was fortunate enough to meet Patrick Wood-Prince, which eventually brought me to Chicago!”
Chicago Hospitality: “People were kind enough to embrace me from the beginning, and I will never forget the warmth that they showed me.” A huge shout-out to Alison McNally: “I will never forget the gorgeous Alison picking me up and taking me out to lunch when I was nine months pregnant and had just moved here! As a New Yorker, I can firmly say that I’m happy my kids are Midwestern.”
Family: Husband, Patrick Wood-Prince, account director at Jones Lang LaSalle. Three children: Harry, 13, Piper, 11, and Winslow, nine. All attend the Latin School of Chicago.
Home: A Lincoln Park house, created by Meredith and L.A. designer Ruthie Sommers. “My favorite part about it is the immense amounts of color it has it in….it cheers me up on gray days.”
Having It All: Full-time mother until 2012. “When all three of my kids were in school full-time, I launched The Scout Guide Chicago,” a publication designed to promote and celebrate locally owned businesses. A friend started it in Charlottesville. “I was excited to help her spread the love in the Midwest.” Enjoyed everything about owning her own business, but “after a few years, my children’s weekend travel sports schedules started conflicting with work.” In April 2016, sold the magazine to a friend of a client. “It was bittersweet, but I know I will never get this time back with my children, so the choice was obvious to me!”
Now: Most weekends are spent at “some sort of sporting meet. My son Harry runs and Piper swims.” Travels most weekends for swim meets with Piper during 11-month swim season, “so I’m not home much. I get immeasurable amounts of joy watching my kids compete in meets. I’m in awe of their hard work and dedication! My little guy loves anything with a mouse and a screen and loves to build just about anything.”
Interests: “Couldn’t live” without animals! “Sounds strange, but it’s true! I have two sweet doggies, Dilly and Sherman, who I’m infatuated with, and if I lived in the country, I would have five more!” Deeply committed to homeless animal community in Chicago. “If money grew on trees, I would house and feed every homeless animal in Chicago! I’m excited to make a difference with both my time and our foundation dollars.”
Further Interests: Fitness . . . Wellness . . . Nutrition. “Every year, I go on an exercise retreat to help reset my metabolism and clear out my mental space.” So far, to Mallorca and Malibu. “I’m a fan of integrative medicine and believe that one’s mental well-being is connected to health and longevity.”
For the Public Good: “I proudly serve on the Advisory Council for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and love everything I learn from that board.” Also “honored” to serve on the Northwestern Memorial Woman’s Board and Lyric Opera Women’s Board. “Both are filled with incredibly driven woman who make this city better every day.” Patrick is a Trustee of the Goodman Theatre and Field Museum; also serves on the Auxiliary Board of the Art Institute and is chairman of the family foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, in Chicago, which supports cultural, health care and other philanthropic programs.
Classic Connections: Granddaughter-in-law of two of 20th century’s most prominent Chicago and Newport citizens, the late Eleanor and William Wood-Prince . . . Great-granddaughter-in-law of Frederick H. Prince, owner of Chicago’s legendary Union Stockyards, and 1920s savior of Armour & Company . . . Her own great-grandfather Eugene Mendels was a founder of the American Stock Exchange. Colorful Prohibition era grandfather, Abner Zwillman, romanced Jean Harlow, sending a two-picture deal her way through a large loan to Columbia Pictures head, Harry Cohn.
What’s Next: “In the future, I would love to help the homeless animal community in some way. My dream scenario would be to start an animal therapy program at Lurie’s that I can eventually have my children take over when they are older. I have so much respect for Paula Fasseas and what she has done at PAWS. I’m truly in awe of her accomplishments.”
Edited by Amanda K. O’Brien