A recent breast cancer survivor, Barbara Bates is a Chicago native and designer who has been working in the fashion industry for over 25 years and knows what it means to be a fighter. After struggling as a teen mom, Bates began her fashion career while working as a secretary for the First National Bank of Chicago by selling her designs. She began selling designs in the bathroom during her lunch breaks. Within two years, she expanded her clientele and had her own showroom. Bates has designed for numerous celebrities, including Whitney Houston, Michael Jordon, Steve Harvey and Cece Winans. In 1999, she founded the Bates Foundation, which provides custom prom attire/dresses for underprivileged young women and men from inner-city Chicago schools.