By Charisse Witherspoon
President, NAWBO Chicago
President/CEO, Witherspoon Marketing Group, Inc.
Make February another month you do something new.
February is known as Black History Month, which would make a greeting on the value of diversity in business somewhat of an obvious option for a monthly message. Related information in messages across America continues to be priceless for this (and every) month. And I plan to, intentionally, select another month for a greeting that explores the ongoing advantages of multicultural inclusion in today’s business arena.
Perhaps February is your back-to-reality month. The holidays are behind us. The year is new. You are in the office more. Temperatures are low. Goals remain high. Some problems are newly fixed, or some resolutions already are broken. Different days mean different things to different people every month. In addition to February featuring National Freedom Day, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, some have dubbed February 15 as Singles Awareness Day. Others observe the third week as International Flirting Week.
I encourage you to have fun thinking about the last two in your business. Consider the flexibility of being “unattached” at various levels of entrepreneurship. Of course you are linked to your business, your partners, employees, customers and vendors. But you can exercise your mind to think about the possibilities of your individual position in your enterprise.
People naturally resist change, and some 2012 regimens should have ended with that year. Call NAWBO Chicago, and let us know the type of help you need this year. You can rock your own boat, and we can help. Confidential, free input from the Advisory Council is a great start.
And don’t forget to “flirt,” at least a little, with different concepts that are out of your “norm.” Check the NAWBO Chicago calendar to see which events have been added. Or volunteer to help create one that you (and others) also would like to attend. Toy with the idea of building or joining a (NAWBO) team for the project you thought was “too big.” Extend a bit of shy “eye contact” to those e-mails you have been ignoring regarding legitimate overseas opportunities.
Remember, we believe in both “strength in numbers” and “the power of one.” Get to know our Corporate Partners. Get to know other members. And see this “shortest month” as the easiest one to start something new. A lot can happen in 28 days!
All the best,
New Executive Director and Management Company
The NAWBO Chicago Board of Directors is pleased to announce Melissa Lagowski and Big Buzz Idea Group as our new Executive Director and Association Management Firm, respectively.
We also extend our appreciation and gratitude to Michael Chan and the entire Bostrom team for their service to NAWBO Chicago over past years and through 2012.
Workshop: What Women Should Know
Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC believes that women play a vital role in enriching our families and communities. Our firm knows that you realize the importance of adapting to the changing needs of your family and work. Life is full of milestones: graduating high school/college, starting your career, buying your first home, having a child, and you know what to do, for the most part, to prepare yourself for these events. From graduating high school to entering into retirement, this program addresses additional measures you should take to ensure you protect your family and assets.
Tuesday, February 12
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Wintrust Financial Center
9700 West Higgins Road
2nd Floor Conference Room, Rosemont
(Free and ample parking available in adjacent lot)
Click here for more information.
Join Gail Zelitzky, veteran business coach, owner, teacher and founder of 2 multi-million dollar businesses and George Berlin, Live iPad artist who helps big brands like Toyota, Coca-Cola and Harley-Davidson tell their stories through live visualization. In this abbreviated version of a best seller, you will find out how "The Simple Art of Business" can help you "Tame Time." Come face-to-face with your individual style, and so much more. Remember, if you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you always got!! It's TIME for a change. If you are tired of chasing time, or just want more of it, this event is for you.
Tuesday, February 19
8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Naperville Bank & Trust Community Room
555 Fort Hill Drive, Naperville
10,000 Small Business Alumni Panel and Information Session
- Learn how to identify and seize opportunities to grow your business!
- Hear from graduates and get assistance in applying!
- Convenient classes, powerful networking, remarkable results!
Tuesday, February 19
Harold Washington College
30 E. Lake Street, Room 1001, Chicago
Are You Running Your Business or is It Running You?
If you are the owner, leader or manager of an entrepreneurial organization who wants to see your business consistently run better and grow faster, Bobi Siembieda and EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) can help you and your team simplify, clarify and achieve your vision. You won't want to miss this networking breakfast!
Tuesday, February 26
8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Old Plank Trail Community Bank
20012 Wolf Road, Mokena
Prospective Member Wine Events
NAWBO Chicago Area Chapter members and guests are invited to one or more of these four very special evenings:
- Network with NAWBO Board of Directors, Leaders and members
- Learn important information about the new and improved NAWBO Chicago
- Meet Chicago Arthritis Foundation Executive Director and Women Leaders
- Learn how CAF is working hard for women
- Enjoy mixing and mingling with members and guests
- Win a valuable drawing worth up to $200
Why do some wines go better with particular foods while others ruin the flavor? Paula Sankarsingh, noted wine expert and Executive Director, The Chicago Arthritis Foundation, will entertain and educate each evening's selections and provide insight that will make you a hostess extraordinaire!
Wednesday, February 27
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
20 N. Clark St., Chicago
Click here to RSVP
For more information or to RSVP for one of the other dates, please click on the links below.
Thursday, March 7
Wednesday, March 13
Thursday, March 21
Strategic Forums Take On a Whole New Identity and Purpose
Our Strategic Forums have been revamped to bring NAWBO Chicago to more members in the city and suburban neighborhoods. They now will be know as Business Xchange Groups (BX Group) retiring the names of Business Development and Business Roundtable Groups. Business Xchange Groups will be more inclusive by welcoming NAWBO Chicago members of all industries thereby eliminating some of our former non-compete restrictions. We look forward to this new initiative aimed at increasing not only the membership of current groups, but also the number of new BX groups across the Chicagoland area. We look forward to your feedback on this member-friendly program.
Badge To Business Program
In support of the Girl Scouts organization, Badge to Business is looking for business owners and professionals to speak about their business sense and tell their stories to a group of young girls from all over Chicago. This event will take place at Journey World, an experimental space that mimics businesses such as banks, TV stations, office environments, city government and science. NAWBO Chicago members are encouraged to donate their time by discussing how they do their business in their own way or by sponsoring the event.
Saturday, April 20
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
770 N. Halsted Street, Chicago
(Corner of Halsted St. and Chicago Ave.)
Click here for more information.
Business Accelerator Program
Enhance your marketing plan
It’s early in the new year – the perfect time to create or update your marketing plan. Want to get the most out of your marketing strategy? Knowing your business’ identity is essential to virtually any marketing plan. In this webinar, Michelle Lanter Smith discusses the steps to developing your business identity, along with five secrets to successful marketing.
Refer an Entrepreneur to Win!
And don’t forget, between now and February 14, you still can enter our “Refer an Entrepreneur” sweepstakes.
By referring a fellow entrepreneur to the Business Accelerator Program, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $450 Apple Store Gift Card.
Get the coaching you need to grow your business
If you have not already enrolled, get the coaching you need to take your business to the next level and at no charge to you!
Underwritten by American Family Insurance, this is your opportunity to gain access to a wealth of information and top rated growth coaches.
Enroll today and start implementing these fantastic tools!
Your business dream is out there. Go get it. We’ll protect it.
NAWBO members are making business-generating connections every day. Find out who’s making connections at NAWBO’s Connections Corner.
Help propel women entrepreneurs into economic, social, and political spheres of power and shop NAWBO first! These members did. Read these recent examples of NAWBO members doing business together:
Dobra Bielinski, owner of Delightful Pastries, worked with Emily Smith (Chicagoland Commercial Real Estate) to restructure her existing café lease in Old Town. Dobra had 24 months remaining on her lease when she contacted Emily for a lease evaluation. Emily was able to review the current terms and quickly assess that Dobra was currently paying well above market. Since Dobra was confident in her business model and ultimately wanted to stay in her space, Emily advised doing a lease restructure instead of renewal closer to expiration. By approaching the landlord early to do a blend and extend, Emily was able to negotiate an immediate 29% reduction on the rental rate, significantly improving Dobra’s bottom line. As an important side note, Dobra has received lots of media attention lately for developing a new “drunkin donut”-- she was recently featured on ABC 7 news, The Tonight Show, and WGN.
Michele Kurlander of Kurlander & Associates practices corporate law. Michele Katz of Advitam IP practices Intellectual Property law (patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.). This Michele duo (yes, both spelled with only one “L”) has leveraged their NAWBO relationship and has represented each other’s clients with corporate and intellectual property issues. Their relationship has provided great value to their clients and contacts. Great team work ladies!
It’s your turn! Take advantage of this free PR opportunity to share your NAWBO connections. To submit your story, please contact Michele Katz of Advitam IP.
See What NAWBO Is Doing For Members
Did you know...
…NAWBO’s looking for leaders?
It is that time of year again to nominate leaders for Board positions. You can nominate yourself. The Form and information about this process can be found on the NAWBO Chicago website.
…NAWBO can help you find that perfect referral?
Come to NAWBO first. Members have access to the online membership database where you can search by keyword, name, or type of member. In addition, feel free to send an email out through NAWBO’s listserv. You’ll be amazed at how fast other members will respond with just the information that you’re looking for!
…NAWBO offers a monthly membership breakfast?
The next one is taking place on February 12 at the offices of Waltz, Palmer & Dawson from 8:00-10:00 a.m. This event is free for members. More details and registration information here.
Submitted by NAWBO member and Chair of Member Benefits Michele Katz, Founding Partner of Intellectual Property law firm Advitam IP, LLC; feel free to direct questions about membership benefits to Michele.
Members In The News
President-Elect Inspires Teen Girls
Lori Hilson, President and CEO of TH Hilson Company, a specialty chemical distributorship, has a passion for encouraging young girls to pursue careers in science. Last month Lori, was the featured speaker at “Discover Your Gift: A Mother & Daughter Celebration,” sponsored by the Mothers Club of Benet Academy. Her talk focused on empowering the teens in her audience to gain confidence in themselves by allowing them to realize their full potential.
“I am always delighted to talk to high school girls about the career opportunities available in the chemical industry,” Lori says. “I love inspiring them to be strong and to follow their dreams.”
Benet Academy is a highly renowned college prep High School located in Lisle, which places a heavy emphasis on math and science.
This was not Lori’s first mentorship experience with teen girls. Before becoming this chapter’s President-Elect, Lori served as Director of Charitable and Community Outreach, and also led many of our Next Generation Outreach Committee activities. As examples, she participated in a Chicago Public Schools Job Shadow Day by hosting some 30 high school girls to show them what a woman-run business looks like. At another career day she organized, she introduced college level female chemistry students from Taylor University to learn about opportunities in food science technology. She also conducted a career day for 57 Chicago State University students to visit Sherwin Williams to learn about opportunities in the paint and coatings industry.
Congratulations, Linda Forman for being interviewed and featured, January 27, on ABC Channel 7 News.
Linda, a CPA, spoke with ABC 7's Alan Krashesky about income tax deductions you should be aware of and the documentation needed for some deductions if you want to avoid raising a red flag with the IRS. Click here to see Linda's interview.
New Smartphone App Helps With Your Drive Time
Greetings from the Illinois Department of Transportation. Our department has come out with a new Smartphone app called Travel Midwest Mobile. This app is completely free and available on Android and Apple phones. This app allows commuters to access travel times and road conditions before getting on the road. Time issues are one of the biggest expenses for any business. Travel Midwest Mobile would help increase the productivity of a business by enabling their employees and customers to know the traffic before they leave their destination.
Users should be able to go to either the Apple App Store (the iPhone App Store on their iPhone, not the Mac App Store on their Mac) or the Google Play Store on their Android device and simply search for "travel midwest" and find it.