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December 2011

President’s Message
12 New Year Resolutions You Can Make

By Gail Zelitzky
President, NAWBO Chicago
Principal, Silver-Robins Consulting, LLC

Greetings NAWBO Members, Corporate Partners, Affiliates and Friends! The year, 2011, has flown faster than the speed of light! Since becoming your President in July I often hear this phrase rolling around in my head: “Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it Superman?” If only I were SuperWOMAN! So many miles to cover, so much to want to accomplish this year….so little time to do it! As we move into 2012, I want to wish all of you a peaceful and restful holiday season – hopefully spent renewing your energy and relaxing with family and friends. Your NAWBO leadership family continues to work so that 2012 will be productive and reinforce the power that is NAWBO.

12 NAWBO New Year Resolutions you (yes, YOU) can make to Connect, Learn and Grow with NAWBO Chicago:
1.    Join NAWBO if you are not already a member, OR get your colleagues to join if you are.
2.    Do you know a woman business owner whose revenues exceed $10mm and is not yet a member? – help us identify her and invite her to join our growing ranks of $10mm+ members.
3.    Spice up your holiday by attending the NAWBO Holiday Party on December 13.
4.    Join and support the NAWBO PAC – this is an important election year.
5.    Get involved in NAWBO Leadership – watch for the call for nominations in January.
6.    Support our two charitable outreach organizations: Girl Scouts of America and the Emergency Fund.
7.    Attend the new no-cost-to-members monthly breakfast - mark the 2nd Tuesday of each month in your calendar now, starting in January.
8.    Nominate a Corporate Woman of Achievement, NAWBO Business Owner of the Year and NAWBO Member of the Year for recognition at the annual Achievement Luncheon April 19 – you can self-nominate and winning these awards is a strategic method for growing your business.
9.    Get involved in a Strategic Forum or NAWBO Chicago committee to build your NAWBO relationships and strengthen your chapter.
10.    Speak out for procurement opportunities and doing business globally, locally – watch for these important new events coming, one in February and one in May.
11.    Ask how you can join a membership or corporate affairs committee; raise your hand to participate in a strategic task force – make this the year you get involved.
12.    Reach out to me – I want to hear from you!

Thank you for your continued interest in and support of NAWBO. We could not be the premier women’s membership organization of women business owners without you! 2012 – bring it on!

Remember, if you lift your arms to touch the ceiling, you limit your possibilities. If you go outside, take time to savor the beauty of the landscape and lift your arms to touch the sky, your possibilities are endless!

Wishing endless possibilities, Season’s Greetings and a Joyous New Year to all.

Not-To-Be-Missed Award Opportunities

By Sylvia Alston
Director - Communications, NAWBO Chicago
Principal, Write2Win Communications

Enter to Win $100,000 in FREE Technology and Business Services
The deadline to enter the Women’s Business Development Center’s 2011 Small Business Technology Makeover Competition is 5pm, Dec. 9, 2011!

Apply now to win more than $100,000 in FREE technology products and business services to help your business grow. Included with this prize package:
  • Server & Network Upgrade
  • Branding and Content Development
  • Executive Level Business Training
  • Laptop Computers and Networked Printer
  • Microsoft Small Business Server and Microsoft Office Professional 2011
  • Full Suite of Email Marketing Products and Services
To be eligible, your company must be:
1.) A for-profit business in Illinois
2.) Two years in business
3.) Maintain a minimum of four employee workstations and
4.) Have at least $1,000,000 in revenue.
For more information and entry application, visit the competition website.

Nominate NAWBO Chicago 2012 Award Honorees
NAWBO Chicago is pleased to accept nominations for three of our most prestigious signature awards: 2012 Woman Business Owner of the Year, Member of the Year and Corporate Woman of Achievement.

All nominations are reviewed by NAWBO Chicago past presidents, based on pre-determined criteria for each award. Award winners will be recognized and honored at our chapter’s Annual Celebration of Achievement Luncheon on April 19th, 2012 at the Chicago Hilton and Towers Hotel.

To recognize and encourage the talents of its members, the Chapter annually honors the NAWBO Woman Business Owner of the Year and NAWBO Member of the Year. These are exemplary members; they inspire us, and they propel entrepreneurism forward.

As well, NAWBO Chicago is highly appreciative of the role that its Corporate Partners play in the chapter. We also know that, within our Corporate Partner companies are women who are achieving success and deserve to be recognized.

A NAWBO Chicago Corporate Woman of Achievement is named by her respective firm as an individual who has:
•    Overcome obstacles to climb to extraordinary heights in her company while bringing other women along with her.
•    Accomplished extraordinary deeds in her company while paving the way for other women to follow.

2012 Nominations will be accepted until Friday, February 24, 2012. For more information, contact the chapter office.

Free! Monthly Membership Meetings Launch in 2012

By Katherine Boyd, Business Associate, Wells Fargo

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, January 10, 2012, when our dynamic Monthly Membership Meeting returns to NAWBO Chicago! Members have requested more networking and more educational sessions, so we are pleased to take this opportunity to bring you both for FREE as part of your membership in NAWBO Chicago.

Meetings will take place the second Tuesday of every month from 8 am to 10 am, except for the months of the Achievement Luncheon (April), NAWBO Day (October) and the Holiday Party (December).  

NAWBO is known to be tight-knit yet casual, and has become invaluable in forming relationships and forging alliances, so these networking events are an even more important opportunity to meet your next business partner or client. The coaching and educational aspects provide even more incentive to attend and actively participate.

Events are free to members; however, we ask that all members sign up through the NAWBO Chicago events calendar ( so that we can plan accordingly for each meeting. Non-members are invited and welcome to join us for a fee of only $30 per meeting.

For more information regarding these events, please feel free to contact Melissa Lagowski, the Membership Retention Chair, at

“3 Secrets to Building a Powerful Daily Sales Routine in 2012,” presented by Kirsten Zoub, Sales Director, Wright Institute

As a business owner, you are a salesperson whether you think so or not; you sell yourself -- and your product or service -- every day to grow your business. Are you ready to come out of the gates strong in 2012? Do you know what it takes to meet your annual sales goal? To succeed, one merely needs to benefit from the knowledge and experience of those who have succeeded.

Join us at the NAWBO Monthly Membership Meeting, Tuesday, January 10 from 8 am to 10 am (First Chicago Bank & Trust, 1145 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Itasca), and welcome entrepreneur and business coach, Kirsten Zoub, as she shares her powerful secrets that can make 2012 your most successful year to date.

Why Itasca?
Explains Melissa Lagowski, Membership Retention Chair, “Members have told us repeatedly that they do not want all of our NAWBO events to be held downtown, so we are trying a new location.” Therefore, all meetings will be held at First Chicago Bank & Trust, 1145 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Itasca, in conjunction with Wintrust until the new Wintrust facility in Rosemont becomes available, and then meetings will be held there. “We believe members will gain substantially increased benefits from meeting more members from across the Chicagoland area,” Melissa adds.

Save these dates for your free monthly membership meetings
January 10, 2012
February 14, 2012
March 13, 2012
May 8, 2012
June 12, 2012
July 10, 2012
August 14, 2012
September 11, 2012
November 13, 2012

Connections Corner

By Michele Katz
Chair - Member Benefits, NAWBO Chicago
Partner, Husch Blackwell LLP (Corporate Partner of NAWBO Chicago)

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 with other members:

NAWBO member Melissa Lagowski of Big Buzz Idea Group, changed agents for her family’s health insurance plan to Guy Viti Insurance. Melissa did not think that they could really do much since it was such a small account and was already set up, but she wanted to give her business to a fellow NAWBO member. Great thinking Melissa! As her policy came up for renewal, she saw firsthand what this agency was capable of! In the past, every year in August, her premium increased and her prior two agents never advised her differently. But this year was different; when she called Ester Viti with a question about the policy, after a short conversation, Viti proposed an option that would save Melissa about $100 per month. How amazing to work with an agency that was working to save their client’s money! In supporting a fellow NAWBO member, Melissa’s monthly premiums are going down instead of up, and of course she is thrilled and expects to be a long-time customer of Guy Viti Insurance.

This connection was made during a NAWBO event. Gillian Schultz of Metronet Integration overheard Linda Forman CPA saying something like, “The only thing that's missing in my family room is a nice TV but it's impossible.” Gillian to the rescue! The "floating TV" was a concept that existed only in Linda’s mind, until she spoke with Gillian that is. After being told her desired TV layout would not work by others in the field, Linda was delighted at Gillian’s optimism. Linda’s issue was that her family room had a difficult layout to incorporate a TV. Two walls had floor to ceiling libraries and there was a large opening to the kitchen. One wall and part of the ceiling were solid glass facing east, making the sun's glare AND surround sound both big issues. And Linda was not willing to cede any space in the library wall to place a TV and had been making do with an 8" TV in the kitchen. But after watching the men in her family huddle around that small TV to watch a game, she had to find someone who could enable her "floating TV" concept. Enter Gillian and Jack Schultz. They were amazing – Linda had a flat screen TV with surround sound that connected wirelessly to cable, DVD/VCR and the internet. The TV glides just in front of the library suspended on a solid track from the ceiling, allowing Linda access to any section of the library. AND there was no glare from the sun. Their solution for surround sound was ingenious. And the work was done as promised with a white glove attention to leaving the room pristine from the installation. Linda cannot sing the praises of the Metronet team loudly enough!

Take advantage of this free PR and share your NAWBO connections! To submit your story, please contact NAWBO member and Chair of Member Benefits, Michele Katz.

Strategic Forums Announces New Position

By Linda I. McCabe
Director - Strategic Forums, NAWBO Chicago
Founder and President, Optimal Level, LLC

NAWBO Chicago announces both a new position for Strategic Forums and a wonderful person filling that position. Farrah Hogan, President, Hogan Construction Management, is our new Strategic Forums Committee Chair. She will be assisting Linda McCabe, Director of Strategic Forums with many of the duties of Strategic Forum Leadership and working with Group Leaders and members to help with their groups. She will be visiting meetings from time to time, focusing on ways to help grow membership, and keeping things running smoothly. She will monitor reports, assist with planning, and generally oversee the management of our Strategic Forums. We welcome Farrah in this leadership position and wish her well as she serves NAWBO Chicago.

“Strategic Forums have been growing steadily as a way to bring NAWBO Chicago members closer as they meet on a regular basis to share contributions, challenges, strategies, new ideas, and successes. We are so grateful to NAWBO members who are embracing our Business Development, Roundtable, and Special Interest groups. Farrah will be a wonderful help as we continue to make our Strategic Forums grow stronger and better.”

Strategic Forums: What Are They Anyway?

By Linda I. McCabe
Director - Strategic Forums, NAWBO Chicago
Founder and President, Optimal Level, LLC

There seems to be a little confusion at times and since these groups have re-structured over recent years, some members who have been in NAWBO Chicago for some time seem to call them all “SIGS.”

To get a clear idea of what these NAWBO Chicago groups really are, click here:

Strategic Forums have been continuing to grow in popularity among NAWBO members.  Whether you are brand, spanking new and want to connect with other women business owners or have been around for quite some time, these Strategic Forum groups achieve common goals for NAWBO Chicago women; they help you make meaningful connections and help you learn different ways to grow your business.

I hear wonderful comments from Strategic Forum members about the friends and connections they make, the referrals they receive, and the excellent benefit their group is to their business.  Use the NAWBO Chicago website link above, click through, and read about the different kinds of groups, when and where the groups meet, and who to contact for the group you would like to visit.

Did you know you can guest at these meetings to get an idea of how valuable they will be to you?

Membership Briefs

Advertise with us
Remember, you can advertise in this newsletter and on the NAWBO Chicago chapter website -- and have your organization's message seen by hundreds of area business owners. Click here for ad rates, etc.

Become a NAWBO Chicago Corporate Partner
Join our growing list of generous Corporate Partners – loyal sponsors willing to make an annual upfront financial pledge to underwrite valuable chapter educational programming and networking events. Click here to meet our Partners and learn more about the NAWBO Chicago Corporate Partners program.

Join a Chapter Committee

Call to Action: The Charitable & Social Outreach Committee Needs You!  
Lori Hilson Cioromski, Director of Charitable & Social Outreach, NAWBO Chicago, and President, TH Hilson Company is looking to form a committee to help support our community and women in crisis. “Please see the priorities and objectives for 2011 and contact me via email, as I am in need of a few good women to help make an impact,” Lori says.

Leadership Position Opening
Emily Smith, Director-Membership, NAWBO Chicago, and Vice President, Chicagoland Commercial Real Estate, Tenant Advisory Division, reports that the chapter currently has a leadership opening: Membership Development Committee Chair. “It is an excellent networking opportunity and chance to get involved,” Emily says. “All seasoned and new members are eligible so please contact me if you are interested and I would love to set up a call to discuss further details.”

Volunteer and Learn About Marketing, PR
Have ideas on how to improve NAWBO Chicago’s website?

Want to learn how to use social media or attract media coverage?

Sylvia Alston, Director-Communications, NAWBO Chicago, and Principal, Write2Win Communications, says “We need volunteers to help drive our chapter website makeover, promote upcoming events, awards and other opportunities through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, and secure more media coverage for our chapter and members.

“Even if you don’t have communications experience, all you need is an ounce of enthusiasm and a few hours per month,” Sylvia says. “Plus: you’ll gain skills you can apply to raise your own business’ profile. To volunteer for communications, contact me.”

Member In The News

NAWBO Member Kris Martinez Farrell earned coverage in the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets for her firm’s work with Pearson Fuels, an alternative fuels company based in San Diego.

“Pearson contacted us, looking for an interesting, engaging way to educate the general public about the facts around alternative energy. “Our first animated commercial for them has been getting a lot of attention. We're looking forward to starting on the next spot in this series to get the message out even further.”

Crain’s Chicago Subscription Is a GREAT Perk!

By Shannon Nyhan, Senior Account Executive, Global Payments

While inquiring about becoming a member of NAWBO, I learned that your new membership includes a one year subscription to Crain’s Chicago Business newspaper.

I have been a huge fan and avid reader of Crain’s for years so it certainly wasn’t new for me. However, I did value the partnership between Crain’s and NAWBO. And when I look back, it was actually a Crain’s Women’s Forum that I first encountered members of NAWBO. And they were there in force! Literally everyone at my table was a member. This certainly intrigued me and I wanted to find out more about this organization. At first, I assumed since I did not own my own business I would not be able to become a member. I found out this is not the case and was able to join as a representative of a large corporation.

I believe the relationship between NAWBO and Crain’s Chicago is invaluable. Like partnerships are supposed to work, both benefit significantly from the other.  I know there are plenty of other professional women who have discovered NAWBO through Crain’s in addition to me. Conversely, I know there are NAWBO members who had never had a chance to read Crain’s until their free subscription and now appreciate the incredible wealth of information it provides.

As a professional woman living in Chicago I want to know what is going on in the business community of Chicago. And that is Crain’s main purpose. Unlike the large newspapers, Crain’s focuses an ALL businesses – big and small. What I learn from Crain’s weekly allows me to keep updated on all that is important in the community. And receiving their daily updates lets me know up to the minute.

I continue to subscribe to Crain’s and can’t imagine working in Chicago without it. I hope that all of our members take advantage of this great offer of a free one year subscription. In addition, I would recommend signing up for their free email updates. You will never be out of the Loop again!

NAWBO BENEFITS-Did you know…

By Michele Katz, Chair of Member Benefits, NAWBO Chicago
Partner, Husch Blackwell LLP (Corporate Partner of NAWBO Chicago)

…we want to hear about your connections?  Have you made personal or professional connections with other NAWBO members?  Whether you found an accountant, officer materials or house painter through another NAWBO member, submit a few lines about that connection, send them to me, Michele Katz (email below), and expect to see your name and business highlighted in Connections Corner of the monthly e-bulletin.  Another free benefit from your NAWBO membership!

...NAWBO should be your No. 1 resource?  Members have access to the on-line membership database where you can search by key word, name, or type of member.  In addition, if you have a need, 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!

... that the more you put in, the more you will receive?  Meeting in person is still an important way to make new contacts and strengthen business and personal relationships.  Check the for committees and upcoming events and get involved.  For example, Jennifer Strezo of Red Seal Design is the leader of NAWBO’s Network of Women Entrepreneurs Business Development Group and they are looking for more members in a wide range of industries.  Come to NAWBO’s holiday party on December 13, from 5-8 pm, at Petterino’s.  More details on-line.

Any questions about NAWBO Benefits, please do not hesitate to contact NAWBO member and Chair of Member Benefits, Michele Katz.

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