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December 2012

President's Message - December 2012

By Charisse Witherspoon
President, NAWBO Chicago
President/CEO, Witherspoon Marketing Group, Inc.

So where did the time go? Many of you have commented that you are looking out of office windows and at your schedules (and piles of work, and to-do lists, unaddressed) …and wondering how December got here (again) so quickly. Well, time to make the most of it. In addition to holiday festivities, and (of course) prioritizing the NAWBO Chicago Holiday Party on December 13, the end of a calendar year is a great time to complete all or most of your annual evaluations.

How did your business do in 2012? And what should you improve in 2013? What should you do more and what do you need to stop altogether? Don’t wait until January 1 to be honest with yourself. Ask the hard questions and document your answers, as well as new growth questions. We tend to gravitate toward targeted marketing, sales and cash flow. But your business is more than that.

This month, continue to think about your business plan (new or revised), and how closely you adhered to it in 2012. Think about the changes you needed to make and the reasons for them. Think about the long-term implications of your client relationships and your financial strategies. Review your time management and your internal/external reporting systems. And,  of course,  scrutinize which “who” is responsible for your “what” in your product or service enterprise. Write down who should, or will, replace you if/when necessary, and why. Then challenge all of your answers. Consider what you’ve learned this year and what you still need to know or incorporate in your operating procedures for the next. 

Incomplete as the items mentioned here may be, they are among those both critical and “easier said than done.”   That is why you also have at your disposal your NAWBO membership.

Participate in NAWBO Chicago events. Take advantage of local and national committees and networks. Sign up for an Advisory Board session. Avail yourself of the NAWBO Chicago sisterhood of energy and expertise. And let us (any member of Leadership) know what we can do to help you reach more of your goals in 2013. 

Wishing you an enjoyable and blessed holiday season! 

And, we’ll  see you on the 13th!

All the best,


Light Up the Season with NAWBO

Light Up the Season with NAWBO as we celebrate this year's holiday season. Eat, drink, mingle, network, shop and give with other interesting business owners. You won't want to miss this great holiday event in DIRTT's one-of-a-kind showroom!

If you or someone you know is interested in sponsoring the event, please contact Melissa Lagowski. A $1,000 sponsorship package includes: 5 tickets to the holiday party, an opportunity to speak during the party as well as an insert in the goody bag AND a half page ad in the Achievement Luncheon program!

Thank you to this year's event sponsors:
Gold Coast/Lincoln Park/Lakeview


Thursday, December 13
5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
DIRTT Showroom
325 N. Wells,  10th Floor, Chicago

Click here for tickets

Want to Maximize Your Membership?

New member orientations aren’t just for new members. While the Membership Committee launched the orientations to acclimate new NAWBO Chicago members to all of the benefits and services available to them, ALL members are welcome to attend this orientation.

Goals of the Orientations are as follows:
  • Enable new members to meet other members
  • Encourage networking and promote sociable business interaction
  • Educate members regarding all the benefits available to them
  • Engage members more fully
  • Learn more about each new member to help foster success in membership
NAWBO Chicago is a complex organization with lots of benefits and opportunities, so whether you want to brush up on the benefits or meet new members, we encourage you to attend a future orientation. These member-only events are FREE, and they are a great way to network among NAWBO members in a more intimate setting.

Thursday, December 13
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
DIRRT Showroom
325 N. Wells, 10th Floor, Chicago

FREE to Members (must register)
Click here to RSVP

Magnetic, Magnificent and Aligned: Strategies for a New Year of Success

Three top-notch coaches unveil how you can have a more successful New Year in 2013! Each coach will provide tips about starting new habits that will allow you to reach further and achieve more of what you want, and then they will open up the discussion to answer your questions. So come prepared!

Panelists include:

Catherine Johns works with entrepreneurs who need to build their business face-to-face. Whether that means networking, speaking engagements, sales presentations, or all of the above, Catherine helps her clients become more magnetic to attract more business.

In workshops and individual coaching, Catherine’s clients develop their personal presence – the secret sauce that creates the recipe for great business communication.

You may remember Catherine from Chicago radio – as a news anchor and reporter, talk show host, and morning show side-chick at WLS and later at WJMK-fm. Post-radio, Catherine excelled as a communications consultant, teaching business people how to capture the attention of an audience, whether it’s 7 people or 700.

A natural-born catalyst, Catherine helps her clients change the way they come across in business situations…and change the results they get.

From the White House to women’s shelters, Karyn Pettigrew has inspired, refreshed and transformed dozens of businesses and thousands of lives internationally through her consulting, coaching, training, speaking, media appearances and books. 

In her firm, Beyond Blind Spots™,  Ms. Pettigrew uses intuition and more than 15 years of corporate marketing and strategy experience to guide entrepreneurs and business leaders beyond the things they can't see or don't recognize are keeping them from accomplishing their goals. Her “Click! – Unlock Your Soul’s Code to Business Success” Signature System helps businesses leverage the strengths they already possess to create unique, indispensable and highly sought-after brands.

For 15 years, Ms. Pettigrew led organizations such as Peoples Energy, the Illinois State Lottery and Quaker Oats through marketing, communication and corporate strategy initiatives. Ms. Pettigrew received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Wellesley College and her Masters of Business Administration degree from Harvard University. She was named a Growth Guru by the Women’s Leadership Exchange and received the President’s Award from the Chicago Chapter of NAWBO, where she served on the Board of Directors for five years. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Redmoon Theater in Chicago and Smith Senior Living – a continuing care facility.

She has a Master’s Level Six-Sensory Certification with Sonia Choquette and Laura Day.  Ms. Pettigrew currently hosts an informational and motivational radio show called Beyond Blind Spots on She works with clients in groups and one-on-one. Her latest success is an on-going business coaching program called THRIVE! She has written two books, I Quit, and Choose Work That Aligns with My Soul and The Invitation: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life.

Valencia Ray, M.D. has experienced a unique journey as an eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years. She has real-life experience with applying Neuroscience to optimize organizational capacity and improve leadership and personal performance. Not only is Dr. Ray professionally trained in brain science as an eye surgeon, beginning in 2002, she successfully transformed her business by integrating her science background, intuitive insight, and “school of hard knocks” experience to change her own mindset for the better. “Walking her Talk” as a leader is a top-of-mind value for her.

Within two years of integrating her more engaging leadership style into her business, she and her staff won the community service award for Outstanding Service in 2004 due to the excellent performance of the team, customer service and a culture that inspired deeper satisfaction and loyalty from both team members and clients. The business revenue almost doubled. She ascribes the dramatic change in performance and outcomes to her training programs that inspired her team and made personal development attractive and contextually applicable.

She now has at her command, a decade of new brain research that expands her capacity to share what she knows through experience – not theory – with CEOs, established and emerging leaders and their teams. Her training and coaching programs produce accelerated results for leaders and teams via increased personal self-awareness that leads to optimization of business and relationship skill sets.

She sold her business to now take her life purpose of RESTORING VISION to a whole new level. She helps leaders and their teams eliminate blind spots so that they can embrace change and innovation with greater ease and confidence. Valencia is known as a dynamic keynote speaker and for helping her clients to live fulfilling lives and achieve results by “Leading with the Brain in Mind” so that they can become a more engaging, effective leader – for good.

Tuesday, January 8
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Wintrust Financial Center
9700 W. Higgins Rd.
2nd Floor Conference Room, Rosemont   

(Free and ample parking in adjacent lot)

NAWBO Chicago Members: Free / Non Members: $30

Click here to register

2013 U.S. SBA Awards Program Nominations

Nominations for the U.S. Small Business Administration Awards are being accepted now through January 3, 2013. NAWBO Chicago encourages its members to apply for this and other awards as an excellent way to increase valuable visibility for oneself and one's company.

For more information, please visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

Business Accelerator Program

It may be December, but the year's not over yet for the Business Accelerator Program, brought to you by NAWBO Chicago and American Family Insurance. Mark your calendars for the final event of 2012:

  • December 13: Breaking Through, Getting an Appointment, with Roula Crews of Hi-Impact Marketing & Sales Solutions, Inc.

This event will be held from 11:00 am - 12:00 pm CST.

Don't miss this great opportunity to learn how to grow your business and manage it effectively! To enroll in this NO COST program and find out more about these and other events, click here.

Members in the News - Delightful Pastries

Congratulations to NAWBO member Dobra Bielinski, Chef at Delightful Pastries! Her Sour Cherry Pistachio Chocolate Bark was featured in the December 6, 2012 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

Sour Cherry Pistachio Chocolate Bark at Delightful Pastries, $27 a pound (about $2 per square)

Here are three ingredients forced into an arranged marriage and are now living happily ever after. Just a bit tart, just a bit salty, just a bit sweet, these chocolate squares are my kind of dessert treat - ones that don't send you into a sugar coma. Added bonus: They're vegan. (Read full article)

Connections Corner

NAWBO members are making connections and generating business 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:

NAWBO member Bobi Siembieda, President of Conrad Consulting Group, wanted to revise and refresh her LinkedIn profile.  As a believer in the power of LinkedIn, she searched and learned that fellow NAWBO member Jan Long of Janlong Communications specializes in writing LinkedIn profiles for professionals, like Bobi, who are better served spending their time doing what they do best – growing their businesses. Bobi turned the assignment over to Janlong Communications. The process was seamless and the initial draft was close to dead on. Looking inward for professional services among NAWBO members is just one more benefit of membership. Bobi won’t hesitate to call on Jan again.

Immediate Past President Gail Zelitzky of Silver-Robins Consulting, kindly offered to barter services with Jennifer Wolfe of Jennifer Wolfe Photography: Gail’s consulting services for Jennifer’s portrait photography.  Jennifer needed help connecting to more business leads, so she met with Gail and worked out ways to market herself and become more visible to the customer who really needed her services. Gail was thoughtful and really listened to Jennifer’s needs.  Later Gail came into Jennifer’s studio and photographed Gail’s new look. They had sooooo much fun together!  Gail brought her fun attitude and Jennifer brought her 22 years of photographic expertise. They produced some really great photos for Gail and now she has a modern, fresh, progressive look to showcase her consulting company and her image properly.  If you want an updated, beautiful new look, contact Jennifer to schedule a studio/or on-location portrait service for you.  Then contact Gail and put those new photos to good use!

Take advantage of this free PR and share your NAWBO connections!  To submit your story, please contact Michele Katz of Advitam IP.

See What NAWBO Is Doing For Its Members

Did you know you can support women business owners and complete your holiday shopping with one stone?  Attend NAWBO’s Light Up The Season event taking place on Thursday, December 13th at DIRTT Showroom, 325 N. Wells St., Chicago.  Come as a member, non-member or sponsor. Don’t forget to bring toys for NAWBO’s annual toy drive. Click here for more information.

Think you know all there is to know about NAWBO benefits?  Test yourself and come to the next Membership Orientation.  All members are welcome to attend—new and seasoned.  Thursday, December 13th from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm at DIRTT Showroom, 325 N. Wells St., Chicago. Click here to register.

Finally, did you know NAWBO’s leadership wants to get to know you?  Check out the new and improved chapter leadership page. Put a name, or in this day and age, an email to a face and please introduce yourself at the next event!

Connect, learn, and network!

Any questions about NAWBO Benefits, please do not hesitate to contact Michele Katz, Chair of Member Benefits, Advitam IP, LLC.

"NAWBO" and "Women Mean Business" are registered trademarks of the National Association of Women Business Owners
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