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February 2012

President’s Message – February 2012

Hearts and Habits

By Gail Zelitzky
President, NAWBO Chicago
[You’re in Business…I’m Your Coach!]

As Valentine’s Day arrives, my heart goes out to all the people in the world who will never know the warmth of another person’s touch, the song that sings endlessly when two people connect, or the importance of letting others know their worth by speaking the words “I care about you”.

I like to think that NAWBO cares about all its members at our deepest core. That we open up our hearts to each other and mean it when we say ‘NAWBO means Business’ and ‘Go to NAWBO First’. Relationships cannot take place without people, and we, NAWBO members, are people first and foremost.

Our fabulous Director of Communications Sylvia Alston, who is principal of Write2Win Communications, shared an article with NAWBO Chicago’s leadership team, Helping Your Members Become Part of the Inner Circle, by Ida Shessel, M.Ed. In this article, Ida asks “Why do people affiliate themselves with an association? What are they looking for?” And she answers: “the three “I’s”: Information, Inspiration, and Interaction.” Those are exactly the benefits that we, the leadership of NAWBO Chicago, aspire to bring to our membership.

Our hearts are in the right place. We talk about all the right things. The unanswered question though, is, “Can we break the chains of our habits?” I think back to my high school days and how heart-broken I was when I ‘tried out’ for the most popular girls club and was rejected. (Imagine that!) Instead I joined the 2nd most popular club and, while I made life-long friendships during those years, I always wondered what it was like to be in the inner circle. As I got older and further involved in organizations I realized that the ‘inner circle’ was no more or less than that group of people who always showed up and got things done. Simply by volunteering and participating in the organization with a full heart, rather than with my hand out, always got me into the inner circle. How else did I get to be President of NAWBO Chicago?

The lesson here is that it is US, not THEY, who have to break our habits, such as the:

  • Habits of believing there is an inner circle not available to us;
  • Habits of looking for business first and relationships last; or
  • Habits of seeking to sell, instead of seeking to serve.

When we break these habits we find that people’s hearts open to us, they welcome us. (We all need all the help we can get!)

In February there will be a call for nominations for Board Leadership positions. NAWBO will follow a specific, strict process for reviewing nominations and slating the 2012-2013 Leadership team, according to our By-laws. Every member in good standing, who is in the established woman business owner category, can self-nominate herself for any position in which she feels she can provide added value. (President and Immediate Past President excepted, along with several directors whose terms are not up). I encourage you to watch for the announcement, review the open positions, and then nominate yourself if you have any desire at all to serve this stellar organization that continues to make a difference, year after year after year, in the lives of its members.

I am continuously inspired by the work our members do, by the quality of their talents in their chosen fields, by the depth of their commitment to helping others grow, and by the vast networks each one has outside of NAWBO. Next month begins our annual membership drive, and as the theme proclaims there’s “No Network Stronger than NAWBO.” By all means, embrace the theme and invite a not-yet-member of NAWBO to be your guest at one or more of our upcoming events, such as the:






Feb. 14 – Free Monthly Membership Meeting


Feb. 21 – Diversity Procurement Event (an outstanding educational and networking opportunity!)

March 7 - NAWBO Chicago Corporate Women of Achievement event

April 19NAWBO Chicago Annual Achievement Luncheon


April 22 – NAWBO Chicago/Girl Scouts Badge to Business event


April 29 -Women in Business Helping Women in Crisis, a benefit dinner co-hosted by NAWBO Chicago and the Emergency Fund


May 17 - Art of Doing Business Locally across Cultures event

June 22 - NAWBO Corporate Partner Awards and Installation breakfast

When I started this year, I said that my desire was to talk with each one of you, to visit all the strategic forums and to participate in every event. Guess what? My heart meant it but I haven’t done it all yet. There is still time and I will still try. If you would like to talk, please call me; reach out to me at the events I do make and let me know how we are doing. We have the hearts part right. We are always working on the habits.

Yours for strategic growth,

A Pitch for Procurement

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

By Sylvia AlstonDirector of Communications, NAWBO ChicagoPrincipal, Write2Win CommunicationsBy Sylvia AlstonDirector of Communications, NAWBO ChicagoPrincipal, Write2Win Communications

Pursuing procurement opportunities can be a smart business development strategy, according to NAWBO Chicago’s Director of Diversity Julie Savitt, owner of AMS Earth Movers. She’s spearheading the chapter’s first-ever combined diversity and procurement event: “Work Your Diversity. Procurement is Smart Business.” Here’s the scoop:

    Q:     Why is NAWBO hosting this event? 

    A:     Number-one, because we see this as an opportunity to educate our members about the business development opportunities and markets they may not be aware of. The panelists – all of whom represent potential buyers for our members -- will discuss the products and services their organizations or entities buy.

Number-two, we believe this will be a great opportunity for our members to network with other diverse small business owners, including members of the Small Business Advisory Council and the Asian and Hispanic chambers of commerce.

Through last fall’s chapter-wide survey, members asked for more quality networking opportunities. “Work Your Diversity. Procurement is Smart Business” delivers just that.

    Q:     Which certifications does your business, AMS-Earth Movers, hold?
    A:     We are a certified as a:
        •   Women-owned Enterprise through the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) 
        •   Women-Owned Business (WBE) with the City of Chicago
        •   Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) through the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)
        •   Female Business Enterprise (FBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) through the Illinois Central Management System (CMS)
        •   A Small Business, Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business (EWOSB) with the U.S. Small Business Administration

We’re now working to obtain our certification as a DBE/WBE in Indiana and Wisconsin.

    Q:      That sounds like a lot of hard work and lots of paperwork. Is it? 

    A:     Not really. The certification process is pretty involved since it’s the only way purchasing agents have confidence that a business representing itself as woman-owned is in fact woman-owned or a small business is in fact a small business.

But getting certified is really not as cumbersome, scary or involved as some people may think. And, once you’ve assembled a successful application package, you may find that other agencies request much the same paperwork – which can be a real timesaver if you elect to pursue additional certifications. Thereafter, it becomes more a matter of file maintenance and upkeep …updating your tax returns each year, for instance.

    Q:     What benefits have you experienced because your business is certified?

    A:      It’s given my company access to additional markets where, for example, we may be competing with five other bidders instead of 15. And the opportunities multiply. In some procurement markets, we may find we’re the only certified business that offers a particular service, so we may have no competition at all!

    Q:     Where can members learn more?

    A:     Attend “Work Your Diversity. Procurement is Smart Business.” on February 21, beginning at 8am at the Small Business Advocacy Council, 20 S. Clark Street, 14th floor, Chicago. You can register here.

5 Steps to Pursuing Procurement 
        1. Choose your niche(s);
        2. Get educated about the requirement(s);
        3. Assemble your application package with care.
        4. Work through the certification process(es); and, most importantly
        5. Build relationships.

January Membership Breakfast Recap

By Lynne Franklin
NAWBO Chicago Member
Principal, Wordsmith

By Lynne FranklinNAWBO Chicago MemberPrincipal, WordsmithBy Lynne FranklinNAWBO Chicago MemberPrincipal, Wordsmith

What are the three secrets to building a powerful daily sales routine in 2012? On January 10, dozens of women attended the first NAWBO Chicago free monthly members meeting to find out—and improve their top line this year.

The workshop was led by Kirsten Zoub, sales director for the Wright Institute. She shared practical strategies to back up the secrets:

  1. Track your sales activity to generate success—such as creating a system to build skills that overcome your blocks to making sales calls.

  2. Play the success game of accountability and support—including sharing your sales goals with others and reporting on your progress.

  3. Create more opportunities in your day through effective time management—such as doing the most important (or difficult) thing first.  

Members also benefit from networking before and after the event, making new connections to potential clients and power partners.

This meeting left participants a little less afraid of sales calls—and excited about upcoming programs.

Less Stress, More Joy and a Better Outcome

Using Situational Leadership to Build Your Business
Presented by Melissa Caldwell, Owner of Caldwell Consulting

"How do I get my employees to act on their own… instead of waiting for me to direct them?"

"Why do my team members continue to ask me the same questions over and over?"

"When I delegate, why doesn’t the work get done…why do I have to babysit them?"

"What is it going to take to get self-reliant, self-directed employees?"

"I’d love to learn how to better lead others but it’s too expensive for my size of business!"

Come learn about the most recognized leadership model in the world and how it can help you strengthen your business and retain quality employees. This session will help you identify skills and tools to open up communication and develop self-reliance in others. Situational leadership is designed to increase the frequency and quality of conversations about performance between managers and the people they work with.

Join us at the NAWBO Monthly Membership Breakfast on Tuesday, February 14, from 8 am to 10 am, at First Chicago Bank & Trust (A Wintrust Community Bank), 1145 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Itasca.  Welcome entrepreneur and speaker, Melissa Caldwell, as she shares her secrets for creating less stressful manager/employee relationships that will improve relationships and productivity.

This event is FREE to members; $30 for guests. To reserve your space, please visit Space is limited, so don’t delay!

"A Moment of Empowerment" or "Empowering Women"
Special Guest Valencia Ray, MD
Be YOU, Magnificently

Chapter Briefs

Connecting Points Business Roundtable

By Holly Kahan
NAWBO Chicago Member
President, HollyBarry House Ltd. of Chicago

Connecting Points is a “think tank” format based on open expression and sharing between successful, empowered businesswomen.

Connecting Points was created to provide an opportunity to learn from one another and about one another.  Unlike a typical networking event where we learn about what we do, at Connecting Points we learn about who we are, how we think, and what our experiences have been.  Relationships will develop; and from relationships, comes business development.  We are all a contribution to one another in a format that is comfortable and casual.

Connecting Points will be held on the 2nd Thursday each month.  Location within the northern suburbs may vary.  The next Connecting Points will be held on Thursday, February 9th from 8:00-9:30 AM at The Viti Companies 445 Sheridan Road, Highwood. Coffee will be provided.  This is a BYOB (bring your own breakfast) event.  There is no cost to attend.

February Topic: The Ongoing Re-Invention of Your Business

Connecting Points is complimentary to NAWBO member women business owners who want to make a difference.  Want to invite someone who is not a NAWBO member yet?  Come as our guest and check it out (limit 2 guest visits per person).

Please RSVP to Holly Kahan:

Member in the News

On January 18th, NAWBO Chicago Director of Strategic Forums and Founder & CEO of Optimal Level, Linda McCabe, was interviewed by Beyond Blind Spots CEO Karyn Pettigrew, on During a show that is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and executives experience greater passion, profitability and peace-of-mind by focusing on value creation; in their lives, in their businesses and for their customers, Linda shared "3 Keys to Optimal Performance for Women Entrepreneurs." You can listen now by clicking on the above link or anytime at Linda’s website.

Since 2000, Optimal Level has been helping business owners and professionals find answers, balance, clarity and power.  Optimal Level works with those who want to find life solutions and go from where they are to where they want to be.  It provides peer-mentoring group meetings, individual coaching and corporate training to help professionals identify and prioritize issues, set goals, make plans, and produce desired results.

Tell Us: Who Will Be NAWBO Chicago’s 2012 Award Honorees?

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

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 (click here for criteria) and NAWBO Member of the Year (click here for criteria). 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 as Corporate Women of Achievement (click here for criteria).

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

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