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January 2012

President’s Message: Make 2012 the Year You Connect, Learn and Grow with NAWBO
By Gail Zelitzky
President, NAWBO Chicago
[You’re in Business…I’m Your Coach!]

As 2012 begins, I want to wish you a very happy and productive New Year. May 2012 bring you abundance, prosperity and peace. If I had my wish, all of you would be active NAWBO members who attend all our events, spread the word to all your business associates and friends, and join us in our mission to empower women business owners.  It is you who make this organization what it is today: the largest chapter in the nation, known for advocacy, opportunities and first-class events.

For those of you who participated in the recent membership survey, I want to thank you and to let you know that your chapter leaders are listening. Your survey results spoke loud and clear about what you value and what you need to grow your businesses, develop as a leader and thrive in 2012.

We were pleased to see that nearly 80 percent of you would recommend NAWBO Chicago membership to other business owners. At the same time, we were humbled to learn that membership satisfaction is mixed: 38 percent of you are satisfied with the value you derive from NAWBO, 23 percent are dissatisfied and 39 percent are on the fence.

The 91 survey respondents shared page after page of comments about what it would take to make every member of NAWBO Chicago a raving fan. In sum, you expect NAWBO Chicago to:

1.    Provide more frequent, substantive and relevant programming, networking opportunities and events that give you -- our members -- added value.

2.    Recognize the diversity of our members – in business size and life stage, as well as industry – and program accordingly.

3.    Book meetings/events at varying times and locations, so suburban and Chicago members find chapter programming more convenient to attend.

4.    Enable members to make connections leading to business.

We are excited to present our programming for the next 6 months. We believe it opens a new door in response to your wishes and sets the stage for enabling NAWBO Chicago to reach its full potential. In today’s economy, we must set our sights on helping each other connect in a new and different way in order to develop new business opportunities.
Consequently, we are thrilled to announce the start of FREE monthly member programs that are geared to networking, education and connection, and filled with inspiration for motivation. These programs will be held initially in Itasca on the first Tuesday of each month, and the first one is on January 10. See the home page for complete details and to register.
But that’s not all. Recognizing that you want to make connections that lead to business, NAWBO Chicago will offer programming this year that focuses on procurement and doing business cross-culturally.

In February you will have the opportunity to learn everything you always wanted to know about working with the government and securing contracts as a certified women-owned business enterprise (WBE).

In March, the monthly membership meeting will continue the procurement discussion and, in May, NAWBO Chicago will, for the first time, invite women business owners across all cultures to meet, dialogue, and connect intentionally about how to collaborate cross-culturally and do more business together. This, as the other events, will offer networking and education with a dose of inspiration.

If you have never attended the Annual Achievement Luncheon, where we honor the NAWBO Member of the Year and the NAWBO Business of the Year, along with the Corporate Women of Achievement who are nominated by their peers, this is the year to do it! It is our most talked-about event of the year, with outstanding speakers and a chocolate hour to die for. We rely on this fundraiser to fund the organization. It is a perfect venue to bring clients, family and friends. They will thank you for exposing them to this dynamic group.

The Calendar of Events on the website already has many of these programs listed. Be sure to check it regularly and reserve early. If our sold-out Holiday Party last month is any indication, this year’s events will continue to sell out. I wouldn’t want you to miss any possibility to grow your business through the strategic relationships you can only find at NAWBO.

As we look ahead and revisit our vision for NAWBO Chicago over the next 3 years, we count on you to continue to provide input that helps shape our mission. As always, please introduce yourself to me at events and call me directly with any questions or concerns. I hope to see you soon.

Not-To-Be-Missed Award Opportunities
By Sylvia Alston
Director - Communications, NAWBO Chicago
Principal, Write2Win Communications

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 (click here for critera) 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.

Learn 3 Secrets to Building a Powerful Daily Sales Routine 
By Kirsten Zoub
January NAWBO Chicago Monthly Membership Breakfast Presenter
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 Breakfast, Tuesday, January 10 from 8 am to 10 am at First Chicago Bank & Trust (a Wintrust Community Bank), 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.

This event is FREE to members/$30 for guests. Space is limited, so don’t delay! Click here to register.

Use Situational Leadership to Build Your Business
By Melissa Caldwell
February Monthly Member Breakfast Presenter
Owner, Caldwell Consulting

Have you ever wondered…?

• “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 – situational leadership -- 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. In short, you’ll experience Less Stress, More Joy and a Better Outcome.

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, Tuesday, February 14 from 8 am to 10 am at First Chicago Bank & Trust (A Wintrust Community Bank), 1145 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Itasca), and 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, visit the chapter events page. Space is limited, so don’t delay!

Seize Opportunities to Make Connections and Grow Your Business

By Gayle Newcomb
Chair, NAWBO Chicago Oak Park Business Development Group
Managing Member, Newcomb Consulting, LLC

Oak Park BDG started in the summer of 2011 to network local businesses with each other in the Oak Park Business Community. We meet once a month at the US Bank building in Oak Park, Illinois. Our meetings consist of Member spotlight, where a member is given an opportunity to talk about their business to the other member so that we can assist them with getting new business. We also have special guests come in on topics that the members would like to learn more about as well as time to deal with business issues our members are facing. Oak Park BDG is looking forward to the New Year and hope that if you are in the Oak Park area and a Business Owner you can make it to one of our monthly meeting.

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, January 12th from 8:00-9:30 AM at The Viti Companies 445 Sheridan Road, Highwood.

Some topics we’ll be addressing in 2012:
    •    Business & Personal Goals
    •    Work-Life Balance
    •    How to forecast for your business
    •    Ways to market affordably
    •    Personal development
    •    Can your business expand geographically
    •    Expanding your business demographically

Connecting Points is complimentary to NAWBO women business owners who want to make a difference.  If you work downtown, but live in the ‘burbs, consider attending before your commute.

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:

By Michele Katz
Chair-Member Benefits, NAWBO Chicago Member
Partner, Husch Blackwell LLP

NAWBO members are making business-generating connections every day. Read these recent examples of NAWBO members doing business with other members:

NAWBO member Karyn Pettigrew of Beyond Blind Spots was (and still is) looking for NAWBO members to appear as guests on her radio show. Michele Katz, an intellectual property attorney at the law firm of Husch Blackwell, explained what is intellectual property, how to identify it and how to best use it to carve out your market share while avoiding the most common mistakes. Listen Online

Mary Dombrowski of the College Nannies & Tutors conducted a grand opening for her new Learning Center in Lincoln Park/Lakeview and hired Melissa Lagowski of Big Buzz Idea Group to assist in the planning of the event. Melissa put together a package suited to her needs and budget, and helped Mary create a great “buzz” for the event. They received many gifts from neighborhood vendors and even food donations. A magician came by to do a magic act and a great time was had by all. Mary even signed two new clients at the Open House alone! Mary also worked with Erin Kelly of Eclectic Design who did a great job on invitations in a very short time.

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

Chapter Briefs
By Diane Valletta
Director-Governance, NAWBO Chicago
Owner, Valletta Associates

Phyllis Malitz, CPA, Won the “2011 Women To Watch” Award from American Institute of CPAs and Illinois CPA Society. Phyllis Malitz, a Certified Public Accountant and partner with the Chicago-area accounting firm Silver Lerner Schwartz & Fertel (SLSF), was recently honored as one of two “2011 Women To Watch” in the Experienced Leaders category by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS).

The Women to Watch Award is given to women who have made significant contributions to the accounting profession.  These include their ability to promote within the accounting profession a work environment that provides opportunities for the successful integration of their personal and professional life, and the advancement of women to positions of leadership.

Malitz has more than 25 years of experience providing accounting, tax and business consulting services to a diverse client base in the Chicago area and throughout the U.S., including real estate professionals, traders and personal service providers; healthcare, technology and manufacturing companies; and other closely held businesses.

Previously, Malitz was named “Accountant Advocate of the Year for the State of Illinois” by the U.S. Small Business Administration. She has a solid record of advocacy for the interests of small business through service on ICPAS’ State Income Tax Committee and then for 10 years on its Federal Income Tax Committee.  A recognized expert on taxation policy and its impact on small business, she was at the time one of only a few women and small business owners on the Federal Income Tax Committee.  Long an advocate for the reasonableness of regulations on small business, Malitz brought to the table astute and detailed analysis of the impact on the small business community of tax regulations and forms under consideration for implementation by the IRS.

“All of us at SLSF join with Phyllis in celebrating this special recognition,” says SLSF Managing Partner Michael L. Perlman.  “We have all had the opportunity to learn and grow from her experience, understanding of the business world, care for her clients, and most especially, the time she spends with so many of us to help us grow as accountants and people.  We are grateful for all that Phyllis continues to give SLSF and we are very proud that she has been acknowledged in this way by the Illinois Society and AICPA.”

By Shannon M. Hahn
NAWBO Chicago Member
CLU, Life Insurance Specialist, The Downey Group, Inc.

Have you taken full advantage of the FREE NAWBO Advisory Board, a consultative service only available to NAWBO members?  Have a nagging business challenge that you would like to address?  Well, Barb Flanagin of College Chaos Consultants was in your shoes until she decided to seek advice.  

Barb and her partner, George, provide an organizational guide to the college application process – from finding the appropriate schools, to the application process, to filling out that darn FAFSA and even what to pack!  There are so many questions that encompass this process, but Barb and her team are there to keep you organized and sane.  And not only are they there for you today, but throughout your college years.  I wish Barb was there for me years ago!

Now back to The Advisory Board.  Barb and George were challenged with marketing questions. Were they consultants?  Did they have a product to sell, or do they only sell a service?  

Prior to their session, Barb completed The Advisory Board application, which can be found on the chapter web site. See the “Download the NAWBO Chicago Advisory Board Application” link.  

Both Barb and George met with The Advisory Board and were an open book.  The Advisory Board was prepared with questions and practical advice.  Barb and George walked away with two things – the decision to market a product, the College Chaos Control Kit™, and several innovative marketing ideas.  

Barb was kind enough to share her experience with the NAWBO newsletter and for that we thank her.  For more information about Barb and George, visit their web site at

These Advisory Board sessions are confidential and typically last two hours.  Made up of longstanding NAWBO members who are experienced business leaders in many different fields, this member benefit is available to you for free and one you don’t want to miss.  

For additional information, please contact the NAWBO Chicago chapter office at 312-224-2605 or call Advisory Board Chair Linda Forman at 847-316-1040.

By Michele Katz
Chair-Member Benefits, NAWBO Chicago Member
Partner, Husch Blackwell LLP

Did you know…

NAWBO should be your No. 1 resource?  Get a jump on the new year!  Make that list of what you would like to accomplish this year and use the tools NAWBO offers to help you reach those goals.  For example, 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?  Despite the tendency to use social media and other electronic means to communicate, 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.  More details on-line.

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!

Any questions about NAWBO Benefits, please do not hesitate to contact Michele Katz at

Upcoming Events
NAWBO Chicago is a multi-faceted organization loaded with benefits and opportunities. So whether you want to brush up on the benefits or meet new members, we encourage you to attend a January orientation. These dynamic and powerful member-only events are FREE, and they are a great way to network among NAWBO members in a more intimate setting.

With support from Wintrust, the next “Maximize Your Membership” events are:
    •    Wednesday, January 18; 8 to 10 am – First Chicago Bank & Trust (a Wintrust Community Bank), 1145 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Itasca
    •    Thursday, January 19; 8 to 10 am - Wintrust Wealth Management (a Wintrust Community Bank), 222 S. Riverside, Chicago

Attendance is FREE, but you must pre-register by January 16th to to ensure that you will be granted security access at these events.

NAWBO Chicago Chapter Corporate Partner Crain’s Chicago Business will host its first Residential Forecast breakfast on January 18, and top executives will offer their insights on major trends in 2012 that will shape the housing industry. Crain’s guests are leading experts in for-sale and apartment sectors, with expertise in both the downtown and suburban markets. They will share their experiences gained from navigating a market that has sent home prices plunging and apartment rents soaring.

Crain’s Chicago Business Senior Reporter Alby Gallun will moderate the session. The panelists will include: Stephen Baird, president and chief executive officer, Baird & Warner Inc.; Steven Fifield, founder and chairman, Fifield Cos.; Andy Konovodoff, president of K. Hovnanian Homes; and David "Buzz" Ruttenberg, founder, Belgravia Group, Ltd.; president, Lakewest Inc.

Date:     Wednesday, January 18
Time:    7:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Place:   Mid-America Club, 200 E Randolph Dr, 80th Floor – Chicago
Cost:     $55

To reserve your space, register now!

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