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May 2012

President’s Message - May 2012

Our Momentum Continues to Build

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

It’s May, it’s May, the merry month of May……..Fresh from the blooming success of the Celebration of Achievement Luncheon on April 19, I feel like singing a NAWBO tune and dancing a NAWBO jig!! How much fun that was for me, seeing so many of you there, feeling the energy in the room, watching relationships build and connections be made. Members, corporate partners, sponsors, exhibitors, keynote, award recipients, and government representatives - all the ingredients were present for a fabulous event.

If you didn’t make it, watch for the press, photos and videos to tell you the story. The theme: Success: Powered by Women, permeated the entire day. THANK YOU! To all who worked so hard to put it all together - especially, Myrna Ordower, Chair (pictured right with Key Note Speaker Connie Lindsey and NAWBO Chicago President Gail Zelitzky), and Emily Smith, Melissa Lagowski, Gillian Schultz, Diane Valletta, Sylvia Alston, Jennifer Wolfe - you made it happen. You are NAWBO.

Our other exciting April events were:

  1. the Badge for Business, a badge created by NAWBO Chicago for the Girl Scouts, and now being taken nationally; this event offers girls an opportunity to walk in the shoes of real life woman business owners who spend the day talking about their businesses and creating activities that are entrepreneurial in nature, which give the girls what they need to earn their badge. NAWBO members Lori Hilson, Vickie Rock and Jennifer Wolfe (chair) were a few of the members who participated.
  2. Women in Business Helping Women in Crisis, part of our charitable and social outreach initiative chaired by Lori Hilson in partnership with the Emergency Fund. What could be better? Our members help foster independence in girls and give relief to homeless, disadvantaged women. This benefit concert on April 29, held at Viper Alley in Riverwoods, was a highlight of our charitable and social outreach initiative. Thanks, too, Carol Prygrosky, for pitching in to make it a success.

Coming up on May 17, The Art of Doing Business, Across Cultures - a symposium for women in business. This groundbreaking event will connect diverse groups of business women, enabling them to create new opportunities, build new relationships and grow, personally and professionally. 10 mentor / experts will lead directed discussions during 3 rotations at round tables. Together, we will create outcomes to move the initiative forward. Chaired by new member, Shebani Kulkarni, the committee, itself, is an international feast. Register online now. I do hope to see you there.

Keep telling everyone you know about this fabulous organization that is NAWBO. Just because the membership drive has ended is no reason to stop driving. NAWBO needs members to give voice to its cause - your cause as we empower women owned businesses to succeed in social, educational and political spheres. Keep singing that NAWBO tune and fly high with us.

Yours for Strategic Growth

NAWBO Chicago Earns Boardroom Bound Award

By Michele Kurlander
Past President and Parliamentarian, NAWBO Chicago
Owner, Kurlander & Associates, LLC

On Wednesday, April 18, Linda Bolliger, Chairman and Chief Visionary Officer of Boardroom Bound® (BRB) gave one of Boardroom’s two annual Chairman’s Honor awards to NAWBO Chicago at its annual Chairman Honors event. The award recognizes NAWBO’s continuing support of small business and the small business community. NAWBO Chicago President Gail Zelitzky attended the event at the Mid America Club to receive the award in behalf of NAWBO Chicago. Chicago Minority Supplier Diversity Council received the second Chairman’s Honor award.

Typically, the Chairman’s Honor award goes to a corporation; this year’s awards reflect BRB’s decision to expand its reach. Going forward, “we want to emphasize not only the placement of women and minority candidates into the boardroom, but also advocate a ‘marriage’ between entrepreneurial thinking at the boardroom level and corporate social responsibility at the corporate investment level,” Bolliger explained. “Promoting such a ‘marriage’ is a job-creating idea whose time has come,” she added, noting that the U.S. small business community creates the majority of jobs today.

BRB  is a 501(c)(3) organization founded by Bolliger in 1999 to engender diverse, inclusive - and thereby more responsible - leadership in corporate boardrooms. BRB:
• Locates and vets prospective minority and women board candidates,
• Trains them through its Boardology™ Institute seminars held in five cities (including Chicago),
• Maintains a national database of trained Institute alumni, and
• Helps connect Institute alumni with open board positions.

More than 40 domestic and international companies so far have selected BRB’s Institute alumni for seats on their corporate advisory, private and publicly traded boards through this system that BRB calls its "Director Candidate Pipeline".

BRB has strong ties to NAWBO. Bolliger previously served as president of NAWBO’s Washington DC chapter, and Carol Kuc, NAWBO Chicago member and NAWBO national past president, serves on BRB’s board. For more information about BRB, go to their website at

Did you know…

By Katherine Boyd
NAWBO Chicago Member
Wells Fargo

Next year YOU could be honored at the Annual Achievement Luncheon!  Each year we gather to celebrate the achievements of our amazing members and corporate partners.  NAWBO Chicago’s two top awards –  Woman Business Owner of the Year, and Member of the Year – are presented, and our Corporate Woman of Achievement are showcased and honored. 

Wondering if you are eligible for the or Woman Business Owner of the Year or Member of the Year award? Both awards require applicants to be a member in good standing for at least 3 years.  The Woman Business Owner of the Year is a successful entrepreneur who is noted for outstanding achievement and also exhibits role model qualities. The Member of the Year is one who provides outstanding volunteer service to the chapter, and demonstrates strong commitment to the chapter’s mission of the empowerment of all women business owners.

How are the recipients chosen?  You can nominate yourself or another member.  Applications can be found on the NAWBO Chicago website under News Room/Awards.  The application process begins after the new year and the deadline is typically in February.  A judging committee made up of past chapter presidents reviews the applications and selects the award recipient.

What about the Corporate Woman of Achievement awards? Women who work within our Corporate Partner companies are eligible for this award.  Unlike the other two awards, there are multiple recipients of this award, but only one award per company is given.  Corporate Woman of Achievement recipients are designated by their firm as women who “have accomplished extraordinary deeds in her company while paving the way for other women to follow.” 

If you have any questions about your NAWBO benefits, please do not hesitate to contact the NAWBO Office.

Revitalize Your Business Using Social Media

Helen Levinson
Co-founder of Desert Rose Design | Chief Technical Office

Revitalizing your business using social media doesn’t need to be a complicated process. By applying simple processes, methods and techniques, you can help position yourself for growth and sustained success. Helen Levinson of Desert Rose Design will teach you how implementing a social media strategy will benefit both your company and your clients.

In using social media vehicles such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Blogger and YouTube you will take away simple tips that will help you:

• Learn how to engage with customers directly
• Learn how to get traffic to your website
• Learn how to create a buzz about your brands’ product or service
• See real-life examples of how companies have used social media to increase revenue and generate leads

Tuesday, May 8
8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
First Chicago Bank & Trust (a Wintrust Community Bank)
1145 N. Arlington Heights Rd. – Itasca

Register now!


The Art of Doing Business Across Cultures

Presented by NAWBO Chicago and EQuest Global

Chicago’s vast multi-cultural market requires savvy skills to navigate existing opportunities. Are you well-equipped to do business effectively with different cultures? Is networking within your comfort zone limiting you from expanding your business?

Explore the possibilities.
Participate in round-table discussions.

Identify new collaboration partners.
Interact with multi-cultural women in business.

Be inspired.
Come join the discussion with the following diverse panel of experts:

Amy Lee Segami - Managing Principal, Segami Consulting
Catherine Lee - President, CDL & Associates
Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz - Make-it-happen Director, JJR Marketing
Kathleen Caldwell - President, Caldwell Consulting Group
Pek Lee Choo - Principal, Discernen
Poonam Gupta-Krishnan - President, Iyka Enterprises
Sandra Westlund-Deenihan - President, Quality Float Works
Simin Rasmussen - Director, Persian Translation & Interpretation Svcs.
Tiffany Dotson - Author, Speaker and Consultant
Tricia Meyer - Managing Attorney, Meyer Law Ltd.

Thursday, May 17
5:30 to 8:30 pm
The Meadows Club
2950 W. Golf Rd. - Rolling Meadows

Register now!

Connecting Over Cocktails

Judi Schindler Performs
Husbands: An Owners Manual

The Ultimate Girl Talk

Chicago NAWBO founder and past president, Judi draws on 47 years of marriage to reveal the secrets behind selecting a husband and maintaining him in good working order.  Husbands: An Owners Manual is a multi-media presentation that offers witty, candid advice for women who want to stay married for the rest of their lives.  Click here to see a preview.

You'll learn:

  • Why women should avoid professional athletes and Justin Bieber.
  • How to translate the phrase: I need to find myself.
  • The pros & cons of marrying a nerd.
  • Why straight women should consider same sex marriage.
  • The last vestige of chivalry every woman must demand.

Tuesday, May 22
5:30 - 7:30 PM
Texas de Brazil
51 E Ohio St - Chicago

Register now!


Crain's Annual Entrepreneurs Luncheon

Rick Bayless
cookbook author and television personality

Rick Bayless took his passion for Mexican dishes and flavors and turned it into a multimillion-dollar enterprise that includes restaurants, TV shows, cookbooks, a line of prepared food products and consulting services. Mr. Bayless, who started his professional career in 1980 as executive chef at Lopez in Cleveland, opened contemporary Mexican restaurant Frontera Grill in Chicago’s River North neighborhood in 1987. It remains one of the city’s most popular dining spots. Two years later, he opened upscale Topolobampo, which soon became one of only a few upscale Mexican restaurants with national prominence. In 1996, Mr. Bayless started his own line of salsas, chips and grilling rubs under the Frontera Foods label. The company opened a kiosk in the Marshall Field’s building in 2005. More recently, Mr. Bayless opened XOCO, a quick-service style Mexican restaurant also in River North. Mr. Bayless has won numerous James Beard awards, including Midwest Chef of the Year, National Chef of the Year, Outstanding Restaurant for Frontera Grill and Humanitarian of the Year. Mr. Bayless and his staff founded the Frontera Farmer Foundation in 2003 to attract support for small Midwestern farms. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.

Tuesday, May 22
Four Seasons Hotel
120 East Delaware Place
Reception 11:30 a.m., Lunch promptly at noon

Reserve your place today at and network with a dynamic cross section of Chicago business leaders!

Thank You From the Girl Scouts

By Andrea Marrero, Director of Individual Giving and Alumnae Relations and
Aminah Abdullah, Manager of Program, Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards; Financial Literacy Programs; Entreprenuership Programs
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

Just a short note of thanks for all that you did to make Saturday’s From Badge to Business program a huge success!  We truly appreciate the sharing of your time and talents to benefit the girls.  The day was filled with energy, new ideas and lots of inspiration.  And, not only did you get the girls thinking about being entrepreneurs, the parents left feeling motivated as well.  One of the mothers stopped by prior to leaving to let me know that she was going to pursue a lifelong dream of hers all because of your stories! 

NAWBO is a very special Girl Scout partner.  We feel fortunate to have hosted the 2nd annual From Badge to Business together and look forward to more positive collaborations in the future!
Thanks, again!

Chapter Briefs

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

If you’re interested in a gathering that is not industry-exclusive, doesn’t cost anything, meets later than 7:30 AM; and that guarantees that you’ll leave with greater knowledge and perspectives than you came with…Come to the May 10th Connecting Points.

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.
  • 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, May 10th 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.
  • is complimentary to NAWBO member women business owners who want to make a difference.  Invite friends and business associates who aren’t a NAWBO member yet.  Have them come as our guest and check it out (limit 2 guest visits per person).

May Topic: Expanding Your Business Demographically

Please RSVP to Holly Kahan: or phone (847) 432-4580.

NAWBO Benefis
By Michele Katz
Chair-Member Benefits, NAWBO Chicago Member
Founding Partner, Advitam IP LLC

Did you know…

...NAWBO Chicago has spending power?  If 1% of each NAWBO Chicago member’s revenue was spent with other NAWBO members, the amount gained by each member comes to about $7,666.  That’s over 20 times the cost of membership!  Therefore, come to NAWBO first and support your fellow NAWBO members.  We’re in this together!  Members have access to the on-line membership database where you can search by key word, name, or type of member. 

...members in good standing get a free entry into an educational event every other month?  See calendar of events on NAWBO Chicago’s website for the next one!

Need a referral for something—business or personal?  Come to NAWBO first.  Members have access to the on-line membership database where you can search by key word, 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!

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

By Michele Katz
Chair-Member Benefits, NAWBO Chicago Member
Founding Partner, Advitam IP LLC

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 Michele Katz launched the law firm ADVITAM IP, LLC specializing in intellectual property. In the process, she and her partner, Richard Gurak, connected with NAWBO members at every turn.  Here are a few examples: Cathie Van Wert of Doubletake Design assisted with the development of Advitam IP’s corporate identity, design of Advitam IP’s website, look of her business cards and creator of the email announcement about the firm’s launch. Nick Farina of Voltage Digital Media took Michele and Richard’s idea and turned it into a short animated video about the company’s formation.  Take 30 seconds to view this creation on’s home page.  If you’d rather give Advitam IP a call, you will hear the voice of fellow NAWBO member Gillian Schultz of Metronet Integration, Inc. inviting you to leave a message (assuming the receptionist does not pick up first).  Shop NAWBO first!

Past NAWBO President Michele Kurlander of Kurlander & Associates had a client with a lease expiring in Edgewater.  Michele asked if Emily Smith of Chicagoland Commercial would be able to help Gerber Hart Library evaluate all of their options regarding a renewal or relocation.  They had a very challenging need given budget constraints and load requirements.  Emily was able to negotiate an extremely favorable deal for them at a new building.  By taking advantage of current market conditions they were able to upgrade space to a brand new facility as well as cover their build out and moving expenses. It was great to work with Michele in this transaction as she handled all lease comments.  Now that Gerber Hart is in the process of the move Emily contacted NAWBO member Gillian Schultz owner of Metronet in order to help move the security system over to the new facility.  Gerber Hart was extremely happy to hear that not only could Metronet help with the security needs but they could also help move over their entire IT system.  They were thrilled that it helped saved significant costs by combining these two services.  Another NAWBO success story!

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 at

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