Nawbo Chicago

NAWBO Member Directory

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September 2012

President's Message - September 2012

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

The theme of my year as your President is Relationships. The theme of our upcoming NAWBO Day conference is Business Development.  Capitalized or otherwise, those two concepts circle backward and forward throughout our organization, including this September and October.

As we turn our rejuvenated minds and lives back to school/back to work/back to business this month, we are further increasing our business connections by holding a fall Membership Drive.

Be sure to tell your friends there's a $25 discount for those who join in September. And if your own membership is pending, there's no time like now to renew. Members who renew during the September drive  will be entered into a drawing for a free Southwest Airlines ticket.

Many of you already have taken advantage of delightful and memorable networking opportunities by joining us for “connecting over cocktails” and “connecting over candy” events. This month, we are inviting you to engage with members of the NAWBO Chicago Board of Directors connecting over upcoming coffees scheduled for:

  • Sept. 12   Northwest Suburbs
  • Sept. 19   Downtown Chicago
  • Sept. 27   West Suburbs

Locations will be posted on this website. And the conversations will be stimulating, whether the coffee is regular or decaf. Please enjoy.

And September 21, enjoy free food, fun and fashion ideas during our Ann Taylor Breakfast at the 600 N. Michigan Ave. store. This is a popular NAWBO relationship-building event.

At least two major NAWBO events are scheduled for October.  You are invited to innovate, advocate and accelerate Oct. 4-5 in Louisville, KY, as part of NAWBO National's 2012 Women Business Conference. But, that's the end of the week. We also have exciting activities planned for you that Monday.

Business information and networking relationships also will be enhanced during our third annual NAWBO Day on October 1 at the Metropolitan Club in Willis Tower.  Kicking off Crain’s Small Business Week, NAWBO Day attendees will learn how to optimize business relationships using Constant Contact, Google Plus, mobile media, and more.  And that’s just one session!  Your strategic relationship with your money, “wealth management,” is yet another. Additional topics have been planned for you, as well as breakfast, lunch, exhibits and networking. Check our site for information and updates, but mark your calendar now. And if you want to engage or impress a friend or prospect, invite them, too.

You’ll thank us later.

See you soon,


Charisse Witherspoon
President, NAWBO Chicago

Psst! Join NAWBO Chicago Leaders for FREE Breakfast Coffees.

For women business owners interested in growing as leaders, building lasting AND profitable relationships, and really propelling their businesses forward, there’s no network stronger than NAWBO.

That’s why NAWBO Chicago chapter leaders, past presidents, award honorees and other successful entrepreneurs want to meet YOU for one of these upcoming FREE breakfast coffees:

September 12th
9:00am to 10:30am
Hosted by Susan Dawson, Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC
3701 Algonquin Road, Suite 390, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008, (847) 253-8805
RSVP to Linda McCabe a or by phone (847) 419-9300

September 19th
9:00am to 10:30am
Hosted by Sylvia Alston, Write2Win Communications LLC
NAWBO Chicago Office, 35 E Wacker Drive, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60601
RSVP to Sylvia Alston at or by phone (847) 341-6846

September 27th
9:00am to 10:30am
Hosted by Lori Hilson Cioromski, TH Hilson Company
1761 S. Naperville Rd., Wheaton, IL, 60187, (847) 316-1040
RSVP to Emily Smith at or by phone (312) 521-5173

Don’t miss this opportunity to:

      • Explore the many powerful benefits for joining or renewing your membership in NAWBO Chicago;
      • Learn the best ways to leverage and increase your membership ROI;
      • Share your ideas on how the chapter can deliver even greater value to help you grow your business; and
      • Enter a valuable drawing with prizes worth up to $200.

      Mark your calendars. RSVP today.

      P.S. Referrals will be greatly appreciated. Please share this invitation with fellow business owners in your network.

      Business Accelerator Program

      Just like school kids study a variety of subjects now that they are back in school, we want our members to be able to learn about lots of different areas related to their business’ growth. That’s why we’ve partnered with the Business Accelerator Program, sponsored by American Family Insurance, to bring you a wealth of information that will take your business to the next level.

      On September 6th, the program is offering a Coach Chat on Charging What You’re Worth. Bring your questions to Jackie Peterson of the Portland SBDC, and make sure you’re not leaving money on the table.

      Then on September 13th, e-marketing guru Dean DeLisle presents a webinar on The New E-Billboard for Small Business—Pay Per Click. Then the month wraps up on September 27th with a Coach Chat with Dean on Social Media.

      All webinars and coach chats are from 12:00-1:00 pm EDT, 11:00 am-12:00 pm CDT, 10:00-11:00 am MDT and 9:00-10:00 am PDT and MST.

      Don’t miss out on these great opportunities to learn how to grow your business and manage it effectively!  To enroll in this NO COST program, visit:

      Have You Visited A Strategic Forum Yet?

      By Linda McCabe

      Strategic Forums, NAWBO Chicago

      Founder & President, Optimal Level, LLC

      It’s possible you may not even have heard of Strategic Forums. 


      Strategic Forums are a free benefit for members who want to meet with others for various reasons, such as

      • Meeting with like-minded business owners
      • Networking, building and deepening relationships
      • Exchanging quality introductions
      • Sharing business ideas or a similar interest
      • Growing your business

      If you are like many of us, whether you’ve been in business five months, five or fifteen years, it’s hard to continually get referrals, it’s hard to always know the best course of action, and it’s hard to find the right resources.  Strategic Forums consists of Business Development Groups, Business Roundtable Groups and Special Interest Groups.  Get a description of each by clicking on this link:


      A Strategic Forum group can be a tremendous help as well as a welcome, fun place to be.  Visit a group and meet women who know what it is like to be in your shoes.  For a group near you, visit our calendar, and scroll down to see the locations, dates, times, and who to contact.  .


      Call or email the Group Leader to guest at a group and bring a friend. You are welcome to bring Non-NAWBO Chicago members as guests as well.


      If you need more information, call Linda McCabe, (847) 419-9300 or send email,

      NAWBO Benefits

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

      Did you know…

      NAWBO membership leads to discounts?  Many NAWBO supporters offer discounts on products and services.  Check out the latest offers @

      a great way to get connected with like minded people?  Join one of NAWBO’s many industry-exclusive business development groups whose focus is on exchanging leads, building relationships, sharing business ideas, developing power partner relationships, enhancing the growth of member’s businesses, and to inform and educate members in helpful business practices. Business Development Groups are open to NAWBO members in good standing.  The list of existing groups can be found at

      NAWBO offers premier networking and educational events?  Don’t miss out on NAWBO Chicago’s next event on September 11 on finding new clients in a simpler way. Click here for details.

      Submitted by NAWBO member and Chair of Member Benefits Michele Katz, Founding Partner of Intellectual Property law firm Advitam IP, LLC; feel free to direct questions about membership benefits to

      Why Be A Member

      By Lori Hilson Cioromski
      President Elect, NAWBO Chicago
      TH Hilson Company

      There are many reasons to become a NAWBO member.  The start of the fall Membership Drive is a good time to remember what drew you to join NAWBO, and to think of friends or business associates who could benefit from what NAWBO has to offer.

      NAWBO Chicago President-Elect Lori Hilson Cioromski is President and CEO of TH Hilson Company, a mid-sized, progressive specialty chemical distributor that is WBENC-certified, based in Chicagoland, and serves the greater Midwest and beyond.  Lori had this to say about why she joined and what NAWBO membership has meant to her.

      “I was drawn to NAWBO because it is a national organization, and I was looking to find support from other members and to learn from the wealth of programming it offers. Joining NAWBO was my first step to understanding what being ‘women owned’ could mean for the TH Hilson Company.  TH Hilson Company was founded by Terry Hilson in 1973, and as the reins were turned over to the second generation, we are now over $55 million in sales and 59% women owned.

      “Over the past few years, I made a commitment to myself to say YES to any opportunities that were aligned with my values and passions.  That’s why I said YES to Patti Ernst, former chair of the NAWBO’s Next Generation Outreach (NGO) Committee, and responded to her plea for volunteers to help mentor young girls through the Chicago Public School System and the Girl Scouts of America.

      “That’s why I said YES to Ida Manning, Executive Director of the Illinois Institute for Entrepreneurial Education when she asked NAWBO members to participate in the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) Job Shadow Day.

      “Believe me – I tried to say no. Like so many times throughout my life I was conflicted, wanting to participate but feeling too busy raising my family, running a specialty chemical distribution business, and barely having a moment for myself. Sound familiar? I’m sure most NAWBO members can relate to this situation.

      “Nevertheless, I encourage you to take a step … to say YES to the opportunities that feel right. I did. Through NAWBO I got involved and it changed my life. What started out as a simple Job Shadow experience has turned into something so much bigger than I could have ever imagined. I am helping to bring awareness of the opportunities available to bright young people in the chemical industry. I have been part of showing CPS and Taylor University students the opportunities in the food flavor industry with Edlong Dairy Products, Sara Lee and Kraft Foods. I have also conducted a job shadow day with Chicago State University students, showcasing opportunities in the coatings industry at Sherwin Williams along with Cabot Corporation, a major raw material manufacturer.

      “I have been told by some of our clients is that it’s difficult to recruit young chemists into the chemical industry. Senior Technical Chemists at major companies are staying on longer than retirement age and it’s difficult to find their replacements. Promoting awareness of the opportunities in the chemical industry with the wonderful companies I have worked with would not have been possible had I not been a NAWBO member, and had I not said YES when NAWBO’s NGO Committee was looking for volunteers.  

      “I am glad to be involved with NAWBO – and I’m glad the NGO Committee forced me to think outside of my business to help mentor young girls, which in turn has helped bring recognition to our industry.”

      To see videos from the job shadow days and read more about Lori’s work with this project, go to

      Connections Corner

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

      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:

      Long time NAWBO member Diane Valletta wrote and submitted the nomination package for Emily Smith this past spring for the NAWBO Member of the Year Award.  Diane has a special niche for the written word, speeches, and award packages.  Her clients have won hundreds of awards over the years.  Emily was so impressed with what Diane put together she has worked with her on several more projects including bio’s, speeches, marketing pieces. Anyone looking for award opportunities should certainly speak with her. 

      The next two come from NAWBO member Melissa Lagowski of Big Buzz Idea Group:

      Thank you to Overture Premiums and Promotions for their incredible service! Big Buzz has used them on several occasions. They come in on-time and on-budget for us every time! One order in particular was a small run and the other promotional companies we contacted didn't even want to bid on the project, but Overture took the request and worked with me until they found the right product for our project!  We are thrilled to keep our business within NAWBO Chicago whenever possible, and we happily recommend them to others every chance we get!

      Thank you to Michele Katz of Advitam IP who recently referred one of her clients to us. We are now helping the client promote their services in relation to various events throughout the country and Puerto Rico! Usually we are the ones organizing the events and encouraging people to take advantage of the promotional opportunities available to them. But this time, we are on the other side of the coin, helping the client plug into local events to keep her amazing business in front of the local market. We are grateful that Michele felt confident in referring us, and we are also thrilled that we were able to partner with Mana Ionescu of Lightspan Digital to assist with social media on the project!

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

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