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Our Mission & History 

Philosophy/Mission

PWCC provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally.

Purpose/Goals

PWCC brings professional women together in a variety of networking venues to share knowledge, experiences, and resources with other women. Members have access to:

  • Facilitated networking opportunities at monthly speaker luncheons
  • Special member-only events
  • Committee activities
  • Board participation


History

In 1998, nine women decided to form PWCC as a networking organization for professionals in Chicago.The women had met through their membership in another women-focused networking group, but felt that its national organization was not responsive to the needs of the local chapters.

In forming PWCC, the founders wanted to ensure that the membership represented a cross-section of women who held manager-level positions in their own organizations as well as women who owned their own businesses. Additionally, the founders hoped to recruit women who represented a broad range of industries and services.

The goal was to promote the business, professional, and personal development of the members and to focus on issues such as health and work/life balance -- something no other organization in the city was addressing at that time. And so, in June 1998, the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago (PWCC) was born.

The nine founding members of PWCC were

Nancy Biel
Julie Durkin
Kate Evert
Annika Jaspers
Cherie LeFevre
Carol Miller
Lynn Miller
Courtney Pitt
Laurie Skillman (first President)

To launch the organization, the nine PWCC founders pooled their lists of personal contacts and sent out invitations to a kickoff birthday party on July 22, 1998. The event, which included a birthday cake, was held at the Ambassador West and was a huge success with more than 75 women attending.

The first PWCC luncheon was held on Sept. 9, 1998. PWCC’s first speaker was Loleta Didrickson, former Illinois State Comptroller and the highest-ranking Republican woman elected in Illinois’ state history. Loleta set the stage for what would become one of the hallmarks of PWCC — an emphasis on recruiting high-level women in leadership positions to speak at the monthly meetings. 

PWCC has grown and strengthened over the years – it currently has a membership base of 320 and an average monthly luncheon attendance of 127.It has hosted prominent speakers including politicians, authors, CEOs of multi-billion dollar corporations and owners of start up organizations that are thriving. PWCC has broadened it’s offerings over the years as well. It now offers facilitated luncheons, dynamic guest speakers, panel discussion events, after hours wine and dines, and a host of other gatherings to bring women together to network and learn from each other. The original principles still remain intact – PWCC is all about women helping women…to overcome barriers, to reach their desired potential, and to advance in business and life.Philosophy/Mission 
PWCC provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. 

Current Status

Professional Women’s Club of Chicago members come from the public and private sector, from multi-billion dollar corporations to small not-for-profit organizations. More than half of our members hold leadership positions in their companies. Almost one-third of our members are self-employed or own their own business. 85% of our members are in accounting, investments, banking, the legal profession, and marketing and management consulting.