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The PWCC Blog provides a platform for our community to interact online so that we may deepen our connection with one another outside of meetings. Promoting PWCC’s mission to create a strong, vibrant network for professional women, the blog also offers individual members a unique opportunity for self-expression. Topics may range from advice on careers, financial matters, and work/life balance to personal observations or even humorous vignettes. Whatever the subject, we hope that all of our members will take advantage of this chance to support, inspire, and enrich the careers and lives of each other. If you’d like to write for the blog, submit your blog to admin@pwcc.org for review. All submissions are reviewed prior to posting. Information is posted regularly by the PWCC blog team, so check back often!

 

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PWCC Community Blog: Can’t We All Just Learn to Communicate?

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 2, 2017

PWCC Community Blog:  Can’t We All Just Learn to Communicate?

 

Years ago, when running for a state-level office, I attended a candidate communications training session. Based on my background in communications, I thought I was in for training that wouldn’t offer anything novel but would, instead, merely reinforce everything I already knew.

 

During the session I was asked to speak to the camera from a variety of vantage points: sitting behind a desk, poised behind a lectern, and standing alone.

 

A recurring criticism I received was that I nodded my head too often while listening. While I thought this practice established me as an empathetic listener, the trainers told me that my habit signaled weakness and a lack of authority, indicating someone who would agree with anyone over anything.

 

And this feedback both surprised and troubled me because it seemed to expose the dilemma for women communicators: can we have a communications style that is strong and authoritative, empathetic and collaborative but not viewed as weak and emotional?

 

But maybe the question is even more basic: are there gender differences in workplace communications and should we do anything about them?

 

In her research paper How Men and Women Differ: Gender Differences in Communication Styles, Influence Tactics, and Leadership Styles, Karima Merchant reviewed studies of gender differences in workplace communications styles.  Early research she surveyed concluded that women strive for empathy while men strive for authority.

 

The biggest difference between men and women and their style of communication

boils down to the fact that men and women view the purpose of conversations differently.

 

Academic research on psychological gender differences has shown that while women use communication as a tool to enhance social connections and create relationships, men use language to exert dominance and achieve tangible outcomes (Leaper, 1991; Maltz & Borker, 1982; Wood, 1996; Mason, 1994). Women are, overall, more expressive, tentative, and polite in conversation, while men are more assertive, and power-hungry              

 (Basow & Rubenfield, 2003).

 

Researchers have also routinely concluded that the female style of empathetic, collaborative speech puts them at a disadvantage in many workplace situations as it may suggest tentativeness rather than confidence.

 

Sadly, more recent research reaches the same conclusions.

 

Carol Kinsey Goman  studied gender differences in communications styles across Europe, Central America, and the United States and offered a summary of her findings in Is Your Communication Style Dictated By Your Gender?  Goman concludes that “In the workplace, people are continuously -- and often unconsciously -- assessing your communication style for two sets of qualities: warmth (empathy, likeability, caring) and authority (power, credibility, status).”  Women communicators are assessed as being intuitive, empathetic, and audience-centric; men communicators are seen to be authoritative, direct, and focused.  Of course, there are negatives aspects to both sets of styles: women are often judged to be too emotional and meandering when communicating and men are thought to be too overconfident and insensitive.

 

So what to make of all this?

 

It seems to me that the focus should be on what makes a good communicator and how these traits can be applied to whomever needs to convey information, ideas, or calls for action in a variety of settings to a variety of audiences, regardless of gender.

 

First, a good communicator knows the audience: to inform or persuade people, you have to know who they are, what they know, and what they believe.  This knowledge helps you gauge the language to use, the right amount of background information to provide, and the pace at which you speak. It is vital that a communicator first assesses an audience for its needs and beliefs.

 

Second, a good communicator knows what information she wants to provide and organizes everything that’s presented around this information.  Having a sharp focus helps you know what information belongs and what does not, regardless of how interesting it may be.  A good communicator also organizes information around this focus, using words like “first,” “next,” and “another” to segment the material into digestible “chunks” of information.

 

Lastly, a good communicator speaks or writes to connect with the audience and should seek to appear empathetic, collaborative, and supportive.  Regardless of the weight of the information, maybe especially in situations where the information being conveyed is difficult to “hear” or agree with, a trusted communicator is listened to and followed.

 

Ultimately, both “female” and “male” communications styles have aspects that can be combined to form a powerful style for anyone who wishes to inform and persuade.

 

Just don’t nod your head in agreement.

 

-- Written by Carol Jambor-Smith, Founder and Principal of Jambor-Smith Communications, a consulting firm that develops and executes communications strategy that engages, changes, and inspires. She can be reached at carol@jamborsmithcommunications.com

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Tips for Smarter Living: Effective Communication for the Busy Professional Women

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 2, 2017

Tips for Smarter Living: Effective Communication for the Busy Professional Women


No matter your age, background, or experience, effective communication is a skill you can learn. As a busy professional who is often pulled in many directions, I sometimes find myself struggling to find my inner Goldilocks: am I communicating “too tough,” “too soft,” or “just right”?

A “Goldilocks principle” of communications describes the amount, type, and detail of communication necessary to be “just right,” that is, to maximize effectiveness while minimizing the “too much” side of redundancy or the “too little” side of inadequate or incomplete information.

With a little practice, you can find your “just right” by mastering the following basic tips:

Choose three key points to communicate. These key points will act as the anchors you wish to convey, bringing focus and clarity to your message.

  • Have a clear purpose. Make it clear why you are communicating, whether to inform, gather information, or initiate action.
  • Stay on topic. Once you establish your three key points, make sure everything you express is focused, adding information to each point.  This strengthens your message, keeping clear and direct.
  • Consider your audience. It is important to deliver your message clearly for different audiences. Keep in mind what they do and don’t know and what their biases might be.  This helps you speak/write in a way that is most suitable for a particular audience.
  • Listen. Listening shows you value opinions outside of your own and are open to new concepts. Listening builds trust between you and your audience and shows you to be a collaborator who is benefits for the greater good.

Lastly, don’t avoid or wait too long to begin a conversation about a sensitive issue. Usually a quick, direct discussion can develop a resolution that does not negatively affecting a relationship.

Whenever possible, choose a face-to-face meeting to discuss a difference of opinion; if such a meeting is not possible, choose a phone conversation.  Emails and texts don’t include the important visual or auditory clues needed to appreciate differences of opinion and offer opportunities for misinterpretation or misunderstanding that can intensify the situation.

--Written by Debbie Story, Sales Manager, Corporate Identity, Inc. She can be reached at dstory@corpid.com

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Do I Have to be Likeable to Succeed?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Do I Have to be Likeable to Succeed?

(And why do I have to ask this?)

 

In a world of increased competition, a business’ success may depend on its likeability as much as on its expertise. Having likeable products and likeable/supportive sales and customer service staff can help a firm stand out in a crowded pack.

 

But what about personal likeability, especially for professional women?

 

The notion of being “likeable” at work appears to plague professional women more than it does professional men. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg discusses how "success and likability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women." In other words, the higher on the corporate ladder a woman climbs, the less likeable she is perceived to be. In the case of a man, the opposite holds true. Sandberg presents a massive amount of data to support this fact, whether we like it or not.

 

And yet, in “New Research Shows Success Doesn’t Make Women Less Likable,” Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman conclude from their analysis of assessments of men and women leaders who have come through their leadership program that “likeability and success actually go together remarkably well for women.”

 

So what gives (and I’m smiling while writing this in an effort to remain likeable).

 

In many ways, this differing of opinion cycles back to cultural norms for female behavior. Women are culturally regarded as being natural collaborators, supportive of the efforts of others. So when a woman in a position of leadership collaborates with her peers or with her subordinates, she is considered to be “likeable” and often receives high marks for her leadership.

 

The issue becomes less clear when a woman leader’s opinion differs from her peers, has to make difficult decisions that involve job reductions or dismissals, or has to act in an authoritative manner.It is in these circumstances that a professional woman’s likeability may suffer, as she is judged to be aggressive. Simply put, a professional woman acting authoritatively may be violating gender stereotypes that support cultural norms.

 

Marianne Cooper has studied the conundrum that many professional women face: be a team player and be liked; be a strong leader and be disliked. In “For Women Leaders, Likability and Success Hardly Go Hand-in-Hand,” Cooper writes:

 

Women are expected to be nice, warm, friendly, and nurturing. Thus, if a woman acts assertively or competitively, if she pushes her team to perform, if she exhibits decisive and forceful leadership, she is deviating from the social script that dictates how she “should” behave. By violating beliefs about what women are like, successful women elicit pushback from others for being insufficiently feminine and too masculine.

 

So, does a professional woman have to swallow a desire to be liked in order to be successful? (Still smiling while writing.) Gini Dietrich, founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm, writes about this uniquely female dilemma in “Likable vs. Successful: The Issue Women Leaders Face.”

 

From her perspective, professional men don’t care if you do or don’t like them. They don’t care if you don’t like their decisions. But women, according to Dietrich, adjust their behavior to be likable.

 

Admitting that she herself likes to be liked, Dietrich has some tough words for professional women:

 

We do care what others think about us and that gives us less power in the boardroom and in our personal lives. In a world where we want the top jobs and equal pay and equal rights, we have to stop playing a supporting role in our own lives. By wanting to be liked, we are more concerned with what others think about us than with doing the very best job, even if it’s not popular.

 

In trying to make sense of all of this – and don’t ask me to comment on “resting bitch face,” please! – I wonder if it is possible to blend the positive “female” trait of collaborator with that of an assertive authority in a working environment. A true collaborator is honest and challenging but never argumentative for the sake of argument. Collaborators never disregard the feeling of others, even while honestly disagreeing, honest, but not so blunt as to disregard the feelings of others. They are challenging, but supportive. This kind of leadership has within its DNA a genetic marker for emotional intelligence.

 

So, being likeable in a professional setting is tricky for women. But maybe “likeability” isn’t the scale on which we should be measured. I think it’s a good thing to rely on our natural instincts to collaborate as well as on our intrinsic sensibility about the feelings of others when making tough decisions. Remaining honest and supportive of our peers and our subordinates while also remaining true to our beliefs, knowledge, and instincts, even during times when we disagree with a direction or proposal or when we must make difficult decisions, may begin to formulate a paradigm for leadership that is especially female. And it doesn’t measure likeability at all.

 

Written by: Carol Jambor-Smith Founder and Principle of Jambor-Smith Communications.Jambor-Smith Communications provides you with the strategy and training you need to execute internal and external communications that empower and motivate staff, build and retain clients, and inspire interest and confidence in your brand.For more information, contact Carol Jambor-Smith at carol@jamborsmithcommunications.com

 

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Tips for Smarter Living

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tips for Smarter Living

Making First Impressions Count By Taking Care of Your Wardrobe

 

We all know that first impressions count (“You only have one chance to make a first impression”) and how you dress is a big part of that impression. Regardless of the dress code for a specific situation -- business formal or business casual -- taking care of your appearance can only help you communicate your professionalism.

Whether you’re meticulous about caring for your clothes – putting away your day’s outfit immediately – or not – stacking worn outfits on your dresser, to be put away “over the weekend” – there are simple things to do to make sure your clothes last and keep their appearance.

 

1.     Lingerie/Swimwear

Never put lingerie or swimwear in the washer/dryer.  Doing so will ruin the elastic, which in turn will ruin the fit.

a. Wash like colors together.

b. Fill a sink or bowl with cool water and a gentle detergent or with shampoo.

c. Hand agitate the laundry a few times and let soak for about an hour.

d. Gently squeeze out excess water.

e. Dry on a drying rack.

f. Put an empty bottle of perfume or a bar of lightly scented soap in your lingerie drawer.  The hint of the scent will be wonderful.

 

2.     Cashmere

Despite what it says on the tag, cashmere is best washed by hand in cold water with baby shampoo or Woolite for optimal softness and protection from chemicals (and only about two times a season).

a. Never hold up a wet cashmere sweater by the shoulders, it’ll stretch it out. In fact, keep your cashmere in a lump when you go to pick it up when wet.

b. To dry it quickly, use a salad spinner, which releases excess water in seconds. Don’t have one? Lay it flat to dry, pressing it with a towel.


3.
     Cotton

Cotton is super-durable, so it can be washed in the machine with any detergent and bleached as needed.

a. For best results, machine wash cotton items in warm water on a normal wash cycle.

b. Tumble dry on low setting.

c. If your cotton is white, you can wash it with bleach on a hot water setting.

 

4.     Viscose/Rayon

Viscose has a silky appearance and breathes like cotton but it wrinkles very easily, so it’s advised to use an iron’s medium setting with steam.

a. If the garment is particularly special or has intricate draping, hand-washing is suggested in cool to lukewarm water.

b. Hang wet items totally wet (no wringing or twisting) as this will help remove creasing and ensure the garment doesn’t lose its shape.

 

5.     Polyester

Most polyester and can be easily machine washed and dried in warm water, with added fabric softener because polyester is prone to static cling. Certain poly-blends need to be dry cleaned, so always check the tag.

a. Dry the garment on a low temperature and use a moderately warm iron if needed.

b. Polyester is easy to care for, but tends to lock in stains. To lift a stain, rub stain remover on the area and allow it to sit for 10 to 20 minutes before laundering.

 

6.     Silk

While dry-cleaning is fine for basic silk pieces, it’s even better (and cheaper) to hand wash them in order to keep them in good shape.

a. Hand wash silk in cool or lukewarm water using a tiny bit of mild detergent or shampoo dissolved in water.

b. Like most natural fibers, silk doesn’t tolerate changes in temperature, so stick with either cool or warm water the whole way through.

c. Never wring out silk to dry! Instead roll the item up in a towel and gently press the water out.

d. Wash items labeled “washable silk” in the washing machine on the gentle cycle in a mesh bag. Hang dry on a padded hanger.

e. To prevent color loss and to keep silk in good condition, add up to three tablespoons of white vinegar for every two quarts of water.

f. Silk should be pressed while it’s still damp. Iron on a low setting and don’t use steam, which can leave watermarks.

g. Always store silk in a dry dark place, and never keep in it in plastic since the fabric needs to breathe.

 

7.     Jeans

Unless your jeans are made from raw denim (in which case they should not be washed for six months), jeans can easily be washed, inside out, in cold water. Try not to machine dry them but, if you must, do so on the lowest possible setting.

 

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Behind Every Red Door is a Different Dream…

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 3, 2017

A few weeks ago my mentee Becca Berkenstadt and I toured ICNC, the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, located at 320 N. Damen Avenue in Chicago.  I met Jennifer Holmes, ICNC Director of Development, through the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago and was immediately drawn to her sparkling personality.  She extended the gracious invitation to tour ICNC’s facilities, an organization I didn’t even know existed.  ICNC is one of the oldest and largest business incubators in the world, housing more than 110 new and growing companies across a diverse set of industries; including light manufacturing, distribution, professional services, and food and beverage.  The building encompasses 416,000 s.f. of space (larger then seven football fields).  Currently ICNC represents more than 2,000 local companies in and around Chicago, offering its support to any Illinois-based business.  Established in 1967, ICNC works with start-ups and provides a range of services including direct advising to new and existing businesses as well as providing a range of entrepreneurial education.

 

Throughout the giant building, each business is marked with a red door.  “Behind every red door is a different dream,” said Jennifer, as she opened the door to our first tour.  Jennifer arranged for a visit with Studio Thread (http://studiothread.com) where Jon Satrom, Principal, and Brannon Dorsey, Creative Technologist, showed us around their gorgeous space.   Studio Thread is the media partner of 3Arts, a nonprofit that advocates for Chicago’s women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities who work in the performing, teaching and visual arts. Next we visited Anastasia Chatzka (www.anastasiachatzka.com), a fashion designer who makes her clothes in Chicago.  Anastasia sews her clothes in the ICNC space, and sells them in her store located at 1001 N. Damen Avenue in the city.  You can see her work on YouTube under “Sew Anastasia.” We also visited Exquisite Designs (www.exqdesigns.com), a woman-owned floral and design studio for weddings, corporations and special events.   There was so much to see, we already planned another time to come back for another visit, to get a broader idea of the range of companies housed here. What an incredible organization, supporting new business owners navigate the landscape in Chicago.   For additional information on ICNC, visit www.industrialcouncil.com.

 

Written by Alyssa Burns, Owner & President of Alyssa Burns Communications, Past President of PWCC, and current co-chairperson of PWCC’s Mentorship Program.  Alyssa is a behind-the-scenes collaborator, a creative problem solver, and a strategic business advisor who can influence others to be successful.  Visit her website at www.alyssaburnscommunications.com.

 

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Busy Woman’s Tips: Try These Life Hacks for a Fun and Productive Summer

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 12, 2017

Productivity Hacks

1.    Make a to-do list ― but do it right:  Writing a to-do list is often the first logical step in a productive day, but doing it right is harder than it sounds. Productivity experts warn about the dangers of overloading your list by putting too many large tasks on it. Breaking your day down into small, manageable items that you can actually complete help you map out what you need to get done and set yourself up for success. Instead of writing “finish project,” on your list, break a big task up into smaller steps such as “make three Powerpoint slides” or “write two pages of report.” After all, there’s nothing more satisfying than crossing an item off your to-do list. Except, perhaps, finishing the list altogether.

2.    Grab a Healthy Snack:  The source of renewed productivity may lie in your stomach. A 2015 study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that young adults who ate more fruits and vegetables reported increased levels of creativity, curiosity and well-being. Making healthy snack and meal choices can be a simple but powerful way to accomplish tasks and get your creative juices flowing. Check out these healthy snack ideasif you’re looking for a way to boost that brainpower.

3.    Have a Swedish Fika or take a nap.  Have your hot beverage and a baked good as the swedes do every day.  But the meaning behind this break is more than what it appears to be. It's about unplugging from your electronics and taking a moment to unwind. It doesn't matter where you do it or if you're alone or with friends — what matters is that you make time to decompress.  Better yet, take a nap.  Tell this to your boss the next time he or she thinks you’re sleeping on the job. Napping has been shown to increase alertness, improve creativity and boost productivity ― all of which will do wonders for your work day.

4.    Schedule a walking meeting.  Exercise, fresh air, no computer... what more could you want? Emerging research shows that walking meetings can boost creativity and engagement.  Company leaders, from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, are also big fans. But if that still doesn’t convince you, maybe this will: Studies show walking can drastically improve your health and boost your mental well-being.

5.    Keep a minimalist/streamlined office.  Research shows clutter can contribute to stress, whether your style is a minimalist style, traditional, transitional, contemporary or country style, keep clutter at bay. A 2011 studypublished in the Journal of Neuroscience found that multiple stimuli in your line of sight compete for your brain’s attention. To increase concentration levels while you sit at your desk, embrace a streamlined office. Looking for more ways to set your space up for success? Check out this handy guide.

6.    Watch a Puppy video.  In case you really needed an excuse to watch these adorable puppies discover the joy of a slide, do it for your productivity. A 2012 study found that watching cute videos may actually improve your concentration. That’s a real mood booster.

7.    Keep on sharpening your saw.  Access a pool of resources and information available to female small business owners, to help them advance their business.  Many of these resources are available for free online. Here is a collection of 15 top-notch resources aimed at helping female entrepreneurs explore to keep on learning and growing business opportunities.

8.    LinkedIn Headline Mobile Hack you will love.  Your Headline is vital to expressing your value proposition to your LinkedIn audience. Based on the new LinkedIn interface, the Headline only allows for 120 characters, which often limits your ability to complete your thought or get an entire point across. Or, so you thought.  If you update your headline on the Mobile app, your characters are practically endless. Okay, infinity is a bit of an exaggeration, it does go on beyond 200. Go ahead - try it!

Travelling/Beach Hacks

9.    Cheap Flight Hack.Put your browser in incognito mode to find the cheapest flights, because websites may change prices if they know your search history.

10.  Highway Hack.  Not sure which side of the road your exit's on? Check the small exit sign on top of the larger road sign. If it's on the left side, your exit will be on the left side of the highway.

11.  Sunscreen Hack.  Can't reach your back when applying SPF? Squirt your sunscreen onto plastic wrap, and rub it on your back like you would a towel.

12.  Hotel Hack.  Since hotels are full of germs, cover the remote with a plastic baggie before using.

13.  Smart Packing Hack.  When packing, put your shoes in a shower cap. This will keep the rest of your stuff clean while you travel.

14.  Wrinkled Shirt Hack.Use your flat iron to press out small wrinkles in your shirt when you're in a time crunch.
Do you have a hack of your own you would like to share?  Please send your hack to admin@pwcc.org.

Written by  Elaine Mikesell, Ph.D., Digital Consulting Managing Partner of WSI.

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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​​Member Spotlight:Opportunity is all around you! Meet PWCC MemberAshley Kegan

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 12, 2017

This month we profile Ashley Kegan who joined PWCC last year.  By day, Ashley is a Manager at Davis & Hosfield Consulting LLC where she is a damages expert and works on cases involving fraud and misrepresentation, breach of contract and fiduciary duty along with patent, copyright and trademark infringement.  Before Davis &Hosfield, Ashley was an auditor with Deloitte &Touche, LLP.  Ashley graduated summa cum laude from DePaul University with a B.S. in Accountancy and she is also a CPA.

 

While Ashley is dedicated to her career, she also has a passion for volunteering. While working for Deloitte, Ashley was searching for a way to volunteer abroad and came across Accountants for International Development (AFID). 

 

Ashley’s schedule at Deloitte did not allow for her to take an international volunteer assignment, but she kept the idea of volunteering abroad in the back of her mind.  In September 2013, Ashley left Deloitte to pursue a career in damages consulting.  It was then that Ashley decided to try an overseas assignment.  Just months later, Ashley was in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya performing a pro bono audit for Aids Orphan UK Trust, who she continues to volunteer with to this day. Aids Orphan UK Trust, is a UK non-profit helping children whose parents died from HIV/AIDs. 

 

In 2016, Ashley was approached by AFID to apply for the treasurer position at the nonprofit Global Minimum. She now serves as the treasurer and co-chair on the Board of Directors.  Global Minimum encourages young innovators (aged 13-20 years) and leaders in Sierra Leone and Kenya, Africa to engage with critical thinking skills and hands-on learning programs to tackle challenges affecting their communities.  The nonprofits vision is to expand a culture of innovation and self-efficacy that can help drive economic, social and human development in Africa. Global Minimum wants to show Africa’s youth that opportunity is all around them and how working together locally and nationally can result in ideas to improve their local communities, if not the world.

 

Global Minimum’s InLab program partners with schools and community centers to bring students a 10-week program that teaches students problem solving skill, collaboration, and creative thinking.InLab teaches students curriculum beyond what is taught in schools, focusing on electronics and programing.

Each year the InChallenge program draws youth from all over Kenya and Sierra Leone.   The youth are encouraged to work in teams of two to three to identify an issue in their community and find an innovate solution for the problem.  Within each country, 12 teams are selected as finalists to attend a fully-funded Innovation Camp that includes leadership clinics, design thinking workshops, field trips, mentorship and project funding to produce a prototype of a solution for the local problem.  There are five categories the project must fulfill: 

  1. Motivation and Determination to make the project a success
  2. Innovation and Impact of the project to address a community need in a novel way
  3. General Appeal to ensure communities and external party participation
  4. Feasibility to ensure reasonableness of the project and it has a high chance of success
  5. Sustainability of the long-term vision and the ability of the project to sustain itself

 

Some of the wide range of prototype projects that have been selected include:

  • a health and medical care mobile app to reduce mortality rates by providing reliable information about medical facilities, their locations and services offered; 

  • a sky pod futuristic transport solution to reduce road accidents and traffic;

  • and plastic and glass recycled bottle chandeliers to help reduce pollution.

 

Over the past four years, Global Minimum’s InChallenge program has provided thousands of learning opportunities for youth with more than 1,000 teams submitting proposals and more than 500 students being chosen to develop their prototypes to help their community.  The InLabs program is in its infancy, but has already reached over 250 students.  Global Minimum strives to help the advancement of learning in girls, and on average Global Minimum’s programs are 66% female. 

 

Ashley loves that she is able to share her passion of travel along with volunteering to help encourage the next generation and she has found that it has inspired her to do more in all aspects of her life including personal, professional and even more volunteering.  To learn more about Global Minimum and be inspired, you can visit their website at www.gmin.org

Written by Sheryl Dineen; Marketing & BD Specialist, Ice Miller LLP

 

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Secrets Can Kill

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 19, 2017

Secrets Can Kill

The HBO series, “Big Little Lies,” adapted from Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name, aptly represents the secret of domestic violence: external appearances often belie internal realities.  In the series, the beautiful Celeste, played by Nicole Kidman, is routinely physically (and, therefore, psychologically) abused by her husband.  And yet Celeste goes to great lengths to hide her abuse with makeup and long sleeves.

As a result, the world looks at the life of Celeste and her abusive husband and judges it to be perfect.

Thus the conundrum of domestic violence: its horror is often hidden by the victim who feels shame and guilt for suffering abuse.  Victims of abuse, often women, feel that it is their fault and that society will judge them accordingly.

Multiple health organizations, including the American Medical Association and the Emergency Nurses Association call for greater education of medical personnel in recognizing the signs of abuse.  But we should not just rely on doctors and nurses to identify those suffering abuse; we all must learn to speak up and out to protect anyone we suspect is experiencing abuse; we must also learn to honestly assess a potentially abusive relationship that we may be part of.

Helpguide.org, dedicated to presenting guides to mental, emotional, and social health, acknowledges that while “It's impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors,” there are “some telltale signs and symptoms of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness these warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.” It offers a detailed guide to signs of abuse: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm

Other good sources of information for recognizing abuse and actions to take include:

From WebMD, “Domestic Violence - Signs of Domestic Violence”

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/domestic-violence-signs-of-domestic-violence#1

 

From New Hope for Women, “Abuser Tricks”

http://www.newhopeforwomen.org/abuser-tricks

 

From The National Domestic Violence Hotline, “Abuse Defined”

http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/

 

Let’s all educate ourselves and work to eradicate domestic violence.

 

Submitted by:  Carol Jambor-Smith

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Busy Woman’s Tips: Follow Your Passion to Find Your Purpose

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

When searching for your purpose, start by finding your passion.  Your passion will lead you right to your purpose. Many of us walk through life desperate for a deeper connection, but aren’t sure how to get it.  Follow a few basic tips to find the best way to use your interests and skills to help others.

 

Consider your unique talents: Clues to your purpose can be found in your unique talents and what you simply love, start by taking inventory of your gifts and talents, and look for common themes.

 

Recognize your transferrable skills: Most organizations accept volunteers.  Be clear about your skills, so they know what you have to offer. Some good transferable skills to highlight would be communication, fundraising, marketing, event planning, finance, coaching, mentoring, technical skills, problem solving skills, web design, writing, and accounting.

 

Start with baby steps: Try micro volunteering. No need to commit long term to anything until you know it is a good fit.  Micro volunteering is described as a no commitment, free to participate, and a 30 minute or less commitment. Start by searching websites for opportunities in your area.

 

Be realistic about your availability: Don’t start with opportunities that may be too time consuming or not convenient. Start with a short term project until you feel comfortable with the commitment.

 

Decide where and how you want to make a difference:  Do you want to devote your energy to a local nonprofit, where you can work alongside people in your community? Or spend your time on a larger effort where you’re working on your own via your computer? Do you like to get dirty and work with your hands?  Nature or wildlife conservation projects may be right for you. Maybe you have always had an interest in helping empower women; the PWCC has many members passionate about women’s issues.

 

You can’t think your way into finding your purpose; you have to do your way into it. Take a mental note from Nike and “Just Do It”. The more we act, the more we get clear on things. Remember these words from the great Muhammad Ali “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” 

 

Written by Debbie Story, Corporate Identity, Inc. As a promotional products professional, my goal is to assist companies to optimize their branding through consistent use of their logo on branded promotional products.

 

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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Member Spotlight:Always Making a Difference: Meet PWCC Member Becca Berkenstadt

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

This month we profile Rebecca “Becca” Berkenstadt who embodies our theme of always striving to make a difference.  Eight years ago, while attending DePaul University, Becca started her own small business, Worldly Strategies, specializing in social media.  She has since grown the business into a digital marketing agency that provides custom, digital marketing plans for small- to medium-sized businesses and is also committed to giving back.  She works with a variety of industries and has helped numerous residential real estate agents, sports figures and authors improve their websites and use social media to market themselves.

 

Becca loves to travel and has found a way to combine her passion for travel with her work.  She has already visited all but two continents and has lived in Madrid, Spain and Sydney, Australia.  Right after graduating with honors from DePaul University, Becca moved to Sydney, Australia to work for an agency for just over two years where she continued to add more digital marketing expertise in search engine marketing and optimization.  She has a degree in marketing and management and also minored in Spanish.

 

Becca’s goal with her business is to help her clients increase sales, brand awareness, and traffic to their websites. Her digital plans seamlessly blend: social media management, online advertising, email marketing, website design, and search engine optimization (SEO).  Becca has been very successful at getting authors on Amazon’s Best Seller Lists.  She also uses her knowledge of online advertising with Facebook ads to improve business for her clients. She recently placed a $200 Facebook ad for an education company that generated $13,000 in sales.  Becca’s firm is doing so well she employs two part-time interns and continues to enjoy her love of travel because she can usually work from anywhere in the world.  

 

Some of the things that make Becca’s business stand out include that she has: 1) clients around the world, 2) the experience of living and working in marketing organizations around the world so she understands the different audiences, and 3) a strong feeling of corporate responsibility and that each company should be give back.

 

As part of her firm’s values, Becca has made it her mission to donate 5% of her firm’s net profits each year to DAIS.  DAIS stands for Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. Growing up, Becca watched her mom, Holly Cremer Berkenstadt, help organizations including DAIS in Madison, Wisconsin, to raise money and volunteer.  Becca saw her mother as a role model and followed in her footsteps by volunteering at DAIS and becoming a community philanthropist. DAIS is celebrating its 40th anniversary this summer and the organization’s mission is to empower those affected by domestic violence and advocate for social change through support, education, and outreach.  The facility serves men, women and children by providing workshops, group counseling and a place to stay.  Becca has been involved with DAIS for more than four years. She regularly attends events, participates in their annual fashion show and hosts a table, and provides pro bono marketing help throughout the year.

 

In addition to her work with DAIS, Becca is also a member of the group 100 Women Who Care Chicago.  This group’s mission is to use the power of collective giving to make a difference in the diverse neighborhoods of Chicago.  This is a great charity to get involved with if you don’t have a lot of free time.  The group meets just four times a year.  Each attendee signs a form to commit to donate $100 at each meeting.  When 100 people donate $100 at the same time, they raise $10,000 for a worthy cause.  In ONE hour!  There is no volunteering, no telemarketing, no event planning, no silent auctions to solicit.  Just a very easy, immediate way to give back to your local community. As a member, you can nominate a cause.  Three causes are randomly selected and the nominating member gives a five-minute presentation at the meeting. Then the group votes and the cause with the most votes receives the collective donation.  The group meets at Kamehachi restaurant in Old Town and their next meeting is Monday, July 24.  If you are interested in learning more, you can check out their website at www.100womenchicago.com and there are also chapters in the suburbs and around the world.

 

Becca is an active member of PWCC.  She participates in our Mentoring Program, co-chairs the Membership Committee and is on the board.  To learn more about Becca and her company and have her help you with a digital marketing plan you can check out her website at www.worldystrategies.com.

 

Written by Sheryl Dineen; Marketing & BD Specialist, Ice Miller LLP

 

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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