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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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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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6 Lessons for the Working Mom’s Juggling Act

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 11, 2017

There comes a time in many women’s lives when they have to make a choice about their career.  Mine was in the spring of 2014.  And, for me, it was an easy one.  I loved my career, had worked hard to get where I was, and enjoyed my role as a Manager at West Monroe Partners.  I knew I wanted to keep working after having my first child.  West Monroe was like my second family and the thought of leaving indefinitely just wasn’t an option.

 

I read all the “working mom” books and blogs I could find to prepare – routines, schedules, meal planning, accepting help from others, practice childcare for a week before going back to work … OK, got it.  The Project Manager in me had all the boxes checked and the potential risks to derail my success identified.

 

The one thing I didn’t prepare myself for was the plateau, or at least what I perceived to be a plateau, in my career. I simply couldn’t dedicate enough time as others at my level to go above and beyond in all aspects of my role – even though I knew I was capable.  And I wasn’t willing to take even more time away from seeing my daughter to do it.  Time is fleeting and I didn’t want to miss the milestones in her life.  Things became even more complicated after twins took me by surprise in the fall of 2015.  I reduced my schedule by 20% and based my work related choices around local roles and what would allow me the lifestyle I needed for my family.

 

Were others wondering why I hadn’t progressed up the career model?  Did that mean that I was losing the respect of my peers and the leadership team?  After moving at a fast pace to where I was, this stall – whether real or perceived – made me question my value to the company and whether or not it was all worth it.

 

Finally someone gave me the reality check I so desperately needed – I had THREE kids at home and was able to spend a meaningful amount of time with them during the week and that I just couldn’t compare myself to others who were at very different stages in their lives.  I think the exact phrase might have been – “Seriously, Reva? This is what you are worried about?!”  The tough love worked.  When I stepped back to think about how I felt about my life – not the noise from others and my concern about how others may have perceived me – I smiled.   I didn’t realize until that moment just how truly happy I was at home and at work.

 

Once I had this a-ha moment, I did some soul searching on the what, why, and how I came to this place.  The answer – it came with tradeoffs and I had accepted that those tradeoffs existed.  I found myself in a non-linear career path at a place where people are so bright and driven that my experience defies the norm – and, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Looking back on the last few years, here are the 6 lessons I’d pass on:

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others. No one’s personal life is exactly the same, especially once you introduce kids.  I had to look holistically at my life versus separating personal and professional when assessing my overall happiness.
       

  2. Find role models and supporters. It doesn’t need to be a formal reporting relationship.  Find people that you look up to and want your life to be like.  There are so many strong women in leadership positions at West Monroe that I am privileged to know and to call my working mom advisors.  There are also men that have fought hard on my behalf to land the roles and projects I wanted at the firm.  
       

  3. Eliminate the word “balance” from your vocabulary, it is all about satisfaction. Work-life balance as a working mom (or parent for that matter) is just unrealistic.  I would describe it more as a constant juggling act.  There are days I only make it home for the tail end of bedtime and there are days I am able to spend 3+ hours in the evening with my kids.  The “balance” can swing wildly in either direction, but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself – Am I satisfied across all aspects of my life? If the answer is no, then reevaluate your priorities and what you can do to make yourself happy and be the best possible version of yourself. A great read to help understand this philosophy is Off Balance by Matthew Kelly – a quick read and personal favorite.
       

  4. Protect your boundaries. Just like your toddler, your colleagues will also test your boundaries.  Once you start to stretch them and make yourself available, the precedent becomes set.  Turn the auto-reply on and train your colleagues what an urgent issue looks like.  The only person who can protect your boundaries is you.

  5. Outsource everything you feasibly can. The best piece of advice I have received is to think about what you feel most strongly about doing yourself and then find ways to outsource the rest.  Just like you would at work, prioritize all the day-to-day tasks and get as much help as you can on the things that matter less if you physically do them yourself. 

  6. Compromise is part of the gig. You aren’t going to be at every happy hour and you won’t be able to attend all the evening networking events.  Be selective in how you spend your time and what you choose to do. Just because you want to do it doesn’t mean you have to. A time will come that you won’t have to worry about this tradeoff, but in the meantime – embrace it and move on.

I still wouldn’t say I feel 100% at peace with this change every day in my, previously very linear, career path.  Maybe I never will.  But what I can tell you is that on the days and evenings I am off work and home with my 3 little ones, I feel so grateful that I still have a career that I love and am able to spend so much quality time with them – regardless of what my title is at work.

Written by Reva Busby, Senior Manager at West Monroe Partners.  PWCC is grateful for the support of West Monroe Partners as one of our corporate sponsors and for sharing their insight about relevant women’s issues with our membership.

                                                                                                                 

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: You’re not really my type, but do you have a friend? Borrowed tips from speed dating to up your networking game.

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 7, 2017

Although going to a networking event is very different from speed dating, the expectations are similar; in both cases, you get a limited window to chat up a complete stranger with the hope of making a connection. Follow a few tips below and you will be surprised that people from totally different professions and backgrounds can provide you with different perspectives and sources of advice you may not expect.

 

Use pickup lines Nervous and not naturally chatty? Having a couple of pre-prepared lines can be quite handy. Whether it’s about the weather, a great new place to eat or “Hey, have we met? You look so familiar!”, prepared lines can be the best go-to technique to start a conversation. Be original if you can, and, if you find something that works for you, by all means use it more often.

 

Be clear about your “Ask” At the end of the day, it’s not just about building a network – it’s about building relationships. Having a million connections is awesome. But having someone to email when you have a question or need guidance is key. Think about what you really need help with, personally and professionally, and don’t be afraid to ask.Knowing ahead of time what you’re hoping to accomplish will help you stay focused.

 

Dress Up Dressing well reinforces people’s trust in us. For the purpose of networking, we suggest leaning toward the formal end of business casual. When you’re planning your outfit, pick something professional but also pick something that makes you feel good—a great dress or those new shoes you’ve been wanting to wear will help you exude confidence. Remember to also check out the dress code for the networking event you are attending.

 

Offer to help Find ways to add value to others without expecting anything in return.  When you do something for someone else that helps them in some way, they naturally want to reciprocate. the best question to ask when you meet an influential person is, "How can I help you?" Obviously, you should really be in a position to assist the person. But even if they don't take you up on your offer, they'll probably feel warmer to you for having asked.

 

Talk about something other than work What interesting hobbies do you have outside of work? Maybe you have a side gig selling artwork, or maybe you volunteer. You may be adding to their knowledge base, or it may be something they are also interested in.  

 

Ask a lot of questions People love talking about themselves. Asking lots of questions helps establish a bond and also harvests good conversation. How do you like working for your company? What’s your primary role at your company? What projects are you working on right now? How did you get involved in your field?

 

PWCC provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Additionally, the founders hoped to recruit women who represented a broad range of industries and services.

 

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: Anne-Alice (Annie) Homsy – Making the Most of Her PWCC Connections

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 7, 2017

This month we profile PWCC member Annie Homsy who joined in 2017.  Annie is the perfect example of how pursuing your interests and working with mentors can assist you in making connections in both your personal life and career. Annie attended DePaul University from 2005-2008 and received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Government. She graduated cum laude.  Annie and her sister Elizabeth (who is also a PWCC member) grew up in Chicago as the daughters of two environmental attorneys and they were lucky enough to travel the world.  Annie loves to travel and is fluent in five languages including Arabic, English, Filipino, French and Spanish, and is also in the process of learning two more.

 

To read more about Annie, her path to PWCC, and how it’s helped her personally and professionally, please click here. 

 

In addition to traveling and learning other languages throughout her life, Annie trained to sing opera in the Bel Canto style. She became addicted to the music and toured on stage for almost 10 years.  While she still loves opera, she traded in the financial instability of an artist for a career in finance.  She is still a member of the DePaul Choir, having joined during her undergraduate years.

 

After college, Annie held several financial-related positions as she moved up in her career.  Realizing she would need an advanced degree in order to achieve some of the top financial positions, she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at night with the goal of graduating in December.  One of Annie’s goals for joining PWCC and participating in the PWCC mentoring program was to focus on her job search and network for a new position.  She said her mentoring with PWCC’s Past President Karen Jones from U.S. Trust was invaluable and led her to a new position as Assistant Vice President at Bank of America.  Annie said Karen has also provided guidance on goals so she can be more focused.

 

Annie is also involved with the DePaul Graduate Women in Business Program and is now president.  The networking and social group meets once a month to discuss a wide range of topics.  In line with our "Making Connections" theme this month, Annie actually met Ellyn Caruso, Founder & Principal of Caruso Communications, LLC, at a PWCC meeting and invited her to be on the March panel of women executives to talk about how they have created successful careers in various industries. 

 

 

Annie also enjoys writing.  In fact, when she was in high school she wrote a book based on her Grandfather’s Civil War journal, where he wrote about his Union Army experience and his extensive travels.  Her sister edited the book, which was published, and can be found on Amazon:  “Grandfather’s Civil War Story.”  Annie still loves to write and is working on two other books (a cookbook of family recipes and her father’s experiences during the Vietnam War).

 

Annie is looking forward to receiving her M.B.A. in December so she can celebrate with a trip through Italy and then figure out what her next three goals will be for 2018.  She is also looking to get more involved with PWCC and to continue to help to mentor others. Look for Annie at our next event or connect with her through the Member Directory because you never know where a connection will take you.

 

Written by Sheryl Dineen.

 

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: Building Financial Strength by Saving for Yourself First

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 2, 2017
When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant instructs you to put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others.  Why is this an important rule for ensuring survival?  Because if you run out of oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask. This is an important metaphor for those of you who run around taking care of everything and everyone else except yourself. Most advisers tell parents to prioritize retirement savings because you and your child can borrow for college, while nobody lends for retirement. 

 

If you're having trouble finding ways to pay yourself first, try taking these steps to get into the habit:

 

1. Figure out how much you can afford. If you take a close look at your expenses, you may find that even small changes in spending habits, such as bringing your lunch to work, making less frequent trips to the salon, or calling the cable company to ask about reducing your bill, can create big savings over time. If you know you can only pay yourself a small amount right now, look for opportunities to increase these payments in the future. 

 

2. Create a savings strategy. Once you’ve found the money you need to pay yourself first, it’s important to find a smart way to save those funds until they’re needed. You can start by moving money into a savings account once a month, before you pay your other bills. Speak to your employer about deferring a set amount from each paycheck into a savings account as well and ask about additional savings plans they may offer. Network with financial advisors at the PWCC luncheons for more great tips!

 

3. Teach your children about money. Children as young as three years old can grasp financial concepts like saving and spending. Create three jars – each labeled “Saving,” “Spending” or “Sharing.” Having them involved in their future savings will help them learn valuable money management skills that will have a major impact on their financial futures. Even if you can afford to fully fund a 529 for your child, it is best to involve them in the process and have them contribute.

 

First focus on yourself, your career, your business. If you’re successful, then you’ll have plenty to give back.

 

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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