Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Report Abuse   |   Sign In   |   Join
PWCC Blog
Blog Home All Blogs
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!

 

Search all posts for:   

 

The Power of the Ask

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

When was the last time you asked for a favor? Are you among the many who give generously, never asking for anything in return. Sometimes a kind word or a simple gesture can make the biggest difference. But it starts with the ask.

Our traditional “PWCC Grow Your Connections: Spring Progressive Luncheon” is going viral, offering women the opportunity to connect, share, and “ask,” even while we #stayathome.

In our “Shelter at Home” survey, we asked members to share the "ask” they prepared for the April Luncheon. Responses were as unique as our members, but can be categorized into three main groups.

First, members are asking you keep their business in mind. Coaches are offering free sessions, communicators are suggesting they can get your message out, women are looking for career and job change advice, and some are seeking specific types of introductions necessary to reach their professional goals.

Others “ask” us to support others – buy from small businesses, make a donation to non-profits, support others with prayers, and please stay at home and safe.

Finally, a group responded they just want to connect. Can you be a part of a small group sharing a virtual coffee or a “quarantini,” learning a new skill, reviewing and recommending Netflix options, or simply sharing a laugh?

OK, so now a challenge!  Open the SURVEY DATA and find someone looking for something you have, someone with a need that aligns with yours, or someone looking for assistance that you can provide – especially if they are seeking (virtual) companionship and human connection within physical (not social!) distancing guidelines.

Or, choose a member to connect with and let her know how you are doing and have your “ask” ready. Take a moment to reach out and say hello and support our community, even if it means trying new tech and embracing the inevitable awkward moment on a video call.

Below is a re-cap of our PWCC three P’s – keep this handy for ice breakers during your virtual meetings:

PWCC: What's your PWCC story? How did you find us?

How long have you been a member? Any committee involvement?

A success story from your business or personal life from PWCC? What do you love about PWCC?

Professional: What do you do and where do you do it? Who is your ideal client? What problems do you solve? Who are you looking to meet? Any specific ask? How can we help you?

Personal: Tell us something about yourself! What do you do for fun? Family? Where do you live? Upcoming vacation? Talents? Philanthropic involvement? Passions without a paycheck?

 

Submitted by:

Debbie Story
Corporate Identity, Inc

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Keeping Spirits Up During a Stay at Home Order

Posted By Debbie Story, Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

It comes as no surprise that among PWCC members, work, professional development, and keeping strong connections is a priority during the #stayathome order. Chardonnay might also appear once or twice as an answer to the question, “How do you keep your spirits up?”

Lindsay Zoeller is expanding the online resources and building a greater social media presence for her company, The Chicago Family Tutor. Amanda ReCupidoStephanie Guerre, and Heather H. Bennett are among members using this time for professional development webinars. Stephanie is taking the “Science of Happiness” course that Yale is offering for free right now. Heather is listening to uplifting business podcasts (Being Boss) while walking outside.

Many PWCC members, like Elene Cafasso enjoy the consistency and rhythm of working. “When I'm with my clients, I'm in flow and living my life's purpose.” Elene said. She also walks outside daily, along with many other members. In addition to re-connecting with network contacts, Jessica Worny Janicki ordered a standing/sitting desk and took time to set it up a comfortable and functional home office.

Lizzy Diaz-Ortiz and Peggy Titterington stay connected with friends and coworkers via video calls. Nicole Soltanzadeh does regular check-ins on video with family and friends as well, and enjoys "virtual happy hours." With friends spread across the country, geographic proximity is no longer as relevant,” she wrote. “I've really found a lot of joy in reconnecting with old friends.”

It is clear that personal connection, more so than professional contacts, seem to be the focus for our members. Margie McCartney calls her 91-year old mother every day. While her mother is receiving around the clock care at home, only her husband could talk her out of driving from Chicago to New York to be with her.

Self-care, exercise, and practicing gratitude were also common responses. “In the mornings, I "J & J" —juice and journal – which includes three things I am most grateful for daily,” Raeann Olsen-Jackson wrote. She added that in the evenings she loves to knit, try new vegetarian recipes, and in addition to relying on Netflix and Amazon Prime to keep them entertained, she and her spouse “put on boxing gloves and spar in the living room.”

If you aren’t lucky enough to have a spouse that willing, virtual workouts are popular. Jenny Chung uses Zoom to practice yoga virtually with her favorite instructor, and like many dog owners, Becca Berkenstadt appreciates the distraction and need to take her dog for a walk each day. She also does physical exercise like lifting weights or practicing yoga daily.

Kristie McDonald practices mind and thought work, EFT, as well as meditation and keeping a gratitude journal. Claudine Pauselli journals, minimizes her news consumption to only key hours of the day, takes walks, and practices yoga every morning. Not talking about the pandemic situation on every text or phone call and “adding some humor in my day” also keeps her spirits up. Becky Nagel is also meditating, working out, and limiting her engagement with the news and social media.

Finally, Janice Boback spoke for all of us when she wrote, “being happy that my household does not have the virus” keeps her spirits up. Well said, Janice. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay at home.

Submitted by:

Abby Rath
Word Nerd | Storyteller
alorath13@gmail.com

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Staying Connected Takes on New Meaning and Methods

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

In these challenging times, our members are finding staying in touch with their network is taking on more importance than ever.

The recent “Shelter at Home” survey shows that our resourceful members are finding a myriad of ways to connect.

Take a look at the RESULTS, and you’ll see how quickly everyone has adapted to our new reality with physical, not social, distancing.

  • Technology has become our savior with scheduled in-person networking, meetings, check-ins, and collaboration taking place virtually.Zoom meetings mean we still get to see each other’s smiling faces, with or without pajamas below.

  • Members are calling, emailing, texting, and using social media to stay on top of their networks. Some have more free time than usual and are optimizing it by updating their LinkedIn profiles and projects they have put off, such as writing a blog.

  • Importantly, it’s a time for reconnection and showing care and concern to others.any are reaching out to check-in on others. As member Ellyn Caruso mentions “it’s amazing what a pandemic will do” to help us realize how important it is to stay truly connected.

Submitted by:

Fiona Ray
Founder, Ready About Consumer Insights
fionaray@readyaboutinsights.com

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Look for the Helpers

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Reviewing the responses to the “Shelter at Home” survey, it struck me how people openly shared their (personal and professional) struggles due to the pandemic and, at the same time, so graciously offered their assistance to others. It reminded me of  Mr. Rogers telling us to “look for the helpers.”

A member who works in the medical field and has her hands full supporting staff and business structure during the pandemic, writes that she is “happy to provide support and encouragement to all.” She and others who have been working remotely for years offered tips for members who are new to mixing home and work 24/7. More than one designer, facing a complete shut-down of her business and little future prospects, is happy to offer suggestions to move your furniture around and maximize the flexibility of every inch of your home now that we are using our homes differently.

One member mentions her company shifting its products to accommodate a lack of cash flow, then offers a free, 75-minute webinar to the small business community "Cash Flow Management in a Crisis.” Marketing and communications specialists are offering their skills, especially in crisis communications, social media, digital marketing, email marketing, and fundraising appeals.

A member who works in retailing offered what she has most of – time. “Let me help you with projects,” she wrote. One member, busy seeing patients from home, offered Mental Health Chicagoland resources, and another is offering teletherapy services to anyone who is feeling anxious or depressed and needs support at this time.

These women are living the mission of PWCC – inspiring personal and professional growth, supporting business and personal goals, and enriching lives. No need is too great for these wonder women. As one member wrote, “I'm happy to help this awesome network of women by providing legal advice, a virtual cocktail, or a roll of toilet paper.”

All survey data can be viewed HERE.

Submitted by:

Abby Rath
Word Nerd | Storyteller
alorath13@gmail.com

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

PWCC BLOG: HOW TO STAY SANE IN TODAY’S HECTIC WORLD? JUST SAY NO.

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 9, 2020

A few years ago, I learned the power of no. At the time, I was working hard to do everything “right” – making sure I went above and beyond at work, volunteering, networking, helping my family, attending every friend’s fundraising event, and showing up at every kid’s birthday party. Yet, no matter how hard I tried, I was convinced that I was always letting someone down.

It took a chronic sinus infection sapping all of my energy for me to realize I was actually letting myself down by not putting myself first. As a natural “people pleaser,” I realized that I just wasn’t comfortable saying no. I knew I had to come up some new ways of prioritizing, putting myself first, and feeling good about my decisions.

The first thing I did was ask for help.

A friend with training as an efficiency coach forced me to take a breath and ask myself four questions before I responded to a request from anyone, including my clients, my friends, my family, and myself. If the answer was “yes” to every question, then the choice is obvious: go for it! My friend helped me see that if I hesitated to say “yes,” I could say “no,” and actually be at my best.

1.       Do I want to do this?

Ha, seems obvious, but how often do you agree to do things you actually don’t think you will enjoy? How will you be served by the time spent at your cousin’s 5 year-old’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese?

2.       Do I have the necessary time available to do this?

Will you be able to properly commit or will you feel rushed? If something is worth doing, it is worth your full attention. If this commitment causes you stress and interrupt other priorities, the answer is NO.

3.       Does this align with my values and priorities?

The mission of many organizations taps into what makes you happy and reflects your passions, but does the work done by every organization holding a gala or volunteer activity light your fire? When I started really looking at WHY I was going to my neighborhood association meetings, I realized their focus was more on politics than improving lives in the community. Choosing not to attend these meetings gave me the free time I needed to tutor a mentee, which is aligned with my desire to help promote female success.

4.       Can this help me in the long term?

Consider the long-term consequences of how you decide to spend your time. Will an evening at a networking event further your career? When you volunteer, is it because you believe in the mission or because “it’s the right thing to do?”

Honestly, there are so many things that we really don’t want to do that will help us live longer, happier, healthier lives – going to the gym springs to my mind – don’t spend your time doing things that don’t help you, satisfy you, or enrich your life.

And if answering these questions doesn’t convince you, remember it is healthy to say NO. It builds your confidence and gives you a sense of control. It opens up your time, and gives you room to nurture your strengths and goals. When you start to say NO more often, your YES has new meaning.

Just say NO. It is thoughtful, it is self-care, and it can help align who you are with who you want to be.

Submitted by:

Fiona L Ray
Founder, Ready About Consumer Insights
fionaray@readyaboutinsights.com

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

MEMBER PROFILE: LET YOUR PASSION CREATE ENERGY

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 9, 2020

We asked Kim Wasney, Business Development Manager at Packed with Purpose, where she works to transform client relationships and communities through gifts that do good, how she prioritizes her personal life when professional life is so busy.

Making time for myself and my personal interests is a matter of survival - both for myself and for my work. Finding a balance between personal interests and professional achievement shouldn't be treated like a luxury item. I am 100% more productive when I'm engaged in my work and not on the edge of burn out, and I know I'm not alone in that. Know your seasons and understand that you'll have more freedom for personal life at certain points of the year.

The weird and beautiful thing about being in a business development or sales role is that some days, I'm not sure where one ends and the other begins. Clients become friends and friends become clients; social events turn into networking and networking turns into social events. For me, that keeps me authentic when I meet someone or go to an event. Am I organizing this Young Professionals Special Interest Group to make new friends or sell some corporate gifts? If I walk in being okay with either outcome, I'm more apt to be myself which ultimately leads to better success in both.

Passions create energy, rather than consume it. For me, one of my biggest passions is building a community of activists to tackle issues of equity and injustice. In order to do that, I needed to meet people who share my views and goals, so I recently started a social justice-themed book club and a separate MeetUp to host political discussions. All of the time and effort that goes into coordinating events always pays off in inspiration and motivation, so it doesn't feel like work even if it might look like it!

Despite all that, it's important to know yourself and your limits. It would be so easy for me to fill every week with events – from political volunteering to local impact groups to PWCC. But I have learned that I need at least one "Kim night” each week. If I have one night per week to binge watch some Netflix drama and work on a sewing project, I can conquer the world on the other six.

Submitted by:

Michelle Collett
Marketing Associate
Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago
michelle@industrialcouncil.com

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

MEMBER PROFILE: LET YOUR PASSION CREATE ENERGY

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 9, 2020

We asked Kim Wasney, Business Development Manager at Packed with Purpose, where she works to transform client relationships and communities through gifts that do good, how she prioritizes her personal life when professional life is so busy.

Making time for myself and my personal interests is a matter of survival - both for myself and for my work. Finding a balance between personal interests and professional achievement shouldn't be treated like a luxury item. I am 100% more productive when I'm engaged in my work and not on the edge of burn out, and I know I'm not alone in that. Know your seasons and understand that you'll have more freedom for personal life at certain points of the year.

The weird and beautiful thing about being in a business development or sales role is that some days, I'm not sure where one ends and the other begins. Clients become friends and friends become clients; social events turn into networking and networking turns into social events. For me, that keeps me authentic when I meet someone or go to an event. Am I organizing this Young Professionals Special Interest Group to make new friends or sell some corporate gifts? If I walk in being okay with either outcome, I'm more apt to be myself which ultimately leads to better success in both.

Passions create energy, rather than consume it. For me, one of my biggest passions is building a community of activists to tackle issues of equity and injustice. In order to do that, I needed to meet people who share my views and goals, so I recently started a social justice-themed book club and a separate MeetUp to host political discussions. All of the time and effort that goes into coordinating events always pays off in inspiration and motivation, so it doesn't feel like work even if it might look like it!

Despite all that, it's important to know yourself and your limits. It would be so easy for me to fill every week with events – from political volunteering to local impact groups to PWCC. But I have learned that I need at least one "Kim night” each week. If I have one night per week to binge watch some Netflix drama and work on a sewing project, I can conquer the world on the other six.

Submitted by:

Michelle Collett
Marketing Associate
Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago
michelle@industrialcouncil.com

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

TIPS FOR SMARTER LIVING: VIP TREATMENT

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 9, 2020

You are a VIP (very important person) but are you getting VIP treatment? If you treat everyone better than you treat yourself, it is time to begin practicing self-care.

Regular self-care increases productivity (because you are focused on what truly matters), decreases stress and anxiety, improves immunity and overall physical and emotional health, and increases positive thinking and gratitude.

Start by taking some time to think about what you really want to make time for. Are you trying to fit in some exercise, do you want to read a little every day, are you looking to unwind with some TV at the end of the night, or do you just want more sleep?

The first rule of self-care is easy:

Live by your calendar. You are already a slave to your calendar, now when you plan your week, include self-care activities, and treat them with the same respect as other calendar entries. Put them in your calendar, set aside time for them, and complete the task in the same way you would a meeting or work on an important project. Be specific. Write “catch up on my favorite blogs with a cup of coffee” or “take a bubble bath” in your schedule. And keep the appointment.

Here are some activities you should consider making time for:

1.       Spend an evening with your best friend – you. Block off a weeknight or two just for you. Use the time for a hobby, meal prep, reading, exercise, journaling, or even watching Netflix. You will find it surprising how much more satisfying “Love is Blind” can be when it is included in your daily planner.

2.       A monthly treat. Schedule a treat for yourself once a month. Carve out some time for something special – a movie, a manicure or haircut, a game of golf or tennis, or an hour dedicated to shoe shopping when you don’t need a new pair. Treat yourself on a lunch break, over the weekend, or by leaving work early. Schedule it and you will make it happen.

3.       Exercise. Whether that’s 20 minutes of core work on the living room floor, five one-minute intervals and wall sits during commercial breaks, going for a walk, or playing your favorite sport – a new stress-busting habit is started with just one step.

4.       Walk to work. This is a great one because you’re accomplishing many things at once. You’re getting exercise, you have time to think or enjoy music/audio, and you’re helping to save the environment. Don’t live close enough to walk? Get off the el a stop or two early or park at a lot that is further away.

5.       Join a group. Groups allow you time away from work and home, focusing on something you are interested in. Singing, gardening, astronomy, a book or craft club, biking, walking, or a variety of sporting activities. Sign up for a class to learn a foreign language, photography, art, dance, creative writing, or knitting.

Finally, remember that you have a natural rhythm. Don’t fight what your body wants and needs when you are building in time for YOU. If you are a morning person – schedule your self-care before anyone else is awake. Love the anticipation of an event or activity that you enjoy? Schedule “me time” on the weekend, or as a motivator to get your through a long day at work.

Submitted by:

Debbie Story
Corporate Identity, Inc.
dstory@corpid.com

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

CREATING A SOLID ELEVATOR SPEECH

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 2, 2020
Updated: Monday, February 17, 2020

An elevator speech is a less than 60-second answer to the question, “So, what do you do?” It’s a quick summary of your business and its value proposition. A great elevator speech will spark interest in your business and lead to a deeper conversation. The format of PWCC’s monthly luncheon is designed to showcase – and practice – your elevator speech. You never know if you’re talking to that one person who might be able to help take your company to the next level.

Elevator speeches are tricky because you have to communicate a lot of information in a short amount of time. Speaking faster isn’t the solution to this problem! Instead, craft compelling narrative that leaves your audience wanting more.

Using the topics below, you can create a prepared presentation that grabs the listener’s attention and says a lot in a few words.

1.      About You

Create one sentence about yourself. Simply state what you do. This is probably the easiest part of any pitch – describing what your company makes or sells. Now, brag about your experience. This can be a little harder, But anyone who wants to learn more about your company is going to want to know what you’ve done so far.

2.      Your Value

Every company exists to solve a problem. Identify the value you offer to your customers or clients and how your solution is the answer to the problem you’ve described. Write a sentence or two about what you do every day in your business. Avoid listing only your features, and instead, translate them into values and benefits.

3.      Your Target Market

Successful companies target specific customers. While it’s tempting to say that your products and services are for “everyone,” you’re much more likely to be successful if you identify and market to a specific set of potential customers.

4.      Your Difference

Use your mission statement and your unique selling proposition (USP) as a guide to writing about what sets you apart from every other business owner who does what you do. Tell a story about a past customer who experienced a significant improvement due to your efforts. This approach is compelling because we identify with narratives and characters, and because your story presents a clear cause and effect.

5.      Ask a Question

Because you elevator speech is delivered in-person situations, such as an elevator or networking event, you want to be social and engage your lead in a conversation. The best way to involve someone is to ask a question that relates to your business. Knowing you have the solution, you might ask, "What business activity do you find the most tedious?"

6.      Call to Action

You aren’t finished with this exchange until you state your ask. Do you want a business card, a referral, or an appointment for a full presentation? Let your audience know what they can do to hear more.

Now, create your elevator speech with these steps, using the topics above.

  1. First, write down everything that comes to your mind.
  2. Then, cut the jargon and details. Make strong short and powerful sentences. Eliminate unnecessary words.
  3. Connect the phrases to each other. Your conversation has to flow natural and smoothly.
  4. Memorize key points and practice, practice, practice.
  5.  Create slight variations for different business situations.

Try writing a few versions of your pitch and testing them out whenever you get a chance. You have the opportunity to pitch yourself or your business every day. To seize these moments, you have to take bold actions a matter of seconds. Practice may feel awkward at first, but practice creates habits, and those habits can help you achieve your business goals.

Submitted by:

Abby Rath
Word Nerd
alorath13@gmail.com

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

MENTOR/MENTEE TIP: WHERE TO I START?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Updated: Monday, February 17, 2020

Are you interested in working with a mentor, but aren’t sure where to start? You’re not alone!

Before you look outward, you need to look inward. Ask yourself the question, “What do I want?” This is a vital step in figuring out what your goals are and how having a mentor can help you. Of course, it isn’t an easy question to answer, but it is the foundation of your mentor experience, so give yourself plenty of time to really think it over.

Like any journey, knowing where you want to end up will help you decide which route to take and whose help you will need.

The goal of some mentor relationships can be career advancement or a career change. It could also be improving basic skills for personal or professional growth.

Here are some goals that might fit your needs:

  • Building Communication Skills
  • Building Leadership Skills
  • Building Management Skills
  • Networking
  • Achieving Work/Life Balance
  • Creating Organizational Culture
  • Learning to Budget or Build Financial Strength
  • Developing specific role-based skills including proposal writing, digital marketing, strategic planning, or others

Once you identify the area you feel you need to improve on, write it down to create a clear, specific ask. Then you can seek a mentor with skills that match your ask, and your mentor will guide you to your destination.

The PWCC Mentor Program was established by PWCC to provide accomplished women with an additional opportunity to grow in their careers. For more information on how to become or be matched with a mentor, visit https://www.pwcc.org/page/PWCCMentorProgram.

Submitted by:

Michelle Collett
Marketing Associate
Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago
michelle@industrialcouncil.com

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 11
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  >   >>   >|