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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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Member Spotlight: Lori Kalbfleisch

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lori Kalbfleisch, a member of PWCC since spring 2015, is the Team Lead for Swoon Professional, a staffing company that specializes in hiring talent for positions in finance, HR, healthcare, admin/clerical, marketing, advertising and creative design.  She joined NextGen/Swoon in 2012, and at the age of 22, was the youngest employee and rookie to join either company since its launch. From the moment Lori joined, she refused to be known as the youngest in the group– rather, she wanted to be known as someone who made a large impact and added value to even those more senior than herself.  Read more about Lori and her impact and value-add know how. 

Lori was 24 when she decided to work with the CEO and President on an idea to launch a business and support in the Professional space, which was outside of the company’s traditional IT foundation. She wanted to build an entire model and new division of the company that would generate more business organically.  Lori’s drive is bringing ideas to fruition. “I think success is contagious and I want to spread that across the team. I have since helped launch a new division in January 2015, and I oversee a group of fantastic and innovative team members,” according to Lori. “Currently, I am focusing my attention on launching a Creative division for 2016.”

How did Lori do it?

Lori believes a positive mindset is the single most effective skill a person can hold. She learned that if you truly believe you are capable of achieving a goal, you will push yourself on a daily basis to ensure success. There are plenty of variables that result in success, but the simple answer is that Lori loves what she does and believes in what she does – not just as a business, but in making a difference. These are her driving forces. “Don't let yourself miss out on opportunities for learning, growth, and becoming better in the career you have chosen for yourself,” says Lori.

Rock the boat. Lori has learned to be more comfortable proposing her "crazy" ideas that may influence the business or team, even if it goes against a current idea, image, or guideline. She started to challenge the people she works with as well as management, so they are constantly striving to be better as a team and company. Lori found that when she shook things up and pushed boundaries, she broadened her individual reach or could help someone broaden their own.

“I've never felt more comfortable going against the grain and standing up for things I believe in, regardless of my age,” says Lori. “In doing so, I have connected and established stronger relationships and trust with my colleagues, as well as with management.” She invests much of her spare time studying top performers and those with the most influence so that she can adopt new techniques to use in her own leadership. Lori takes time to develop her intelligence for the industry and connect with subject matter experts for on-going education. “I don’t want more experienced professionals to challenge me on my knowledge; I want to challenge them on adding creative solutions to the same old problems,” states Lori. 

Embrace change. In the three years of work at her company, Lori has seen several changes; some of those changes she helped implement. According to Lori, “I’ve learned to be open to change and embrace it, because it will give you more to look forward to. Don't let change scare you or make you feel like you are starting over. This is an opportunity!”Lori suggests looking into the possibilities to step in and make a difference with change. Ask yourself, “How can you enhance your role? How can you help others adapt? How can you help influence better business with this new idea?” Roll with the new changes and help make it successful. You will be remembered for that.

Written by:  Ellyn Caruso, CarusoPR - Caruso Communications LLC  

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Busy Woman Tips

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Busy Woman’s Tips:

2016: Ring in the New Year with Focused Goals

We’ve made it through the holidays and now is best the time to regroup and focus forward for 2016. Make time to prioritize your New Year’s goals. Professional women often wear many hats so the following tips may be useful to help identify what’s important to you so you can set some clear attainable New Year’s goals.  [Debbie:  Please link the underlined text “following tips” to the blog with the content that is highlighted in yellow below.]

1. Simplify. Think about ways you can simplify your personal, professional and business life. Remember the old adage, K.I.S.S., keeping it simple allows you to focus on all aspects of your life. Streamlining or digitizing is great, but remember to find the right tools and mechanisms to ‘keep it simple’ rather than add more effort to complete or streamline the tasks at hand.

2. Focus. Take time to look inward, personally and professionally. Be sure to add some quiet time to everyday, it clears the mind and feeds the soul, both of which help you be more mindful and focused on personal, professional and business aspects of your busy life.

3. Learn. Feed the brain with fresh ideas by looking, listening and reading about topics that may be outside your comfort zone. It may help you look at an issue in a whole new light and find new ways to solve problems. Read, watch, listen, learn and be open to new ideas, it may spark even better ones.

4. Grow. Identify ways you want to grow in 2016. Perhaps you are wrestling with a new career move and need to find a new area of concentration, industry or new skills. Or you are a business partner or owner looking to expand your bottom line. You may look to increase your product or service offerings or decrease to concentrate more on what you do best. Or you may desire expanded markets and need to add the right employees to make it zing. Take the time to map out specific needs. Create objectives. Incorporate these thoughts to enhance your network and you will grow, regardless if your goals are for personal, professional or business growth.

Most importantly, break down your objectives and aim to set a series of smaller attainable goals. Incorporating these concepts with your New Year’s Goals helps you keep them better aligned, manageable and offers you the opportunity to tweak all year long.

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Busy Women Tips: Incorporate Marketing into Your Everyday Efforts

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Busy Women Tips

Incorporate Marketing into Your Everyday Efforts


Written by Sheryl Dineen, Marketing and Business Development Specialist, Ice Miller (
Sheryl.Dineen@icemiller.com)

 

No matter what type of business you are in, many people find it difficult to market consistently and get all of their work done. An easy way to improve your marketing efforts is to blend your personal friends with your work friends and your favorite activities. Here are some ideas on how you can incorporate marketing into your everyday efforts.

 

I frequently invite new people I meet to come to one of the PWCC lunches or cocktail events, so I have another chance to get together and also help them build their network.  I also have friends that like to try out the new spots around town, and the monthly PWCC cocktail hours are perfect for that, plus I can check out the venues for firm events or dinners.

 

Here are some other easy ways to incorporate marketing into everything you do:

 

Attending Business or Cultural Events

Invite a small group to join you. Sometimes people get so busy, receiving an extra nudge to escape the office is all they need. A reminder to one of your contacts that a new play is in town, or a great show at the Art Institute allows you to network and stay in touch with what is happening in the city or your local town.

 

Creating Group Lunches or Coffees

Instead of having one-on-one lunches and coffees, think of people who might have things in common and then connect them through a lunch or coffee.  This can make for a more relaxed conversation.

 

Travelling to Another City

Take the time to meet with a co-worker or prospect whether you’re on vacation or not.  People appreciate when you take the time to reach ou, and in-person meetings can help you deepen a relationship.

 

Staying Fit

It is hard to fit exercise into a busy schedule. Depending on the season, invite a client or prospect to join you for a walk around an indoor mall to enjoy the holiday decorations and also possibly get some gift shopping done.  During the warmer months, just inviting someone to go for a walk in the city can be a great way to network and incorporate exercise into your day.

 

Staying up on the News

Whether you are reading for business or pleasure, when you read something you enjoy, think of others in your business or personal network that you could share it with – people like the surprise of seeing that you are thinking about them.

 

Attending Your Children’s Events

If you have children, another way to network is to take the time to get to know the other parents at your children’s events and find out what they do for a living. There might be natural business connections and you can follow-up each time you see them.

 

Attending Social Events

Some of the best business relationships can begin casually at a neighborhood holiday party, wedding, baby shower, etc.  Always carry your business cards with you and ask people what they do for a living and how you might be able to help them

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Changes in Corporate Sponsorship Package Pricing for 2016

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 1, 2015

PWCC’s Corporate Sponsorship Program plays an important, dual role – it offers sponsors value-driven benefits and helps PWCC grow.  The program has been extremely successful since its inception, thanks in large part to the enthusiasm and feedback from sponsors.  Benefits are continuously added to the program and loyal sponsors have renewed at a consistently high rate.

 

Effective January 1, 2016, PWCC is increasing Corporate Sponsorship rates from $2,000 to $2,500, and Individual Sponsorship rates from $600 to $750. This rate increase is expected to allow for even greater value and benefits to all sponsors.

 

There’s early incentive for existing sponsors who wish to continue/renew their sponsorship and have a chance to lock in 2015 rates.  Renew before Monday, December 28th, and the remaining paid sponsorship time will added to a new 12 month plan. For those considering becoming a new Corporate Sponsor, please sign up before December 28th for significant savings.  The PWCC website provides an outline highlighting the enhanced sponsor benefits and an automatic application, making sign up easy.  http://www.pwcc.org/?page=SponsorApplication

 

Please contact Debbie Gidley at 312.263.1808 or admin@pwcc.org  before Monday, December 28th to process your application in 2015 and also, for any individual questions you may have.  A sincere thank you to all Corporate Sponsors, renewed and new, for their support! 

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Busy Women Tips for the Holiday Season

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Every year I hear several people say, “I hate the holidays!”  ‘Tis the season to feel overwhelmed, over-burdened, exhausted and financially strained.

Here are a few tips to help you stay sane and enjoy the season.

• Prioritize your traditions and social engagements; then make a decision early on about how to spend your time and resources.

• Stay hydrated and wear comfortable shoes to survive hot malls and long lines.

• Traveling for the holidays? Count on delays as part of the plan, and be sure to bring lots of healthy treats and games for the kids.

• Meditate, do yoga, exercise and nap!

• If you love to bake, bake.  If you don’t, don’t.

• Prepare your holiday menu a week in advance and break the preparation into manageable segments over a three or four-day period.

• Send eCards!

• Clean your house AFTER the party. Your guests won’t notice you didn’t wash the floor before they arrived.

• Families fight, kids get over-tired, ornaments break, turkeys get dry, my apple pies usually end up like soup. So what. Have a glass of wine and relax.

• Walk the dog. Clear your head.

• Cut yourself some slack. Don’t worry about “what you should do.”

And finally, have fun, be grateful and remember the reason for the season.

Written by Lori Dann, CEO, Moxie Lady, Inc.

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Sunita Vira: Mother, Chef, Nutrition Educator, Artist, and Entrepreneur

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Sunita Vira shares her gift of health and revitalization through the art of nutritious raw food cooking.  An entrepreneur who runs the Raw Food Center, which operates in both Chicago and Singapore, she blends the world’s healing elements and flavors with artistic culinary techniques to make delicious and nutritious foods. Sunita’s work transforms lives and brings happiness to individuals and families.  

Sunita’s relationship with foods and flavors began at an early age growing up on a tea plantation in India, where fresh foods and spices were the norm, and family mealtime was cherished.  As a young woman, she was motivated to make a difference in the world by discovering ways to cure disease and improve people’s lives. However, Sunita was not interested in pharmaceuticals.  Instead, she studied art and travelled the world.  Sunita’s travels exposed her to the richness of flavors, cultures, healthy food combinations, and healing ingredients.  It was then that she began to experiment with different healing recipes.

Although Sunita’s inclinations towards healthy living has always been there, her passion for raw food cooking became more prominent when she became a mother. In the early 2000’s, she fully committed herself to learning the fundamentals of nutrition and healing and to advancing her culinary artistic talents.  The result was a raw food chef in the making.

The more Sunita and her family transformed their diet to raw foods, the more energy and vigor they experienced in their own lives.  She started to share her knowledge and expertise with others and observe the profound impacts the changing habits had on them.  Testimonials, which can be read on Sunita’s website, speak for themselves. 

Sunita started the Raw Food Center in Singapore in 2010, where she built an impressive business through referrals and word of mouth.  In 2014, she expanded the Center to Chicago, where she offers raw food essentials educational courses, two-week detoxification programs, culinary programs and extensive healing Bali retreats.  She will even create elaborate delicious raw food menus for special events.

Today Sunita is a mother of three children, a business owner, and a leader in her field.  She is committed to bring the gift of healthy and beautiful foods to enrich lives and expand minds.

Written by Elaine Mikesell, Ph.D., Digital Consulting Principal at WSI

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Spa Night Planning – We Need Your Swag!

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 2, 2015

We are currently preparing for PWCC's January 27th Spa Event. Every year a favorite part of this event is the "Swag Bags" that are filled with goodies that each spa guest takes home. This is a perfect opportunity to gain exposure for your company or firm with the Professional Women's Club of Chicago.  Some of the items in the past have included flavored sparkling water, restaurant gift certificates, spa products, notepads, gift certificates for a product or service, water bottles, tape measures, product samples, etc.

If you are interested in participating, we need 50 items delivered to PWCC by January 20th. If you have questions, you can contact Special Events Committee Swag Coordinators Mary Beth Sommer (mbsommer2002@aol.com) or Anita Mettille (anita.mettille@gmail.com) for details, or simply deliver items to the PWCC office at 216 West Jackson Blvd., Suite 625, Chicago, IL 60606 phone: 312-263-1808. Thank you!

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5 Tips from September speaker Andrea Zopp, U.S. Senate Candidate

Posted By Alyssa R. Burns, Friday, October 9, 2015
Updated: Thursday, October 8, 2015

PWCC was delighted to welcome Andrea Zopp, former Chicago Urban League CEO and current U.S. Senate candidate for the September 9, 2015 kick-off luncheon.  In her keynote address, “Women and the Power of Opportunity,” Ms. Zopp discussed her personal journey to empowerment and how she overcame the challenges faced by women in the workforce.  Here are some tips from Andrea’s dynamic presentation:

  1. Be Your Own Advocate:  No one will help advance your career but you. Be prepared to be your own champion, backer and supporter.
  2. If You Don’t Ask, No One Will Ask For You:  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want; whether it’s a raise, promotion, or a position in a different department.  Back up any statement with facts to support your case.
  3. Don’t Be Afraid of Talent Around You.  Another person shining doesn’t diminish your own shining.  You can learn from others who work with you and alongside you. Women supporting women is powerful!
  4. Treat People with Respect.  Never forget that it’s not worth it to be disrespectful to anyone…ever.   One doesn’t know when your paths might cross again.
  5. A Little Discomfort Goes a Long Way.  Discomfort drives change.  Fear is OK!  It often takes us going outside our comfort zone to push ourselves, and the result is increased confidence in our abilities.

Keep these tips by your desk.  Read them daily.  They’ll help you achieve what you want! 

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Busy Women Tips: Using Creativity on Social Media to Fuel Business

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 8, 2015
Busy Women Tips: Using Creativity on Social Media to Fuel Business 

Ready to learn a few ways to increase visibility, promote thought leadership and connect with prospects?  Read more for some helpful tips on using creativity on social media to fuel business growth…

  1. Post/share articles that are relevant to your industry or within the realm of your expertise. It’s not enough to simply post an article, but imperative to provide high-level thoughts on the matter and why you’re sharing it.

  2. Be active in groups that are relevant to your industry or expertise. Answer questions, pose realistic questions that you want answered, or are curious to see how likeminded individuals would answer a question to help you pass it on.

  3. Optimize your company page on LinkedIn for lead generation. Provide enough information to entice visitors to contact you directly, or fill out a form on your website to learn more. 

  4. Search for prospects. There is an art form to searching for leads on LinkedIn and there are many ways to do it. You can try typing in the title of such people, you can search by company name and find people that work there, and then explore who those people are connected to.  Or, you can look at your current connections and explore who they are connected and ask for introductions.

  5. If you have employees, get them to be brand ambassadors on social media, and not just LinkedIn. Host internal contests to get employees to post about your company. Promote cultural social shares, for example: holiday pictures, job postings, or have a consultant come in and share the benefits of building a personal brand.

  6. When publishing content, always use images or videos to accompany what you’re saying.

  7. Optimize your page for SEO. Use keywords related to your website in published content and on your LinkedIn company page and posts.

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Member in the Spotlight: Ellyn Caruso, CarusoPR

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 8, 2015

Member in the Spotlight: Ellyn Caruso, CarusoPR


 

A Family of Communicators

 

It’s no surprise to Ellyn Barry Caruso’s family that she is the owner of a public relations firm.  Her dad was owner and president of an internationally-recognized Chicago-based PR firm.  And Ellyn’s mother was a “copy girl” at the Chicago Tribune during Colonel McCormick’s reign, which was a ground-breaking role for a woman at that time.  Read more about how Ellyn Caruso became the third generation in her family to become involved in the media business…


Growing up, the family's summer vacations were planned around association conferences where her parents ran the press room.  Ellyn and her brother would work with her parents in press rooms getting the flow and feel for serving the media.  She began working with content, proofing and learning about news releases when most kids her age were just learning to read.  “I thought everyone grew up with copy proofs on their dining room table," said Ellyn.

Ellyn’s love for the written word didn’t begin just with her parents.  Her grandfather was a sports writer and her great uncle was an arts and music writer, both with the Chicago Tribune.  Ellyn’s trailblazing great aunt was also an executive at an advertising agency.  Naturally, Ellyn majored in Broadcast Communications and obtained a Film minor. She began her career applying skills with positions at a major public relations agency, specialized medical consultant, a Wisconsin travel corporation and several non- profit associations.

Like many working women, Ellyn took time off when she had children.  Once her youngest was settled in school, Ellyn was eager to get back to work.  At the time, freelancing was an option, but it wasn’t as flexible as it is today.  Working remotely was practically unheard of. So Ellyn created “Umbrella Communications,” where individual talents were pooled together.  This collaborative group of women was then able to capture bigger work, enjoy flexible hours, and still meet the demands of family life.  Soon after, the work grew, and instead of turning to more freelancers, Ellyn moved her office downtown, allowing her to expand client services, add full-time employees and grow her specialized senior level team. 

“It’s come full circle for me,” said Ellyn.  “I began my career working with radio actualities (a precursor to podcasts), directing video news releases, satellite feeds and pitching stories by phone to media nationwide. I’m doing this type of work for clients now, but integrating today’s technology adapting to the small screen in the digital age.”

Ellyn’s firm, CarusoPR, a division of Caruso Communications LLC, works with professional services firms, retail operations, business associations, and non-profits to develop marketing campaigns, branding, speeches, articles, websites, strategic plans for social media, media relations, video production, and on-going public relations counseling.

“The main drivers of PR haven’t changed,” Ellyn adds.  “We are still influencing attitude and evoking change.  We’re just doing it through different and expanded techniques - and at a faster pace - but there is a strong need to create meaningful, relevant content.  Through my family roots and through my practice of twenty-five years, that’s what I do for our clients.”

Ellyn is proud to note that there is a now a fourth generation communications practitioner.  Her eldest son served as Editor in Chief of the Marquette Tribune while in college. He worked with CarusoPR for a few years before moving into Chicago Fortune 100 companies serving in media relations and corporate communications, keeping the family tradition alive. 

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