FROM THE PRESIDENT
“Advocacy is what makes us different.”
President of NAWBO Chicago and
President/Owner of Gotham Professional Services
There’s nothing like a Chinese proverb to give you clarity. One of my favorites:”Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
As some of you know, I run a recruitment services firm, Gotham Professional Services. We identify talent and strategies so companies can thrive — on their own. From day one, I’ve always believed in giving others the tools and knowledge to do their best. Empowering others is why NAWBO Chicago exists. We are here to help women-owned businesses in our community be successful. It’s not just the programming, events, and initiatives — it’s all of it.
To me, supporting one another is the heart of NAWBO Chicago’s theme, the Year of Advocacy. I have a quick story on that! One blustery night I actually experienced the sisterhood of women leaders unexpectedly.
Raging storms took over D.C. on the closing night of our conference for NAWBO chapter presidents. It was a travel nightmare — except for us. There we were, a couple dozen or so women business owners just hanging out at National Airport. We didn’t sing songs around a campfire, but we did talk about our lives, our families, our businesses. Time flew. It was great to connect while the time passed by.
I’ve had many experiences like that with NAWBO Chicago members. I walk away a little better, a littler stronger, a little more understood. We become advocates for each other. It’s a member benefit you don’t see listed on the website. Advocacy is what makes us different.
Speaking of membership, we invite you to join our fall membership drive as we continue our year of advocacy. Let’s rally others to join in as we advocate for the 300,000 plus women business owners throughout the Chicago area.
Meet NAWBO Chicago President: Susan Gotham
How has NAWBO Chicago changed the game for you as a business leader?
NAWBO Chicago was the place where I realized there were other people like me. I was no longer on my island alone. I feel supported. I’ve gotten business from NAWBO, but that didn’t drive me to be a member. I have support. I’m in relationships with people who care about me and my success. Some of my closest friends are in the same industry as me. We look at each other as partners. How can you help me? How can I help you?
Are you nervous about being president?
I think that I feel nervous excitement. I want to make sure I do everything well and to share what I feel with others. I’m excited about the energy and the initiatives going on.
What’s been the most surprising lesson you’ve learned from being in NAWBO?
It’s the relationships in NAWBO that are genuine. It’s like college friendships. You might not see each other every day, but when you come together, your friendship is renewed — on a local and national level.
You’re a Wish Grantor for Make-a-Wish Illinois. What’s one word that comes to mind about this experience?
Humbling. We always think we have these really big problems. Then there’s this child who, at 5, ate jello, soup and ice cream for the first time. He’s never had a hamburger. Because he can’t. So when I think I’m having a bad day, I then think about the day my Make-a-Wish child could be having.
If you could pick a hashtag for NAWBO Chicago, what would it be?
#OurTimeIsNow. Because now is the time for women to be listened to. Women business owners are the DNA of the economy.
What would you like people to know about you?
I’m approachable. I’m there for them. I want to see them succeed. I want to be their cheerleader.