In writing my final newsletter, it’s hard to believe a year has already passed since I was inducted – yet so much has happened in the world, it is hard to believe it has only been one year.
We’ve seen many changes and achieved great things over this past year, but most impressive was our growth from third in membership size to becoming the largest chapter in the United States. Our visibility and voice can be heard throughout all of NAWBO, which is particularly important now as the COVID-19 pandemic has truly brought NAWBO to an elevated national community. (I encourage you to participate and consider participating in the National Conference and the Advocacy Days currently taking place virtually. I promise you will learn some new things and make friendships with other ladies around the country with whom you will keep in touch long after the events have concluded.)
The pandemic presented some obvious challenges to the Chicago Chapter over the recent months and we were forced to adapt so we can continue to meet the needs of membership. We’re pleased with the successes thus far, and all programs are running virtually so you can attend any Connects across the greater Chicagoland area. Just find a topic that interests you and sign up.
I’m also proud to have seen some ladies step up to offer additional leadership within NAWBO Chicago during this year’s crisis:
- Karyn Pettigrew (ZoeGoes and Beyond Blind Spots) who offered the “Clarity and Courage - Finding Insight and Direction for What's Next” workshop.
- Mary Cravets (Simply Get Clients), who most recently spoke on keeping your pipeline full during the pandemic.
- Marcy Fortnow (Engaging Play), an excellent team facilitator who makes every activity fun and meaningful. She led a mini retreat for our Board and has also been leading our Virtual Happy Hours. How lucky we are to have her back in Chicago.
My personal gratitude to our Executive Director, Melissa Lagowski, and her ever capable staff at Big Buzz Idea Group. We are one of the few chapters in the country to have a dedicated Executive Director and staff to support us. Together, Melissa and the entire Board of Directors spent the year focusing on excellent programming that enlisted the engagement of our members. Melissa’s love of NAWBO is contagious and she cares for it like a second business. NAWBO Chicago, despite so many changes in the world, has created a solid foundation for the coming years.
I want to thank all the members of the Board who will be highlighted on Facebook in the coming weeks. If you do not follow the NAWBO Chicago Facebook, please do. The Board of Directors have all given their time to NAWBO, and I thank each of them for their contributions.
Which leads me to tell you about Ms. Elizabeth Colon (Metaphrasis) who will be serving as the next Chapter President. She brings more than 10 years of board experience, and her professionalism and leadership skills will only further enhance NAWBO Chicago’s ability to serve women business owners. Please join us for her virtual induction on June 24th at 4:30pm.
Please join us on September 10th for the annual Achievement Luncheon and Conference. We’ll recognize NAWBO Chicago’s 2020 award honorees and welcome our guest, Dr. Joanne Smith, who pioneered the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. How wonderful to have a woman speaker who is a Doctor and a businesswoman along with being a mother and wife. Her keynote address will have even more relevance as COVID-19 will unfortunately still be a part of our everyday life.
It has been an honor to serve the members of NAWBO Chicago. You have each taken the hardest step of all: you became an entrepreneur and that is one of the bravest things we can do. You are all an amazing group of ladies who have so much to offer to the world, to our communities, and to your respective industries. Carry on, you are doing great – and together, we’re unstoppable!
Stay strong, be true to yourself and stand tall.
Thank you again for this honor,