I am delighted to be back serving as board president this year and can’t wait to jump right in! We’ve celebrated many successes over the past few years that we hope to continue, and I have big aspirations for NAWBO Chicago. Our momentum continues to build, and it is truly inspiring and exciting to be a part of it!
For example, last Wednesday, more than 50 women business owners gathered for our Summer Social. I attended this fabulous annual event for some much-needed facetime with other members and I couldn’t help but notice the diverse group of women. We each need to encourage and support more minority entrepreneurs, and it is my intention to continue to increase the numbers of Black and Brown members because diversity fosters better ideas and a more collaborative and inclusive environment. There’s a seat for everyone at NAWBO Chicago.
I also look forward to collaborating with you and our board with a plan to increase membership by 20 percent simply by promoting NAWBO to everyone everywhere. There are so many women business owners in the Chicagoland area who can benefit if we just reach out with a warm invitation. Maybe someone inspired or invited you to join, and now it’s time to pay it forward.
In addition to increasing membership, it’s important to realize that NAWBO can help entrepreneurs at all levels. Programming and leadership are geared to meet you where you are and to get you to the next level.
Now that the pandemic is (somewhat) in the rearview mirror, the importance to connect and have engagement that fosters networking is a key component to our success. More members and expanded programming mean more business connections, more opportunities and more reasons to celebrate. I can’t wait to hear about all your successes when we attend what I hope will be the largest Celebration of Achievement conference on record next Spring!
With more in-person programming, the moment is now to make the effort and put yourself out there. As business owners, we must often leave our comfort zone, meet new people and learn new things; the passionate and inviting NAWBO community makes this easier and more comfortable. Like a gym membership, you’ll never know what amazing things can happen if you don’t participate. That’s the true value of your membership.
I’d like to acknowledge the continued great work by the Diversity Committee led by Director Vanessa Jackson. If you have an interest in joining a committee, please reach out to Executive Director Melissa Lagowski and her team to guide you to a committee best suited for you. I won’t be shy – we are looking for new leaders to help grow the board and bring in fresh ideas and perspectives. So, if you have had an inkling and haven’t acted on it, now’s the time!
This sounds like quite a wish list, admittedly, but I believe it’s entirely possible due to our members, our momentum and our ongoing success. You are all proven leaders, and I never underestimate the power of women in charge; despite adversity and whatever lies ahead, we get it done.
Before closing, I’d like to update you on my life events, as I think they will impact my leadership in the coming year.
I moved to northwest Indiana (NWI) almost two years ago to live with my now fiancé. The daily drive to the city got to me and I sold Alpha Metals this past spring. Although I am still involved in the business, I received my Indiana real estate license and have started to work at Berkshire Hathaway.
I hope to start a NWI Connects group and/or Mastermind, so if you’re in the area and interested, please reach out to me. I look forward to growing our chapter in this bustling area just across the state line and continue to find new and exciting ways to contribute to membership growth.
We are stronger together!