October began with much energy that has not let up yet.

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The Network of Entrepreneurial Women was invited to Crain’s Small Business Week, and we hosted an afternoon of networking, business discussions, and fun at Shannon’s Irish Pub in Glen Ellyn.

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photo courtesy NetworkHoncho.com

We had some wonderful and lively ladies attend and each of us took away new wisdom.

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photo courtesy NetworkHoncho.com

Karen McCormack hosted a roundtable discussion on health care reform, which garnered a lot of attention and discussion. She had prepared some handouts for us that shed more light on the upcoming changes, including the different healthcare standardized plans, called metallic tiers.

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Navigators are available to assist consumers in enrolling in a plan on the new (insurance) Marketplace. Navigators are not licensed insurance brokers and cannot offer advice about the insurance itself.  Healthcare brokers can assist in determining whether one should change to one of  the new plans or allow a ‘grandfather clause’ to take effect and stay in their current plan for another year.

“People will still deal with health insurance companies.
They will either get help paying for it or not.”
~ Karen McCormack

Karen is a certified healthcare broker, which is different from a navigator. She has federal and state licenses, certifications to sell on the new marketplaces and is also certified in Medicare. Her consultation is free of charge and provides a well-researched overview of individual options, including catastrophic supplemental plans. She has extensive knowledge and experience with health insurance and the companies that provide this insurance.

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“Our country is undergoing a paradigm shift in the way that insurance is delivered and used by consumers. We are all learning what this means individually, but insurance brokers have been immersed in the changes for the past several years and are on the front end of the learning curve,” Karen said.

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Technology expert Erica Thomas facilitated a discussion on social media, something many business owners are daunted by. Highlights of her discussion included insider tips on how to maximize the impact of social media for business, and group collaboration on how to translate successful traditional marketing techniques into equally successful online marketing campaigns.

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Erica shared several of her tried-and-true tips for managing an effective social media presence for your business, focusing on methods she has used in social media consultations for years, and on what she has learned as one of two lead programmers at NetworkHoncho.com.

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Then, each attendee shared what their favorite traditional non-internet methods of marketing were, and the entire roundtable group participated in suggestions for using the same methods online.

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The most popular non-internet marketing was word-of-mouth, and each roundtable found itself noting how mind-to-mind business connections online, when approached correctly, can be as effective for business as face-to-face interactions.

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photo courtesy NetworkHoncho.com

Then those who hadn’t visited my table yet gathered for a fun and colorful creative session.

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Even those claiming not to have a crafty bone in their body realized that making a flower and a stick figure is easier than it seems. To me it is the perfect analogy to business and life. We can look at a straight line and bend it any way we want to.

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You can be daunted by the end goal but it might be simpler to complete a project than it seems.

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Like pipe cleaners, life is very forgiving in letting us make changes, and we can infuse our own personality into our business and our lives.

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Our roundtables were followed by Shannon’s delicious dining options, and we had a blast toasting to a successful day. More photos are in our Meetup album, and past events can be perused on this blog.

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We are looking forward to the Halloween bash at RA Sushi October 24 from 6 to 8 pm. RSVP at our Meetup page or Facebook page.

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The pipe cleaner men project is here. And the flowers came from this link.

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NEW – The Network of Entrepreneurial Women is a group of Chicagoland business women who are upgrading business networking with fun and creative events that inspire attendees to work together, refer each other and most of all cheer each other on as the membership succeeds. Events rotate around various suburbs on a semimonthly basis, usually the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Thursday of the month.

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