NEW’s fantastic Birthday Party

Last week we had a fabulous NEW birthday party at Avalon Salon and Spa in Deer Park.


Familiar faces and new members joined us in our celebration, which also honored Ruth McBride and Girls in the Game.


It is lovely to connect with a charity that has a personal resonance with one of our members.


We introduced ourselves and chatted about each others’ businesses.


Wine was flowing freely thanks to our host Bonnie Conte — in LED-lit glasses, no less (I want some of those)!


Deciding on red or white might have been the hardest part of the afternoon.


A silent auction was held to benefit the Ruth McBride Scholarship for Girls in the Game.



Our bidders went home pleased.


A raffle also raised additional funds.


The prizes (including an Avalon Massage) caused much cheer.


The gift basket from Aurora Rose Boutique is going to one of our online bidders, who has yet to be determined…


Bonnie provided an overview of the spa and salon and gave a tour to many of us. The nail polish wall is a rainbow of inspiration.


Then we received hand and neck massages.


Ruth McBride Scholarship Director Chris Pierucci gifted us cofounders with hearts.


One is to keep, and one is to pass on to someone who has left an impression on our hearts.


Chris also had handbags, suitcases and business card holders available for sale of which 100% of the proceeds benefit the Ruth McBride Scholarship as well.


I couldn’t decide so I got both. While the tally isn’t in, our informal goal for the fundraiser may have been met!


Nobody went home empty-handed, as Bonnie gave us lovely swag bags.


This is the coolest pen I ever owned, and we received the relaxing lotion we were pampered with during our mini-treatments.


Thank you Avalon for hosting us!


Join us for our next event in Hyde Park, where we will learn how to promote ourselves better.


Networking is far from boring when you do it in the right company.


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. RSVP for our upcoming events at Meetup, or like us on Facebook and check up on the calendar there.

Photos Courtesy, some by Maike’s Marvels.

NEW’s first Birthday

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.
It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.
We should all be thankful for those people
who rekindle the inner spirit.”

~ Albert Schweitzer

Last year, an inner fire went out on a group I was a part of. As a result, Karen McCormack and Erica Thomas and I set out to create a community of supportive entrepreneurial women seeking to balance business-building with some self-care and fun.


This Wednesday we celebrate our one-year (+ one month) milestone with an anniversary celebration, and I look forward to recapping the events of the past year.

“A very inspirational group led by 3 terrific women
who have great enthusiasm and information to share.
Thanks for a great event.”
~ Jenifer B. October 2013


Our members have been tremendously generous in providing silent auction donations, which will raise funds for the Ruth McBride Scholarship for Girls in the Game. We have gift certificates for photography, massages and guest speakers, as well as various gift baskets, a book, and a pendant by me.


We are also raffling off at least two prizes, for which you don’t have to be present, so get your raffle tickets here before the drawing closes at 2 pm on June 11.


Over the past year, this group has brought much joy and growth, which we celebrate Wednesday. As an introvert the passion for growing this group has made me much more outgoing, and every time I get past that initial hurdle of dressing in something other than pajamas and walking out the door I have made fantastic connections, learned something new, and been inspired.


Every woman in our group has a special mission in life, and they serve their purpose with a passion and tenacity that spurs me on to live my best life. I’ve learned that I am not alone in my doubts and worries about solopreneurship, that we all feel overwhelmed at times and are winging it until we gain our footing. Women I look up to as ‘having arrived’ still rely heavily on their intuition for innovation and progress, when one would think that they have processes in place and ‘take it easy’.


The honesty among this group is heartening. Yes, we’ve given elevator pitches, passed out business cards, promoted our upcoming events and products. We have cheered each other’s milestones and done business with each other (as well as our fabulous hosts).


 “This was my first experience meeting up with NEW
and it definitely will not be my last!
Great group of women who truly care about
expanding each other’s businesses!
It was a pleasure meeting all of you!”
~ Casie F., August 2013


“It was a great pleasure meeting you all!
The meeting was very productive. I even learned a new word ;).
I would love to participate in future meetings.”
~ Lina A., August 2013

We’ve also had heart-to-heart conversations about how to move forward, how to overcome internal and external obstacles, and how to remain motivated when winters are harsh and sales are slow.

“Great meeting! Very well-planned and organized (!).
I’m glad there was a small turn-out, because we learned a lot
about each other and our businesses, and
how to network to help each other.”

~ Karen Y., August 2013


“Fantastic group of women! I am looking forward to next time!”
~ Lina B., September 2013

“It was great to meet women in business. Very Empowering!”
~ Tracy B. September 2013


“I had a great time.
It was nice to meet some very motivated and
talented women entrepreneurs!
I look forward to the next event.”
~ Kristin S., September 2013

We’ve expanded our brains with learning about historical trailblazing women, museum visits and business roundtables.


“The meeting was inspiring, informative, and fun-5 Star for sure :)”
~ Barbara Z., October 2013

We’ve been silly playing dress-up and dancing can-cans in group shoots.

“I totally enjoyed the experience…
I am glad I connected with this group.”
~ Robin G., October 2013


“This is an awesome group of women.”
~ Kim B., October 2013

“Taking two hours this afternoon to meet dynamic and interesting entrepreneurs from whom I can learn was wonderful. The samples of “Tastefully Simple” and chocolates were delicious and the gathering was very warm and cordial. I discovered unique jewelry and greeting cards and enjoyed my purchase. Aurora Rose Boutique and its owners are professional, yet very friendly and accommodating. I’m very glad I stopped in to meet everyone this afternoon. Thank you.”
~ Donna S., November 2013


We’ve pampered ourselves with mini-massages and delectable desserts. We’ve toasted each other on bubbly, cocktails, wine and beer. We’ve honored our health with teas, heart-healthy snacks and outdoor events.


“What a great venue and awesome group of women!
Can’t wait to get to know you all more!!”
~ Marina C., December 2013


What a wonderful group of energetic, inspiring women!”
~ Barbara, May 2013


“It was very inspiring to hear of all
of the new business adventures taking off.

I was also very impressed with all of the women
who braved the cold and showed up
ready to talk business and network. Very professional.”
~ Shari, January 2014


“Had a great time and enjoyed meeting all the fantastic women.
Peaceful Parlour provided a nice comfy atmosphere
which made it all possible.
The tea and snacks were awesome.
I’m looking forward to networking with everyone.”
~ Teresa Triplett, January 2014


“My first time at the Meet & Munch
and WOW what a great group of women
sharing their expertise with each other.”
~ Pam V., February 2014


I love that it is such an eclectic group of women.
Had a great time!”
~ Cheryl S., March 2014


“So fun! It was so interesting to hear about everyone’s businesses,
and I feel like I, or someone else I know, could benefit
from the knowledge and expertise of each
and every one of the women I met!”
~ Ayumi, March 2014

Interestingly, it is easier to write this retrospective about NEW than to do a post about Maike’s Marvels’ past year. I guess I need to take special notes during our next event, “How to Brag; Self Marketing for the Women’s Business Owner”. Join us at 57th Street Books on 1301 East 57th Street in Chicago on Thursday, June 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.

“What I’ve learned is that businesses grow through friendships.
Individual accomplishments are built through friendships.
Feeling trusted, understood, and valued is cultivated in friendships”
~ Megan Hunt, owner of Hello Holiday

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. RSVP for our upcoming events at Meetup, or like us on Facebook and check up on the calendar there.

Celebrating Ruth McBride at NEW

Time flies when you’re having fun, and so it has been with NEW. We founded the Network of Entrepreneurial Women to incorporate some fun in networking while being truly supportive of our members, and add some geographic scope to our business endeavors. More than a year later, we have 159 Meetup members and 61 ‘likes’ on Facebook.


Next week we will celebrate our first birthday and reflect on all we’ve accomplished in the past year. We will party at the host of our inaugural NEW event, Avalon Salon Day & Spa.


We want to pay our joy and celebration forward, and have partnered with NEW member Chris Pierucci of Final Draft Business Support Services to support the Ruth McBride Memorial Scholarship for Girls in the Game with a silent auction and raffle. While we bid on member-donated pieces, we will munch on festive goodies, sip on teas, tour the fabulous themed massage areas and hair salon, and celebrate our milestone with relaxing mini hand and neck massages.


Ruth, Chris’ mother, was a teacher’s aide tutoring special education children for almost 40 years and an enthusiastic sports fan. Being handicapped herself, Ruth had a special connection with the children she taught. Girls in the Game scholarships unites both of Ruth’s passions: education and sports.


The Ruth McBride Girls in the Game Scholarship is a named four-year scholarship and will change the game for at least one Chicago high school girl. During her four years of high school, along with other teen girls from all over Chicago, the recipient of the Ruth McBride Scholarship will be trained in a variety of energizing sports and games, study yoga, learn to eat smart, and develop new strategies to help her resolve conflicts and reduce whatever violence is in her life.


The Team Squad is coached by Girls in the Game’s award-winning staff to develop their skills as strong and confident leaders. As trained leaders, they will lead workshops and teach what they have learned about living a healthier lifestyle to younger girls. In exchange for making a difference in the lives of other young girls, the recipients of the Ruth McBride Scholarship will earn significant scholarship dollars for college tuition, textbooks, or the technical training of her choice. 100% of the girls who received scholarships in our 2013 Teen Squad high school program have gone on to college.


Our fundraiser includes a silent auction with gift certificates for a photography session or massage therapy, jewelry by yours truly, and other items we will post on our Facebook page in the coming week. To donate an auction item by Monday, June 9, please review this document. The Ruth McBride Scholarship will sponsor at least one four-year scholarship in 2014. However, the more we raise, the more girls we can sponsor. It is a unique, exciting and inspiring force for change, just like Ruth herself.


Aurora Rose Boutique is donating a gift basket for the raffle. You can purchase raffle prizes online via this link. You do not have to be present for the raffle, however, attendance is required for the silent auction.


“When I moved here two years ago, I automatically drifted to the usual and customary networking events that I found to be effective in Colorado. I really didn’t think that driving 30 miles downtown was going to be that big of a deal. Boy, was I wrong! Living in the Northwest Suburbs and driving 30 miles in each direction was kind of fun at first, but after a while, not so much fun!

I did however meet some great people who, like me, thought that there might be some better options. And because we were all veterans of women’s networking, we knew what we wanted and didn’t want to do. Some of the best advice I’ve ever heard was…”if you don’t like the way something is being done, do it yourself, or be quiet.” And so we did.


Erica Thomas, Maike van Wijk and I came up with a concept: suburban meetings, rotating locations, alternating afternoon and evenings, and–the best part– it should be free or very low cost. No membership or attendance requirements and women supporting other women in their efforts. Cool locations, fun and uplifting environments without stress involved!

Whether they are seasoned business owners, entrepreneurial spirits or just beginners, everyone who attends could learn from and teach others!

We divided the minimal tasks involved in running a small, volunteer organization and with hosts donating their space and often refreshments, advertising on Constant Contact, Facebook, and later Meetup, we were off and running.


Fast forward one year and we have found that the model works! There are regular faces at meeting month after month, some that show up when we’re in their suburb, and new faces all the time. We support small suburban business owners by meeting and shopping in their stores. We share our stories and our resources.

So what does NEW mean to me? It is, as intended, a different way to approach networking and one that has allowed me to meet many absolutely wonderful women in a diverse variety of occupations. I’ve developed friendships, business relationships and travelled around the surrounding areas enough that I feel like I’m almost a native! And I’ve enjoyed the collaboration with my NEW Co-founders who still make it fun.”

~ Karen McCormack, McCormack Consulting


The NEW Anniversary Party and Charity Raffle is Wednesday, June 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Avalon Salon & Day Spa, 20530 North Rand Road in Deer Park. Avalon Spa has been named in the top 200 salons in Salon Today for the last 9 years. As an Aveda Salon, the spa participated in the Guinness Book of Records challenge of providing the most charity haircuts in 24 hours.


“There’s a real community of encouragement at NEW, and I think that’s especially vital for women entrepreneurs – sometimes we tend to disappear in front of our computers, smartphones and tablets, and it’s so great to have this opportunity, twice a month, to just be around other women business owners and get your mental energy recharged.

Every month, every event, we’re meeting new women entrepreneurs. But it’s also inspiring to see how much we all have in common – because there are new women at every event, it’s a somewhat different crowd at every event, and yet we fall into the same patterns of support and helpfulness. 

We’ve been all over Chicagoland in one year – all throughout the Suburbs, and a few Chicago neighborhoods as well, and it creates an opportunity for our members to spread their businesses’ reach just by going to a new town and meeting fellow businesswomen there. 


The other greatest thing about NEW, of course, is the great team I get to work with in leadership. Maike & Karen are such amazing businesswomen individually, and bring so much creativity and wisdom to the table. It really is the best team in the world to work with – it’s the Dream Team of networking. 

It’s just restorative, to get your mental energy recharged around fellow women entrepreneurs, some you’ve never met, some you saw last month – and they’re all cheering for you. Each of us – we’re all cheering each other on to further greatness.”

~ Erica Thomas,

Our events have been a blast, and we’ve always walked away enriched, whether with a dozen new business cards to follow up on or through in-depth one-on-one conversations within smaller groups.

It’s been a wonderful way to connect with other entrepreneurial women, get to know the diversity of women-owned and women-managed business in the burbs, and explore the suburbs of Chicagoland. Come and join our celebration!