Crain’s Small Business Week Meet, Munch & Mastermind

Next week is Crain’s 6th annual Small Business Week and the Network of Entrepreneurial Women is eagerly anticipating our third event in partnership with Crain’s Chicago Business. We are looking forward to an afternoon of delicious food, gentle pampering and significant inspiration and business brainstorming.


The largest educational and business development event in the region for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and those who want to join this world will host 30 programs from Monday, October 5 – Saturday, October 10, 2015. We will gather for a casual lunch at Shannon’s Irish Pub, 428 N Main St, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137, on Wednesday, October 7 from noon to 5 p.m., during which we will learn about pioneering women during a keynote address.


Crain’s goal is to introduce you to organizations whose mission includes helping small businesses around the city and suburbs to choose from. NEW’s event: Meet, Munch & Mastermind: Inspiring Women to Reach Their Highest Potential is a dynamic Networking Luncheon featuring a keynote address by Barbara Joan Zeitz, followed by mastermind roundtable sessions and optional chair massages. Throughout invigorating roundtable talks designed specifically for women entrepreneurs, participants will spend time learning from experts at each table.


Author Barbara Joan Zeitz will host our keynote address: Leaning In Before Sheryl!


Barbara earned her master’s in women’s studies (Roosevelt University, Chicago) in 2003 as an adult/grandmother and launched her ‘final career’ speaking on women’s amazing historic achievements via Powerpoint programs and writing her monthly online “CountHerhistory” column. She self-published her first book in 2012 with her second to be released this year.

Roundtable Talks will include:

Obamacare 3.0 … Everything You Need to Know About Health Insurance for 2016; by Karen McCormack, Independent Insurance Broker.

Karen has been in business for more than 30 years. She started her first company in 1985 and over time transformed her small business expertise, extensive organizational knowledge and exceptional ability to develop long term business relationships into McCormack Consulting Group, Inc.


Her specialties include health insurance for the self employed, small business owners, individuals, families and seniors. She is dedicated to helping individuals and small business owners through the complex maze when making decisions. Karen partners with her clients, guiding them through the initial decision process and providing continuous service so that they are always up to date as their health insurance needs change over time.

Business Videos and How They Can Increase Your Reach & Wealth; by Chris Pierucci, Owner, Final Draft Business Support Services, Inc.

Chris  is the owner of Final Draft Business Support Services, Inc., a leading business support service specializing in Court Reporting, Legal Videography, Legal and Medical Transcription, General Transcription and Word Processing.


Final Draft Business Support Services, Inc. also offers their own in-house graphic design team, and virtual offices in their Lincoln Park location for the at-home professional. Chris is the Director of the Ruth McBride Memorial Scholarship, and on the Board of Directors for Girls in the Game. She is also a former Managing Director of eWomenNetwork Chicago, and a current Designer for KEEP Collective.

Chris is certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, as a Certified Electronic Court Transcriber by the American Association of Electronic Reporters & Transcribers and as a Certified Legal Videography Specialist by NCRA.

“PAYING YOURSELF?” The What, Why and How; by Janice M Faris, Accountant, Principal/Owner, Janice M Faris, EA.

Linking Individuals and Businesses to financial goals is achieved with solid planning. Jan’s experience as an accountant for 36 years taught her that listening is the key to finding appropriate solutions unique to each Individual or Business. Her goal is to provide education as to available options. She believes that a clear understanding is the foundation to a sound decision.


Jan holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University, an Enrolled Agent Certification with the I.R.S., holds FINRA Securities Registration: Series 6, Series 7, Series 63 and Series 65, completed training in Collaborative Law and regularly attends ongoing Continuing Professional Education programs required to maintain and develop professional knowledge and skills.

She is a Member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents, served for 20 years as a Member of the Board of directors and Executive Board of the Downtown Wheaton Association , is a recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award for the Downtown Wheaton Association, and co-chaired the Downtown Wheaton Association Annual Gala and Fine Art Fair for 10 years. She also received the Outstanding Service Award from the DWA from 1988-2009 and was among the 1986 Who’s Who of American Women.

Attendees will each have the opportunity to eat, learn, network and connect with women business owners from diverse backgrounds, experience and industries. They will also receive chair massages by Rebecca Sturgeon, LMT, CMLDT.


Rebecca is a graduate of the Cortiva Institute – Chicago School of Massage Therapy and holds a certification in Manual Lymphatic Drainage. She currently practices at the Heartwood Center in Evanston.

Sign up here to join lively, enlightening education and be provided opportunities for brainstorming personal concerns/questions related to the topic discussed. You can follow Crain’s Small Business Week online here.

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.

Learning and growing with NEW

NEW’s Crain’s Small Business Day was a blast, and full of nuggets of wisdom by our fabulous guest speakers. During our meet and greet ladies mingled and were introduced to with their pop-up of a new small business networking tool that is currently in beta launch.


Members and visitors also perused my wares at my pop-up table.


Then we gathered around for formal introductions and a business card exchange, with a variety of very interesting businesses represented.


After learning more about each other we split into three groups for roundtable discussions.


Peggy Goddeau discussed retirement planning, highlighting how inflation and taxation do not increase at the same rate, and we thus have to base our retirement planning on projected true buying power. She recommends a balance between cash flow and debt management based on three categories of assets: protection, savings and growth. As a financial advisor with The Heartland Group, Peggy offers consulting services for anyone at any age to ensure their retirement is on the right track.


Dr. Crystal Foreseman Landers offered wellness tips which included an 80/20 rule for eating whole foods (80% of the time), and allowing for 20% of not-so-nutritious meal or snack decisions. This would allow for 2 ‘cheat’ meals a week, creating less pressure than a vigorous diet. She also recommended having lean protein with each meal to counteract food cravings, and paying attention to what we are eating instead of multitasking while we chew. She also recomended drinking 1/2 of your body weight in ounces to stay properly hydrated.  Dr. Crystal offers additional naturopathic health tips at Living Tree Natural Health, Inc.


Author and speaker Niquenya D. Fulbright discussed the 4 P’s of profit, which are not price, product place or promotion, but passion, purpose, partners and productivity. She recommends that to achieve a goal, we need to make a list of weekly steps to get there. This makes long-range planning far more effective, because we know we can do one thing a week in a specific category, and then feel more accomplished about doing another thing the next week. She also stated that sunk cost should never be considered when making a decision (and who isn’t guilty of hanging on to something just because we spent so much time and money on it already?). As President and CEO of Building Bridges Consulting, Niquenya transforms dreamers into successful entrepreneurs by giving them the tools to turn their passion into a viable business.


After all this insightful learning it was time for a pint and we gathered around to dine on our host Shannon’s Irish Pub’s delicious food.


NEW will gather tomorrow in Geneva for our November Meet & Munch. We will revisit the lovely Peaceful Parlour for some tea time and to gather ideas for eco-friendly holiday shopping.


Peaceful Parlour is an eco-friendly shopper’s paradise located in Geneva, IL. The boutique offers products that are locally made, USA made, natural or organic, hand crafted and made from renewable or sustainable materials. Their focus is to find products with environmental and community benefits, supporting local artists, small businesses, fair trade and women co-op groups around the world.


Due to Thanksgiving, this will also be our only event for November. No Wine, Women and Wellness on 11/27, since we’re all likely to be gathered around dinner tables.

Photos copyright NetworkHoncho.

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.

Crain’s Small Business Roundtables

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


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.


photo courtesy

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

photo courtesy

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.


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.


“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.


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.


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


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.


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.

photo courtesy

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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.