Issue III

Spring 2014

Inside this Issue

Presidents Corner

Contest Time!

Be the Expert: Professional Speakers of EPWNG (PSOE)

EPWNG in the News

The New Western Suburbs Branch

Sue Zeiler is Grateful for EPWNG

Networking Tips Part III: "Build the Relationship"


By Wendy Baum

All too often, we are so busy that we miss important opportunities.  Recently, I received an email introduction to connect with someone. Initially, I wasn't sure what to make of the introduction. The purpose was to help a woman who was trying to understand how we managed to qualify EPWNG as a nonprofit organization, so that she could understand how to better position her own nonprofit. Instead of dismissing this challenge as a waste of my time, I thought about it for a little longer and determined that this could be an opportunity either to help someone else or to market EPWNG. With little time and unknown direction, I called upon two EPWNG members, Sheri Warsh and Pamela Belyn, to help me pursue the request. Together, we strategized how to approach this novel inquiry and make the most out of our first meeting. The initial meeting with this woman and her colleagues focused on understanding why both organizations were created. The further we explored, the more interesting the opportunity became - for both of us! After several meetings and many discussions, the EPWNG/WLMA alliance was formed. By not running away from what initially was thought to be a "waste of time," we all benefited by identifying opportunities that our joint power could create. So the next time you get that "ugh" feeling when you receive a request to help someone - think twice. Your gut reaction may be right, and saying "no" can be a powerful tool to set boundaries. However, a little creativity and teamwork can also generate powerful opportunities for you and those around you!

Until next time…


Read the Newsletter today and YOU could be our next member featured!  Go to our LinkedIn page to find out about the contest!


By Leslie Berkowitz

EPWNG attracts a dynamic and diverse group of women. Our members come from all types of backgrounds and work in all types of industries. In less than five years, EPWNG has grown to over 250 members, including the downtown and suburban locations, and the recently-launched branch in the Western suburbs.

We’re so proud of the growth and success of EPWNG and the publicity we’ve received of late that we wanted to share it with you. In the last few years, and especially in recent months, EPWNG has been featured in Make It Better magazine, the Deerfield Review, and the Chicago Sun Times (and that doesn’t even count all the individual articles written about our members). 

EPWNG was featured in the Chicago Sun Times when our founder, Wendy Baum, won the “Women with Vision” award from the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois in 2013. Both the award and the article highlighted the uniqueness and growing success of EPWNG. You can see the full article here.  

There was a wonderful article in the Deerfield Review just recently about member Betsy Phillips, who announced she was engaged and having an “EPWNG wedding.” She is using many fellow EPWNG members as resources and vendors for her upcoming celebration. This is the power of our group – making connections and building relationships that translate into finding the help and resources that we all need in our business and personal lives. The EPWNG board received a letter applauding our work from Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison, after reading the article. Take a minute to read the article here. 

The positive press and feedback that we receive from the community will help EPWNG’s membership continue to grow and keep members’ businesses thriving. And who knows—maybe your next collaboration with a fellow member will be newsworthy!

Leslie has owned and operated her personalized gift business, Kidoodles Inc. and More, for 12+ years. Kidoodles not only offers a wide variety of unique gifts for every occasion, but also provides truly personal service. Visit to learn more. 



 By Vicki Gerson

Sue Zeiler, founder of an online resource for local parents, is thrilled she found EPWNG. Sue believes EPWNG is incredibly valuable to her because it’s given her an opportunity to meet and interact with other professional women. EPWNG women provide her with new connections and resources for her business that she would not otherwise have. Moving from Chicago to the suburbs, Sue found EPWNG resources for her personal needs as well, including a realtor who helped her find a new home, a real estate attorney and a financial planner.

Sue’s entrepreneurial spirit and her involvement in kid-related activities were obvious from an early age. At the age of 12, she ran a summer camp in her backyard. In high school, she worked at the local library, helping with the children’s reading programs, and while in college, she spent several summers student-teaching middle school classes. After college, Sue took her first full-time job at Brookfield Zoo, where she planned all of the zoo’s public special events.

In 1995, Sue became interested in the Internet and its potential as a marketing tool. After purchasing a book about how to build a website, her first website was up and running.  In 2001, Sue decided to build a local resource network for parents and was launched.
It was the first local website of its kind. Fortunately, it quickly grew into a highly-trafficked and  reputable source of information for local parents. And while competition has come and gone through the years, has managed to maintain its strong position in the market.

Sue, a divorced mom of a nearly six-year-old daughter, manages the business completely on her own. The site averages approximately 300,000 monthly page views, and has more than 17,000 registered members (membership is free), with 12,000 newsletter subscribers.

“My responsibilities include maintaining all of the content, updating the site with events, writing and sending a weekly newsletter to my subscribers, writing blog posts, maintaining social media and selling advertising space,” she says. “Half of my time is spent implementing the advertising campaigns that I sell, including banner ads, e-blasts, setting up advertiser listings and more.”

Until 2008, Sue was running the site while working a full-time job. Her personal situation changed in 2012, when she filed for divorce and her ex-husband decided to take a job in Washington, D.C. Needing to increase her earnings as a single mom, she now focuses 100% of her attention on the site. Sue works while her daughter is in school and in aftercare. When she needs more work hours, she works at night.

“Since I’ve turned my full attention to the site,” adds Sue, “I’ve increased my revenue to a level that will allow me to continue doing this....and hopefully never need to look for another job again!”

Sue has been featured on local radio and television segments including numerous appearances on ABC’s Windy City Live morning show as an expert on family topics. Sue is just one of the many outstanding women who make EPWNG as strong as it is today.

Vicki Gerson is a b-to-b and b-to-c writer for online and print trade, custom and consumer publications, as well as a website content writer, ghost blogger and public relations consultant.  She is also the monthly business columnist for the What’s Happening Community Newspaper.



By T-Ann Pierce

The first event hosted by the committee, Professional Speakers of EPWNG (PSOE), was a tremendous success. With over eighty people in attendance, it immediately became one of the not-to-be-missed events on the EPWNG calendar.

PSOE’s spring event will take place on April 30th and will not disappoint. It is shaping up to be a much talked-about affair.  The event will be held at Maggiano’s Old Orchard from 8:30-10:00 a.m. and will feature a panel of four expert speakers, all EPWNG members. The topic will be #Savvy Marketing Strategies to Grow your Business TODAY. With time built in for networking, this is the perfect event to bring a guest(s) and show off all the talent and benefits EPWNG has to offer.

Professional Speakers of EPWNG was created not only to educate, inform and highlight our gifted members, but also to build a database of professional speakers within EPWNG. In the past, EPWNG has been contacted by outside individuals and organizations that are looking to hire speakers. PSOE is working towards building a database of names of members who are experts in their field and are interested in public speaking. Enrollment in the database will be available at some point in the near future. Speaking at a PSOE event will not be a prerequisite.

Auditions to become a panel member are held two months prior to the April and October events. All details are included in emails sent out to EPWNG members.

A big thank you goes out to Lisa Kaplin, leader of the PSOE, along with the other members of the committee, which include Susan Shulman, Lori Goldstein, Kathleen Dean, Betsy Epton, Susan Raemer-Rodriguez, Lauri Zessar, Susan Fignar, Julie Bordo, Christie Butcher, and Margie Goldblatt.

Register now for the April 30, expert panel event at Maggiano’s. We look forward to seeing you and your guests there!

T-Ann Pierce is a personal well-being coach and owner of TAP into Purpose where she inspires busy women to create a life of confidence, clarity and balance. Who are you beyond the roles you play? Become a participant in your own life!


 By Tina Tranfaglia

Although we have been hearing about plans for a Western Suburbs Branch for quite some time, it is really still quite new. Since most of us don’t know much about it yet, I had the pleasure of speaking to several of these ladies to learn more about the newest branch of EPWNG. There is a leadership team comprised of five people:  Beth Engel, Mary Hackbarth, Natalie Perry, Meredith Vogel, and Chris Zouzias. Each takes on a different leadership role, such as Administration, Membership, Liaison to the Board, etc.
The group started meeting in September 2013, and began accepting membership applications in January 2014. The first members became official EPWNGers in February 2014 and there are currently 14 members. A variety of professions are represented, including an architect, energy consultant, marketing/branding professional, trust officer, and several CPA’s, attorneys, and financial services professionals. As you can see, they all live up to the high professional caliber found throughout EPWNG! If you want to learn more about some of EWPNG’s newest members, you will find their profiles in the Member Directory on (just do an advanced search for Home Branch equals Western Suburbs and you will see them all).

This group meets early, gathering from 8:00-9:30 in Oakbrook on the third Wednesday of each month. Since many of you are anxious to visit this new group, beginning in May they will be allowing North Shore and Chicago members to attend the meetings. In the meantime, there is one thing we can all do to help this branch grow towards its near term goal of having enough members for at least two monthly meetings—invite our contacts to join the branch. We all have contacts in many different industries, and this group is anxious to grow in sheer numbers and in diversity of professions. Both Natalie and Meredith emphasized to me the need for more variety, and they welcome our help with contacts outside the professions of the existing members. If you would like to invite someone to attend as a guest, with a goal of possibly becoming a member, simply contact [email protected], then following the typical process for inviting any guest.  

Now that the first official members have been admitted, they are becoming fully integrated into EPWNG. They will receive this EPWNG Insider newsletter for the first time, and hopefully you will interact with them soon at social events, speaker events, on committees, and on the EPWNG LinkedIn group. Welcome, Western Suburbs Branch—we look forward to getting to know you!

Tina is the owner of College Knowledge Admissions Consulting. She helps parents and students navigate all aspects of the complex, competitive, and ever-changing world of college admissions through customized one-on-one coaching on college lists, applications, essays, and more.  [email protected]




By: Catherine Schager

In the previous two installments, I’ve talked about what networking is and also what to do at a networking meeting. This installment is all about what happens next. Remember, networking’s purpose is to create and nurture relationships with a group of people who will want to do business with you, refer others to you, and vice versa. Building the relationship is crucial to successful networking. So, how does that happen?  The truth is, it often happens slowly and over time. Like any great relationship, it can’t be forced or rushed if it’s going to last. Here are some tried and true ways to build those business relationships:

1.    Take the next step:  Set aside some time each month- even if it’s only one hour, to sit down and get to know someone better. Maybe you just meet for coffee; maybe you have breakfast or lunch together. Utilize this time to get to know them and their business.  Who are their target customers, who are good referral sources? What are their current business needs? Who are they? Being a little personal is good!
2.    As you’re listening, instead of thinking of what you’re going to say next, make some notes, something to jog your memory about how you can help them. Take the time to really listen to what their needs are. If you have an idea you think might be useful, offer it up.

3.    Be sure to send a follow-up thank you note for the meeting. Hand-written is best. How often do any of us get “real mail” anymore? Don’t you feel special when you do?

4.    If you subsequently run across an opportunity to offer them something, an article that’s pertinent to their business, an event that you think might interest them, etc., pass it on.  
It may sound like a lot of work that’s not focused specifically on your business; however, what you’re doing is becoming known for who you are. When it’s time to refer a business to a friend or colleague, we all refer people we know, like and trust.  You’ve been investing the time to be all of those.  

Catherine is the owner of Catherine Schager Designs, which offers residential interior design services, specializing in Kitchen and Bath renovations. Let us help you discover the comforts of home.