Issue II

Winter 2014

Inside this Issue

Presidents Corner

Who is [email protected]?

Networking Tips Part II, or "What Do I Do Now that I'm Here?"

Tips for Inviting Guests to Monthly Meetings

Useful Apps to Download

Member Profile: Meet Bonnie Shay

Want to be Profiled in the Next EPWNG Insider Newsletter?


By Wendy Baum

Typically, in January, we make a list all of the things we wanted to accomplish during the past year, and for some reason, never got around to. New Year’s Resolutions provide us with a fleeting hope that this year everything will be different. I've seen this in practice with friends, family, and clients – trying to adopt a new mindset on a long list of lofty goals from weight loss and finances to organizing our homes and relationship building. No wonder the New Year's Resolution fades within a matter of days, as so many of these "fresh new starts" become overwhelming. The idea is fantastic: set some goals to become a better person or live a better life. However, it’s the implementation that is the tricky part! So, this year, try something different. First, focus on one thing at a time. Recognize your progress at various milestones and celebrate your accomplishments. Additionally, get help — ask your EPWNG professionals for guidance. Many times we are afraid to ask for help, due to embarrassment, cost, or fear of commitment. Your EPWNG friends will not judge you, and many will provide you with exceptional service at a fraction of what you imagine the cost to be. Start by prioritizing your goals. Enlist an EPWNG friend to help you get each one done, one at a time. Go for it, girl!  2014 is here, and it is time to accomplish each resolution! Meanwhile, make sure to enjoy the journey.  

Until next time…


WHO IS [email protected]?

                    By Tina Tranfaglia

You have probably heard the monthly meeting leaders refer to her dozens of times—“If you need to change your assigned meeting date (or want to invite a guest or have any other membership concern)… contact [email protected]” Surely you have interacted with her electronically, and you may have met her in person and not even known it (she is a lovely woman with strawberry blonde hair). When not working from home, Robin can usually be found at the check-in desk at off-site EPWNG functions, such as the upcoming January 16th speaking event with Linda McCabe

Robin Schwartz is the Administrator for EPWNG and is its only paid employee. She joined EPWNG in the fall of 2010 part-time, and currently works about 15-20 hours per week. She is responsible for setting up all the monthly meetings, including issuing invitations, tracking RSVPs, payments, and producing meeting “needs” sheets; coordinating membership applications and renewals; arranging and attending monthly board meetings and special events; communicating information to members via email blasts; answering questions that may arise from our 205 members; updating/managing the website; the list goes on and on. With the recent addition of five new committees that she assists (Newsletter, Professional Speakers, Meeting and Administration, Membership Recruiting, and Social), Robin has her hands full and has us wondering how she even gets that all done in under 20 hours per week. The Newsletter Committee owes her a debt of gratitude for doing the layout and publication of each edition!  

Some of the member requests that keep Robin so busy are actually things we can do for ourselves and perhaps get answers to even faster. For starters, if you have never taken the Tutorial on, you should. Simply click on Member Center for the link or click here to take you directly to the tutorial. You can learn such useful things as how to update your member profile or change your password, see which meetings you have replied to, cancel your meeting attendance, view a payment receipt, review all past email announcements, check the event calendar for upcoming meeting options, find out which professions are closed, read the rules for EPWNG members, and much more. Remember, if you serve on one of the committees and have a question, you should first pose it to your committee chairperson or one of the assigned Board members, and they will get Robin involved as needed. 

When Robin is not working for EPWNG, she can often be found substitute teaching in Deerfield or Highland Park High Schools. She was born and raised just north of Milwaukee, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S. in Journalism, and has worked in such diverse professions as marketing/PR and commercial real estate. She and her husband Jeremy have lived in Highland Park for over 20 years, where they have raised their three children—a son currently at Wesleyan University, a son at Vanderbilt, and a daughter who is a high school senior and just now applying to college. If she has any spare time after all that, Robin enjoys skiing, playing tennis, baking, and spending time with family and friends.    

Robin is a vital part of what keeps EPWNG running so smoothly, but she works behind-the-scenes most of the time. So next time you are at an EPWNG event, make sure to introduce yourself to Robin so that she can put a face with the name she communicates with every month!

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. [email protected]


By Leslie Berkowitz

These days, most of us are not only talking on our cell phones, we are making appointments, answering emails, listening to music and keeping up to date with the latest news. You might say we’ve become dependent on our phones for instant communication and information. There are thousands of apps out there that can help make life even easier, but who has the time to research all of them?  Below is a short (and biased) list of some of the most popular, useful, and free apps around. Happy downloading!

Flixster - Check movie show times, read movie reviews, see what’s upcoming

The Weather Channel – Check weather in your home town or any location

Urban Spoon – Set your location and search for restaurants by type or neighborhood

Skype for your mobile phone – Skype with anyone on the go

Pandora – Listen to your favorite genre of music by entering a favorite song or artist

Shazam – hold your phone near a music source and it will tell you the song and artist

TED – Presents riveting talks from remarkable people from all over the world

Evernote – Take notes, capture photos, create to do lists, record voice reminders and makes notes searchable. Sync this information across all of your devices.

AroundMe – Allows you to find information about your surroundings: gas stations, restaurants, banks, hotels, hospitals, theaters, grocery stores and more…

RunKeeper – Track your runs, walks, bike rides and more using the GPS in your phone

What’s App or Viber – Call or text for free internationally with other users

Social Media must haves: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest

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 truly personal service. Visit to learn more.


By Vicki Gerson

One member who had a profile picture on her member profile was randomly selected on December 1, 2013.

When Bonnie Hillman Shay was a little girl, her idea of fun was to organize her mother’s kitchen pantry, cabinets and drawers. Since organizing all kinds of things was Bonnie’s favorite activity, it’s no surprise she created Mariposa Creative Solutions, LLC in 2007. She provides general organizing services to her clients, making order out of disorder. Mariposa is the Spanish word for butterfly, which Bonnie believes is a meaningful symbol of transformation—from clutter to no clutter.

“I get my clients ‘unstuck,’ allowing them to return to their business and personal activities in their lives,” she says. “My clients feel less stress and more peace and calm after I help them overcome disorganization. I have several specialty areas, including email management, room-to-room de-cluttering and photo organizing. One of my favorite jobs is being asked to organize printed and digital photos.”

Other clients that need Bonnie’s services include people who are downsizing to a smaller home, individuals overwhelmed with the amount of paper and information flowing through their household and individuals going through life events (i.e. divorce, death of a spouse, etc.)

In the coming years, Bonnie plans to focus on four business goals that she believes will help grow her business. She wants to write a series of books about various organizing concepts, increase her speaking engagements beyond the local to the national level, be recognized as the best photo organizer in the Chicagoland area and help as many people as possible focus on their strengths instead of “beating themselves up for not being organized.”

Bonnie is an active member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and holds a board position with the Chicago Chapter. She is also a member of the Association for Personal Photo Organizers and a Certified Personal Photo Organizer.

Is it any wonder that one of Bonnie’s favorite pastimes is photography? When she is not working, she enjoys photographing her two daughters and things of beauty such as flowers, colorful fall foliage and snow. 

Vicki Gerson, president of Vicki Gerson & Associates, Inc. is a web/print writer and public relations consultant. She writes ghost blogs, websites, press releases and much more to get her clients the visibility they need for their business.


By Catherine Schager

In our last issue we talked about the “why” of networking, and that its 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. So armed with this knowledge, you sign up for the monthly EPWNG meeting. What’s your strategy when you get there?

It’s a good idea to create a “game plan” before a networking event. This serves two purposes:  1) to alleviate some of the awkwardness or nervousness you might feel (you’re prepared!) and 2) to give you a focus for the event.  The game plan could be to meet just 5 new people, and spend about 5 minutes or so with each one, having an exchange of ideas. If the event offers an opportunity to see in advance who is going to attend and their company, you can use this information to see who might be a good potential client or strategic partner. Make it a goal to speak to them, even if it’s a brief introduction. You might ask someone you know to introduce you, if they know the person. You don’t want to launch into a sales pitch right then, but take a moment to say, “I saw your name on the list and really wanted a chance to say hello.” It’s time to get to know someone a little better and allow them to get to know you.  

If you’re really new to networking, make your goals small. Extend yourself to one or two people. Just reach out and introduce yourself. Ask them about what they do, and really listen. Ask a question or two but don’t monopolize their time. Ask who is a good client referral for them and perhaps jot a note on their business card for reference. When asked about your business, be brief and give them an overview of people that you serve or one of the big problems you help people solve. As you gain more experience and confidence, networking will become less anxiety-provoking. Bottom line: relax, and focus on others!

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.


 By T-Ann Pierce

EPWNG connects busy women. When we meet to share information about our businesses, we not only broaden our client base, but we also form supportive partnerships and friendships along the way. Invited guests are vital to expanding our membership, and it is a great way to show off this wonderful group to your friends and colleagues. After attending a meeting, your guest can apply for membership, if she is interested. Recently, we have been in the unenviable position of declining membership applications because the guests did not meet the admissions criteria for EPWNG. To ensure that your guest has the best chance of gaining admission to EPWNG, please keep the following in mind as you consider women whom you would like to invite to build their network:


1.    A member may invite up to two guests per month. The cost for guests is $25, payable in advance. Premier members can use their two included guest passes to pay for their guests. Premier members must notify Robin if they will be using a guest pass. Regular members can pay for their guests by contacting Robin ([email protected]) and providing credit card details or Robin can include a link for payment on the guest’s invitation.  When requesting a guest invitation, please let Robin know how you'd like to pay to avoid double payment.

2.    Before inviting guests, check the EPWNG website for a current list of closed professions. If a guest works in a closed profession she is still welcome to attend a meeting. She may apply for membership and go on a waiting list for the next available opening should a member resign her spot or should another meeting date open up with two positions becoming available. 

The following professions are currently closed:


  • Chicago Branch: CPA, Executive Coach, Financial Services
  • North Shore Branch:  Financial Services

3.    To round out our membership, we are actively seeking to add established professionals in the following fields:


  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Hotel/Restaurant/Entertainment Industry Executives
  • Investment Bankers/Private Equity Professionals
  • Manufacturing Executives
  • Middle Market Company Executives
  • Not-For-Profit Sector Executives
  • Real Estate Developers

4.    To be considered for membership, guests must be in their current profession for a substantial length of time, and may not be in transition or unemployed. Multi-level marketing professionals will not be considered for membership. 

5.    At the meeting, your guest will be given a postcard with instructions for applying for membership and the deadline for submission of her application for the earliest possible decision.

6.    If a decision has been communicated and your guest feels she has been unfairly denied membership, she may appeal. To do so, she must request an appeals form, which will be emailed to her. She may be asked to give additional information that will help the Board re-evaluate her candidacy. 

7.    Steps to invite a guest:


  • Whether or not you will be paying for your guest, please notify Robin ([email protected]) of your guest’s name, occupation, email address and phone number, along with the date of the meeting your guest wishes to attend. Note: while most guests do attend with their sponsoring member, it is not mandatory. Your guest could attend a different meeting date or branch than the one you attend that month.


  • Robin will send your guest an electronic invitation. Alert your guest that she will be receiving an invitation. Your guest must OPEN AND ACCEPT the invitation. If your guest does not open and accept the invitation, she will be excluded from the needs sheet, which can be embarrassing.


  • Please follow up with your guest to make sure she has responded to the EPWNG invitation.


8.    Enjoy your meeting, confident in knowing you and your guest are well informed on the EPWNG application process, including closed professions.

T-Ann Pierce is a personal well-being coach and the owner of TAP Into Purpose, where she inspires busy women to cultivate lives filled with confidence and purpose.  Through her workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions, women rediscover joy and balance, gain clarity and put deeper meaning back into their lives.



The next edition of our EPWNG Insider Newsletter is slated to be published in Spring 2014. For a chance to have you and your business profiled in that edition, we have an easy contest for you—something you should be doing already. Simply make sure that you have joined the EPWNG group on LinkedIn by March 15.

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