Issue VII

Spring 2015

Inside this Issue

Presidents Corner

Spring Has Sprung!

By The Numbers

Meet Board Member Beth Kaufmann

Committee Close-Up: Newsletter Committee

EPWNG Events


By Wendy Baum

Something amazing happened at the North Shore EPWNG meeting I attended this month. The meeting leader introduced herself and her co-leaders, and she was about to start with the typical EPWNG announcements. Instead, she put down her notes and began to share a heartfelt story. She had just gone on a fun trip with her mother-in-law, who suddenly became ill while they were together in Florida. They returned home abruptly and she immediately turned to the EPWNG network to search for care for her mother-in-law. She mentioned contacting Freedom Home Care (Francine Brodsky) and Whitehall (Ashley Delaney). With watery eyes, she explained how these women were not only super responsive, but they were compassionate and provided exceptional caregiving services. Unfortunately, her mother-in-law passed away, but the meeting leader emphasized the importance of this incredible EPWNG network. In a time of great fear and concern, she found help, support, and comfort. The meeting leader continued on with the meeting logistics, and at the end of the meeting, she asked if there were any other “thank you” acknowledgements. I was shocked when a total stranger thanked me. Apparently, we had talked on the phone a few years earlier, and I had provided her with some sound advice. In public, with pride, she thanked me and expressed the impact that my few minutes had had on her. Her thanks meant so much to me. I love that we take the time at each EPWNG meeting to express our gratitude. Since this meeting, I decided to apply one important “thank you” in my everyday living. Showing appreciation to someone who is not aware of the impact he/she is making can be quite powerful – especially when it is unexpected. So today I thank ALL of you for creating such a safe and warm forum to display compassion over and over again.


By Leslie Berkowitz

With warmer weather finally here and the trees starting to bloom, spring gives us a feeling of new beginnings, of rebirth. With that comes the motivation to get our houses, our lives, and perhaps even our bodies in shape. The spring and summer months also present many occasions for family celebrations, from Mother’s and Father’s Day, to graduations and weddings. While we may look forward to these ambitious new projects and fun celebrations, they can also add stress to our lives. How do I start that house makeover? Which diet and exercise program is right for me? What should I get my niece for college graduation? Figuring all of this out can take time and energy and derail our efforts.  

That’s exactly where our fellow EPWNG members can really be an asset. While you continue to be the expert at running your business and your family, let some of the other experts help you tackle your seasonal projects and gift-giving dilemmas. To get started, go to and find the Member Center. Click on the Member Directory in the dropdown menu. Once there, do an Advanced Search for the occupational classifications that can help you. You’ll find many fellow members who can help you reach your goals by either performing the service outright or coaching you through it. For example:
•    Perhaps an Interior Designer or Architect can jumpstart your home project.
•    An Organizer or Cleaning Service might be the right fit for helping you de-clutter and start your spring cleaning.
•    A Wellness Consultant, Healthcare Consultant, or even a Culinary Coach can help you get on a healthier track.
•    A Wardrobe Consultant or Cosmetics or Clothing Sales expert can help you refresh your look.
•    Search Gifts and Jewelry to find someone who can help you with that perfect present.

If you need help getting some of those gifts off your to-do list but don’t even know what to give, there are several EPWNG members who can help you think of ideas in your price range, and they can even take care of shipping the items for you. With Mother’s Day, graduations, Teacher Appreciation Day, Father’s Day, and wedding season around the corner, try giving Leslie Berkowitz, Holly Kahan, or Laura Allswang a call. They’ll help you take the stress out of gift-giving and find just the right thing for all your spring and summer gift occasions. 

Here’s to a warm, wonderful, and productive spring!

Leslie has owned and operated her personalized gift business, Kidoodles Inc. and More, for 13+ years. Kidoodles and her new business, Initial It Gifts, not only offers a wide variety of unique gifts for every occasion, but also truly personal service. Visit or to learn more.


By Vicki Gerson

If you don’t like to work with numbers, find numbers boring or dread doing your bookkeeping every week, then you need to have a conversation with Beth Kaufmann. Beth loves the order and the balance of numbers. In 2001, she opened her own bookkeeping business focusing on clients who are small business owners.

“My passion for bookkeeping comes from knowing that I’m helping a business owner bring order to their books,” says Beth. “I’m taking away an unwanted task from the business owners, while allowing the business owners to focus on their true passion - their business. Most of my clients like paying their own bills and depositing their own checks, but they don’t like keeping track of their transactions.”  

Beth earned her B.S. in Accounting (with highest honors) from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She went on to get a Master’s Degree in Tax at DePaul University, but she does not do tax preparation for her clients, as her passion is now bookkeeping.

Although most people think accounting is cut and dry, it actually isn’t. Beth considers herself a “creative accountant,” but not in the way the term implies! The method she uses is different for each client, and information is simplified so that each business owner can understand their financial reports. Beth caters her services to what the client wants and needs. She believes her job is to take away the fear the client has when seeing their bank statements.

Beth has been a member of EPWNG almost from the very beginning. While she declined Wendy’s request to attend the first meeting in 2009, a decision she now regrets, she did go kicking and screaming to the second meeting. She became a full-fledged EPWNG member at that meeting and has been one of EPWNG’s biggest fans ever since.

Because of her love of this group, Beth focuses much of her energy on EPWNG. She is a founding board member and also serves as its Treasurer. She is a member of the Rules Committee and serves as the board liaison for the Newsletter Committee. “I think EPWNG is just a great group of women, and we all really care about supporting one another in whatever ways we can.”

When Beth isn’t working, she enjoys doing puzzles - crossword, jigsaw or Sudoku - and spending time with her family, which consists of her husband, Mark, an attorney, and her two sons. After declaring in 8th grade that accounting is boring, her oldest is now a student at Emory University and voluntarily pursuing a degree in accounting - proving once again that his mother is always right. Her second son is a senior at Highland Park High School and will be attending Washington University in St. Louis in the fall, where sadly he will definitely not be studying accounting.

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
. [email protected]

By Alisa Levine Bloom

Attending EPWNG’s social events, speaker events, and other events is a great way to extend your networking reach beyond the monthly branch-specific meetings. Sometimes these events present a bigger setting with new guests to meet, and other times they’re smaller, casual social events that allow you to get to know your fellow members on a more personal level. They are also a great way to mingle with members from different branches, who might otherwise never meet.    


1.    EPWNG in Bloom:  Thursday, April 23rd, 6-9 pm. This is an evening of networking, food, and discovering services offered by fellow members in a vendor fair format…all designed to help grow your business. The Keynote speaker, Melissa Isaacson, has been a veteran sportswriter for 31 years, and will provide her insights on working in a male-driven industry. This event is brought to you by the Social Committee.
•    Location:  Ivy Room, 12 E. Ohio St., Chicago.
•  Cost:  $50 per person for EPWNG members, $40 per person for you and each of your guests when registering together.
•    Parking: $15 at 33 West Ontario Self-Park, with voucher
•    How to Register:  Either click on the link sent in your email invitation or click on the following link to access the form:

2.    The Nuts and Bolts of Growing Your Business:  Thursday, May 7th, 8:30 am. This is the 4th panel discussion led by the Professional Speakers of EPWNG (PSOE) Committee. These events are among the largest EPWNG has sponsored, with lots of members and guests (including men) attending. Four subject matter experts have been chosen through an audition process to participate in the panel, where each will do an individual presentation, followed by a panel Q&A segment.
•    Location:  Maggiano’s Old Orchard (downstairs banquet room)
•    How to Register:  Look for an email with all the details and a link to registration.

On Wednesday, March 18th , Holly Kahan hosted a Social Committee event at Therapeutic Kneads in Highland Park. This was an encore event because the first one was so popular. Thirteen participants nurtured their well-being by choosing 3 spa services each, from a menu of treatments aimed at relaxation and wellness. To further enhance their relaxation, members sipped wine in between treatments.   

Alisa Levine Bloom is the owner of Live Your Best 365, a nutrition counseling practice in Deerfield.  She uses behavior and lifestyle change as the focus for empowering clients to achieve their long term wellness goals. Contact her at [email protected].

By Tina Tranfaglia

Way back in the October 2013 inaugural issue of the EPWNG Insider, we profiled EPWNG and its members…how many there are, what they do, where they work, and more. Well, as you can imagine, things have continued to change rapidly in the last 1.5 years, and a new edition of By the Numbers is in order. The most obvious change is the tremendous growth in EPWNG’s size, reach, and activity level, guided by its 8 board members and 1 administrator. Membership is up 20% to 264 members, a new branch has been added (technically, a 50% increase in branches), and 75 members now work on 6 committees to bring you more programming and information than ever. When I joined in October 2009, every member could fit into one side room at the Eggshell Café!

The North Shore Branch is now home to about 60% of all members, who can attend one of five monthly meetings. The Chicago Branch represents 30% of the members and hosts two meetings per month. The newest branch in the Western Suburbs already has 26 members (10% of the EPWNG total) and is quickly outgrowing its one meeting per month. With two levels of membership offered, almost 20% of us have chosen to be Premier Members, indicating a high level of dedication to attending monthly meetings, participating in speaker events, and inviting guests.  

EPWNG strives to ensure a diverse membership, such that no one occupation dominates and everyone has the chance to network without too much competition. There are 114 occupational categories and sub categories with active members. Does it feel like there are a lot of attorneys?  Well, as a whole, 50 attorneys represent about 19% of the membership, divided into 32 specialties. The two most popular attorney specialties are Divorce and Family Law (11 members) and Estate Planning (10). Rounding out the Top 5 most popular professions are CPAs, Financial Services professionals, and Psychologists/Therapists/Social Workers, all with 9 members each.  58 members, or 22%, hold a monopoly position as the only representatives of their respective professions!  And there are another 21 professions with only 2 members in each.

So what is the name of that lovely lady next to you at breakfast? Seven first names (and their close variations) account for 25% of our members!   Debra/Deborah wins with 12 members. Then comes Kathleen/Catherine and its variations for 11 members, Elizabeth/Beth with 11, Laura/Lauren/Lori with 10, Susan at 8, Julie/Julia at 8, and Christina/Christine and variations at 7. Nancy, Erin, and Mary (alone or followed by Beth or Ellin) are also popular with 6 each. Our last names don’t repeat that much, with only 10 surnames having multiple members. The most popular last name is Cohen/Cohn, but none of these ladies also have the most popular first name of Debbie. Still, you might not recognize your new acquaintance on, as about 1/3 of members have not uploaded a profile picture yet. You know who you are and you might be missing out on business referrals. Won’t you take a moment to upload your profile picture now? We will randomly select a member with a profile picture for a feature article in an upcoming edition of the EPWNG Insider.

As you might expect, the most popular work location for our members is Chicago, and 60606 in particular. 45 of our members head to work in Northbrook and another 24 in Deerfield. And once at work, we have an impressive array of power titles—with most members indicating they are either President, Owner, Founder, Partner, Principal, Managing Director, or have a C-suite title.  

As impressive as all these statistics may seem, the real value of EPWNG cannot be quantified. What counts most is that members are forming lasting business relationships, partnerships, and friendships, finding clients, business services, and resources to make running their lives easier too. With your continued commitment to be an active member and invite guests, EPWNG will evolve, grow, and present new opportunities for you and your business to flourish.  

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 T-Ann Pierce

Adding value to EPWNG membership is at the heart of the Newsletter Committee’s mission. Through our newsletter, the EPWNG Insider, delivered quarterly to your email inbox, the team endeavors to help members in 4 discreet ways:
1)    To get more out of their membership by highlighting EPWNG benefits, events, rules, website tips, how we’re organized, and more.
2)    To become more effective networkers
3)    To help members run and grow their businesses
4)  To help members run their personal/family lives more effectively
The newsletter has supplemented the strong networking experience found in the meetings through articles on such topics as work/life balance, books and apps worth investigating, seasonal tips for running your business, enhancing your networking skills, FAQs about EPWNG, and committee profiles. In each edition, founder and President Wendy Baum offers inspirational words based on her personal experiences with EPWNG members, and a fellow member at large or board member is profiled (sometimes by winning a contest that is published in the preceding issue!). The newsletter, with its longer production cycle, is an important supplement to the immediacy of the LinkedIn group, together providing members with up-to-date information regarding EPWNG life.

One of the stats that the newsletter committee is most proud of is that, since its founding two years ago, all of its original members have stayed on the committee. We have added a few new members, but no one has left. Tina Tranfaglia, the current editor, says “That is because it is not only a group that has worked together well, but being on this particular committee allows us to really learn about EPWNG and all that it offers. So you actually feel closer to EPWNG, like an insider.”  The committee meets quarterly to discuss new ideas and plan for the future articles. Beth Kaufmann, the board liaison, keeps the committee updated on the board’s goals and feeds newsletter plans back to the board.

The Newsletter Committee is also grateful for the hard work and commitment of Robin Schwartz, who takes the varying articles and pictures, creates the layouts, and gets the newsletter into the members’ inboxes on time without fail.

We always enjoy hearing from our readers, so if you have suggestions for articles, please feel free to contact anyone on the team.

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 are able to put deeper meaning back into their lives.