Going Rogue in 2017 | NAWBO

“This time of year gives us a chance to reinvest, reengage, reignite. It’s a time for us to find the right energy in our businesses and reconfirm who we are and who we want to be.”

Going Rogue

Susan Dawson
President, NAWBO Chicago
Partner in Waltz, Palmer & Dawson LLC


Going Rogue in 2017


My husband was thrilled when these particular things were no longer in the house. Clients stop by – just to see them. I’m probably the only attorney in Chicago who has them in her office.

If you know me, you know what I’m talking about: my Star Wars collection. One year ago (almost to the day, actually), I made a big decision. I traded what I thought an attorney’s office should look like for what I wanted mine to be.

Jedi figurines and Lego versions of the AT-AT Walker and Millennium Falcon replaced leather bound books on my credenza. I pitched the classic nature paintings for Darth Vadar’s brooding stance on my walls. A movie poster from “Star Wars: A New Hope” greets visitors.

Revealing my hand didn’t come without fear.

I was afraid to let that part of me be seen. What if showing my personality compromised people’s perception of me as a business owner and attorney?

Here’s what I learned: A chance taken is an opportunity gained. Every time I look around, I LOVE what I see, and I especially love how others delight in it. Sharing my Star Wars collection has fostered better relationships and a firmer sense of self because I’m exposing a part of me that defines who I am. A little vulnerability goes a long way.

This time of year is a chance to reinvest, reengage, reignite. It’s a time for us to find the right energy in our businesses and reconfirm who we are and who we want to be.

Taken from T.S. Eliot’s collection of poems entitled “Four Quartets”: “For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice.” What will your voice sound like in 2017?

As we mull over annual budgets, new initiatives, possible opportunities, things to discard, things to pump up, January is a chance to rededicate ourselves to our business.

What new initiatives are you starting? What did you learn in 2016 that you’ll change this year? How will you grow? What are your goals? What keeps you up at night? NAWBO’s mission is your mission. Your input thus far has been great, by the way! Thank you to all who have told us what you’re looking for as a NAWBO stakeholder.

Here are four ways NAWBO is changing things up in 2017.  

  1. Member-inspired, relevant programming. Do you need accounting advice? How about an expert in mergers? Are you considering crowdfunding? Or is growing sales your No. 1 focus? Email me or NAWBO Executive Director Wendy Bensley Jaehn and we’ll strive to align NAWBO offerings with your interests.

  2. More events where you live and work. CONNECTS regional events in 2017 are being led, in part, by our very own members. They are giving back by sharing best practices through roundtable discussion that drill down into game changing – business changing – conversations.

  3. Digital deep dives. CONNECTS south will feature NAWBO member Laura Barker from Bridge Point Technologies. She’ll give us the pulse on technology. We also have a social media roundtable coming up. Speaking of social media – NAWBO is using it for greater engagement through a members-only and open forum on LinkedIn.

  4. No more lectures. Members, you spoke, we listened. Imagine being inspired by nature, art or doing something just for fun – with other like-minded businesswomen. While we’re all busy cutting deals and building companies, the creative side of us is important too. That’s where we build relationships and reimagine our life. Upcoming regional events include a walk through an arboretum, golf outing, bike ride and bowling. Of course, our signature event, NAWBO Chicago’s Celebration of Achievement luncheon on May 1 at the Four Seasons Hotel, is not to be missed.

Circling back to Star Wars, your business, life and family make up your personal empire. NAWBO is here to help you score a decisive “victory” on all fronts. Keep the comments coming. Let us know your goals and desires. We’ll continue adding momentum so your year is brave, strong and impactful.

Borrowing from Yoda’s wisdom: “Fear is the path to the dark side.” Let’s go rogue and be fearless in 2017.



3 Ways to Engage at the Board, Committee or Regional Leadership Level!

The more you put in to NAWBO, the more you get back.

1. Looking for a leadership role in NAWBO? Apply to join the Board of Directors! This is your opportunity to help continue to shape, grow and support the women owned business communityCLICK HERE to see available roles, expectations and application information.

2. The Membership Committee and The Events Committee Revamped.Interested in continuing to help us understand what our members want and need? Want to help us execute on our larger events? Join one of the committees! Contact us for more information.

3. Become a Regional Leader! Our regional CONNECTS events would not be made possible without the effort of our great regional leaders. We are seeking to bring on additional leaders to support the current efforts, specifically on the North Shore and in the City of Chicago. Contact us for more information.

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