There are literally millions of reasons that NAWBO membership makes a life-changing difference for women business owners. That’s because every member’s story is different – revealing the unique value she finds in belonging.
Christine Taylor was searching for knowledge and support after she became the new owner of Gurnee Counseling Center two and a half years ago. When she found NAWBO, she knew she’d come to the right place.
“As a licensed clinical professional counselor, I had plenty of experience working with clients -- but I’d never run a professional practice before,” she explains. “I had a lot to learn!”
Through NAWBO Chicago North CONNECTS, Christine has met a great group of women who’ve helped her make a strong start. One of them is Deb Dietz of SMB Value Partners, Inc.
“Deb has taught me so much about strategic planning,” Christine says. “Even though the counseling center had been around for 30-plus years when I acquired it, I needed to develop my own vision. Hearing how Deb approaches the planning process helped me see how I could build on our success.”
Christine co-facilitates the Chicago North group with Deb and also attends downtown meetings, which are close to her home. “Being in the room with so many amazing women gets my mind moving in new ways … I always leave feeling inspired.”
Rupal Patel founded Stride Accounting Solutions two years ago to provide end-to-end accounting and financial services for small to mid-sized organizations. She had heard of NAWBO years before, when she was a director at Deloitte.
“From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to get involved,” she says. “I was looking for community, for wisdom, for women I could really talk with and feel understood.”
A few months ago, Rupal found herself facing a tough human resources issue. She knew exactly where to turn.
“The women at the West CONNECTS group were the sounding board I needed,” she says. “I immediately found I wasn’t alone – many of them had dealt with the same issue before and offered wonderful guidance.”
She enjoys paying it forward when fellow members need advice. “One owner needed to create a new commission structure that would reduce conflicts in her sales team. I was able to dive into my corporate experience and describe ways I’d seen this done successfully in different Fortune 500 companies. A few months later, she told me she had used many of the ideas we’d discussed and things were going well. It was a great feeling.”
Emily Lutes is proud to be the third generation of women leaders at Billco Corporation, a manufacturer of bushings, caps, plugs and couplings for the pipefitting industry.
Like her grandmother and mother before her, she’s thriving in a mostly male industry – and thrilled that the company will soon be certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) in Illinois.
NAWBO Chicago’s president-elect Edie Comminos invited Emily to a luncheon last year, where she found “so much good energy in the room … I absolutely loved it! But I didn’t think I was eligible to join, since I didn't hold any ownership stake in the company at the time."
Emily met with Comminos and later, Susan Dawson of Waltz, Palmer and Dawson, who answered her membership questions. She joined NAWBO 3 months ago, and since then has enjoyed Betsy Ziegler’s energizing talk at 1871 and attended local roundtables on issues from data security to vacation time policies.
“I’ve met women who’ve been running their own companies for decades, along with moms like me who still have kids at home,” she says. “It’s so great to have this many perspectives … I always have fun and come away with fresh ideas.”
If you know someone who is considering NAWBO membership, invite her to our next “WHY NAWBO!” webinar on Tuesday, March 12 at 11:00 a.m. Full info and registration here.