Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Commentary of Interest: Female CEOs still rare sight

My colleague Judith Dobrzynski wrote a fabulous commentary -- Female CEOs still rare sight -- that's published in the Chicago Tribune today (3/28).

Find out what's happening in Corporate Chicago with businesswomen and be glad you run a business!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sound Advice: Entrepreneurship for Everyone

Since entrepreneurs are such significant contributors to our nation’s fiscal health, it is an economic imperative that anyone and everyone seeking to start and grow their own business be given the utmost opportunities to succeed. But in the current environment, minorities and women do not keep pace with the general entrepreneurial population.

The Kauffman Foundation is working to better understand these gaps and to develop programs to help ensure minority and women entrepreneurs are successful. Find out where women stand on entrepreneurial activity, angel investing and capital access here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Interview of Interest: Men Dominate, Women Orchestrate

Author Margaret Heffernan explains how women entrepreneurs are altering the course, and the culture, of business today.
By every conceivable measurement, women continue to comprise one of the fastest growing segments in entrepreneurship. According to the Center for Women's Business Research, between 1997 and 2004, privately held, woman-owned businesses grew at three times the rate of all U.S. privately held firms, and woman-owned businesses created jobs at twice the rate of all other firms.

Furthermore, women did all of this with less than 1% of the venture capital that's invested in small businesses.

Margaret Heffernan, having run five different businesses in the U.S. and Britain, including Icast, Infomation, and Marlin Gas and Trading, has some thoughts on why women are altering the course of business today. In How She Does It: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Changing the Rules of Business (Viking 2007) Heffernan has compiled not only her own wisdom on the subject, but the collective experiences of such successful businesswomen as Geraldine Laybourne of the Oxygen Network and Mona Eliassen of the Eliassen Group to describe what she calls one of the most profound developments in the business world today—the female entrepreneur.

Recently, staff writer Stacy Perman spoke with Heffernan, who is also a visiting professor of entrepreneurship at the Simmons College School of Managemen in Boston. Edited excerpts of their conversation can be found here.
Also noteworthy is that Margaret is one of our keynote speakers at our upcoming WPO conference in Scottsdale April 19-21. Further, I am just finishing up her book and will be talking it up here next week.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

News of Interest: Office Depot Businesswoman of the Year is a WPO Chicago Member!

WPO member Francine Manilow, of Manilow Suites, wins Office Depot Businesswoman of the Year in our region. We are very proud of her. This is such a prestigious honor.

Here's what some of her peers had to say after hearing the news:

That is so wonderful and you certainly deserve it! 1000 Congratulations!

You are so deserving! God bless you!

I’m so happy for you! Congratulations!

Congratulations Francine ... WAY TO GO GIRL!

The recognition could not go to anyone who deserves it more than you!

Congratulations! Well deserved!

News release:

Office Depot Awards Francine Manilow, CEO and Founder of Manilow Suites, 2007 Chicago Businesswoman of the Year

Office Depot is proud to honor the Francine Manilow, CEO and Founder of Manilow Suites, as Chicago's 2007 Businesswoman of the Year. Francine was nominated by Office Depot's supporting professional women's association, Women Presidents' Organization, in recognition of her exceptional leadership, entrepreneurial spirit and support for women in business.

Francine was the first person in the United States to offer upscale short-term housing incorporating hotel services, numerous amenities and flexibility with arrival and departure dates. Manilow Suites offers beautiful apartments in 12 luxury high-rise buildings within the downtown Chicago area. In March 2007, the company will celebrate its 27th anniversary.

When she was 15 years old, Francine began her career with the formation of the International Van Cliburn Music Club to promote classical music among young adults. There were 15 chapters in the U.S. and numerous chapters throughout the world including Japan, Bangkok, London and Paris. In 1966, she formed her first corporation, employing stewardesses to work exhibit booths at trade shows in 16 different cities. She was also the first to offer secretarial services for the exhibitors at the trade shows with only the help of her little desk, two chairs, a typewriter and a small copy machine. Today, exhibit halls offer elaborate business centers.

From there, she was the first in Chicago to offer 24-hour film developing and then same-day film developing through various retail outlets. Francine also formed the largest company which provided housewives to offer food tasting in supermarkets on the weekends. Along the way, she acquired a stock photo company called "Piles and Files of Photos."

The award will be presented to Francine at Office Depot's Success Strategies for Businesswomen Conference in Chicago on Wednesday, March 20, 2007 at the Wyndham O'Hare. For more information or to register, visit


Please join us in celebrating Francine's award on March 20th at the Office Depot Conference in Chicago. WPO will be represented by Sheila Liao of Pointe International. Please look for the WPO table, Sheila and of course, Francine! See you there.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Article of Interest: Catfight in the Boardroom

I was reading the latest edition of Psychology Today last night and stumbled upon the article "Catfight in the Boardroom." Whether it's reality or perception, says Judith Sills, Ph.D., office pressures can make women uncooperative.

While digesting the information, I could not help but think how different the author's perspective is versus what we experience day-to-day at WPO. For example, the article begins with:
A gentleman complained recently that, though his private club had committed itself to increasing female membership, the admissions committee had thus far been unsuccessful. "No matter which woman is proposed," he said, "some other woman blackballs her."

Let me ask you this: Do you think a woman's worst workplace enemy is another woman? Do you think women hold other women back?

I don't. And at WPO, we are all about helping other businesswomen succeed. But read the article yourself and let us know what you think.