Monday, December 14, 2009

Article of Interest: What Facebook Can't Give You

Before Facebook, MySpace, Linked In and Twitter, there was and still is the Women Presidents' Organization and according to the article referenced below, there was also the Wednesday 10 (a group of men ... for a reason!) which mentions:
"In 1957, it didn't occur to us to include women," says Mr. Menschel. "If we formed it today, it wouldn't occur to us not to include women." When asked about the homogeneity, other members point to the many banquets that included wives and their invitations to Ms. Walters, Gloria Steinem and the late "Feminine Mystique" author Betty Friedan, each of whom addressed a Wednesday 10 meeting as a guest. Ms. Walters says she recalls nothing from the meeting she attended. Nor does Ms. Steinem. "It may not please them to know that I don't remember," she says. "But I would urge them to change the name to the Wednesday Men's 10."
This article is priceless because, if you kick it up a notch, it reminds me so much of WPO and all our promising members who meet monthly to strategize about opportunities they face while growing their operations and to develop solutions to their most fundamental business challenges.

The article goes on to state:
To begin the meetings, each man gave an update on his life. Impending marriages and expected babies were nodded to, but the thrust of the discussion centered on career development. "It was a professional support system," says Mr. Meyer, 82. By the end of each meeting, he had a snapshot of what was going on in the realms of law, media, art, finance, real estate, public service and cancer research. "It was like reading a newspaper cover to cover," he says.
Read the entire article here:

(The Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2009)

What Facebook Can't Give You
Over 52 years, These Men Have Evolved Into Mover and Shakers -- Together

Another hat tip to Elisabeth Ritz, Ritz Communications, for the nudge to make sure we caught it. Many thanks.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Article of Interest: Wise Up

Around this time of year, we tend to reflect on all the things we did well (or in some instances -- not so well) to keep our business thriving during turbulent times. And one issue I constantly challenge myself on and wonder if you do too, is this: How effective have you been as a top executive?

The late Peter Drucker can help us address this question. As I was I straightening out my office this week, I stumbled upon a June 2004 edition of the Harvard Business Review and came across his classic article entitled, "What Makes An Effective Executive." I re-read it on the spot. It's a magnificent piece and one that is a must-read for anyone interested in becoming a more impactful leader, especially when we are readying up to face a brand new year.

The article begins like this:

"Great managers may be charismatic or dull, generous or tightfisted, visionary or numbers oriented. But every effective executive follows eight simple practices."

And the eight simple practices are as follows:
1. They asked, "What needs to be done?"
2. They asked, "What is right for the enterprise?"
3. They developed action plans.
4. The took responsibility for decisions.
5. They took responsibility for communicating.
6. They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
7. They ran productive meetings.
8. They thought and said, "we" rather than "I."
Drucker throws in a bonus practice at the end of the article: "Listen first, speak last."

You can order an e-copy here.

In preparation for 2010, think about these eight best practices and how you might apply them as you grow your business. It only requires a healthy dose of discipline.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Article of Interest: Thought About Moving Your Business to An Urban Area?

If ever there were a consideration, now is the time to think about moving your business to an urban area. Why?
Goldman Sachs recently announced that it would provide $500 million in support for 10,000 small businesses, particularly those located in urban neighborhoods. A Who's Who of business leaders including the billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter have signed on the help.

But the person who will be responsible for running the initiative day-to-day is Dina Powell (pictured), a former State Department official in the Bush administration who worked with Karen Hughes on education and cultural issues. Powell joined Goldman Sachs in 2007, as the global head of corporate engagement. Her first task was to set up a program called 10,000 Women--an initiative to foster entrepreneurship among women around the world. The small business outreach effort will be modeled on that program.
Find out how the money will be spent by reading an interview conducted by editor Mike Hofman with Dina Powell, the executive in charge of the program here.

Hint of how you get on the list:
Our criteria are that a business must have between $150,000 and $4 million in revenue, four or more full-time employees, and that it has been in operation for two years at a minimum.

Monday, November 23, 2009

News of Interest: Women Business Owners Have Huge Economic Impact, Study Finds

In case you did not know:
U.S. businesses owned by women have an economic impact of $3 trillion annually. That translates into the creation or maintenance of 16% of all jobs in the country, according to the Center for Women's Business Research. If U.S.-based women-owned businesses were their own country, it would have the fifth-largest GDP in the world.
A new study reveals the above and the economic impact of majority-women owned firms for the first time.

Download report here: Econimpactreport-final.pdf

A hat tip to Elisabeth Ritz, Ritz Communications, for letting us know about the study.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Resource of Interest: Choose Chicago

One of the points of interest we forget to blog about is our great city Chicago which many of you know is an incredibly delightful place to visit and conduct business.

Since we have so many WPO members in Chicago, we naturally assume you will be doing business with a few of them at some point or another. If you need specific introductions, drop me an email (refer to right sidebar of blog). Happy to oblige.

When you are ready to button down your schedule, explore Choose Chicago to make no small plans. We welcome your visit and look forward to connecting with you soon.

Pictured: Millennium Park sculpture.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Resource of Interest: 20 Tips for Best ROI in Social Media

Should ROI (return on investment) -- a very popular investment metric -- in social media be based on outreach efforts and bottom line profit results or based on a new ROI (return on influence) -- that of more a creative investment metric -- that you develop contingent upon your group of friends and colleagues?

You can decide here.

In the meantime, let us know how you measure success or what constitutes a win in your mind.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Resource of Interest: How Women Presidents Can Use Social Media

Here's a look at how smart companies, especially those run by women presidents like us, are using Twitter and Facebook to get ahead.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Resource of Interest: Complimentary Business Entrepreneurship Courses Online

Who would ever think or imagine that if you want to brush up on a few critical business skills while running your business that it can be done online, at your own convenience and at no cost to you. Yes, that's right.

While reviewing local entrepreneurship programs at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program, University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Loyola University Chicago, I stumbled upon this:

7 Universities and Websites Offering Free Business Entrepreneurship Courses Online

Sounds suspect to me but then I see that MIT - Sloan School of Management ( is featured first with the following program modules:
Course materials include video, audio, text and many other multimedia elements.

Next up is Carnegie Mellon ( and U.S. Small Business Administration (

In this tough global economy, maybe online education -- especially when it's top quality and free -- is worth a serious consideration. It can't hurt to get a refresher course that might very well strengthen your competitive position in the business world.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Event of Interest: The Founder of The Pampered Chef

We are delighted to have had the remarkable opportunity on October 20 to hear how Doris Christopher, founder of The Pampered Chef, grew her business from a kitchen table (started in 1980) into what it is today: a global empire that Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. acquired.

And we are even more thrilled that Deloitte sponsored our event. All three WPO Chicago chapter members had a chance to attend, network, learn and grow their business.

It is with these kinds of programs and companies, such as Deloitte and The Pampered Chef (along with our other chapter hosts and sponsors), that not only support us but make WPO even more special and a remarkable value for women business owners worldwide.

Aren't a member yet? You should be. Contact us when you are ready (check the right sidebar for email and telephone information). We just might have room for you in Chicago!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Event of Interest: WSJ Insight Exchange

I had the great opportunity to attend the Wall Street Journal Insight Exchange -- a business owners breakfast series -- on October 2nd at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, where business leaders gather to learn from the experience of other, highly innovative CEOs. Wendy Bounds is the moderator of the program (she does a fantastic job I might add) and they are hosting these events across the country throughout the year. Next up is Atlanta.

Two WPO Chicago members attended the program: Kate Koziol, President of K Squared Marketing & Public Relations and Karen Barnett, President and CEO of Valley Screen Process (and the new BigShots!), served on the panel. Karen did a great job discussing creative ways in which she has kept her company growing despite tough economic times.

Learn more about the program here. And watch for more highlights about it soon here on this blog.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Article of Interest: Is Reverse Innovation Like Disruptive Innovation?

What is the relationship between reverse innovation to disruptive innovation? Is there any? For those of you new to disruptive innovation, that's Clayton Christensen's model for describing the impact of new technologies on a firm's existence, and you can learn more about that theory and Christensen, here.

According to authors Vijay Govindarajan (blog) and Chris Trimble, there is an overlap between reverse innovation and disruptive innovation but not a one-to-one relationship.

They go on to say:
We see three primary situations that create the possibility of reverse innovation. Only the first is also an illustration of disruptive innovation.
Find out about the three situations here and think about how you might execute on one or all three within your organization.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Event of Interest: Women's Leadership Breakfast 10/09/09

The Executives' Club of Chicago Women's Leadership Breakfast, "Thriving in the New Economy -- The Woman's Advantage" will be held Friday, October 9, 2009 at the The Hilton Chicago, Grand Ballroom (720 South Michigan Avenue) from 7:00-9:00 a.m.

How are women uniquely qualified to fix the current economic challenges? Was it a scarcity of women in board rooms and executives suites that led to flawed decision making? What does this mean for women personally and professionally? Learn about the choices women can make that will lead to their success in the New Economy.
The Women Presidents' Organization Chicago is a proud partner of this empowering high-level women's program (look for our tabletop with brochures).

Registration is 7:00 a.m. Seated Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. Panel Discussion, 8:00 a.m.


Diane Swonk
Chief Economist & Senior Managing Director
Mesirow Financial


Dr. Sylvia Beyer

Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department
University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Quave Burton
Vice President, Procurement
Payless ShoeSource

Katherine K. Scott
Managing Director and Executive Vice President
U.S. Equities Realty

Registration Deadline:


For more information and to register, visit here.

I hope to see you there! Feel free to contact me to pre-arrange a meeting (ldelaney(at)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Article of Interest: How Great Companies Achieve Double-Digit Growth

"5 Actions for Double-Digit Business Growth" was written for the Idea Hub: American Express OPEN Forum. See if it's helpful in taking your business to the next level.

Snippet of one action:
Hold on to your hats — I mean customers! If you can’t do that, you are in denial! “One of the easiest ways to improve growth is to slow the loss of your existing customers,” says Treacy. Losing customers left and right? Then figure out why and change course.
Read the entire article here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

News of Interest: Annual Economic Survey by the Women Presidents' Organization

According to the annual economic survey by the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), the premier peer advisory organization for women entrepreneurs, WPO membership indicate 55% of women presidents and CEOs of multi-million dollar companies have maintained or grown their employee base.

Bottom line: Women presidents have shown they can adjust to the changing economic climate.

Other Key Findings:

Relative to 2008, regarding financial performance in 2009

• 31% of companies have grown
• 21% are stable and have neutral performance

Optimism for 2010

• 82% are optimistic about business performance in 2010

Environmental Sustainability

• 54% have made their business environmentally friendly
• 35% are interested in making their business environmentally friendly

Greatest threat to the bottom line and factors affecting business

• Economic Conditions
• Customer retention
• Competition
• Human Resources


• 55% plan to increase number of employees or keep the same amount
• 53% have kept employee salaries the same; 15% have increased employee salaries

Future Role

• 44% will continue full-time management
• 20% plan hands-off oversight, with presence in the office 1-3 days per week


• 61% Believe their business has grown since joining
• 65% Believe the WPO has contributed to economic success
• 81% Believe the WPO helps manage business concerns in the current economic climate
“These statistics are evidence of the versatility and strength of companies owned by women entrepreneurs in the face of adversity,” said Marsha Firestone Ph.D. president and founder of the WPO. “Our survey indicates that WPO members have found ways to adapt to the changing economic climate. To succeed as a small business is tougher than ever, yet 56% have indicated that their businesses are growing or stable in 2009. I sincerely believe that the members of the WPO are models of perseverance of small businesses globally.”
Additional references:

Woman-Owned Businesses Retaining Their Employees in Tough Economy, The Institute for Economic Empowerment for Women

Women-Owned Businesses Retain Employees in Tough Economy | EHS Today

Women-Owned Businesses Retaining Their Employees in Tough Economy
| Forbes

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Event: WBDC Chicago Annual Conference 9/16

The Women Presidents' Organization will be exhibiting at the upcoming Women's Business Development Center Chicago 23nd Annual Entrepreneurial Woman's Conference where we have been a longstanding partner for many years.

Several WPO Chicago members plan to attend to network, learn and share best practices on how to continue down the path of double-digit business growth.

We are also fortunate to have Susan Diamond, Chief Learning Officer and Vice President of Facilitation from our New York headquarter office attending -- so be sure to stop by our Booth No. 616 to say "hello" and to learn more about our organization.

Look forward to seeing you!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Article of Interest: TweetChats

Birds of a feather flock together and all of us at the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) definitely need to Twitter away together (Twitter WPO at with a TweetChat, a short-term hyperfocus for your Tweets.

Here's how it works.

We'll be giving this a try soon. The challenge is to say everything you want to say in less than 140 characters!

How can you use it to grow your business? Easy. Have a chat to get ideas about the look and feel of a new product idea, whether you should expand into a new market or change the color of your logo to update it. Online conversations with your key influencers matter.

Related posts:

TweetChats -- The Cool New Way to Network and Learn on Twitter

Internet Business 101: What are tweetchats?

What's a TweetChat?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Site of Interest: Many Eyes

Turning numbers into pictures is a gift. We are pleased to unveil (if you don't know about it already) a new social kind of data analysis, Many Eyes, that is brought to you generously by our WPO national sponsor IBM.
Many Eyes is a bet on the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns. Our goal is to "democratize" visualization and to enable a new social kind of data analysis. Jump right to our visualizations now, take a tour, or read on for a leisurely explanation of the project.

All of us in CUE's Visual Communication Lab are passionate about the potential of data visualization to spark insight. It is that magical moment we live for: an unwieldy, unyielding data set is transformed into an image on the screen, and suddenly the user can perceive an unexpected pattern. As visualization designers we have witnessed and experienced many of those wondrous sparks. But in recent years, we have become acutely aware that the visualizations and the sparks they generate, take on new value in a social setting.

Visualization is a catalyst for discussion and collective insight about data.

Sample its concept here: Unemployment by State, May, 2009, World Language Speakers by Family (pictured) and Obama Speech in Cairos - Focus on "WE."

Learn more here.

Think about how you might use this tool to unearth new insights and grow your business. Create your own visualization here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Event of Interest: WPO Chicago Summit Report

Our WPO Chicago Summit -- sponsored by Harris N.A. and IBM -- was a huge success. It began with Mary Lyons, Manager of the IBM Innovation Center (Chicago) welcoming everyone. We are always delighted when Mary shares her valuable time and enthusiasm with us. IBM is a national sponsor to the Women Presidents' Organization which we value tremendously.

In the morning segment, Supplier Diversity Professionals (SDPs) and WPO Chicago members discussed how to work more efficiently together during tough economic times. We will continue to nurture this vibrant conversation over the coming months.

First up in the afternoon, Emilia DiMenco, Executive V.P., Harris, presented, “Retrench, Renew, and Reset: Navigating the current environment and positioning your business for success," which helped WPO Chicago members re-evaluate their business objectives and financial well-being in light of the current economy and economic forecast. She instilled in us that it is not too late to get your business in financial order. She was accompanied by Janice Zimmerman, Sr. Commercial Relationship Manager, Harris, who fielded questions that arose by members.

Rick Murray, President, Edelman Worldwide Digital, followed with a presentation, “The Engagement Imperative: Communications Strategies for a Connected World,” that painted the big picture on social media and word-of-mouth marketing. And we were delighted to hear insights from Janet Cabot, President, Central Region, Edelman as well (shhhhh ... we are wooing Janet into becoming a WPO Chicago member -- will keep you posted).

The highlight of our event was at the end of our program when we had a special guest visit by our very own WPO Chair, International Board of Directors, Margery Kraus (pictured center in red; she is also president and chief executive officer of APCO Worldwide), who gave a wonderful "impromptu" talk about how she started and grew her business into a major global player.

Here's what people said about our Summit:
I just wanted to say that last week was very beneficial to me. I am glad that I took the time out of my day to listen to the speakers and presentations. I also was able to meet and connect with other members that are in the other chapters. I am really going to start going forward with Social Media with our company since that pep talk was a real eye opener. I am so glad that I joined this group and would have never been exposed to the different topics if I had not joined. -- WPO Chicago member (downtown III)

Thank you again for allowing us to host this year’s Summit meeting. I enjoyed the social media presentation and discussion and continue to be awed and impressed by the dynamic, high energy business owners that are involved in the WPO.
-- Summit Sponsor

The summit energized and refocused me.
-- WPO Chicago member (downtown II)

Thank you for inviting me and for continuing to try and address the gaps between WBEs and supplier diversity representatives.
-- Supplier Diversity Professional

It was excellent. I am amazed at how much I get from the Summit. It's like you have to take a step back and then rethink all of the fabulous information you were given in a period of a few hours. Then sort and take away what is relevant to your business needs.
-- WPO Chicago member (downtown I)

I wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you so much for inviting me to the Summit today. I was very interested in the topic this morning and very impressed with the membership as a whole. It's always nice to see first hand that an organization that my firm sponsors is really doing wonderful and valuable things.
-- WPO National Sponsor
Special thanks to Harris N.A. and IBM for making this year's Summit more relevant than ever. Thanks to our national sponsors who help make the WPO program possible.

We are already preparing for next year's Summit. Mark your calendars now: August 12, 2010. Send your ideas my way at ldelaney(at)

Photo credit: Laurel Delaney, Women Presidents' Organization Chicago

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Article of Interest: Best Promotion of Social Media Efforts by a Big Brand: And the Winner Is ...

Our 6th Annual WPO Chicago Summit was a huge success. We had a fabulous turnout and the discussions were both useful and empowering for driving results for our businesses. We will report on it shortly -- be on the lookout.

In the meantime and since it's related to our Summit theme, take a look at Fast Company's, "Best Promotion of Social Media Efforts by a Big Brand: And the Winner Is ..." for ideas on how to promote your social media efforts on your own Web site.

Shhhhhh ... one of the winners is NikeWomen!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Blog Post of Interest: 101 Blogs To Inspire

Let's face it. We are all searching for solutions to challenges we face each and every day while growing a business. And with this awful economy, its hard to stay focused, remain enthusiastic and lead in a way that people respect and admire. So where do you turn to get inspiration when the going gets tough?

Not sure? We can help. If you are a woman and run a million-dollar plus business, see us! You definitely need to consider WPO membership. But in between now and that point of contact ( or call 773-381-1700), take a look at the following list of resources (primarily blogs and in line with our upcoming Summit on communications strategies for a connected world) to help you cut costs and get inspired.

Top 100 Blogs For Small-Business Cost-Cutting Inspiration

#101: The Women Presidents' Organization

Have a few of your own? Please share.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Article of Interest: Twitter Intelligence

Since the focus of our 6th Annual WPO Chicago Summit August 13th is on communication strategies for a connected world (e.g., social media), we will continue to blog about a variety of social media and networking platforms that enable you to connect, collaborate and engage with other human beings worldwide through your business.

The first big question is this: Are you connected? As a founder, President or CEO of an organization, are you using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, and blog sites as a business tool?

Here's what a CEO says:
"Customers crave engagement and dialogue with the brands they love, and Twitter is one of the ways you can help establish that," Marr said. "The key is remembering that you're walking into one big dinner party - if you start shilling products instead of engaging with people you might not find any seats at the table."
About how 31 percent of business owners through the 2008 Inc. 500 maintained a blog or presence on a social network.

What about you? What are you doing right now? How will we know?

Read more here.

Other related resources:

CEO's Who Twitter

Tweets From the Chiefs
C Level Tweeters
No surprises in CEOs using Twitter

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Article of Interest: Social Media by Design

Sustainable solutions only happen through smart choices and the art of execution. But have you thought about how design factors into it? This commentary, "Yes, Your Social Media Strategy Needs Design" will compel you to take a new approach to how you communicate with the world whether with words or images (hence, the Moscow Bridge image) or both.

Wikipedia "design" definition:
"Design is the planning that lays the basis for the making of every object or system. It can be used both as a noun and as a verb and, in a broader way, it means applied arts and engineering. As a verb, "to design" refers to the process of originating and developing a plan for a product, structure, system, or component with intention."
Go here for the voice of David Armano who blogs for

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Event of Interest: 6th Annual WPO Chicago Summit 8/13/09

6th Annual WPO Chicago Summit

"The Engagement Imperative:
Communications Strategies for a Connected World"

Thursday, August 13, 2009
10:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

IBM Innovation Center
71 South Wacker Drive, 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60606

Sponsored By:

We are in the final stages of planning our Summit -- sponsored by Harris N.A. and IBM -- and our program is as follows:


10:30 a.m. - noon

Supplier Diversity Professionals (SDPs) and WPO Chicago members discuss how to work more efficiently together during tough economic times.

Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Light buffet lunch (includes special tribute to Patti Ross, retired IBM executive)

1:15 - 2:00 p.m.

Emilia DiMenco, Executive V.P., Harris, will present, “Retrench, Renew, and Reset: Navigating the current environment and positioning your business for success," which will help WPO Chicago members re-evaluate their business objectives and financial well-being in light of the current economy and economic forecast.

2:15 - 4:15 p.m.

Rick Murray, President, Edelman Worldwide Digital, will present, “The Engagement Imperative: Communications Strategies for a Connected World,” that paints the big picture on social media and word-of-mouth marketing. Opening remarks by Janet Cabot, President, Central Region, Edelman

4:15 - 5:00 p.m.

Networking (bring plenty of cards)

5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Dinner (offsite -- private)

This is a members-only event but it is not too late to join WPO Chicago provided you pre-qualify and we have space left in a chapter. Contact Laurel Delaney at the email address shown on our blog (right sidebar) or call 773-381-1700 for further information.

Special thanks to Harris N.A. and IBM for helping us make this year's event more relevant than ever.

We look forward to seeing or hearing from you soon!

P.S. WPO Chicago private wiki members register here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Article of Interest: How To Avoid Business Entrapments

Whether you run a million dollar or a half billion dollar business, don't get snared by these three traps:

No. 1: You jump at every “opportunity”

No. 2: You develop “bright shiny object” syndrome

No. 3: Your target market is “everyone who…”

Find out how to beat the odds of entrapment and still stay focused running a successful business here.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Article of Interest: Social Media Toolkit

Here's a look at numerous online tools on how to develop social media strategies for personal branding, new business revenue streams, search engine optimization, new content initiatives and more for business owners or anyone else who is extensively involved in producing online content and publishing.

The Basics

  • LinkedIn - Start the practice of connecting with every business card you receive from contacts.
  • Facebook - Consider a "Facebook Movement" - creating a topic or trend in Facebook outside of your personal or brand fan pages.
  • Twitter - A staple for all of us. Here's a must read basics of Twitter article.
  • Google Profile - This is a Gold rush here. Secure and verify your personal name before someone else gets it.
  • Plaxo - organizes business contacts via the web.
Learn more here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Article of Interest: 9 Tips to Help You Sleep Through the Night During Tough Times

I recently interviewed 20 presidents of small businesses to find out what allows them to sleep through the night. The following are some tips that they shared:

1. Put in a good day’s work. Get to work early and stay an extra hour or two at the end of a normal day if needed.

2. Connect with upbeat, enthusiastic, high-energy people who share similar business concerns and who offer up a whole host of action-oriented solutions to extraordinary day-to-day problems.

3. Communicate with employees as often as possible to convey the steps being taken to keep the company strong.

4. Obsess over listening to customers, employees, vendors, colleagues, and friends and take action on what is said.

5. Emphasize a back-to-basics approach on everything, from how to buy office products to choosing cleaning services (do-it-yourself mentality) to who gets wooed over lunch or dinner for new business initiatives.

Read more of the other tips here at OPEN Forum by American Express OPEN.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Site of Interest: fear.less

Let's face it. It takes guts to run a company and a certain degree of fearlessness (better known as taking calculated risks) to make grand, sweeping leaps of faith (decisions) that may or may not lead to victory for your business.

But if you are sure about who you are and what you are doing, fear should not have any part of your life.

Here's a site that brings out the fearless factor in an exhilarating manner. It features stories about courageous people and how they conquered fear. These experiences might help YOU get your business blazing. Give it a try:
From entrepreneurs, business leaders, artists, scientists, and survivors of extreme experiences, these stories demonstrate the hidden potential we have to confront our fears and come out victorious.

Bracelet available here (no affiliation).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Article of Interest: Which Social Network Do You Use to Grow Your Business?

There are a zillion social networks to choose from. Well, not that many, but enough. Which one do you use? Has it helped you grow your business? Just who is your demographic? What's in your strategic social media plan?

Fast Company offers up some good advice (answers to the above questions) in, "Social Networks Are More Than Networking."

After you read it, let us know how you are effectively leveraging the use of social networking platforms to increase your bottom line.

Click here for your complimentary Fast Company The Social Media Bible Ten Commandment ball (pictured above). Just print, cut, glue, and be inspired! Warning ... set aside plenty of time.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Interview of Interest: Alice Krause Chats With Dr. Marsha Firestone

Friend and colleague Alice Krause, author of the News on Women blog, interviews our founder Dr. Marsha Firestone, Women Presidents' Organization, about entrepreneurship and women business ownership. Here are the four questions addressed:

1. What inspired you to start your organization?

2. What steps do you think are necessary for an entrepreneur who wants to move her business to the next level?

3. What can entrepreneurs do in the current economic climate?

4. What advice do you have for women who are just starting out?

Go here for the interview and to learn what Dr. Firestone has to say.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Event of Interest: LATINA Style Business Series Thursday, June 18

We are a proud partner to the LATINA Style Business Series -- the most successful ongoing business development for LATINA entrepreneurs in the nation since 1998.

Join us Thursday, June 18th from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

To learn more and to register, visit here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Event of Interest: Sixth Annual ATHENA PowerLink "S.H.E." Reception 6/4

As a proud partner, join us Thursday, June 4 from 6:00-8:00 p.m., at the Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall, as we celebrate the value that business advisors provide to entrepreneurs. The S.H.E. Reception connects successful women business owners with seasoned entrepreneurs and professionals. Both men and women are encouraged to attend.

This year, three companies are candidates for the award:

· LawyerLink (; Owner: Jennifer Bertoglio
· Patient Impact (; Owner: Patty Riskind
· Noggin Labs (; Owners: Traci & Brian Knudson

Register today to find out who the 2009 Business of the Year and Advisory Panel of the Year awards go to.

Learn more about ATHENA Power Link, here.

See you there!

Added 6/8/09: Patient Impact takes home the ATHENA Power Link award. Congratulations to WPO Chicago member Patty Riskind! And we also extend our heartfelt congratulations to both Jennifer Bertoglio and Traci Knudson for their amazing work too! Much success to all in the future.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Event of Interest: WIPP Regional Conference in Chicago 5/21

Join WIPP and small business river guides to navigate the federal contracting rapids.

Thursday, May 21, 2009
9:00 - 5:00 p.m.

University Center
525 S. State Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Event Chairs

• Barbara Kasoff, WIPP President
• Terri McNally-Beals, President, Global Capital, Ltd.
• Francine Manilow, CEO and Founder, Manilow Suites
• Hedy Ratner, Co-President and Founder, Women's Business Development Center

Register here.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Event of Interest: Women's Leadership Breakfast 5/29/09

The Executives' Club of Chicago Women's Leadership Breakfast, "I Wish I Would Have Known That: Lessons for New Leaders," will be held Friday, May 29, 2009 at the The Fairmont Chicago (Imperial Ballroom, B2 Level, 200 N Columbus Drive) from 7:00-9:00 a.m.

WPO Chicago is a proud partner of this empowering high-level women's program (look for our tabletop with brochures).

Registration is 7:00 a.m. Seated Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. Panel Discussion, 8:00 a.m.


Judy Hsu
Morning Anchor
ABC 7 Chicago


Dolores Kunda

President & CEO
Lápiz and Leo Burnett Puerto Rico

Marilyn Carlson Nelson

Kara Walsh
Metromix LLC

Registration Deadline:


For more information and to register, visit here.

I hope to see you there! Feel free to contact me to pre-arrange a meeting (ldelaney(at)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Event: Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) Annual Conference in San Diego a Huge Hit

I just returned from our 12th Annual Conference in San Diego recharged and refreshed after listening in on a series of inspiring keynote speakers and workshop presenters. I will report out on all the "aha moments" later this week.

In the meantime, enjoy the photo taken at the back of the Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sound Advice: How To Make Hassle Free Conference Calls

We are excited about our upcoming conference in San Diego, as reported here (seventeen WPO Chicago members are attending). In between now and then, we are fearlessly putting to bed lots of client projects to ensure our time is well spent and totally focused at the conference. Sound like you too?

In getting things done, we discovered there are a couple of online tools we can't live without. Here are two where you can make hassle free online conference calls:


Scope them out and let us know what you think (we have no affiliation whatsoever).

See you soon in sunny San Diego!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Blog Post of Interest: Small Business Marketing Guide

If you are looking for solutions on how to get your direct marketing right, pay a visit to the Small Business Marketing Guide -- brought to you by HP -- where DIY (do-it-yourself) brand marketing strategies will help you grow your business.

Learn more here.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Blog Post of Interest: How To Adapt To Our New Economy

Change doesn't mean an about face for no good reason or doing more of the same: calling on more clients, joining more social networking platforms or working longer hours. That won't help.

Conditions have changed dramatically so that means you have to adapt and adapt fast and furiously.

How do you decide what to do or say in a constantly changing business terrain? According to Peter Bregman at, you must first ask yourself three questions:
  1. What's the situation? The outcome you want to achieve? The risks? The time pressures? The needs?

  2. Who else is involved? What are their strengths? Weaknesses? Values? Vulnerabilities? Needs?

  3. How can I help? What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Values? Vulnerabilities?
Now you are ready to decide what you will do or say.
Choose the response that leverages your strengths, meets people where they are, and is appropriate to the situation you're in.
Read the entire blog entry here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

News of Interest: Measures To Unlock Credit For Small Businesses

Are you feeling the credit crunch? Most certainly you are yet it's the small business owners, like us, who are the real drivers of economic recovery and job creation. The latest evidence announced by the White House indicates that there will be a series of measures to help address the credit crunch facing many small firms.

The White House and Small Business Administration (SBA) hope to address these problems with three new policy directions.

Learn about them here.

We plan to discuss these measures at an upcoming WPO Chicago chapter meeting April 21 with the help of two experts: a bank and tax executive. Our goal is to learn everything we can about how to access funds for our businesses when they become available and at the same time, minimize taxes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Event: Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) Annual Conference in San Diego April 23-25, 2009

The Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) will hold its 12th annual 2009 International Conference, entitled Sustainability: Securing the Future, in San Diego on April 23-25 at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, hosting more than 500 successful women entrepreneurs for keynote speakers, workshops and discussions.

The conference encourages WPO members to share business strategies and experience with other successful women from all over North America, as well as learn from interactive seminars and speakers. Further, it will provide potential members who qualify a unique opportunity to experience the impact the WPO has on women business owners professionally, and personally.

Keynote speakers will include:

1. Meg Whitman, Former President and CEO of eBay
2. T. Boone Pickens, Founder and CEO, BP Capital
3. Janice Bryant Howroyd, CEO, Act-1 Personnel Services and WPO Board Member
4. Adam Werbach- Global CEO, Saatchi and Saatchi S

Additionally, the conference will feature a program led by Judi Sheppard Missett, CEO and founder of Jazzercise Inc. According to entrepreneur Judi Sheppard Missett, there are three elements in music that compare to building a business — the bass beat, the cadence and the melody. Missett will demonstrate how her trilogy is the key to any thriving business and will lead you in an interactive journey to explore a proven formula for success.

Catherine Corley, Vice President of Business Marketing for Sam’s Club will moderate a panel of four successful WPO CEOs who have outstanding sustainable initiatives, including Laura J. Allen from Vision Education & Media, Hallie Satz from HighRoad Press, Katherine Putnam from Package Machinery Company, Inc., and Susan Daywitt from SLM- Facility Solutions Nationwide.

ACT NOW: Click here to go to the WPO's official conference site.

Note: If you pre-qualify for WPO but are not a member yet, you are still able to attend our conference. Please contact us (if you are located in Chicago) at 773-381-1700 or email ldelaney(at) to learn more. Elsewhere, call 212-688-4114. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Event: The Executives' Club of Chicago Women's Leadership Breakfast (3/20)

The Executives' Club of Chicago Women's Leadership Breakfast, "Positioning Yourself For Board Success" will be held Friday, March 20, 2009 at the The Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan). WPO Chicago is a proud partner of this empowering high-level women's program.

Registration is 7:00 a.m. Seated Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. Panel Discussion, 8:00 a.m. For more information and to register, visit here.

Click on logo below for immediate PDF download of program:

See you there!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Article of Interest: Walls of Separation

Are you inadvertently building a wall between your company and your clients? I am sure by now you caught Tropicana's recent rejected package design. If you haven't, watch Peter Arnell explaining why it failed. It will fill you in. Then you'll know what I am talking about.

But back to you and your business. Are you keeping in good touch with your customers? Do you think you have a better relationship with them than they do to each other?

Not all brands seem to be increasingly "out of touch" with their own customers (for example, the Women Presidents Organization). Yet here's what David Armano thinks over at his Logic+ Emotion blog that might be some of the walls that are separating customers from a business.

One is particular is:
Tone Deafness
If you've lost the ability to connect and empathize with your customers, then you've become tone deaf. This means you can look at the data, the demographics and the numbers but never really understand, relate or "get" them in any meaningful way. So it's natural that your preference of communication will be one way vs. a dialogue. It's easier to maintain. Tone deafness becomes a barrier when you can see your customers, but can't figure out how to touch them anymore.
Read more here.

Now it's your turn. Care to share on what you are doing to see and touch your customers -- to relate to them on every level? We are all ears.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Article of Interest: Six Ways To Make Web 2.0 Work

As the popularity of Web 2.0 has grown, so has anxiety over how to use the range of technologies to our advantage. Many companies are experimenting with the tools or deploying them on a trial basis.

To help companies navigate the Web 2.0 landscape, the authors identified six critical factors that determine the outcome of efforts to implement the technologies. They are as follows:

1. The transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top.

2. The best uses come from users—but they require help to scale.

3. What’s in the workflow is what gets used.

4. Appeal to the participants’ egos and needs—not just their wallets.

5. The right solution comes from the right participants.

6. Balance the top-down and self-management of risk.

You won't want to miss this article published at The McKinsey Quarterly on "Six ways to make Web 2.0 work" which presents a vast array of opportunities -- for companies that know how to use Web 2.0 (including blogs, podcasts, wikis and social networks).

Web 2.0 promises further gains, although the capabilities differ from those of the past technologies (Exhibit 3 above).

Go here to learn more.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Article of Interest: 7 Reasons To Be Grateful You're An Entrepreneur Right Now

A WPO Chicago member sent me the article, "7 Reasons To Be Grateful You're An Entrepreneur Right Now," and I think it is spot on, especially this part:
In a crisis, entrepreneurs have no choice but to keep moving, even if it’s tough going. But heavy lifting builds big muscles. The only real choice now is to go forward, and you will grow your capabilities and learn a lot by doing so.
Sound like a plan? We think so. And naturally, the Women Presidents' Organization is here to help you every step of the way.

Let us know what we can do to assist and tell us how you plan to grow your business even during turbulent times.