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

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