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SPECIAL EDITION FEBRUARY 2017

WOMAN chicago-woman.com

CHRISTIE HEFNER

STRATEGIC CORPORATE ADVISOR

PERRI IRMER

PRESIDENT & CEO, DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY

GALE GAND

AWARD-WINNING CHEF

MERRI DEE

LEGENDARY BROADCAST JOURNALIST

CELENA ROLDÁN

CEO, THE AMERICAN RED CROSS OF CHICAGO AND NORTHERN ILLINOIS

SPECIAL EDITION

WOMEN DRIVING EXCELLENCE


THANK YOU, NISSAN! for your continued support of Women Driving Excellence


WOMAN

chicago-woman.com

Publisher + Founder

Kendra Chaplin kendra@chicago-woman.com

Editorial and Brand Strategy Director Jennifer Smith Tapp jennifer@chicago-woman.com Event Director Andrea Metcalf andream@chicago-woman.com

Managing Editor Mahjabeen Syed mahjabeen@chicago-woman.com Associate Editors Jagie Daya jagie@chicago-woman.com

Morgan Forst morgan@chicago-woman.com Contributing Style Editors Katie Schuppler style@chicago-woman.com Design Director Travis Rothe travis@chicago-woman.com Digital Manager Molly Koeneman molly@chicago-woman.com Social Media Manager Alia Rajput alia@chicago-woman.com Account Executives Diane Price diane@chicago-woman.com Kimmy Steinback kimmy@chicago-woman.com Connie Werner connie@chicago-woman.com Interns Michele Behrens michelle@chicago-woman.com Bailee Penski bailee@chicago-woman.com Marygrace Schumann marygrace@chicago-woman.com ADVERTISING sales@chicago-woman.com PR + EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS chicago-woman.com/editorial-submissions

EXCELLENCE IN COLLABORATIONS

W

hen I first met with Beth Rosen and MJ Tam, sparks flew. The women behind ChicagonistaLive and the Women Driving Excellence program share the same passion as Chicago Woman magazine of bringing inspiring ideas, stories of amazing women and opportunities to connect. The wheels were set in motion.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” HELEN KELLER

SOCIAL LIFE SUBMISSIONS chicago-woman.com/social-life EVENT POSTINGS chicago-woman.com/events/submit.html Copyright 2017 Chicago Woman, LLC. All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission. The opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of Chicago Woman.

www.chicago-woman.com

SUBSCRIBE TODAY chicago-woman.com/ subscribe

When women come together great things happen. With ChicagonistaLive’s engaging media expertise and event production at the Chicago Auto for the Women Driving Excellence program coupled with the Chicago Woman magazine platform and vast network, our collective efforts are bringing the best WDE program yet. We hope you find the stories and insights from the WDE 2017 honorees and panelists as inspiring as we do. Enjoy the program!

Kendra Chaplin Publisher + Founder kendra@chicago-woman.com

SPECIAL EDITION FEBRUARY 2017

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PUBLISHER’S IN THIS ISSUE NOTE >>

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3 5 6 8 9 4

LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER LETTER FROM WDE FOUNDERS PROGRAM AGENDA CELEBRATION SUCCESS SIPS SOCIAL MEDIA MAVENS

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FIVE WAYS TO ENERGIZE YOUR DAY NETWORKING WISDOM

PROGRAM INTRODUCTION

LEADING WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY

LEADING WOMEN IN FOOD + WINE

FEBRUARY 2017 SPECIAL EDITION

2017 WOMEN DRIVING EXCELLENCE HONOREES

15 16 22

LEADING WOMEN IN SMALL BUSINESS EMCEE IRIKA SARGENT WHERE ARE THEY NOW?


FOUNDERS’ WELCOME

welcome

to “The Annual 2017 Women Driving Excellence” (WDE) event at McCormick Place. We personally welcome each of you to a day filled with women like yourselves—women who continually strive to start, accelerate, fuel, and steer others to excellence.

The mission of this special day is to bring recognition to women who exemplify a unique vision, ground breakers, remarkable women who showcase greatness through their everyday work and distinguished accomplishments. WDE is based on the concept that every women can continue to achieve their goals by opening the door to others and creating opportunities along the way. As we are determined to create a lasting impact, your support is invaluable. This year we are marking a milestone year celebrating our fifth anniversary of Women Driving Excellence here at The Chicago Auto Show. Where we continue to honor influential women from industries that include philanthropy, media, government, entertainment and more. Working with the automotive industry is a valuable experience. Women are the driving force behind buying cars, with 85% of women choosing the family car. There is strength in numbers, and together we bring value, vision, and a variety of creativity to our Windy City of Chicago. We thank you for bringing your thoughts, ideas, and communities, to this unprecedented day of networking, programming, empowerment, entertainment, and inspiration. Our personal gratitude goes out to you. Beth & MJ WomenDrivingExcellence.com

2016 WOMEN DRIVING EXCELLENCE HONOREES

BEHIND THE SCENES: 2016 WOMEN DRIVING EXCELLENCE

SPECIAL EDITION FEBRUARY 2017

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE >>

Honoring women who start, accelerate, fuel and steer others to excellence

#WDE17- FEBRUARY 15, 2017 Women’s Day at the Chicago Auto Show 10 am

Jumpstart Your Reach

A networking power hour

FACILITATORS Andrea Metcalf Lifestyle & Fitness Expert Kelly Majewski Founder, Million Dollar Events

11 am

Honoring Women Trailblazers Presentation

EMCEE Irika Sargent Anchor CBS 2 NEWS 1 pm

Merri Dee Celena Roldan Gale Gand Christie Hefner Perri L. Irmer

Legendary Broadcast Journalist CEO, American Red Cross Chicago & Northern IL Award-Winning Pastry Chef & TV Personality Strategic Corporate Adviser President & CEO, DuSable Museum

Leading Women in Tech

Top Chicago tech leaders on the state of women in the tech and digital industry facilitated by:

Terri Brax Sandra Edwards Cayla Weisberg Amanda Signorelli 6

chicago woman

PANEL MODERATOR | Founder, WTF Founder, Wheelz on Time Partner, InvestHER Ventures CEO, Techweek

FEBRUARY 2017 SPECIAL EDITION


>>PUBLISHER’S NOTE 2 pm

The ChicagonistaLIVE Show Broadcast

A fun ride with Chicago’s 1st and only “Social Talk Show” with their usual Chicago hot topics, special guests, prizes and more! LIVE from the Chicago Auto Show!

Beth Rosen Nancy Loo MJ Tam “Chicago’s Social Talk Show”

3 pm

the

CHICAGONISTA

LIVE show

Leading Women in Food & Wine

Join these experts as they dish about serving up great content for companies and consumers in the every changing culinary world of today. sponsored by

D.C. Crenshaw Jocelyn Delk-Adams Jiwon McCartney Kit Graham 4 pm

PANEL MODERATOR - Founder, Little Diner’s Crew Author & TV Personality, Grandbaby Cakes Founder & CEO, Culinary Fight Club & Fight2Feed Blogger, The Kittchen

Leading Women in Business & Marketing

How can you set yourself apart and harness your expertise? Learn some tips to achieving success in today’s market. These savvy business leaders will share how they do just that. facilitated by

Kendra Chaplin Rebecca Berneck Tania Haigh Katherine McHenry

PANEL MODERATOR - Publisher, Chicago Woman Magazine CEO, Office Heads Founder & CEO, Magnolia Insights Owner, Building Block Toys partners

Women Driving Excellence is an MJ Tam & Beth Rosen of SparkFete Production SPECIAL EDITION FEBRUARY 2017

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Celebration Success Sips All successes in life are worth celebrating, and what better way to mark an occasion than with a celebratory sip? From everyday success such as snagging an excellent parking spot to more significant milestones such as landing the job of your dreams, there is always something to cherish.

Cheryl Leahy is a blogger, television entertainment expert, savvy stylist, frugal fashionista, millennial mom and cocktail connoisseur.

TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM(SICLE) WORK

The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. Celebrate the unique magic that teamwork can bring knowing you are destined for greatness. 1 C. ORANGE JUICE 1 TBSP. HEAVY CREAM 1B  OTTLE PROSECCO (TO TOP THE ORANGE JUICE/ CREAM MIXTURE)

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FEBRUARY 2017 SPECIAL EDITION

ACED IT AVIATION

That feeling when you nailed it-—these are the moments when you are on top of the world, so top it off with the Aced It Aviation. 1.5 OZ GIN 1 TSP. CRÈME DE VIOLETTE

GOAL DIGGER

Goal setting is a way for us to motivate, be proactive, and create focus. Recognize when you achieve your goals—this not only gives you a sense of satisfaction but increases self-confidence.

1/2 OZ MARASCHINO LIQUEUR

1/2 C UP WHITE CRANBERRY JUICE

3/4 OZ LEMON JUICE

2 OZ VODKA

1/4 OZ SIMPLE SYRUP

1 OZ COINTREAU


SOCIAL MEDIA MAVENS

>>PUBLISHER’S NOTE

“ DALIAH SAPER

ATTORNEY Top tip for staying engaged Try to post once per day. Before you post, ask yourself if you would be interested in the content if someone else posted it. Social platform you can’t live without Hootsuite. I can post to all of my networks with one click. An app you would create An app that allows you to get feed back from friends about wardrobe decisions in real time, whether you are in your closet or in a fitting room.

Social Media Mavens Tell All

BARBARA ROZGONYI

FOUNDER, CORYWEST MEDIA Top tip for staying engaged Focus on who you want to talk to— and why. Make a list of people, topics, and hashtags you love. Contribute to conversations that count.

ZONDRA HUGHES

DIGITAL STORYTELLER AND CREATOR, SIX BROWN CHICKS MEDIA Top tip for staying engaged Research what’s trending before you post, and join the conversation only if you have an authentic point of view to add. It’s not a good idea to hijack a hashtag just to get people to view your content, Social platform you can’t live without MyFitnessPal app. This is a free social platform for dieters all over the world who are counting calories and losing weight. An app you would create A ghost app that immediately blocks your stalker from viewing any information about you online.

Social platform you can’t live without As an entrepreneur and business consultant—LinkedIn.

LIZ STRAUSS CEO AT GENIUS SHARED Top tip for staying engaged Pick a time to spend a few minutes checking in on your favorite social media network. Make it as consistent as possible so that folks will know when you to find you there. Social platform you can’t live without Twitter. I like the speed with which I can get a message or photo out to my friends and know they’ll get it.

SPECIAL EDITION FEBRUARY 2017

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HEALTHY LIVING

5 WAYS TO ENERGIZE YOUR DAY Between the cold weather and the many tasks we take on as driven women, it’s easy to feel drained throughout the day. If you’re feeling low energy, here are five ways to put more pep in your step. RY IS FEBRUA OR F GO RED NTH, MO N E M O W HAT ING US T REMIND

GET MOVING. Exercise helps boost your heart rate and increase those “feel good” hormones. Even as little as ten minutes of walking, can change your mood. According to the American Psychological Association, there is mounting evidence that exercise can help ease anxiety as well.

OIL UP. For a calorie free way to change your mood, look to essential oils.

EANR OM 3 RW L U C S 1 IEIN A V DIO OF CA N BE D

Research shows that peppermint oil has mood-elevating properties and orange oils promote a more positive mood. Use oils on the temples or wrists or add to a few drops to a steeping water. Inhale and just breathe.

THAT CA DISEASE TED WITH N E V E R P ISE R EXERC REGULA

MAKE SOMEONE SMILE. Smiling can be contagious according to an article in Psychology Today. How can you get someone to get that little giggle—use technology. These days there are so many fun emojis to share that can entice a smile­—see how many people smile back at you. Either they will think you’re up to something or they will smile back! TAKE A BITE OF CHOCOLATE. Epicatechin, a plant chemical particularly abundant in dark chocolate, gives the body a boost by widening the blood vessels. Increased circulation gives the body a sense of more energy. Choose a dark chocolate with at least 96% cacao for best results.

LOL. Although you might feel a bit self-conscious to just start a good belly laugh, laughing can raise heart rate and boost blood pressure. So tune into that crazy-cat-jumping-onto-a-fan video and laugh away. You’ll feel more energized and don’t forget to share it on Facebook, to share the laugh too!

Andrea Metcalf is a celebrity fitness expert seen on NBC Today Show, Steve Harvey and Fox News Chicago. Check out her best-selling book, “Naked Fitness”, Vanguard Press, to learn the secrets to feel good in your own skin. @andreametcalf.com5

STEPHANIE MANSOUR

KIMBERLEE KAYE RAYA

Healthy lifestyle and weightloss coach, and television host of Step It Up With Steph

Founder and Dance Queen, Fly Girl Dance & Fitness

FAVE SNACK-ON-THE-GO

Hummus and veggie chip snack packs.     CAN’T MISS FITNESS ROUTINE

Pilates class to tighten my core and ensure my low back doesn’t go out of place. I feel the immediate tightness in my abs and love it! HOW DO YOU REWARD YOURSELF?

Massage at the Four Seasons!

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ANDREA METCALF

chicago woman

FEBRUARY 2017 SPECIAL EDITION

FAVE SNACK-ON-THE-GO I’m always on the go! I should buy stock in the protein packs from Starbucks.     CAN’T MISS FITNESS ROUTINE

I LOVE to dance! That being said… I also know how important it is to stay strong! My GO-TO move is the good old fashion plank. HOW DO YOU REWARD YOURSELF?

A night out on the town! I love getting dressed up and enjoying an evening out—I may even splurge on a little sweet delight!


TOP NETWORKING TIPS

Master Networkers Share Their Wisdom

REBECCA S BORGES PRESIDENT, FEMCITY CHICAGO

MEGAN WESSELS

CEO, POWERFUL PARTNERS Top tip when meeting new people Stop networking and start connecting.  Focus on meeting four people maximum but really spend the time connecting with them.   Best way to follow up The fortune is in the follow up!  Schedule 30-40 minutes of follow up time in your calendar after every event and prioritize it.  Send a personalized email and request a lunch or coffee date to connect further.     Top tip to stay organized  The “FullContact” app has a business card scanner. It takes seconds and all of the contact info is synced to your phone and your email connected accounts.

KELLY MAJEWSKI MILLION DOLLAR EVENTS

Top tip when meeting new people Instead of exchanging business cards when I meet someone new, I connect with them on Facebook and start building my relationship there with them. Best way to follow up After connecting with them on Facebook, I will follow up with them usually within 24 hours sending them a simple message. “It was great meeting you at _______”. Top tip to stay organized  The best way—and the only way— I’ve learned to stay organized is to have discipline with my time. Meaning, everything is scheduled from follow up calls, appointments to when I go to the gym.

Top tip when meeting new people I am really good at remembering faces, facts, and colors—but not names. So I always ask them a question about what they are wearing or compliment them on a feature. I can easily recall it at a later date. If we meet again, I may say something like: “So good to see you again… I remember you were wearing that awesome ______.  Would you please be so kind and remind me of your name, I’m so sorry I’ve forgotten.” Because I’ve remembered a something even more personal than their name, I find individuals more forgiving of my mind slip. Best way to follow up The first folder in my email is “00-FOLLOWUP”. It is reviewed each morning and I take action accordingly. It’s like an easy electronic “To Do” list for me. Top tip to stay organized I love the “Notes” app. The notes have titles and act as ongoing lists.

SPECIAL EDITION FEBRUARY 2017

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Start your engines! Women Driving Excellence (WDE) features inspiring women who help start, accelerate, fuel, and steer others to excellence for the 2017 Chicago Auto Show on Women’s Day, Wednesday, February 15. WDE is a collaborative day created to connect entrepreneurial and established women in business, philanthropy, media, government and community leadership positions— just steps away from expo displays featuring the latest and greatest in the automotive industry. e

ut th ck o f the Che es o endees ienc r att e r p ex othe s and e e r hono , itter k, Tw o o b and ace on F tagram, e p Ins o c s Peri

Founders MJ Tam and Beth Rosen of the ChicagonistaLive! online talk show are celebrating WDE’s fifth anniversary this year with another outstanding line-up, including the presentation of the Trailblazing Women award to journalist, Merri Dee; CEO of The Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois, Celena Roldan; Award-winning pastry chef and TV personality, Gale Gand; Strategic Corporate Adviser Christie Hefner; and President and CEO of the DuSable Museum of African American History, Perri Irmer. The award ceremony is a highlight of the day, with each honoree sharing their stories and wisdom and inspiring women to take their own ventures to the next level. After listening to Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder of BlogHer and 2014 honoree, The Local Tourist’s Theresa Carter said, “In a few short minutes she shared so many nuggets of entrepreneurial wisdom that I felt like I’d taken a seminar on what—and what not—to do.”

17 E D #W

While the automotive companies and other vendors at the Chicago Auto Show provide a wide variety of female-focused programming on Women’s Day, WDE leads the pack in empowerment and inspiration. Besides the day-long program that is full of enriching performances and panels, the morning networking session is a true stand-out feature of WDE. Different from a typical business meetup, the session at WDE boasts attendees from all walks of life and not just one or two industries. You might see a government employee exchange business cards with an interior designer, a freelance writer, or a teacher. These are the best kinds of connections and epitomize the definition of networking. 2016 attendee Bonnie Kenaz-Mara reflected, “I’m actively job hunting right now...so the ‘Jumpstart Your Network–A Power Hour Hosted by Chicago’s Top Networkers’ was of particular interest to me this year. I met many fascinating women and exchanged business cards with quite a few new contacts.”Other activities on the power-packed 2017 schedule include three panels featuring leading women in Food and Wine, Tech, and Business and Marketing as well as a live broadcast from the stage of the ChicagonistaLive! show. In its fifth year, Women Driving Excellence isn’t slowing down a bit. Spotlighting the ingenuity, intelligence, and power of women inspiring each other, this event ensures that each and every participant will walk out of McCormick Place empowered and ready for action. Frequent Chicago Auto Show and WDE attendee Natasha Nicholes says, “(I am) all about living the best life that I can live, and I’m honored to be able to spend a portion of my day with so many women who are doing just that.”

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W O M E N D R IVIN G E X CE L L E NCE PA NE L

L EAD I NG W OM E N I N T E CH Big things are brewing in our Windy City. In 2015, Chicago became the world capital for women tech founders! Thirty percent of all tech start-ups in Chicago are now led by women. The result? Female founders (and the women who help fund them) are bringing fresh ideas to the boys’ club and diverse solutions into the tech world. It’s a big deal. A tech-enabled company can be the most powerful tool and weapons on the planet, and fresh ideas are the lifeblood of change— and profits. So hold on. This panel is going to be good!

Tech is power. It can help you reach your dreams and unleash your creativity. It can give your voice the potential to solve diverse problems in our city, our nation, and the world. Women Tech Founders (WTF) accelerates the number of powerful women in technology…

TERRI BRAX

FOUNDER, TEACHERCARE & WOMEN TECH FOUNDERS (WTF) As the founder of TeacherCare–a nation-wide agency that helps families and organizations find highly-vetted teachers for private childcare and educational services–and Women Tech Founders (aka WTF)– a leadership organization that advances women in tech, Terri connects progressive people, organizations, and ideas. In addition to entrepreneurial roles, Terri represents the tech community in Chicago Woman Magazine, speaks at leadership conferences, leads children’s charities and sits on local boards that support the community. Terri has been awarded leadership recognition and has represented the tech community at Google Chicago, 1871, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, TechWeek and other leading organizations.

SANDRA EDWARDS FOUNDER, WHEELZ ON TIME Sandra Edwards is the Founder of Wheelz On Time, the rent-to- own tire and auto repair financing company. A native Chicagoan, Sandra is also a U.S. Army Veteran, with over 10 years of experience in the leasing industry. That experience coupled with her professional truck driving background makes her uniquely qualified for this innovative business model.

like you.

AMANDA SIGNORELLI

CEO, TECHWEEK

Throughout her time at Techweek she has taken roles in several functions beginning as a Director of Business Development then moving to operations designing the Techweek Launch startup pitch competition. Today, she leverages the latest trends in tech and venture capital investment to create the content vision for the Techweek festival in each of their 10 markets in North America. Prior to Techweek, Amanda was a Management Consultant at Mckinsey & Company where she worked across numerous industries in both strategy and operations.

CAYLA WEISBERG PARTNER, INVESTHER VENTURES Cayla Weisberg is partner at InvestHER Ventures, a Chicago based VC fund that invests in female entrepreneurs with early stage software companies. She is focused on investing in technology enabled business services, data driven products, and disruptive solutions for large markets. With a track record for driving revenue for both fortune 500 and start-up companies, Cayla brings a strong sales focus to the InvestHERs growing portfolio of scaling businesses. 

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W O M E N D R IVIN G E X CE L L E NCE PA NE L

L EAD I NG W OM E N I N FO OD + W I N E Chicago’s love affair with food is stronger than ever. Women are forging the path forward in interesting ways from blogging to bringing people together.

D.C. CRENSHAW

JIWON MCCARTNEY

CEO, FETE BUSINESS GROUP

FOUNDER + CEO, CULINARY FIGHT CLUBS

D.C. Crenshaw is an entrepreneur, food and lifestyle personality and a two-time Emmy nominated TV Host/Executive Producer. He is founder and President of Fête, the “World’s Premier Dining & Lifestyle Network”, a promotional and marketing event company. Politically, D.C. has helped many politicians plan and host fund raising events for their campaigns, including his integral role with then State Senator Barack Obama in 2003. D.C. has appeared on Food Network as a judge on Guy’s Grocery Games and as a food expert in several other national. local and online media outlets.

Jiwon McCartney is a native Chicagoan with a long career in hospitality—both corporate and events. She founded Culinary Fight Club in 2013 which is the live cooking competition that started in Chicago and is expanding to 17 cities nationwide. After starting Culinary Fight Club, Inc. Jiwon pulled her vision full circle when she founded the 501c3 nonprofit Fight2Feed in 2014 which aims to reduce food waste and deliver it to the hands of need. Culinary Fight Club events benefit Fight2Feed.

KIT GRAHAM

FOOD BLOGGER, THE KITTCHEN Kit Graham is a Chicago-based food and travel blogger. Kit grew up in Kennebunkport, Maine where she discovered a love of cooking at a young age. She founded The Kittchen in 2011 when her friends gave her a website because they wanted her recipes. In 2014 she started the Windy City Blogger Collective, an organization for Chicagoarea bloggers. Kit has written two books, The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Cookbook and Thanksgiving Recipes from The Kittchen. Today Kit can be found cooking up new recipes at home, or traveling the world. She loves entertaining and is always cooking for others

JOCELYN DELK ADAMS

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO COMFORT FOOD?

My go-to comfort foods are grilled cheese and macaroni and cheese. I just really love cheese.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO MAKE FOR OTHERS?

I’m big on entertaining and I usually make lots of snacks when I have parties— homemade hummus, cheesy mushroom dip, mini meatballs, and artichoke dip are my go-to recipes. —KIT GRAHAM

FOUNDER, AUTHOR, AND TELEVISION PERSONALITY Jocelyn Delk Adams is the founder, author, national television personality and brand ambassador behind the award winning and best selling cookbook Grandbaby Cakes and the food website Grandbaby-Cakes.com, which gives her family’s,particularly her grandmother’s, cherished generational recipes her modern spin while preserving the most important ingredient- tradition. Jocelyn is a cast member one of the Cooking Channel’s longest running most popular shows, “Unique Sweets” and has been featured regularly on the TODAY Show and The Rachael Ray Show and several other media outlets and accolades. She is the founder of A Charitable Confection, an anti-violence dessert fundraiser featuring the top bakeries in Chicago.

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W O M E N D R IVIN G E X CE L L E NCE PA NE L

L EAD I NG W OM E N I N BU SI NES S + M A R K E T I N G TOP RESOURCES FOR WOMEN IN SMALL BUSINESS. The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) shares 5 of the best resources for women looking to strike out on their own as a business owner. WOMEN’S BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER WBDC.ORG U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION SBA.GOV

STATE OF ILLINOIS SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTERS ILSBDC.BIZ NATIONAL WOMEN’S BUSINESS COUNCIL NWBC.GOV

If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not

CITY OF CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AFFAIRS AND CONSUMER PROTECTION CITYOFCHICAGO.ORG/ BUSINESSAFFAIRS

BIG

enough.

KENDRA CHAPLIN

TANIA HAIGH

Kendra Chaplin is founder and publisher of Chicago Woman magazine, which serves as the voice for Chicago women. Through, print, online, social media, events and engagements, the brand she created is missioned with providing a platform that empowers, informs, and inspires the strong community of Chicagoarea women who are active professionally, philanthropically and personally. Prior to launching Chicago Woman, Kendra spent 16 years in business publishing serving HR professionals. She is a life-long Chicago-area resident and mother of two young daughters.

Tania Haigh is a 17-year marketing industry veteran and is Founder & CEO of Chicagobased Magnolia Insights, a marketing services company that specializes in women and mom consumers. Tania was previously named a “Top 40 Under 40 Marketer” in the Midwest by Brand Innovators and is a women’s empowerment leader as demonstrated by her involvement as a TEDxWomen organizer and curator. Tania is also active in the women and marketing space as a presenter and panelist at several conferences. She has been featured in Advertising Age, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chief Marketer Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. She is also a contributor to Chicago Woman magazine and Chief Marketer.

FOUNDER, CHICAGO WOMAN MAGAZINE

REBECCA BERNECK FOUNDER, OFFICEHEADS Rebecca Berneck has been an efficiency geek since birth, Rebecca Berneck is the Founder and CEO of Officeheads, an outsourced financial management firm that partners with entrepreneurs making the jump from StartUp to Growth phase. As the “Big Head” at Officeheads, she is the master mind behind the Officeheads Financial Management System that aligns with strategic goals. Rebecca also races vintage motorcycles and hold a handful of land speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats. She applies her knowledge of winning on the race track to her client relationships to help them win in business.

FOUNDER + CEO, MAGNOLIA INSIGHTS

KATHERINE MCHENRY OWNER, BUILDING BLOCKS TOY STORES Katherine McHenry has over 20 years of retail and entrepreneurial experience. She is the successful owner and operator of the award-winning Building Blocks Toy Store with 2 Chicago locations. Katherine believes strongly in giving back to the community via schools, hospitals, nonprofit groups, families in need, charitable organizations, and especially mom entrepreneurs. Her family resides in Chicago and she proudly shares all her fun toys with her infant daughter and toddler son.

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2017 WOMEN DRIVING EXCELLENCE EMCEE

Irika Sargent Irika Sargent is co-anchor of the CBS 2 Chicago (WBBM-TV) weekday evening news at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. with Rob Johnson. Sargent joined CBS 2 Chicago from WFOR-TV in Miami, where she has co-anchored the station’s weekday early evening and late newscasts since May 2014. She has also hosted WFOR’s weekly public affairs show, “Focus on South Florida,” and contributed a weekly news segment called “Legally Speaking.” Prior to that, Sargent was an anchor and reporter with KPRC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Houston. She has also worked at television stations in Mobile, Alabama and Columbia, Missouri. Sargent graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She then earned a Juris Doctor from Cornell Law School because she wanted to gain legal insight and expertise that could assist her in news coverage. Sargent practiced law for four years in New York City at the Greenberg Traurig LLP law firm, where she represented clients in New York federal and state courts, as well as before the New York Division of Human Rights and National Labor Relations Board. Additionally, Sargent set aside time to provide free legal services to non-profit groups and under-served communities. Throughout her career, Sargent has supported several non-profit organizations, including the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization and the American Cancer Society. Sargent is a member of the New York Bar.

the

CHICAGONISTA

LIVE show

BETH ROSEN

NANCY LOO

MJ TAM

C hicago’s Social Talk Show www.ChicagonistaLIVE.com @chicagonista

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@chicagonistalive

/chicagonista


2017 WOMEN DRIVING EXCELLENCE

Merri Dee

Legendary broadcast journalist and philanthropist WHAT DRIVES YOU?

What drives me is the need to serve in a manner that the difference it makes stays for a lifetime and inspires others to do likewise.

HOW DO YOU ACCELERATE? Taking time away from the day-to-day thoughts of others gives me much time to think of me. Who am I? Who am I really? Who am I making a difference to and why? Deeply questioning me—my reasons for always wanting to give 100% percent to assist someone else has forged a successful path for me— one that is presented and accepted with much joy! DID YOU HAVE A “STARTER” OR EARLY MENTOR? My 5th grade teacher Mrs. Robinson was my earliest mentor whom I include in my speeches today. Always a strong, positive model of success.

HOW DO I HANDLE BALANCE?

Merri Dee’s legendary award-winning 49-year career in Chicago broadcasting is admirable in itself. She was the Illinois Lottery’s First Lady, anchored the first edition of midday news and sports, hosted a magazine-style TV show and served in management as Director of Community Relations. One of the first African-American women to anchor the news in the Windy City, Dee has parlayed her celebrity into charitable success, powerful motivational speaking and advocacy. She has raised millions of dollars for children’s charities, spearheaded victims’ rights legislation, and helped increase adoption rates across the nation.

Once I was a girl and then I was a lady. Followed by full blown womanhood with responsibilities. It has taken a while, but I have learned to balance my life. Balancing my life, shows me, how to fit you into my goals. Helping others shows me how important my life really is. I know that I have to take care of me if I want to assist you.

HOW DO I REFUEL? Having friendships that I treasure helps me to refuel. Whether it is a telephone conversation or a trip, taking time to join those who have been in my life as guides and believers is powerful. AMEN!

Dee’s professional successes became even more admirable in light of her personal circumstances. She endured horrific abuse as a child and struggled for years as a single mother. In 1971, she made national headlines after being kidnapped, shot and left to die. She penned this story in a personal memoir, “LIFE LESSONS ON FAITH, FORGIVENESS & GRACE”. This life-changing experience led her to being the force behind the Illinois General Assembly’s passage of the first Victim’s Bill of Rights. The Illinois law became the model for similar legislation in every state in the United States. Dee’s positive spirit helped her not only overcome but thrive. Her incredible journey from abused child to broadcasting icon to social catalyst has proven the philosophy she holds dear: “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

Having hosted countless parades, telethons, and television specials, Merri Dee is considered an acclaimed interviewer and television host. Ms. Dee has been successful in her efforts to support well-deserving causes and assist non-profit organizations achieve their financial goals. Ms. Dee extends her support beyond raising funds. She advocates for organizations that address critical social needs including issues surrounding adoption and foster care, violence prevention, education, and women’s issues. Her survival in the face of death is also the catalyst behind her impassioned advocacy for violence prevention. In addition to speaking nationally on this issue, she lends her expertise to Cure Violence-Ceasefire, a highly successful evidence-based violence prevention organization.

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2017 WOMEN DRIVING EXCELLENCE

Gale Gand

Award-winning pastry chef and television personality WHAT DRIVES YOU?

I’m just always trying to get it right or do it better than the last time. At least that’s how it feels when I try to understand what drives me. I had sort of a disapproving father and that is part of my drive. I know that sounds harsh, but it actually made me a more productive person.

HOW HAVE YOU ACCELERATED IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIFE? I’m pretty much a self starter. I definitely bounce stuff off my husband, chef friends, girl friends, and my kids, but ultimately it’s me that has the forward momentum to push things to the next step.

DID YOU HAVE A “STARTER” OR EARLY MENTOR? Not directly. I had a painting teacher, Moe Brooker, who is one of the people who taught me how to learn, how to feel, and how to get that on canvas or paper. I had a chef, Greg Broman, in Rochester New York that I worked with off and on for 5 years that set my kitchen organization and managing staff in motion. Then years with Rich Melman at Lettuce Entertain You. But my dad was the first to help me realize my potential as a kid. I had my own business producing jewelry and a line of clothing at 11— with a checking account, a loan, and clients.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE BALANCE? Gale Gand is a pastry chef and partner in the Michelin one star restaurant, Tru, in Chicago. She was the host of Food Network’s long running show “Sweet Dreams”, and author of 8 cook books. She just finished a 2 year pop-up of Spritzburger, a burger and craft soda joint, with The Hearty Boys, also of Food Network fame. Gale teaches cooking classes all over the country and is an artisanal soda pop maker producing Gale’s Root Beer, which is sold nationally. Gale does food innovation with Hyde Park Group in Chicago. She has received two James Beard Awards, has been inducted to the Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame and was schooled in Paris at La Varenne. Gale is the mother of 3 and plays the ukulele.

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Better now that I’m older, but that’s probably my biggest challenge­— the juggling act. I try to not over book myself, but I tend to feel like I want to do it all, so I say yes more than I should. But I like to participate in things, have new experiences, and please people. So that adds up to a whole lot of “yeses”.

HOW DO YOU REFUEL? Tea with milk, a bath, fold laundry, do dishes, watch my goldfish, play the ukulele, sing loud in the car, read, draw, cook at home (I know, funny, right?), hold my kids, get a squeeze from my husband, call a girl friend on the phone.

FEBRUARY 2017 SPECIAL EDITION


2017 WOMEN DRIVING EXCELLENCE

Christie Hefner

Strategic Corporate Advisor WHAT DRIVES YOU?

I am driven to have an impact, make a difference, solve problems, and connect people. I think any acceleration in my life has come from the impact of the scores of very talented and engaged people I have been fortunate enough to get to know and their cumulative influence on me.

WHO HELPS YOU ACCELERATE OR HOW HAVE YOU ACCELERATED IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIFE? From 1988-2008, Christie was Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., making her the longest serving female CEO of a U.S. public company. Christie restructured the company, initiating its successful electronic and international expansions and expanded the Playboy brand via licensing, generating close to $1 billion in annual global retail sales, 80% of them in women’s products. When she left, over 40% of her executives were women. For three years she was named to FORTUNE’s list of the 100 Most Powerful Women. Today, she serves as Chairman of Hatch Beauty, a brand and product innovation company in the personal care space. She also recently joined the advisory board of the RDO Companies, a $3 billion familyowned agricultural conglomerate. Hefner is a passionate advocate of freedom of expression, social justice, and equal rights and opportunities for women. She has served on the board of advisors for Springboard, which is a network of innovators, investors and influencers who are dedicated to building high-growth technology-oriented companies led by women and has raised over $7 billion for women owned start-ups.  Hefner also serves on the board of Trustees for Rush University Medical Center and is a committed HIV/AIDS activist, She was co-chair of the Capital Campaign for the Black Ensemble Theater’s state of the art cultural center. She has also long worked to elect women candidates, including three successful Senators this last cycle and was a founding member of EMILY’s list. She also serves on the board of the D.C.-based Center for American Progress Action, the leading progressive public policy think tank.

I believe that you can’t know too many smart people, and continue to enjoy and benefit from meeting and making new friends. And, I have always tried to be the best that I can be at whatever I do.

DID YOU HAVE A “STARTER” OR EARLY MENTOR? I didn’t really have a mentor. While my early career aspirations were focused on journalism, law, and public policy, obviously, my career took a different direction when my father suggested that I move back to Chicago to learn something about Playboy Enterprises. So, I guess my takeaway advice from that is: “Choose your parents well.”

HOW DO YOU HANDLE BALANCE?

Balance has been easier for me than for women who are mothers. I have huge respect for that balancing act. Having said that, I was struck many years ago by the insight of a McKinsey study of high performing women which concluded that the key to balance was less the thought of work/life balance, and more the need to find a balance between that which energizes you versus that which saps your energy. In other words, whatever is restorative for you----music, yoga, cooking, being with friends, reading a great book, working on an exciting project—make sure that you make enough time for that.

HOW DO YOU REFUEL? I am fortunate in terms of ‘refueling’ because in this chapter of my life, my work is made up of a portfolio of activities, some in entrepreneurship and business, some with not-for-profits, and some in politics and public policy. Thus, I can always toggle among them when I want to refocus. Additionally, I am a great lover of travel—not just re-energizing, but as a way of broadening your outlook. My last fascinating trip was with my brother and six friends to Croatia for 12 days in October.

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2017 WOMEN DRIVING EXCELLENCE

Perri L. Irmer

President & CEO, DuSable Museum of African American History WHAT DRIVES YOU?

Perri Irmer is President and CEO of the DuSable Museum of African American History, the iconic institution founded by Dr. Margaret Burroughs with the vision of being a center for African and African American arts and culture, as well as a center for thought leadership and community advancement. Born and raised in Hyde Park, Irmer holds a Professional Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. Just prior to joining the DuSable, Irmer ran her own global management consulting and strategic planning firm promoting economic development through the integration of advanced technology, sustainable design, and public policy. Irmer was a litigator in private law practice before having served in several positions within organizations and boards including the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools; Mesirow Financial, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc., The Obama Foundation Inclusion Council and the After School Matters Advisory Board, IIT’s Alumni Board of Directors, IIT’s African American Alumni Association, Choose Chicago board, and was a founding member of the Chicago Sports Commission. Irmer is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her involvement in community and youth services, her support and advocacy of minority- and woman-owned businesses, and her promotion of international business relationships within Illinois.

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Service to the community and to our city. And connecting—I have been called the “great connector” because I have traveled in and between so many different circles in the community, business, the arts, industry, government, politics—both here and internationally. I see the connections and overlapping of interests, personalities, talent, and opportunities on many levels. I love introducing people and organizations who otherwise may never have met. Chicago is what I call “the biggest small town in America” because everyone has the potential to be connected to each other, whether culturally, creatively or strategically. I hate silos— we should all be aware of what each other is doing because you never know when forces can be joined and leveraged for the common good.

WHO HELPS YOU ACCELERATE OR HOW HAVE YOU ACCELERATED IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIFE? I’ve always been driven. I am always open to new opportunities, which has certainly lead to acceleration. As women we sometimes question ourselves and our abilities to adapt, and whether we are “ready” for a new job or new role. My attitude is “if I’m being asked to do it, then I must be ready and capable of doing it”. And if it sounds challenging and interesting and has an element of fun and advancement, then I say “yes”. My success comes from interacting with people from every walk of life and staying curious and interested in learning. Learning is a lifelong process and we are all works in progress!

DID YOU HAVE A “STARTER” OR EARLY MENTOR? I have been blessed to have had many mentors and many opportunities in my life and career—both in private practice and in government. I can’t list them all, but they include retired judge Marilyn Johnson, the late Jewel Stradford Lafontant, and, of course, my dear mother.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE BALANCE?

Not very well, I’m afraid! I push it pretty hard but I dedicate my downtime first to my family.

HOW DO YOU REFUEL? I am an avid gardener, and I love to cook and entertain especially in the summer. I’m also guilty of binge watching my favorite TV shows every now and then. Also, traveling when I can find the time.

FEBRUARY 2017 SPECIAL EDITION


2017 WOMEN DRIVING EXCELLENCE

Celena Roldán

CEO, The American Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois WHAT DRIVES YOU?

Every day there are children going to school hungry; veterans who have served our country living on the streets; women who are bruised and battered on the inside and out. Many of us see them and walk by. I need to know that I helped them be seen, heard, and helped. This is what motivates me—create a community and a world of dignity and respect for every person.

Celena Roldán joined the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois as CEO in March of 2016. This region of the Red Cross is the fourth largest region nationally of the American Red Cross and responds to 1,200 disasters every year with an annual budget of approximately $16 million. The Chicago Northern Illinois region covers 21 counties and teaches more than a quarter million people in Chicagoland each year health, safety and disaster preparedness skills. Prior to joining Red Cross, Roldán served as the Executive Director of Erie Neighborhood House. Roldan has had extensive and significant community development experience at both the city and the state level. She served on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Education Transition team and the Mayor’s Early Childhood Task Force as well as Governor Quinn’s Illinois Human Services Commission. Roldan was a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow in 2011 and participated in the German Marshall Memorial Fellowship in 2016. Currently, Roldán serves as the Vice Board Chair for Illinois Action for Children and on the Head Start Governing Board for Metropolitan Family Services. Most recently Roldan was appointed as a member to the National Board of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the City of Chicago’s Community Development Commission. Roldán holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Administration from National Louis University, as well as Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

WHO HELPS YOU ACCELERATE OR HOW HAVE YOU ACCELERATED IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIFE? Early on, my parents set the example of what it means to work in and not next to communities. This solidified my commitment to nonprofit work. Yet, it is the female leaders in Chicago that have helped me grow professionally. They are Executive Directors and CEO’s, media producers, senior partners, and City Hall leaders. All have asked me critical questions, shared resources, and offered suggestions and encouragement, for which I am extremely grateful. As women, we should all be doing everything we can to help, support, and encourage other women.

DID YOU HAVE A “STARTER” OR MENTOR? A mentor believes in you before you believe in yourself. My mentor, Ric Estrada, once said, “Can you see yourself in this role?” And I replied, “Yes, I would like to be the Director of Child Care.” And he would press, “No, can you see yourself in my job?” I could not see it yet, but he did. Whenever we have the opportunity to mentor someone, we should help them see what they may not yet see in themselves.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE BALANCE?

Helping others is my life’s work. When you love what you do, it is not a job. If you love what you do, then you don’t specifically think about your work/life balance because they are one and the same. The work I am doing and helping others to do in the world is my life. It isn’t work, it is a gift.

HOW DO YOU REFUEL? I do the things that many other women do, I take care of myself, eat well, exercise, and spend time with family and friends. Most importantly, I do not judge myself, if sometimes it is more or sometimes less. Every woman needs to do what works best for her to refuel, create balance, and achieve success according to her definition of success. SPECIAL EDITION FEBRUARY 2017

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

JANET DAVIES MOVING. The faster you move, the better you get.

GENEVIEVE THIERS Right now I’m motivated to fix the broken politic al system we’ve just landed in or frankly it’s been around for a while but we’re just realizing it. Right now I’m running Rise.

“If you show up caffeinated it will generally go better”

Continuing her 33 year at ABC7, running JanetDavies Media and always trying to give back to the community.

Where are they now?

Past Women Driving Excellence Honorees Stay In Touch

SUZET MCKINNEY

I am serving as the CEO/Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District. Located on the near west side, the Illinois Medical District (IMD) is a 24/7/365 special-use zoning district that includes 560 acres of medical research facilities, labs, a biotech business incubator, universities, raw land development areas, 4 major hospitals and more than 40 other healthcare related facilities. The IMD is also one of the largest urban medical districts in the United States. 

A good friend of mine always says

“we came here to be great”. I believe that and I try to embody that. Hence,

“no small plans”.

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FEBRUARY 2017 SPECIAL EDITION


CANDACE JORDAN Just waking up to a new day motivates me. I know this sounds trite, but it’s true. I feel so incredibly lucky to have come from a small town of 3000 to where I am now. I worked my butt off to get here! It wasn’t all luck, for sure, but the everyday journey keeps me motivated and always waking up with the question, “What’s next?” on my mind. New words of wisdom: A new year has brought a new mindset for me. In the past, I would say “yes” to almost everything because I never knew where that adventure might lead me. These days, I’m more selective. I think now I intuitively know if the “yes” will be worth it. I think we need to be more relaxed and less frenetic. Working 24 hours a day is not the answer. Rather, appreciating and noticing what’s going on around us is much more important and life expanding.

ELISA CAMAHORT I’m concerned that our greatest minds are too focused on figuring out how to make life more efficient for the privileged in the world, rather than on solving problems for a wider range of people. And some of that efficiency for the privileged comes at an actual costs for the less privileged. I want to work with people, companies, and services that are aware of the community and world around them, and include that in their mission.

Well, I’m in the middle of a big transition. BlogHer, Inc., joined the SheKnows Media family, and after working for them for more than two years, as Chief Community Officer, I’ve transitioned to consulting in order to free up some time to figure out what I want to do next. I’m looking for that next challenge. And looking for how I can be most helpful and bring more empathy into my community—online and offline.

When you start fundraising,

double the amount you think you need to raise. Because a) You don’t control macro-economics or the global condition, and things *will* happen outside your control that impact your plans and b) Fundraising is a huge time suck and attention hole… the time and attention you spend on it is time you’re not spending making your company even greater.

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Chicago Woman February Special Edition: Women Driving Excellence