Issue I

Fall 2013

Inside this Issue

President's Corner

EPWNG By The Numbers

Successful Networking

Wendy Baum Receives 
Prestigious Award

How To Get The Most Out Of EPWNG

Our Newsletter Naming Contest Winner Is...

Choose Success


By Wendy Baum

As I write my first piece for the EPWNG Insider debut issue, it seems only natural to write about New Beginnings. I can't help but reflect on this past year, and all that is happening with EPWNG:  the newsletter, the new Western Suburban branch, the great social activities, EEOP's first speaking group, our new meeting leaders, the new recruiting efforts, and the host of already-successful educational events. Collectively, as a group, we took on a LOT of new challenges for 2013, and yet again, we round the corner of a new set of challenges. Last fall, the EPWNG board engaged in a one-day retreat, where all of our committees were born. We will participate in another retreat this October, and I'm really looking forward to our 2014 plan for growth. So, as the warm weather turns to crisp autumn days, and the children start their fresh new school year, I hope you too can take some time to reflect on all you've accomplished so far in 2013. During this time of reflection, document how you anticipate growing in the months ahead. Write down some goals, share them with loved ones and colleagues, and PLEASE use the incredible EPWNG resources to make them happen. No matter which direction you choose, your friends at EPWNG will be there to cheer you on!

Until next time… 



By Tina Tranfaglia

After attending your first EPWNG meeting, you undoubtedly sensed immediately that you were in the midst of one of the most impressive and accomplished groups of women in the Chicago area. Hopefully, you have gotten to know many of your fellow networkers personally by now. But have you ever wondered what EPWNG, as a whole, looks like? Here are some vital statistics on EPWNG to help you see what you have in common with—or how you stand out from— this fabulous group of women. 

Since its founding in 2009, EPWNG has grown to include some 224 members, about two-thirds of whom affiliate with the North Shore branch and one-third with the Chicago branch. There are 10 dedicated board members and an Administrator who have guided this growth. With several membership options to choose from, most members are “Regulars,” while 29 have chosen to enjoy the added benefits of the Premier level. We even have several Multi-Premier members, who pay to attend both a North Shore and Chicago meeting each month.

One of the guiding principles of EPWNG is to ensure a diverse membership, such that no one set of occupations dominates. There are currently 96 different occupational categories with active members.  As a whole, 39 attorneys represent about 17% of the membership; however, the attorney profession is divided into 17 specialties to reflect the diversity of that profession. Rounding out the Top 5 most popular professions are CPAs (11), Financial Services (10), Psychologists & Therapists (9), and Marketing/Branding Professionals (8). You might be surprised to know that almost 25% of us enjoy a monopoly in our profession! In order to ensure that no more than two members of any profession attend the same meeting (not including guests), the Chicago branch, with two monthly meeting options, has closed 4 professions:  CPA, Estate Planning Attorney, Financial Services, and Recruiter. The North Shore branch does not have any closed professions, due to hosting four different monthly meetings from which members can choose. 

With all those members, you might find it hard to remember everyone’s name. Well, there is a 1 in 8 chance that the person sitting next to you is named Susan (12 members), Julie (8), or Karen (6). There are also 6 members with a variation of Kathleen or Catherine, 5 named Jennifer, 4 Debra, 4 Lisa, and 4 Nancy…and 15 other names that at least 3 members share. You can tell we are all of a certain generation!  However, if you are hoping to find your new acquaintance on, sadly almost half of members have neglected to upload a profile picture and are missing out on business opportunities because they can’t be recognized. If you are one of them, won’t you take a moment to upload your profile picture now?

The most popular office destination of our fellow members is Chicago at 66, followed by Northbrook (32), Highland Park (26), and Deerfield (19). And once we get to work, we are running the company from the top—with more than half of members reporting their title as either President, Owner, Founder, Principal, Partner, Managing Director, or a C-suite title. We know that is understated because many self-employed members have entered an industry-specific title instead. 

There are some statistics we will never have, such as how many referrals have been made, how many coffee meetings have taken place, how much complimentary advice members have doled out to each other, or how many lasting business partnerships and friendships have been forged. One thing we do know for sure, however, is that with the opening of the Western Suburbs branch and with your commitment to invite guests, EPWNG’s membership will continue to grow, evolve, and present new opportunities for you to connect.

Tina is the owner of College Knowledge Admissions Consulting. She helps parents and students navigate all aspects of the complex, competitive, and ever-changing world of college admissions through customized one-on-one coaching. [email protected]


By Leslie Berkowitz

I’ve always believed that you get out what you put in to any organization you belong. So how do you get the most out of EPWNG

EPWNG was established to create a forum for working women to support one another in all aspects of their busy lives.” There are many opportunities to make connections and network with talented professional women each month. More than 224 members strong (and growing), EPWNG is a fantastic resource both professionally and personally. Its members can help grow your business, service your existing clients, and even come to the rescue in your personal life. The best way to see results is to take advantage of all EPWNG has to offer.

In our busy lives, it can be difficult to find the time to network, but making the time to do one (or all) of these things will help you get the most out of EPWNG.  

  • Attend monthly meetings and bring guests. This helps expand our group, and gives you an opportunity to present yourself and what makes you unique to a variety of people each month. 
  • Update and/or complete your profile on the EPWNG website with your photo and contact information. The member list is a great resource for referrals and making connections.  
  • Join the EPWNG LinkedIn group to help members with their current needs and requests.
  • Attend special EPWNG events. Gain valuable insight from a variety of speakers and enjoy more opportunities to connect with fellow members and guests in a social setting. 
  • Refer fellow EPWNG members to your personal and professional circle. When you help another member, they are more likely to return the favor.

As members of EPWNG, we are fortunate to be surrounded by so many dynamic and talented women. I encourage you to take advantage of all this incredible group has to offer.

Leslie has owned and operated her personalized gift business, Kidoodles Inc. and More, for 12+ years. Kidoodles not only offers a wide variety of unique gifts for every occasion, but also truly personal service. Visit
 to learn more.


By Vicki Gerson

Have you met, Ari Krzyzek, the winner of our newsletter naming contest? Not only did she come up with the name, the EPWNG Insider, but she also developed the terrific new logo. Ari grew up in Bali, but now lives in Glenview with her husband and business partner. After college she worked as an assistant graphic designer for a large Bali-based entertainment company that owned nightclubs, restaurants and hotels. She did print designs, brochures and weekly flyers.

Today, she’s a professional designer in graphic and web design, successfully mixing high-end brand design with a fusion of real world and digital marketing into one powerful force. “My goals always have been focused on: how much revenue and profit can I drive to your business, while making clients look good at the same time,” she says.

Ari named her company, Chykalophia Design, after a name she made up for herself in high school. “I thought it sounded interesting and unique. Because the name stuck over the years, I’m known in the design community by that name.”

Last November, Ari became an EPWNG member. “EPWNG has helped me ‘come out of my shell’ so I’m more active at social events and even take the initiative in starting conversations,” she says. “I’ve also made good network connections-and in the short time I’ve been a member-I’ve already gotten a few EPWNG clients.”

In addition to the United States, Ari has clients in Singapore, Poland, Indonesia and Australia, as well as other countries. She aims to be the trusted source for all her clients. A good client for her company is one who has the resources-time, money, man-hours, E.C. to run an exciting and meaningful project. “A good referral for me is someone who has a branding problem, a management problem and/or a marketing problem that needs to be solved ASAP, and is willing to devote the resources to get it done,” she says.

One part of the business Ari never mentions in her introduction is she likes creating social and stationery design projects, which include wedding invitation designs with a matching wedding website. “I also create an awesome Love Coupon Set for Him, posters for your kitchen and baby announcements.”

Ari believes EPWNG is more than just a networking group. “It’s like having many professional women as friends who are willing to help if you let them.”

You can email Ari at [email protected]           

Vicki Gerson, president of Vicki Gerson & Associates, Inc. is a web/print writer and public relations consultant. She writes ghost blogs, websites, press releases and much more to get her clients the visibility they need for their business. [email protected]

Photo Credit: Wojoimage Photography (


By Catherine Schager

Networking—why is it that some people are successful at it and their businesses grow exponentially because of it, while others struggle along with little to no success?

I started out planning to write a few tips on successful networking and realized that, to really be successful at networking, you need more than a few tips. You first need to understand why you want to network, create a plan to achieve those goals, and execute it over and over. Sound familiar?

Let’s start with the why of networking. The definition of the verb networking is “to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally.” I say that’s only half right. The other half should be “and whom one can help.” To put it another way, the reason to network is to create and nurture a group of people who will want to do business with you, refer others to you, and vice versa.  It goes both ways. The nurturing is just as important as the creating, if not more so. If your approach to networking is just the thought of what you’re going to get out of it, you likely won’t be successful in making valuable connections. If you approach networking as a way to create a referral group, and help others build their business, you will be far more effective. People want to do business with those they know, like and trust. If you understand it’s equally important to know, like and trust others, you’ve made the first step towards successful networking.  

In our next issue, we’ll talk about a networking plan, or “What do I do now that I’m here?”

Catherine is the owner of Catherine Schager Designs, which offers residential interior design services, specializing in Kitchen and Bath renovations. Let us help you discover the comforts of home.


 By Vicki Gerson

Wendy Baum was honored on June 13, 2013 for her professional and personal achievements with the prestigious Women With Vision Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI). Baum received her award at WBAI‘s 99th Annual Installation Dinner in the Palmer House’s Grand Ballroom. “This has to be the biggest professional honor I’ve ever received,” says Baum.

Baum, an attorney and certified public accountant, is viewed by the WBAI as a woman of vision. Other outstanding women who have received this award include Michelle Obama, U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Baum, founder of EPWNG, created a forum to assist women in learning how to network, strengthen their business friendships and develop their businesses. Founded in 2009, EPWNG now has more than 220 women in this professional organization.

Besides being chairwomen of EPWNG’s Board of Directors, she is a founding partner of Infinity Strategic Partners, a financial services firm, which assists small business owners and many professional women with financial planning.

In addition to her many professional achievements through the years, Baum is Co-President of the Vision for Tomorrow Foundation, an organization that raises money to fund research for eye conditions suffered by children. Inspired by her son’s rare eye condition, which could lead to blindness if research doesn’t find a cure, she created a 3-on-3 basketball tournament through the organization. This fund-raising event was attended by more than 600 people in 2009-11 and has raised more than $100,000. In addition, she sits on the Board of the First Bank of Highland Park.

EPWNG is extremely proud of all that you have achieved!

Vicki Gerson, president of Vicki Gerson & Associates, Inc. is a web/print writer and public relations consultant. She writes ghost blogs, websites, press releases and much more to get her clients the visibility they need for their business. [email protected]


By T-Ann Pierce

I was recently introduced to the mayor of a North Shore town. Upon hearing I was a life coach, he rolled his eyes, raised a skeptical eyebrow and quipped, “You can’t teach people to be happy. Either they are or they aren’t. People choose one over the other.”   

As if it was that easy.

Remember our earlier years, when we blissfully subsisted in cramped apartments, surviving on a steady diet of ramen noodles and cheap wine? Age and wisdom complicates life. Today we have relationships to maintain, mortgages to pay, children to educate, deadlines to meet and unceasing pressure to get enough fiber in our diet. 

We are seasoned women. We know pain can be a powerful teacher. The Disney ideal of happiness is elusive and berating ourselves for feeling dispirited hardly brings happiness.

What if, with a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race mentality, we decided to “choose success” over happiness? While this concept is unglamorous and tedious at times, it does, indeed, win a lot of races.

Did you know, a $4.00 a day coffee habit will cost $60.00 in three weeks? That is $1,000 a year. Compounded, that is $51,833.79 in twenty years - the cost of a BMW!

Did you know, consuming 125 fewer calories a day and walking just a tad more, will result in a loss of 33.5 pounds in 31 months?

Imagine the ripple effect small, consistent changes can make in your life. How would your relationships be affected? Your bank account? Your health?

To get started, simply choose several seemingly inconsequential steps to take every day that will take your life in a new and positive direction. Write down and confront excuses you might be clinging to. Become the tortoise. Go slow and steady. Create new habits. Choose success.

T-Ann Pierce is a personal well-being coach and the owner of TAP Into Purpose, where she inspires busy women to cultivate lives filled with confidence and purpose.  Through her workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions, women rediscover joy and are able to put deeper meaning back into their lives.