â€œWhat WIN really brings to me is a lot of possibility.
When youâ€™re on your own you can get down.
WIN has a good energy, a good vibe. There is solidarity.â€
~ Yasmina Marie Bacon, Belle dâ€™Argane
Next Tuesday (June 19), the Ladies (and gents) of WIN will gather to celebrate a milestone.Â Last year at this time, two determined entrepreneurial ladies embarked on a new beginning, forming an organization of support, information sharing and social responsibility with the aim to uplift and energize: the Women’s Innovation Network. The actual mission of WIN is â€œto foster massive business growth for women entrepreneurs, through innovation, inclusion, and inspiration, in a positive and ethical environment.â€ ï¿¼
The very first WIN luncheon in 2011
The ladiesofwin web siteÂ was launched from the car right before the first WIN luncheon. Co-founder Erica Thomas said that she and Valerie Beck had an idea for a new type of organization, but did not anticipate how many other people would dedicate their time, energy and spirit to WIN. ï¿¼
WIN co-founders Erica Thomas and Valerie Beck
â€œBesides the networking that we do at WIN
we go to other events (members participate in).
It evolves into other connections.â€
~ Chris Pierucci, Final Draft Â
Since the first Womenâ€™s Innovation Network luncheon, the (nonprofit) organization implemented regular monthly events: Spa & Cupcakes on the first Tuesday of the month, Innovation Circles on the third Friday of the month, and Fireside chats on the last Sunday of the month. Meanwhile, special events like panel discussions, trade fair exhibits, one-day and multi-day retreats, days of service and glamorous galas provide further cause for celebration, inspiration, and connecting. ï¿¼
â€œI love that we always have the ability to give back.
You always learn something at an Innovation Circle.â€
~ Fernanda Hopkins, KBBCÂ
The drive of cofounders Valerie Beck and Erica Thomas inspires a zest for life, entrepreneurship and fun which energizes each of us into creating a better future for our business and for our community. ï¿¼
Just after the first luncheon, the first annual summer retreat was held in Geneva, IL. The second summer retreat will be held July 17 to 19 (for day-trippers, the 18th is the recommended day to attend). Deemed â€œTuscany on the Fox River,â€ Erica Thomas promised pampering, educational sessions, and a pajama movie night.
â€œI know youâ€™re going places, itâ€™s exciting.â€
~ Mary Doherty-Monahan, Lia Sophia
The first anniversary luncheon will be held at Lee Wing Wah restaurant in Chicago’s Chinatown at 2147 S. China Place, 15 minutes from downtown. Tickets are $15 per person, including lunch and tea. Parking is available in the nearby lot at Wentworth and Cermak. ï¿¼
â€œWe believe in networking and having fun.
Why not have fun with what you do?â€
~ Erica Thomas,Â Massupdater.com
ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.