Ladies who lunch

“What WIN really brings to me is a lot of possibility.
When you’re on your own you can get down.
WIN has a good energy, a good vibe. There is solidarity.”
~ Yasmina Marie Bacon, Belle d’Argane

Next Tuesday (June 19), the Ladies (and gents) of WIN will gather to celebrate a milestone. 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 “to foster massive business growth for women entrepreneurs, through innovation, inclusion, and inspiration, in a positive and ethical environment.” 

photo courtesy Valerie Beck

The very first WIN luncheon in 2011

The ladiesofwin web site 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. 

WIN co-founders Erica Thomas and Valerie Beck

“Besides the networking that we do at WIN
we go to other events (members participate in).
It evolves into other connections.”

~ Chris Pierucci, Final Draft  

Since the first Women’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. 

“I love that we always have the ability to give back.
You always learn something at an Innovation Circle.”

~ Fernanda Hopkins, KBBC 

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. 

photo courtesy DaShan Thomas

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 “Tuscany on the Fox River,” Erica Thomas promised pampering, educational sessions, and a pajama movie night.

“I know you’re going places, it’s exciting.”
~ 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. 

“We believe in networking and having fun.
Why not have fun with what you do?”

~ Erica Thomas,

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.

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