Summer Retreat nuggets

“The ABC’s of Success:
Attitude, Belief and Commitment.”
~Valerie Beck

One perk of the Women’s Innovation Network is rubbing elbows with Chicago’s chocolate expert, Valerie Beck. As the founder of Chicago Chocolate Tours, she ensured that WIN’s 2012 Summer Retreat was sweetened at all times.

We were even given a private Geneva Chocolate Tour, which certainly is one of my favorites.

“Dedicate yourself to listen twice as much as you speak.”
~ Donna Smith-Bellinger, Integrity Marketing Workshop

We also listened to inspirational speakers who gave us tips on how to better our own businesses.

“If you took the fear and money out of it,
what would you do, what would you be,
what would you bring to the party?”
~ Donna Smith-Bellinger, Integrity Marketing Workshop

During the Greening your Business Workshop, Shari Rajish of Peaceful Parlour introduced to sugarcane paper, wax sandwich wraps, bamboo sporks, and other green items.

“You can live in style and comfort
without sacrificing the green lifestyle.”
~ Shari Rajish

She recommends using glass jars and bottles over plastic for both human and earth longevity. Shari shared the following links with us to further research greening our business and our lives: Rebinder; Power2Switch;; green e-mail; Environmental Working Group.

“Once you become aware it becomes a snowball effect,
you can’t unlearn it.”  
~ Shari Rajish

One key nugget was to not have ‘green guilt’: if we are forced to drive to our work, we should not feel guilty about not biking there. We can only do what our circumstances allow, but with awareness, we can be better stewards of the earth one small change at a time. Shari herself made gradual changes, without throwing things out ‘just to throw them out,’ but instead using them to the end of their life cycle/usability.

“There’s progress, not perfection.” 
~ Shari Rajish

The Peaceful Parlour was also a Chocolate Tour stop.

Our cupcake supplier The Sugar Path presented more sweetness at Galena Wine Cellars.

We also sampled wine, including my first taste of Rhubarb wine.

And we bumped into sweetness again at the farmers market the next morning.

Pie with heart, so cute!


“I’m in charge of my attitude, nobody else is.”
~ Valerie Beck, Tips for Confident Networking

Preservation Bread and Wine had the best ganache tart, and became a lunch stop the next day as well

Our dinners at Atwaters Restaurant  and Fiora’s were well-documented.

“If you don’t meet a goal it doesn’t matter,
because you learned from that process.”

~Donna Smith-Bellinger, Integrity Marketing Workshop

Graham’s 318 offered a chilled hot Cocoa which was a lovely refreshment on a hot day.

The retreat was capped with a fancy high tea at Atwater’s Restaurant, after which we all left for home with new tips to implement, ideas to ponder, inspiration to guide us, and a deepened support network. We’ll be checking in with each other on October 2, when the Women’s Innovation Networks hosts a Creativity for Business Day at Lillstreet and MySpa.

 “You are the best you in the world.”
~ Valerie Beck

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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