Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Professional Women's Council 2010 Schedule

Among the many things I have my hand in, I'm the chairwoman of the Professional Women's Council of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce (where I also serve on the Board of Directors). When I first joined the Chamber, I immediately got involved with the PWC because I believed that it would be great for my business. Professional women are my target market after all. What I didn't realize then was just how much I would get out of the group personally, as well as professionally, and the many opportunities I would have to give back to these amazing women. I'm really proud of my affiliation with this group of professional women (and some men too!) and was so honored about 14 months ago when I was asked to be the co-chair for 2009 and then the chair for 2010.

Each month our group meets at different restaurants in Arlington Heights for a two-hour networking and business building meeting. We often have speakers who educate us on different ways to build our businesses, ways to improve our lives, or topics of general interest. Past topics have included a panel on how to survive the economic recession, goal setting workshops, and speed networking along with more fun things like a fashion show. Life coach (and fellow Lake Forest College alum!) Shawna Myers helped us find our core values. Sports columnist Christine Brennan came to speak a couple of years ago about life as the first woman to cover the Washington Redskins and her life in the sports industry.

As I was beginning to prepare for my year as chairwoman, I knew there were some topics I would find of interest, but the PWC isn't about me. It's about the 40-60 women who take two hours of their day to attend our monthly luncheons and it was important to me to give them exactly what they wanted. Additionally, I wanted to know what motivated them to participate in the PWC and conversely what kept them from attending. In a nutshell, I wanted to know why PWC was important to them and what could be done to make it a "not-to-be-missed" event each month.

I also faced one large challenge: my budget for the year was one-quarter what it had been in previous years, so I had to create an outstanding year with almost no budget. Viewing this hurdle as an opportunity, I decided to get creative. So I prepared a 9-question multiple choice (with room for longer answers) survey that went out to all Chamber members and received a 10% response rate (which I learned is an excellent response rate). Questions included:
  1. How many PWC luncheons have you attended in 2009?
  2. Why do you attend PWC?
  3. Why don't you attend PWC?
  4. Is the $18 cost of lunch about right, too high or two low?
  5. What is a better price?
  6. Would you be interested in having PWC meet as a brown bag lunch event with a nominal $5 fee for room cost rather than having it at a restaurant?
  7. Would you be interested in having PWC meet either before work (7:30-9 or 8-9:30) or after work (4-6 or 5-7)?
  8. What kinds of topics and speakers would you be interested in for 2010? (choose as many as you want)
    - progressive networking lunch without a speaker;
    - pros and cons of Social Networking;
    - social PWC event;
    - women in government;
    - local author doing a book reading from his book about growing up in Arlington Heights;
    - nationally known business coach speaking on how to double your business;
    - protecting yourself from identity theft;
    - laughter is the best medicine/stress relief workshop;
    - dress for success fashion show;
    - creating new holiday traditions and reducing holiday stress;
    - volunteer opportunities in Arlington Heights;
    - volunteer outing with a local non-profit;
    - caring for elderly parents and services available;
    - retirement planning seminar; or
    - history of Arlington Heights
  9. Would you be interested in speaking or do you know of a potential speaker in 2010?
Based on the survey feedback, I decided that the theme for 2010 would be "It's All About You!" because I learned that members want more value from their membership including more exposure for their businesses, more networking and business building opportunities, more business education, and speakers from within the group, whenever possible. They also told me exactly what types of programming they wanted for the year. I'm really proud that the 2010 PWC schedule meets each of the members' desires.

(Click on the picture to read all the exciting PWC events for 2010)

You don't have to be a member of the PWC or of the Chamber to attend our luncheons, although being a PWC member gives you a monthly discount on the cost of the luncheon. If you're not a member, but are interested in visiting our group to learn more about us or about the Chamber, we'd love to meet you!


  1. thanks for your post today. i am interested in attending a luncheon. :)

  2. You are welcome Sarah! To register for a luncheon, visit or become a fan of the Chamber on Facebook and you'll get updated with everything over there! I hope to see you this year.


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