February 2018 Print

President's Update

A Message from IWF Chicago President, Mary Lee Montague

Dear IWF Friends,

2018 is in full swing and IWF Chicago has a full year planned!

As a membership driven organization we depend on YOU, the membership, to support the many efforts of IWF Chicago. Please consider jumping in, getting involved, making a difference, and perhaps joining a committee or raising your hand for a leadership role!

One grand opportunity just kicking off is The Signature Event Committee. With a full year of planning in front of them the Committee will be working on a VERY special Signature presentation related to International Women’s Day, March 2019. Would you be interested in joining the planning? Chair, Kathleen Yosko, and Chair elect, Kerry Jordan, are very experienced in event planning and could use you and your grand ideas. Reach out and make a difference for YOUR IWF.

  • A special shout out to members who have recently made a difference in ‘Building Bridges’: 

    • Sylvia van Loveren for all the time and diligence you put into updating our bylaws as well as your keen ability to ‘project manage’ so many board initiatives. 

    • The Program Committee led by Lynn Osmond and Sarah Bader…wow! for some really impressive and well thought out programming to ‘build bridges’ for our membership. 

    • Amanda Signorelli for your techie expertise and taking on the task of getting our LinkedIn Group running on all cylinders. 

    • The Membership Criteria Subcommittee, Kerry Jordan, Donna de St. Aubin, Brooke Wiseman, and Holly Van Deursen, did a great job updating ourmembership criteria in a very thoughtful manner. So well done, IWF Global picked it for ‘best practice’ and is now using it as a benchmark for Forums around the world. 

    • Joyce Simon for her attention to detail especially when it comes to the bylaws and our finances. 

    • JoAnn Seagren, with help from Beth Tracey and Thania Panopoulos, forconducting the membership survey via one on one phone calls. The data is essential for leading our initiatives as well as providing members a platform to be heard. 

    • To the anonymous IWF members (you know who you are)who took the time to have honest and candid phone conversations regarding membership participation. 

    • Jennifer Warden for her tenacity to get IWF to embrace the use of Google docs. 

    • To all the 30 IWF members who ‘sold out’ our first Be Your Best session. 

    • Advance ‘atta girls’ to the nominating committee: Kathleen Carroll, Susie Gallagher, Kristen Prinz, Ana Dutra, led by Chair, Lynne Nellemann and Sylvia van Loveren for your leadership abilities over the coming year to identify and cultivate our future leadership. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT initiative for any IWF Forum. 

    • Thea Polancic for donating her professionalism and time to facilitating the IWF Chicago Strategic Action Plan discussion as well as the upcoming Strategic Planning process. 

    • Chris Glatz and Michelle Fowler, from Glatz Management, for keeping so many ‘Type A’s’ on track in so many ways… 

    • 2018-2019 Board of Directors for your stellar participation and attendance to our monthly board meetings. Just wow! The fact you all show up and engage is such a gift to the IWF membership. You are all making a difference and advancing the IWF mission. 

    • Laurel Bellows for your representation on the IWF Global Board of Directors. It is a real bonus to have ‘one of our own’ making decisions for all IWF members worldwide. 

    • IWF Leadership Foundation Board member, former IWF Fellow and IWF Chicago member Kathleen Carroll for joining me in Rome for the IWF Leadership Foundation Board meeting. We make a great team! And what a bonus to have two board members from Chicago on the foundation board with other women from around the world. 

Please consider joining this list of dedicated members and get involved with IWF Chicago and ‘Together…Build Bridges’!

Bravo to all.

Mary Lee Montague
IWF Chicago President and Board of Directors, IWF Leadership Foundation
Managing Partner Nonprofit Practice, DHR International

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Program News

Kicking off our quarterly "Be Your Best" professional development program series, D.B. Wienke joined a sold-out session of IWF Members on Wednesday, February 7th at the Union League Club to share her “secret sauce” strategies for LinkedIn Success.  As a former Chief Marketing Executive and current LinkedIn authority, D.B. explained the benefit of taking charge of our social network to not only provide greater transparency as leaders, but also to broaden our reach.   She provided participants with helpful tips on how to manage our online reputation, improve our social "net worth", and more effectively manage the power of our LinkedIn network. As a bonus she offered everyone attending a pro bono session to continue the conversation. A big thank you to D.B. for helping us maximize our social voice as we work ‘Together to Build Bridges’ across the globe.

The next “Be Your Best” program is currently scheduled for April 25.  Details and registration will be available soon.  Additional programs are being developed…ideas are welcome.  Contact Lynn Osmond, IWF Program Chair or a member of the Program Committee.

Below are the key take aways from the LinkedIn ‘Be Your Best’ Presentation. 

  1. There is a social reputation which elevates your company reputation and market value, according to a sentinel study tracking 1,700 global CEOs in 2012, 2014 and 2016.  CEOs understand the social mandate to speak to many, not just a few, instantaneously via the internet.
  2. Share your leadership observations by publishing from your personal LinkedIn page as a thought / opinion leader.  While other social platform may be used, LinkedIn platform encourages social engagement by like, share or comment.
  3. Comment is better than like; share with a comment is best practice when supporting a synergistic partner (client, peer.)
  4. Connect with strategic verticals to include peers, current and future customers and strategic alliances. 
  5. Optimize your own profile with keywords in the right places.
  6. Ask your board of directors to participate in those activities to advance leadership directives.  Nurture donors, engage future board leadership or share cause-related information to gain traction among others.
  7. Introduce synergistic relationships using LinkedIn messaging to build rapport and pave the way for improved relationships.
  8. Help your subordinates by being the gateway for them to formulate relationships at lower levels within outside organizations since you are connected to the top leader.
  9. People don't follow websites -- ask your team to fortify your LinkedIn company page which encourages followers for higher engagement of your brand(s) messaging and heightened distribution among individuals networks.
  10. Encourage all employees to follow your company page which geometrically expands the reach of your messaging.
  11. Use the @name to tag people when you share a significant comment on another leader update.  Use a question to incite a response.
  12. Your LinkedIn profile (when optimized) helps SEO with search engines; the same is true for LinkedIn publishing from your personal profile since your article's title includes your name.


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Welcome New Members

The IWF Chicago Membership Committee is excited to announce the newest members of the Forum.  Please join us in welcoming these amazing women; they would enjoy hearing from a local member.


Sophia Shaw
Acorn Advisors LLC / Kellogg School
Managing Partner / Adjunct Professor



Melinda Whittington
Chief Financial Officer



Please take a moment to review the updated membership criteria.   If you know of a qualified prospect and would like to sponsor her, please complete the online sponsor form. It just takes a few minutes - the form is found under the Candidates tab or click hereA prospective member must have two member sponsors before the prospect will be requested to complete the membership application. Once all three required items are received (the two sponsor forms and the candidate application), the membership committee will review and present the candidate to the IWF Chicago board.

If you have questions about the membership process, please contact Michelle at the admin office: info@iwfchicago.org or the IWF Chicago Membership Chair Amy Dordek Dolinsky or Chair Elect Collete English Dixon


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Upcoming Events


Saturday, March 3
12:00pm to 3:00pm

O'Hare Airport / United Polaris Lounge
Members, Family and Friends Welcome


Tuesday, March 20
5:15pm to 7:00pm

     Featuring Australian Consul General Michael Wood      

The Press Room
Members and Guests Welcome

Friday, April 6
11:45am to 1:30pm

     Ending Gender-Based Violence
   In partnership with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs  

One Prudential Plaza
Members and Guests Welcome



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Hosted at IWF Chicago Member Homes
Registration will open first week of March



Wednesday, April 25
8:00am to 10:00am


Member-Only Event



May 2 - 4, 2018
Melbourne, Australia




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Amazing Women News


  Amy Dordek Dolinsky, Co-Founder and Managing Director, GrowthPlay, was named by The Chicago Business Journal as a 2018 Women of Influence.  The women recognized are women who’ve made an impact both professionally and in their communities.  Read more...
First Midwest Bancorp, Inc. ("First Midwest") and First Midwest Bank announced the appointment of Kathleen S. Carroll as Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.  She will be responsible for all aspects of First Midwest's people activities, including recruiting, talent management, organizational development and total rewards to support First Midwest's operations and continued growth. 
Bets Lillo is back from volunteering at the PyeongChange Olympics!  Check out her article below and read about her amazing experience.



PyeongChang Olympics
Written by Bets Lillo

"I'd rather be inspired by my competition than be jealous."
Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson inspired her competition – echoing her Sochi gold medal performance in snowboard’s slopestyle competition with a win in PyeongChang, and seconding it with a silver in the big air competition. On the same day as that silver medal performance, the US women’s hockey team beat Canada for the gold for the first time in twenty years, and Kikkan Randall, mom and five time Olympian, teamed with Jessica Diggins to earn the US’ first gold in the cross country sprint free relay. And that was only part of one day of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games.

After years of parallel live-streaming and TV watching for Turin and Sochi, London and Rio, and volunteering for sporting events at multiple levels, I had the opportunity to support team USA as a volunteer in PyeongChang.

Successful Olympic Games rely on armies of volunteers. Volunteer roles with the organizing committee for the host city help with ticket sales, security processing, logistics and transportation, venue activities and spectator/athlete information. Country delegations rely on volunteers for roles with hospitality, medical support, logistics and helping athletes get outfitted for the games.

In nine days, fewer than 90 people, including 29 volunteers, helped outfit and transport 311 athletes and 230 staff from Team USA for the PyeongChang Olympics. By the time the Olympics and the Paralympics are finished, over 58,000 units of gear from Ralph Lauren, Nike, Oakley and Omega, and 1000 pairs of shoes will have been fitted (and tailored!) for Team USA competitors and staff. It’s an amazing operation.


It’s a labor of love for volunteers, who pay their own way and wear their own clothes.

It’s easy to be awed by our athletes’ jumps and tricks, and their focus, grace and speed. As a volunteer, I was equally awed by the character of our athletes. For example, the women on our curling team all have demanding full time jobs. They live in different cities and states. They are nurses, pharmacists and account executives during the week. On the weekends, they show their dedication to the sport by traveling 3-4 hours to practice or compete together. During the Olympics, they played a demanding schedule that often included both morning and evening matches, more than two hours each.

As athletes arrived at the games, each one was fitted with Nike podium and media outfits, as well as clothes for wearing around the Olympic village. The Ralph Lauren outfits for the Opening and Closing ceremonies were custom tailored, real-time, to each athlete or coach. Our athletes arrived individually and in groups from the US, as well as from training venues in Japan and Europe, up through the day of opening ceremonies. As volunteers and staff gathered around a live feed to watch athletes and staff march into the opening ceremonies from our work location, our grins were as big as those of any Olympic medalist.

Share your amazing news with us!.  Send your news to info@iwfchicago.org and we will include your submission in an upcoming newsletter.  

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Australia Pre and Post Tour Options

Registration is still open for the Cornerstone Conference in Melbourne.  Below is a list of the 13 Chicago members currently registered to attend the World Cornerstone Conference in Melbourne, Australia.


Roula Alakiotou Roula Associates Architects, Chtd.
Laurel Bellows The Bellows Law Group
Victoria Dudley TTX Company
Pamela Forbes Lieberman Former President, CEO & Board Member True Value Company
Eileen Henderson Syntec Holdings
Lee Ann Hoover Navigant Consulting, Inc.
Bets Lillo AbbVie Inc.
Lisa McClung Lismore International
Elizabeth Melas Rush University Medical Center
Alice Peterson Williams Partners, LP
Sylvia Pozarnsky Column Capital
J. Usha Raj Children's Hospital University of Illinois at Chicago
Joyce Simon Retired, John G. Shedd Aquarium

For those that will be arriving a few days prior to the May 2nd conference start, IWF Chicago and Australia member Eileen Henderson will be hosting a networking reception in Sydney on April 26.  Eileen has also worked with her local travel expert to draft a few pre and post conference tour options.   Please take a look at the options and let the travel agent know if you may be interested in any of these tour options.  Once we get a pulse for the interest in options, the agent will move forward with making travel plans.


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News You Can Use from the Admin Office


LinkedIn Group
You are invited to join the IWF Chicago Linkedin Group.  Don't miss out on member-only posts and conversation.  Here is the link to join: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/6640010   


Membership Profiles

Did you know your membership profile is available for viewing in both the IWF Chicago online directory and the IWF Global online directory.  Be sure that your profile is accurate!  Your organization name, email address, phone, should be reviewed and updated.  Any changes made in the IWF Chicago database will be shared with IWF Global.   Login as a member to www.iwfchicago.org and view your member profile.  For step by step instructions, click here.


If you need assistance, please contact Michelle Fowler in the administrator's office:  815-806-4908 or email info@iwfchicago.org

Login Credentials - Members Section on Chicago Website
If you do not recall your login or password for the Chicago website, visit www.iwfchicago.org and choose the Members tab on the top menu bar.  Then click on the Forgot Username/Password? and provide your email address (the email that is on file with IWF).  You will receive an email with your login information and directions on how to reset your password.  If you continue to have problems email Michelle Fowler at info@iwfchicago.org or call 815.806.4908.

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Job Postings

If you have a job posting you would like to share with the membership, please provide the general description and the contact information to the IWF Chicago administrator's office.  The posting will be included in an upcoming newsletter and will be listed in the Classified section in the Members Only section of the IWF Chicago website.    Send job postings to info@iwfchicago.org 

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Other Events of Interest

IWF Chicago is pleased to share local events of interest with our members.  Please send information to info@iwfchicago.org.  We will include these events in our newsletter and on the IWF Chicago website. 

NACD: Activists at the Gate
March 8, 2018
The Chicago Club
7:45am to 9:30am
CLICK HERE to learn more 

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Tech Trailblazers for Social Good
March 8, 2018
Chicago Council of Global Affairs Conference Center
11:45am to 1:30pm
CLICK HERE to learn more 

The Chicago Network: Women in the Forefront
April 20, 2018
Chicago Hilton and Towers
8:00am to 1:30pm
CLICK HERE to learn more

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