WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS SEMINAR
I'm back from Chicago and ready to report my findings!
First, let me tell about my trip. Using hotels.com I located what I thought was a reasonably priced room for Chicago, $108 per night, having stayed downtown for more. The description was for an older hotel from the roaring twenties, set in a neighborhood with shops, restaurants, and more. It got good ratings from visitors, so I booked. What I didn't know was that Oak Park was a little further from downtown than I had stayed before.
The Write Inn Hotel is set in the historic district of Oak Park, Illinois. It was built in 1926 as a SRO (short residency occupancy), and eventually evolved into the 65 room hotel of today. Oak Park has some of the finest examples of Frank Lloyd Wright designs in the country, as well as Victorian and Prairie style homes. Ernest Hemingway's birthplace is nearby and the Hemingway Museum is directly across the street from the hotel.
As I rode in the airport van I had hired for the round trip, I began to get nervous as we seemed to be getting farther and farther from the city. But, as soon as we turned onto N. Oak Park Ave., and I saw the "L" train, I began to relax. The description also said that the train was a short ride and about 9 miles to the Navy Pier, where the WE Seminar was to be held.
My first night, I took a short walk to the Avenue Lake Plaza District. I visited their beautiful new library, browsed in book stores, stopped in The Paper Source, a great stationary chain that we don't have here in NY, and had a bite at one of my favorite eateries, Panera Bread.
The next morning I grabbed a quick chai tea and muffin, and jumped on the green line heading for downtown. The very nice woman at the front desk gave me the directions to the Navy Pier, which involved one train, one bus and the free trolley, all for only $5 round trip. Time consuming, but a great buy for the money.
Country Living Magazine really puts on a fantastic seminar for women entrepreneurs. The Navy Pier was a new venue for the event, since attendance keeps growing each year by about 200, and there must have been 700 women, or more! They come from all over the country, all different backgrounds and all types of businesses, and all are there to launch a business, or take what they've started to the next level. I was lucky enough to meet three Chicago natives, Janet, Vicki and Mary, immediately after arriving, and we enjoyed the seminar together. I hope to stay in touch with these terrific ladies, and watch them "bank on their bliss"!
The guest speakers and panelists were interviewed by the editor-in-chief and other editors. Some of the speakers included: Rosanna Bowles, owner of an international tableware company; Margaret Josephs, founder of The Macbeth Collection, a designer and manufacturer of home and office accessories, desired by the likes of Oprah and Jennifer Anitston; and Mary Liz Curtin, writer, speaker and consultant specializing in the gift and home industries, just to name a few. To close the event, five of the women entrepreneurs featured in the June 2009 issue, spoke about the struggles and triumphs of starting their businesses, and inspired all of the attendees to keep at it as well.
When I leave this event, I'm always motivated to continue on my journey, to see where the road takes me, and to inspire others along the way! If you made it through this post, I hope it inspired you too!