Schaumburg area business owners got a dose of entrepreneurial advice with their
morning coffee Tuesday from four women CEOS at the Schaumburg Business
Association's monthly Good Morning Schaumburg networking breakfast.
The diverse panel of speakers talked about overcoming challenges such as gender, ethnic, and racial stereotypes, balancing work-life priorities, and mentoring future women entrepreneurs and leaders.
Achieving work-life balance requires a lifestyle adjustment and changing the way entrepreneurs think and live, said Kathy Miller, president and chief creative officer for Total Event Resources in Schaumburg.
Miller said she has traveled all over the world for work and banquet rooms look the same no matter in which exotic location the events are held.
"Our priority should be our health, our family," she said. "Try and find the goodness in where you are at and what you are doing."
Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz, director of JJR Marketing Consultants LLC of Naperville, said her secret to balancing her work and personal life is being present in the moment and giving 100 percent to the job at hand.
"I don't have time to think about what people think because I'm so busy challenging myself," she said. "I don't balance it. I embrace it. There is so much beauty in my world, there's just no space for anything else beyond that."
Camacho-Ruiz said another key to success for immigrants such as herself is working hard to become integrated into the larger society.
She said she didn't let her Mexican immigrant roots hold her back despite being told her freshman year at Schaumburg High School that it would take her four years to become bilingual.
Camacho-Ruiz said she taught herself and became bilingual within a year. She also started learning German, and by the time she graduated high school she was the only Hispanic to be on the National Honor Society and German Honor Society.
"It doesn't matter where you came from," she said. "It's about embracing the culture ... and getting the results."
Having women mentors to look up to, to bounce off ideas, and find support was key to each of their individual successes, the CEOs said.
DaVetta Collins, a motivational speaker and founder/director of Dunamis Woman, Inc., of Schaumburg, said she has been through many developmental stages during her career.
Collins created a coaching program for young entrepreneurs on how to mentor, providing men and women with insight on how to break through barriers for success.
"Entrepreneurs can go through a lot of challenges, but in the midst of that how do we keep our businesses thriving," she said. "My mantra is 'Dee Speaks, You Think.'"
Giving back to the community through volunteering also is a big part of being a leader, said Lauren Young, CEO and founder of Freshly Baked Communications of Crystal Lake.
Young, who volunteers on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lake County, said though she had a pretty normal life growing up on Chicago's South Side many of her friends were going through challenges that motivated her to help find solutions. Young said she lost her first mentor, her grandmother, earlier this week.
"She always taught me how to dress for success. She taught me how to negotiate," she said.
SBA President Kaili Harding said the purpose of Tuesday's breakfast was to honor and highlight women entrepreneurs who are leaders within the association, to learn from their experiences, and to inspire other women to "do great things."
"I like hearing from other women," Harding said, adding that she chose the speakers because each had different leadership styles, headed different businesses, and came from diverse backgrounds.
"A lot of women struggle with that work-life balance. I've gone through divorce. I was a single mom trying to figure out how to make ends meet."
Harding said she got her confidence to lead "through being inspired by other women."
There are misconceptions about women entrepreneurs being highly competitive among themselves, but the opposite often is true, she added.
"There is an inherent nurturing instinct in women that they want to nurture other women around them," Harding said.
The event was sponsored by the Daily Herald. Next month's Good Morning Schaumburg will focus on how businesses can work with the media.
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