Friday night was the Chamber Dinner. It was a great night and I really felt like a Queen (dressed head to toe by Your Best Friend’s Closet). I was nominated for Volunteer of the Year and won. That was nice and I’m truly grateful. But that was not really the great part….
Five years ago I went to the Chamber dinner. I knew six people, counting the four I came with. I stayed with my group and got out of there as soon as possible. A year ago, I decided to make my membership work for me. Honestly, I wasn’t sure that was possible, but I was going to try. Did I ever mention, I HATE networking? It makes me sick, nervous and self-conscious. So I jumped in and never looked back. I started with the Ambassador Group and I sponsored an APW lunch. Then I found my way over to Café Firefly (where you run into everyone) to work. And I tried Social Media, I met Viki and things were never the same.
Social Media helped me branch out and meet people in a room where you are working. It was so much better than circling a room with a drink trying to find an opening to give your 30 second commercial. I met great people and we became friends. THEN, we started to network. I joined DPWN from meeting people at the Chamber. These groups have brought me lasting friendships and business partners. Amazing things have grown from all of these relationships. I run with these people. We advise each other. We trust each other. And yes, we do business with each other. I buy my vitamins from Theresa, my Mary Kay from Karen, my Queen was designed by Julie, my website was done by Elizabeth, my chocolate from Claudia, Angel has picked up my son and taken him to track and countless others work together.
I joined the Chamber for business and I got what I wanted. But the greatest part is that in the end, I got so much more. At this year’s dinner, my husband was sick, so I went alone. I knew at least half the people in the room, so it didn’t matter. I stayed until the end and cheered for the people and businesses nominated for awards. I knew each one of them. Everyone laughs when I say I hate networking now. I don’t really, I can see the end game. I have a different set of questions when I meet people. What do you? Are you on FB? Do you want to join our running group?
Here were all the nominees:
Business of the Year: Jersey Mike’s LITH, Diamond Physical Therapy, VanderWeit Chiropractic.
New Business of the Year: Allstar Taxi & Transport, Sparrows Nest Thrift Store & Donation Ctr., Intrigue Fitness.
Volunteer of the Year: Denise Benages/HR Midwest, Viki Hettinger/Wintrust Mortgage and Roberta Wajrowski/RCW Tax Services.
Congratulations to all of you! Best Wishes in 2013!