Chicago-area Boomer Business Women’s Conference Emcee Discusses to Dye or not too Dye

June 5th, 2015

trishaThis blog first appeared on the “Maximize Your Career – Business Tools for Women over 50″ Aug. 28 conference site.

To dye or not to dye – that is the question.

As a human resources consultant, I have been asked many times over the past few years by women and occasionally by men, “Should I dye my hair as I begin a new job search?”

Competency is not based on any color, hair or otherwise, but there is such a thing as bias that can come into play in the interview process for any applicant over 50. A few years ago in Silicon Valley, a male CEO over 50 was being turned down for position after position. He would leave an interview feeling confident that an offer was going to result only to find it went to a less-experienced younger person. So he decided to change his interview tactic. He shaved his gray hair, traded in his loafers and business suit for sneakers and casual wear, and he got the next job.

As a search consultant, I had one executive say to me, “Don’t you think women past a certain age should dye their hair, and pay more attention to their appearance?” This coming from a guy with a head of gray hair and a paunch.

So back to the question, “Should you dye your hair?” It is an individual decision; however, if it is gray, or white, I would suggest that it be professionally cut and styled.

Other things that can date women are pantyhose. Princess Kate may have helped to revive the pantyhose industry but unless you are a princess and hanging in that circle, I would lose the pantyhose as well. There are great over-the-counter bronzers if you feel your legs are not suitable to bare legs, and pants suits are still very much in style.

Competency isn’t biased but some of the people making the decision may be.


Is Courtesy Losing Importance in Face-to-Face Communication?

June 1st, 2015

warn[1]Eye contact is a vital ingredient of in-person communication whether one-on-one or in meetings and seminars, at least I haven’t seen research that that has changed. Its absence is particularly noticeable in small meetings. It’s obvious when people are looking down at their laps or keep glancing sideways toward the phones they perpetually have lying next to them … even at one-on-one breakfast and luncheon meetings.

I think it’s common courtesy to make eye contact with a person whom you have engaged in conversation by offering or accepting an invitation to meet or at an event or in the office.

Is there a new form of courtesy (or lack thereof) that says you can interrupt the flow of the conversation and obviously look away to text, read an email or accept a call when you “hear” your phone?

Do you make the person you are with feel less important than an email or phone call from someone you have not engaged to meet with you? Is it okay for the person to be frustrated by the interruptions or in the guise of changing communication rules, does that person also begin checking emails and texting?

Granted there may be periodic urgent calls; however, are so many people today really that important … or do they believe they are and want you to have the same perception? Or do they need to be in 24/7 contact with multiple people simultaneously?

I have yet to meet a multi-tasking communication skills expert!

Last week I attended a small meeting where the unstructured discussion was on a potential leadership gap down the road since Millennials have different values than Baby Boomers, the experts on that topic say.

An example was brought up of a company that changed a rule because Millennials didn’t like it … it was an inconvenience. The conversation than lead to a discussion that the lack of courtesy might need to be accepted since it is becoming acceptable to handle emails and texts during meetings.

Before I ask what you think, I want to share what the other meeting attendees said when I asked them why they (and they were either Boomers or very near there to) had their phones lying on the table by them:

    • My jeans are tight, and I needed a place to put my phone.
    • I’m meeting someone afterwards, and I wanted to see if he was on his way.
    • To see the time … although I realize now there is a clock on the wall in front of me.
    • Habit.
    • I needed to see if anyone was cancelling this morning

And so now I ask you, is common courtesy less important that it used to be?


Over 40 Females is new Chicago-area Boomer Business Women’s Conference Sponsor

May 27th, 2015

Over40FemalesLogoThe “Maximize Your Career – Business Tools for Women over 50” (MYC) conference is delighted to welcome Over 40 Females as a new sponsor. The event will be from 8:15 am – 4 pm Aug. 28 at DePaul University/Naperville.

The Chicago Chapter of Over 40 Females headed by Managing Director Shannon Bednowicz was launched in April of 2013. The parent organization was founded in 2010 by Judy Goss after meeting and listening to the needs of thousands of women as an editor and national TV spokesperson for More Magazine.

“We are not just another networking group,” Shannon said. “We focus on helping employed women and those in transition further their careers, start a business, build relationships, increase confidence, improve health awareness and gain information about fashion and beauty.

“We specifically connect a community of women over 40 to increase awareness for our demographic on an international scale and create a higher standard of pride and confidence
for the generations of Over 40 Females to come,” Shannon said.

“We are especially pleased to welcome this community of women over 40 to the conference,” said Lillian Bjorseth, MYC creator and producer. “We want to share what Boomer women are experiencing in the work place to better prepare those who will reach that age in the next 10 years.”

The Chicago Over 40 Females chapter meets the first or second Tuesday of the month in the northwestern suburbs and alternate the third or fourth Wednesday of the month between the western suburbs and downtown Chicago. To learn more about the group, visit

For details about the Chicago area’s first Boomer business conference, visit or email


Executive Presence – Important Ingredient of Leadership

May 21st, 2015

IW3I am a staunch believer in the importance of executive presence in the business world, and it has served me well. Since it will be one of the topics at my Aug. 28, 2015 Boomer business women conference, “Maximize Your Career – Business Tools for Women over 50,” at DePaul University/Naperville, I decided to join colleague Vicky Austin Tuesday for her monthly book review at Wheaton Public Library. Her choice was Executive Presence: The Missing Link between Merit and Success by Sylvia Ann Hewlett.

Sylvia’s basis for her book is that you can have the experience and qualifications of a leader, but without executive presence (EP), you won’t advance. EP is a combination of qualities that leaders project. Sylvia and the Center for Talent Innovation conducted a nationwide survey of college graduates working across a range of sectors and occupations, and discovered that EP is a dynamic, cohesive mix of three essential ingredients: gravitas, communication and appearance.

Sylvia helps you identify those qualities and how to exemplify them so that others perceive you to be a leader. For many people, it sounds easier than it is.


It’s word that I don’t use a lot so in case you don’t either, here’s a definition: “Seriousness or solemnity in demeanor or treatment, strength of character, self-esteem, confidence.” It may be difficult to describe yet you know it when you see it. It’s the most important of the three ingredients. Specifically, the author means:

    • Confidence and “grace under fire”
    • Decisiveness and “showing teeth”
    • Integrity
    • Emotional intelligence
    • Reputation and pedigree
    • Vision or charisma


Here’s Sylvia’s definition of what communication entails.

    • Superior speaking skills
    • Ability to command a room
    • Forcefulness and assertiveness
    • Ability to read others
    • Sense of humor and ability to barter


Sylvia shares that it is the least important ingredient, percent-wise, yet it is the one that can almost immediately cause people to think you don’t have EP.

    • Polished and well groomed
    • Good posture
    • Simple, stylish clothes
    • Fit and slim

EP is one of the three topics that will be covered in the “Promote Yourself Effectively over 50” panel at the Boomer business women’s conference Aug. 28, 2015. Other panel topics are using social media successfully and networking in the right places.


Thaddeus Wong Joins May 14 Greater Chicago Networking Extravaganza Panel

April 23rd, 2015

ThadThaddeus Wong, co-founder of @properties, rounds out the panel of successful entrepreneurs at the 13th Greater Chicago Networking Extravaganza from 5:30 – 8:45 pm May 14, 2015 at TechNexus in Chicago. He joins Gary Rabine, CEO and founder of Rabine Group, and Genevieve Theirs, founder of All three have been inducted into UIC’s Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. Moderator will be Jason Jacobsohn, event co-producer and business advisor, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative.

The 13th version of this highly popular Chicago networking event will focus on how to leverage relationships to start, build and grow a company. “Relationships are crucial to finding customers, partners, advisors, capital and peers with whom to share the journey,” said Lillian Bjorseth, event co-founder and co-producer.

@properties is the largest independently owned residential real estate brokerage firm in Illinois and one of the 25 largest brokerage firms in the U.S. by sales volume.

Wong, a Loyola graduate (BBA ’96), began his career in real-estate sales in 1996 and quickly established himself as one of the most successful agents in Chicago. During the early years of his career, he earned four consecutive Golden Eagle Awards from the Chicago Association of REALTORS® as the top-producing agent among the organization’s 10,000+ members.

In 2000 Wong and business partner Michael Golden established @properties and in less than 15 years have grown the company from $40 million in sales to more than $5 billion in annual sales. Today, @properties has 16 offices in the city of Chicago, surrounding suburbs and southwestern Michigan. The firm has divisions for residential and commercial brokerage, development marketing, relocation, property management and bank-advisory services.

A highly energetic and creative entrepreneur, Wong focuses on implementing his vision for a real estate company in which both the agent and client experience the highest level of service and support. He is primarily responsible for the business growth and development of @properties’ more than 1,600 agents, as well as the development and implementation of the firm’s award-winning marketing programs. Wong created and manages the company’s signature training, education and performance coaching programs utilized by hundreds of agents per year.

Wong’s accomplishments have been widely recognized by the real estate industry and the broader business community. Honors include: the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Midwest; Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 500/5000” list; inclusion on Crain’s Chicago Business’ “Fast Fifty,” “40 Under 40,” and “Largest Privately Held Companies” lists; Inman News’ “100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders”; induction in the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame; the Impact Aware from the Lincoln Park Builders Club; and the Damen Award from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Wong and @properties support a number of charitable and civic organizations through the @properties Friends and Neighbors Community Fund. Past and present beneficiaries include: Teen Living Programs, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Off The Street Club and Community Partnership for Affordable Housing.

Wong is a member of the NFTE board, a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation, and co-chairs the annual Beelzebub Halloween Bash and Fundraiser.


Chicago Networking Extravaganza Adds another Stellar Panelist

April 15th, 2015

sittercityGenevieve Thiers, self-described as disruptor, entrepreneur, speaker and investor, has been named to the panel of successful entrepreneurs at the 13th Greater Chicago Networking Extravaganza from 5:30 – 8:45 pm May 14, 2015 at TechNexus in Chicago.

The 13th version of this highly popular Chicago networking event will focus on how to leverage relationships to start, build and grow a company. “Relationships are crucial to finding customers, partners, advisors, capital and peers with whom to share the journey,” said Lillian Bjorseth, event co-founder and co-producer.

Genevieve puts it this way, “Relationships are the only way anyone in business gets anywhere. Period.”

Her first company,, was America’s first company to take caregiving services online. It now has millions of users in the United States with new locations in the UK and Canada.

The idea first came to Genevieve when she was a college student and saw a pregnant mother walking around the campus, posting “help wanted” fliers for a babysitter. She hurried outside to take over the job and sent the woman home. It made her wonder, “Why isn’t there an easier way to find a babysitter or nanny?”

Though Genevieve was initially laughed out of the room by venture capitalists when she sought funding, she knew her idea to connect families and babysitters online could work. In 2001, she launched The rest is history.

She is also co-founder and CEO of Operamode that focuses on providing paid roles for new, emerging singers in the Chicago area. Genevieve herself is a professional opera singer.

Genevieve was recognized by President Bush at the White House as the Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur Champion of the Year for 2006. Her companies have won more than 18 major awards, including the CEC Momentum Award, the WBDC Rising Start Award, a CNN Young Heroes feature, the UPS Out of the Box Award, the INC 500 list and more.

Genevieve has been featured thousands of times in the press for her work including by the TODAY show, Ellen, the View, MSNBC, the CBS Early Show, CNN, Live & Style, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Redbook, Parents, Parenting, Marie Clare, TIME, Better Homes and Gardens and Working Mother. She is the author of Love at First Sit.

Genevieve has mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs throughout her career. She is on the board of the CEC, which created 1871, a co-working space in Chicago, and also teaches classes there. She is also an investor in TechStars and the FireStarter fund and in several female-run new tech startups that target women and lesser-known industries. She speaks regularly on the lack of women in tech and how to right the balance.

“We are thrilled to have Genevieve on our panel as she has spoken for hundreds of companies and groups around the company,” Bjorseth said. “Our attendees are in for a real treat!”

To register and/or get sponsorship information about the event, visit


Chicago 2015 Boomer Women’s Business Conference Adds another Stellar Presenter

April 10th, 2015

andieChicago’s first Boomer business skills conference for women has added Andrea Kramer to its already power-packed schedule of speakers. Andie, a partner at the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emory LLP, is a nationally recognized speaker and proponent of assuring women equal access to career opportunities and leadership roles in professional service firms.

She will discuss the role of impression management as part of a panel, “Promote Yourself Effectively over 50” at the “Maximize Your Career- Business Tools for Women over 50” conference. The event is being held from 8:15 am – 4 pm Aug. 28 at DePaul University’s Naperville campus.

Andie heads MWE’s Financial Products, Trading and Derivatives group. She is a founding member of the firm’s diversity committee and chair of the gender diversity subcommittee. By serving on her law firm’s management and compensation committees, she learned firsthand how women can level the playing field for career advancement.

Andie was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal; honored as Gender Diversity: Private Practice Lawyer of 2014, (Chambers USA Women in Law); received the 2013 Founder’s Award from the Chicago Bar Association, Alliance for Women; received the 2011 Women With Vision Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois; and received the 2012 National Public Service Award from the ABA, Business Law Section.

She was featured in the February 2012 Chicago Lawyer magazine as an “inspiring innovator” who thinks outside the box and inspires her colleagues and as a “Remarkable Woman” in the August 2013 Chicago Tribune.

Andie is also a prolific writer. She is co-author of the article “Taking Control: Women, Gender Stereotypes and Impression Management,” published in the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois Newsletter, Winter 2013-2014. This chapter is a preliminary draft of a chapter in her forthcoming book, tentatively entitled, Beating the Stereotypes: How Women Can Succeed in Gender-biased Workplaces.

For more details about conference registration and sponsorship, visit


Chicago Business Women over 50 Conference Presenter Shares how to get out of your own way and Create an Amazing Life

April 8th, 2015

This blog by Christine Suva, M.S., CPC, first appeared on, website for the “Maximize Your Career – Business Tools for Women over 50″ conference being produced Aug. 28, 2015 by Lillian Bjorseth.

How would it feel if you knew you were completely aligned with everything that is most important to you in your life? What if you were clear on the legacy you are creating and it absolutely filled you with joy? What if you could look back over your life and have few if any regrets?

There are FAR too many people miserable in their careers working jobs that leave them empty, frustrated, burned out and in many cases literally ill. Life is too short! Too many have a dream but play small. Both men and women get in their own way; however, there are some things I see far more often in women.

The “Disease to Please”
Women are often socialized to be nice, caregivers and non-confrontational. Do you struggle to say “no” or establish healthy boundaries out of fear of disappointing or upsetting others? Do you feel guilty thinking about what you want, being assertive and leave little for yourself? Over time, it can lead to being depleted, resentful, frustrated and, if taken to the extreme, illness.

Thankfully, with age comes wisdom! One of the beautiful things that can happen as we get older is we care less about what others think. We begin to learn to tap into and trust our own intuition. Our needs shift at different stages in life so check in regularly with yourself and give yourself permission to make changes.

Denying Your Gifts
If you were brought up in a home that placed high value on humbleness and talking about your strengths was frowned upon, it may be very difficult to OWN your worth in the workplace. Selling yourself in an interview, asking for a raise or promotion or even identifying what your real gifts, strengths and talents are can be crippling. In an interview, you MUST be able to identify and articulate what you’re good at.

One way to feel more comfortable is to talk about your strengths through stories of your accomplishments. Skills are demonstrated in the stories about circumstances, actions you took and results you achieved. Step out of your comfort zone and let yourself be seen! You can’t articulate what you don’t acknowledge. Your gifts may very well be the thing you take for granted. Pay attention to what comes easily to you and brings you joy!

Feeling Guilty for Wanting More
When was the last time you asked yourself “What do I really want?” Moms often feel guilt asking themselves that question. Many women put their own dreams, needs and desires out of mind after having children. When I hear moms say “It doesn’t matter what I want anymore. It’s all about the kids.” I cringe.

I’m a mom and by far the best thing I’ve ever done in my life are my kids! However, what is more powerful? TELLING our kids “you can be anything you want, go after your dreams” or SHOWING them what going after your dreams and living a life of purpose and meaning looks and feels like? Don’t just tell them . . . SHOW them! Many women completely wrap their entire identity into being a mom and run the risk of feeling they have no purpose when the kids grow up and leave home.

Actually, it’s the perfect opportunity to reinvent! It’s a choice to start showing up differently in your life and that choice starts with YOU. Drop the guilt and give yourself permission to live a happy, healthy, fulfilling life at any age!


Top Five Reasons to Attend 2015 Greater Chicago Networking Extravagana

April 6th, 2015

GCNE-LOGOWondering why you should attend the 2015 Greater Chicago Networking Extravaganza on May 14, 2015? Here are the top five reasons!

    • 13th event in the series – Long-running-event series with a successful track record that has brought hundreds of people together to connect and learn for the past 10 years. This version of the GCNE will focus on how to leverage relationships to start, build and grow a company. And along with the way you’ll learn how to increase brand awareness, sales and career success through the art and science of networking.

    • Seasoned hosts – Event is co-produced and co-hosted by Lillian Bjorseth and Jason Jacobsohn who are synonymous with relationship building and connecting entrepreneurs and other professionals in the Chicago area. Lillian is a nationally renowned face-to-face networking authority and author of Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last. Jason is well known in the Chicago area as a “connector” for entrepreneurs, veteran panel facilitator and director of the Founder Institute.

    • Successful entrepreneur panel – A panel of successful entrepreneurs will share the vital role that relationships played and continue to in the growth of their businesses and individual well-being. Already confirmed is Gary Rabine, founder and CEO of the Rabine Group, a group of facilities maintenance companies that are leaders in the paving, roofing, snow removal and fuel distribution industries. Also sharing her information is Genevieve Thiers, whose company,, is America’s first online caregiving service, which has millions of users nationwide and serves hundreds of corporate clients.

    • Grow your network – During the event, you will have the chance to network with entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals during our structured and open networking time. Mingle with sponsors that have products and services to assist you and help your business grow. You are guaranteed to meet 10 or more new people with whom who can start to build relationships.

    • Enhance your relationship building skills – During the event, you will acquire valuable face-to-face and online networking tips and techniques. You will learn how the right relationships can add immeasurably to your success. In addition, you will gain skills and confidence that you can transfer to other networking opportunities.

Registration and sponsorship information details …


A Seven-year-old May Lead Us … to Better Grammatical Usage

April 3rd, 2015

logangradI admit it! I may be a bit partial since he is my seven-year-old grandson; however, he is smart for his age, and I am used to his using that logical mind to figure out the challenges I toss his way.

I am amazed that he can put together a puzzle of the United States by himself, point out the routes his family took when driving to Florida and Cooperstown for his brother’s baseball games. He knows in which states members of the extended family were born and/or live. Last week he said to me, “I’m now going to look at the western United States, turn my back and tell you all the states.” Which he did going as far east as the Dakotas … missing only one which he pointed out when he turned around.

What surprised me more … and delighted me even more since I love when the English language is used correctly … is that he understands how to use apostrophes correctly already. He was putting his “office materials” in my office into a folder and wanted to label it. He then showed me the label and said, “In this case, there is an apostrophe in Logan’s since the materials are mine.” Probably a good thing that I was already sitting!

When asked how he knew that, he replied that had studied apostrophes and commas in first grade! He tends to remember most everything he hears. Hurray, maybe there’s hope for the younger generation and proper grammar. At times, the two seem like an oxymoron.

I shared the story with one of my sons who is an attorney, and he responded he knows other attorneys who don’t know how to use them correctly. And as luck would have it, I received three emails that same day from professionals who used apostrophes incorrectly in their short messages.

Cheers, Logan, you have lots of work ahead of you!