Gary Rabine to be on 13th Greater Chicago Networking Extravaganza Panel May 14

March 11th, 2015

rabineGary Rabine, CEO and founder of the Rabine Group, will join a 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 premier Chicago networking event will focus on how to leverage relationships to start, build and grow a company since relationships are crucial to finding customers, partners, advisors, capital and peers with whom to share the journey.

Gary’s competitive drive over the last 33 years has helped transform Rabine Paving, a small Northern Illinois driveway company, into a group of facilities maintenance companies that lead the paving, roofing, snow removal and fuel distribution industries. It includes Rabine Paving America, one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing commercial paving companies.

Gary, who began his quest to build a paving company in the early 80s at 18 years old, attributes “most of his business success to mentors. My formal education ended with high school,” Gary said. “The friendships I gained from dozens of great mentors helped me to envision a road map to industry leadership and individual success.

“I am honored to be asked to share my experiences and knowledge at the Greater Chicago Networking Extravaganza so I can pay forward from all that I have received,” Gary added.

The Rabine Group has grown over 3,000 percent and now paves more parking lots than any other organization in America. It was included on Crain’s Fast Fifty List 4 years in a row and Inc Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies list the last 3 years.

Gary and more than 400 Rabine Group team members work locally, regionally and nationally with a focus on serving America’s largest facilities and utilities distribution companies. They have produced many industry innovations that are trademarked and patented and have received recognition from The World of Concrete, The Edison Awards, Inc 5000 and Chicago’s Innovation Awards.

In 2011 Gary received Schaumburg’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2012 he was a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the same year was inducted into the UIC Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. In 2013 Gary received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Illinois for entrepreneurial achievement and making an impact on Chicago’s business landscape.

Gary is an active member of Young Presidents (YPO), World Presidents (WPO) and Job Creators Network (JCN).

Gary is proud that is company is family integrated. His wife, Cheryl, oversees the Rabine Group Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on enriching the lives of children, elderly and underprivileged. The two oldest of their four children are managers in Rabine Companies.

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


Showcase Your Wisdom not Your Age at Work – Chicago Boomer Business Women Conference Speaker Says

March 8th, 2015

MYCsmallestyetI’m sharing this insightful post by Sarah Donahue, CPA, who is a presenter at the April 17, 2015, “Maximize Your Career – Business Tools for Women over 50” conference that I am producing. It first appeared on

You are a woman over 50 working with and for people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. You have incredible experience, both in the workplace and in life, which may enable you to see the strategies and tactics that will succeed and the ones with more obstacles and challenges. You know that you willingly share what you know, but those making decisions do not always seem to listen to you. Why doesn’t everyone recognize the wisdom of your words?

You may inadvertently be showcasing your age instead of your wisdom. Make sure that your wisdom is not overlooked by how you show up. Be the person everyone consults on new initiatives. Be a real voice of reason. To do so, you must be heard. To be heard you must understand how you show-up to those who are younger and how to most effectively share your valuable experience.

Do your colleagues see you as someone reluctant to change or embrace new ideas and approaches? Do they hear you saying “we tried it years ago and it did not work”? Do you appear to shut down possibilities or be somewhat stubborn and stuck in the “the way it has always been done”? How do people feel when you share your expertise? Are you having a real dialogue or are you more focused on telling people your opinion? Do you sound out of touch with today’s world?

Make your experience valuable and appreciated.

First, be truly open to ideas. Facts and circumstances change, something may work today that did not in the past. Don’t assume that past experience gives you all the answers. Focus on achieving results, there are many ways to get there.
Check your tone, facial expressions and body language—do you look and sound like a parent, an old-timer or a contemporary colleague?

Stay current and be relevant. Technology is changing on an exponential time scale. Use of big data and analytics is advancing rapidly. New communication tools and social media have changed the way we work and interface with our customers. This does not negate the value of past experience. Your ability to marry what is learned from the past with current capabilities is extremely valuable. And, if you are not current, you will be viewed as not relevant and not worth being heard.

Use your experience to ask thoughtful, probing questions. Bring unbiased facts to the table. Raise important considerations in a non-judgmental way. Asking good questions, while being open and objective, will drive deeper thinking and more collaboration. Oftentimes others will get to the answer you instinctively knew, and your unbiased thought leadership will be appreciated. And, you will be surprised that a new idea does have merit and your thought leadership will be recognized for the inevitable improvements that come from powerful, insightful questions.

Finally, know when to stop asking questions. Even after you have brought forth facts and asked good questions, decisions will be made with which you do not agree. Get over it. It is fair to state your opinion, but then just let it go. You appear to be a stubborn barrier if you continue to question the merits after the decision is made. Use your wisdom to drive a successful outcome. And, if it does not succeed—don’t say or imply “I told your so”. Your wise counsel will be remembered in the future. Now use your experience to help others learn constructively from the failure.

Being known as an open and engaged thought leader will benefit your career and bring you much personal satisfaction. You will be pleased by what happens when you showcase your wisdom not your age.

Sarah Donahue recently retired from a successful career as vice president with Allstate Life and Retirement. She is known for her practical and decisive business approach and collaborative style. She is also recognized for developing leaders and has been a mentor with MENTTIUM and Step Up Women’s Network


ClassAct to Help Millennials Gain Access to Professionals’ Experience and Wisdom

February 26th, 2015

classactlogojimI am delighted to announce ClassAct, a training/mentoring program for young professionals. It is being launched in May 2015 by co-founders Jim Vaselopulos, a senior-level executive with a proven record as a rainmaker and new business development expert, and Lillian Bjorseth, a nationally known networking and communication skills authority.

We believe that the Millennial generation is poised to make outstanding contributions in our world. Millennials are intelligent, driven and incredibly tech savvy. The world is already a better place because of the contributions of Millenials.

At the same time, however, Millennials as a generation are very misunderstood. They have been labeled lazy, entitled and idealistic. In many ways the responsibility for this misunderstanding rests upon both the older generations in leadership positions and the younger generations driving new workplace behaviors and attitudes.

For many Millennials, one way to circumvent this misunderstanding is to go straight into an entrepreneurial environment. Startups don’t have any baggage. You can be the boss in a startup. Startups can operate with “new rules.”

And while this has worked well for some, it does not work well for most. Most startups never reach their potential. Many startups fail. Startups still need capital and most capital still resides in organizations run by non-Millennials. Startups still need to work with existing channels. Startups still need to sell to organizations that are not all operating with “new rules”. It is impossible to escape into a purely “new” world.

Additionally, most jobs and opportunities lie within organizations that are not startups — organizations with a wide variety of employees and a greater diversity of ideas and experiences than ever before.

Our goal at ClassAct is to help the next generation of leaders develop in a way that helps them thrive in these diverse environments.
To read more about our philosophy and ClassAct details, visit


Benefits of Face-to-face Networking: One-minute Reminders – Build Your Top-of-mind Positioning

February 17th, 2015

5756000763_c8648c23b7_z[1]Are you top-of-mind in your contacts’ minds?

If you didn’t answer “yes” quickly or responded with a “maybe,” then it’s time to make this one of your priorities. Warm referrals are a coveted form of getting business and a job, and one of the most likely ways to make this happen for you is to be the first name that comes to mind when someone is looking for a product or service you offer.

Tactics that help:

    Design a website that focuses on your key product or service.
    Use online media (LinkedIn, Facebook) to zero in on your key talents/services
    Post to LinkedIn groups in your area of expertise.
    Attend your industry trade shows. People on “booth duty” have a lot of time to talk. Review the program ahead of time and try to talk with presenters/keynoters, etc.
    Join a horizontal professional organization (within your industry).
    Join a vertical professional organization (people who have the same kind of job).
    Become involved in the groups you join. Committee work shortens the time it takes to build relationships.
    Seek speaking opportunities (paid or no fee) for groups whose membership is made up of companies for which you want to work.
    Reconnect with people you used to work with, this time for the purpose of building solid relationships.


Chicago Women Business Conference Speaker Shares How to Build Your Brand and Your Business with Social Media

February 11th, 2015

This blog by Pat Price, MBA, “Maximize Your Career – Business Tools for Women over 50” conference speaker, first appeared on

priceI spent over 20 years in the corporate world before going out on my own. And I have one major regret. I didn’t nurture my work relationships after I left. When I retired, I practically cut all the cords. Equally regrettable is that I didn’t’ branch out to expand my network while I was there. Luckily, I’ve seen the light and have been working to rebuild the old and create new relationships. And, social media makes developing and maintaining relationships easier than ever. “Why bother?” you might ask. Here are some of my favorite examples of the value of engaging in social media for business.

Create and nurture connections for better business

Business success is all about building relationships with prospects, customers, and other businesses. One of my best sources of referrals comes from a business owner who offers services that are complementary to mine. We rekindled a relationship after reconnecting through LinkedIn. That one bit of correspondence through LinkedIn has yielded thousands of dollars in business for us. Are you connecting with other businesses? Are you connecting with business owners outside your own generation? If you answered “no”, maybe it’s time to stretch your comfort zone.

Social media is also a great resource if you are stumped by a problem you’re facing in the business. Wondering which software package is better? Not sure how to tackle a challenging technical problem? Our company has posed questions to experts in our industry on social media to get their opinion of vendors, products, and technical issues. I’m always amazed at how giving and supportive our connections are. And it has saved us so much time and money to get the perspective of others who have already “been there, done that.”

Show thought leadership in your industry or niche

While it’s wonderful to tap into other experts, social media also has the advantage of allowing you to showcase your expertise. Through social media and blogging, you can build your authority and establish yourself as a thought leader. We get a kick out of having our tweets “favorited” by major publications. A small business like ours normally wouldn’t have that kind of national exposure. But with social media, anything is possible. So remember, if you want to capture more market share, you’ve first got to capture more mindshare. And with social media, you’ve got another tool to do just that.

Put a Face to Your Name

Even though you may not have met face-to-face, every blog post, tweet and social media post allows you to showcase who you are to everyone in your network, 24/7. Social media brings your brand’s persona to life through your conversations. Is your tone positive and upbeat, serious and formal, or helpful and chatty? What we say and HOW we say it gives the world a glimpse into what it’s like to do business with us. Our brand voice speaks volumes about our credibility, our integrity, and our personality. I’ve had people whom I’ve never met before say they feel like they already know me, just through our online relationship. And we all know that people prefer to do business with people they feel like they know and trust.

Speaking of getting to know people, I look forward to meeting YOU at the Business Women over 50 conference! Although social media is wonderful, it’s no substitute for meeting face-to-face. Here’s to the start of new friendships with like-minded, fabulous, kindred spirits!


Chicago Boomer Business Women’s Conference Speaker Explains Why it’s Important to be Wired for Entrepreneurial Success

February 7th, 2015

This blog by Bonita Richter, MBA, “Maximize Your Career – Business Tools for Women over 50” conference speaker, first appeared on

If you are like me, you have spent countless hours reading, studying, attending business and personal success seminars. Yet, for some women entrepreneurs, the results and success they desire seems to keep slipping through their fingers.

Building a successful business does not happen overnight. However, what I have seen after advising and delivering business training to over 8,000 small business owners is often their behaviors, actions, and limiting beliefs get in the way and hold them back from dramatically growing their business

The good news is our business results provides the clues we need to decide what changes we need to make to achieve the success we desire. To create a profitable and successful business we need to get a sense of how to “Be” in our business—the daily actions, thoughts, and behaviors that will support us—our Entrepreneurial Mindset.

Examine Your Entrepreneurial Mindset

The women entrepreneurs I know love what they do, and are passionate about their ‘Why’ and desire to serve others. It is one of the main reasons they chose to start their business in the first place. Business owners, in general, fall into two different categories: the self-employed and the entrepreneur.


The self-employed are those who have a talent or skill, and they know there are people willing to pay for their time, product or service.
When they start their businesses, they get business cards, website, set up a home office, and begin marketing their services. After awhile, they have a few customers. It is not too long before they find themselves working alone, working too many hours, and constantly trying to fill the pipeline with new prospects.

They cannot take too much time off because without them there is no business or income. Many home-based business owners, consultants, coaches, and other service professionals end up on this treadmill.

We are talking about talented professionals. Yet, unfortunately, a majority of business owners fall into this category. The fact is what they’ve got is not a business, as much as it is a glorified job with a lot more stress, anxiety, risk, and lower income attached to it.


The entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are the business owners who seem to grow their businesses effortlessly, and maintain steady growth. You talk to them and although they work hard, they are off for a three-day weekend at the beach or a vacation somewhere. What do they know that the self-employed do not?

Most likely, they have an Entrepreneurial Mindset. Successful entrepreneurs also possess a well-researched set of beliefs, behaviors and actions they consistently take that support their success.

Developing your Entrepreneurial Mindset is one of the most intense personal development programs you will embark on in the world. It requires taking a close look at whom you are, what you think, your personal habits, beliefs and actions that will determine the results you get in your business.

Women business owners who do not take the time to seriously work on their mindset, and eliminate habits, beliefs, decisions and actions that are not working for them will struggle to grow their business. This sets them up for either, 1) being self-employed in a very expensive hobby that drains their bank account, or 2) having to get a job.

Become passionate about the potential of your business and determined to grow the strength of your Entrepreneurial Mindset. When you do, your business will grow and thrive in relation to the awesomeness of your dreams!


Benefits of Face-to-face Networking: One-minute Reminders — Arrive Early at Networking Events

February 2nd, 2015

networking[1]Arriving about 15 minutes before a networking event starts is an easy way to maximize your benefits. Event hosts and sponsors are sure to be there. In fact, most hosts build in time to welcome early arrivals. Take advantage of this pre prime time.

It’s an opportunity to get a feel for the surroundings without feeling rushed, to shake hands, make a positive impression and set the stage for you to introduce the organizers to guests as the event progresses. It is always a plus to have met the movers and shakers.

A word of caution, though: Don’t launch into a long conversation as the hosts may have last-minute details to handle.

Instead scope the room and strategically position yourself or your materials. Check out:

    • Where to sit for a good view of the podium or stage if there will be a program
    • Where to position yourself to see arrivals
    • How to get the best exposure for your materials on the networking table, if provided
    • Whether the food’s out early

In fact, if you plan to eat do so early or wait until the event is nearly over. Carrying a plate with you is preferable to sitting but can be an impediment to shaking hands and can get downright messy, depending on the food. (Chicken wings are particularly bad!) Those of you who speak with your hands are particularly vulnerable to spilling on yourself and others since you can be animated … even when you are listening!

Of course, it is impolite to speak with your mouth full. Circulating with your hands (and mouth) empty is preferable.

And one last thing, imbibe in alcoholic drinks only if you are sure it will not impede your words and actions. Overindulging is unfathomable at a business networking event. While you may not remember what you did, others will!


Chicago Boomer Business Women’s Conference Participants to Benefit from Face-to-face Networking Opportunities

January 28th, 2015

This blog first appeared on

blogpixI know the value of networking and especially the power of building relationships face-to-face. Before I became an entrepreneur, I got my last two jobs – at Nicor Gas with one phone call and AT&T with two phone calls – because I had gotten to know the top public relations people through the Suburban Press Association, now defunct.

That’s why I’m stressing the benefits of in-person networking opportunities at the “Maximize Your Career – Business Tools for Women over 50” conference. While the program will present vital business and career information for women in their 50s, 60s and 70s, participants will also gain valuable contacts through networking to bolster their support system and provide personal and professional advice.

Conference participants will have time to mix and mingle with other attendees and sponsors before the conference, at the break, at lunch, through guided activities and after the conference has concluded.

Since networking is planting seeds (sales is harvesting), participants will have the opportunity to plant quite a garden that they can later weed, nourish and grow into plants, bushes or trees depending on the time, care and commitment they choose to put into the process.

What’s equally exciting is that this is the first all-day business conference for Boomer women in the Chicago area. This age group is frequently well educated, experienced and knowledgeable yet they are more likely to be stymied in their careers than younger women or men that age. They need to overcome potential age and sex barriers. They need an event geared to them where they can meet others like them!

The conference will be held from 8:15 am – 4:00 pm April 17, 2015, at DePaul University, Naperville Campus, 150 W. Warrenville Rd., Naperville IL 60663.

Details about registration and sponsorship opportunities are available at


2015 Chicago Business Conference Focuses on Women over 50

January 8th, 2015

MYCsmallestWomen over 50 frequently are well educated, experienced and knowledgeable yet they are more likely to be stymied in their careers than younger women or men that age. They need to overcome potential age and sex barriers.

It’s time to give these women an edge!

That’s why I created the “Maximize Your Career – Business Tools for Women over 50” conference. It will be held from 8:15 am – 4:00 pm April 17, 2015, at DePaul University, Naperville Campus, 150 W. Warrenville Rd., Naperville IL 60663.

The day will be jam-packed with insightful presentations for Boomer women and provide the opportunity to build relationships with other women over 50 who will bolster their support network. Building relationships is one of the central themes that will be discussed by Sarah Donahue, recently retired vice president Allstate Life and Retirement, who will bring first-hand experience to her presentation.

I’ll discuss networking in the right places (vs. just networking) in a panel discussion that will also feature Susan Fignar focusing on executive presence rebranding and reinvention and Pat Price sharing what women over 50 really need to know about social media.

Entrepreneurs and those thinking about it will benefit greatly from Bonita Richter’s experience and knowhow as she will ask and answer, “Are You Wired for Entrepreneurial Success?”

Since thoughts are the first step to action, Christine Suva will help attendees master their mindset as she helps them clarify their calling so they can move full speed ahead.

Emcee Trisha Svehla will make sure attendees leave on track as she helps them create a realistic action plan from the information they have garnered.

Check for registration and sponsorship information.


Benefits of Face-to-face Networking: One-minute Reminders – - Network Wisely at Holiday Parties

December 18th, 2014

holiday_party[1]A few major opportunities remain for business networking before year’s end. Do it wisely so you are remembered favorably.

    Be subtler. Start conversations with small talk about the holidays, the surroundings, the weather, etc., rather than with “What do you do?” Have your printed and verbal business cards in your “back pocket” in case you can use them diplomatically.
    Look and act professional. People are still deciding 10 things about you within 10 seconds of seeing you and will carry that impression with them into the office in 2015.

        o Don’t overeat or over drink. Moderation is the key, and you know your limits.
        o Don’t tell off-color jokes or use crude language just because the atmosphere is more relaxed. Such behavior offends many people, including coworkers, their spouses, partners and families who can carry a lot of weight.
        o Dress properly for the occasion. Inquire ahead of time regarding appropriate dress for men and women. Women, don’t show excessive cleavage if you want to be taken seriously in the office or are looking for a new job.
        o Practice behavioral basics. Exhibit good posture. Give a firm handshake. Maintain eye contact at least 85 percent of the time. Keep your gestures understated, especially in a crowded room where expansive gestures can lead to touching someone else or even spilling your food or beverage … or theirs!