hosted its inaugural networking event on Jan. 15, 2013, at The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. The evening’s theme was “You Can’t Get What You Don’t Ask For; Tell Us What You Want or Need.” Discussion focused on the importance of women asking for or explaining what it is they want or need from their jobs and careers.

Ruth Goran, founder and president, welcomed attendees, who included successful women across a variety of fields. They exchanged opinions, experiences and insights on how women can find a mentor, network effectively, get the jobs they want, get the recognition they deserve and interview effectively. invites women in other cities to develop similar networking events addressing these questions. Send photos of your event (with clear identification of those pictured) and a selection of attendees’ comments to and we will post them on the site.

Pictured above are (from left) attendees Meghan Olson, founder and executive director, Ferrer Foundation; Brooke Campbell, district manager, ADP; Jessica Ortiz, marketing and communications associate, Common Threads; Marissa Pines, Marketing Manager, PepsiCo; Rebekah Berry, senior investment consultant, Robert W. Baird & Co.; and Kristin Carlson, employment specialist, Illinois Institute of Technology. Not shown is Robbie Klein, principal at RK March LLC, who served as co-moderator with Ruth Goran.

Here is a sampling of comments during’s event at The Peninsula:

REBEKAH BERRY, senior investment consultant, Robert W. Baird & Co.: “You must be your own advocate: If you want something, ask for it.  Don’t wait for someone to recognize your ‘greatness’ and offer you the promotion, raise, etc., because you may be waiting a long time. If the answer is ‘no,’ you should always follow up by asking, ‘What would you recommend I do to reach that ‘next level’ or raise, etc.?’”
“Internships are extremely important and not just because they are a  résumé builder.  It gives you the opportunity to experience the environment/field in which you anticipate working.  The internship could provide validation that you made the right choice or will make you realize that you do not want a career in that particular area and potentially change your major to something that is a better fit for you.  Internships can also be equivalent to a long job interview: If you work hard and demonstrate that you’d be a valuable employee, a job offer could be made. However, if you don’t take it seriously, a job offer likely will never be made.  Additionally, internship mentors often can make the best references for future job interviews—a much better alternative to a professor or relative.”

MARISSA PINES, marketing manager at PepisCo: “Having a strong female role model has provided me with an example to follow always. My mom has shown me that a woman can have an incredibly successful career, have a family and be an active community member. Most importantly, she has shown all of us–my brothers, too–that hard work will help us achieve our goals, whatever those may be.”

MEGHAN OLSON, founder and executive director, Ferrer Foundation: “What motivated me to become entrepreneurial was connecting to something that aligned my values and passion. What has helped me most was surrounding myself with people who have the same values and continue to motivate me when I waiver in the struggle to be a social entrepreneur.”

JESSICA ORTIZ, marketing and communications associate, Common Threads, a Chicago based non-profit: “I have been fortunate enough to have strong, accomplished and inspiring women in my life. Their mentoring has been most important and helpful to me when I know they are my corner, commending my hard work and reminding me that my potential is endless.”

KRISTIN CARLSON, employment specialist, Illinois Institute of Technology: “When it comes to my career, I actively seize every opportunity to meet new people. When I attend fundraisers, book clubs, and even dinner parties I am always open to networking for myself or others. What do I need from employers/organizations? To give me chance to take risks. I may succeed or even fail, but I will never grow as an employee unless someone gives me a chance to try.”

BROOKE CAMPBELL, district manager, ADP: “I think companies should have a career development program to assist employees in finding their personal career paths.”

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