Chamber member reaches out to women
| Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Nancy DeYoung, owner of DeYoung’s Insurance Services, Lemont
BEST KNOWN AS: a leader in the Willowbrook/Burr Ridge Chamber of Commerce
LATEST PROJECT: Women in Business networking group
Updated: November 26, 2012 2:20AM
BURR RIDGE — The business world isn’t an easy place for anyone.
And even with the advances of the last few decades, it can be especially difficult for a woman.
As owner of DeYoung’s Insurance Service and a longtime leader in the Willowbrook/Burr Ridge Chamber of Commerce, Nancy DeYoung knows firsthand the challenges of being female in the corporate world.
DeYoung recently enlisted the help of a few other local business leaders to start a Women In Business networking group through the Willowbrook/Burr Ridge Chamber.
“I definitely saw a need for it,” DeYoung said.
Open to all Chamber members, the monthly meetings are free and address a variety of subjects, all with the goal of helping women make connections.
“It is the kind of thing that many women struggle with,” she said.
Not only do women not know how to network, they often don’t have time for things like golf and dinners — things that men often use as networking tools.
“For years men have been networking with each other,” said Burr Ridge attorney Rita Farrell.
She said it can be intimidating for a woman to walk into an unfamiliar situation, especially one filled with men.
The Women In Business group offers a comfortable, familiar environment where women and men can meet and share information.
“It’s a place for us to get to know each other,” she said.
Juggling family life with work life is one of the many topics addressed at the Women In Business group gatherings, which generally attract between 17 and 30 people, said DeYoung.
Just a few months old, the group is enjoying the support of fellow Chamber members such as Eddie Merlot’s of Burr Ridge, which provided the venue and food for the group’s first meeting.
Food also was part of the group’s sophomore gathering at the Burr Ridge Park District, where Mary Gail Bennett cooked up snacks while sharing the story of how she gave up life as a corporate trainer to follow her dream of being a chef.
An author paid the group a visit during its August meeting.
“It’s all kinds of stuff,” DeYoung said of the meeting subjects, but all are toward a common goal. For women especially, creating friendships is a step toward making business connections, DeYoung said.
Upcoming meetings include an Oct. 16 discussion of volunteering and philanthropy and a Nov. 27 meeting to help woman plan their holidays, both at home and at work.
Both meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Burr Ridge Park District, 15W400 Harvester Drive. Men and women whose businesses belong to the Chamber are welcome.
RSVP to DeYoung at email@example.com or (630) 850-9300.