WBN Success Stories
Lacie Spagnolo, North Hills Chapter
Joining the WBN has opened up a world of opportunity for a me as a professional. The group is organized and well worth every minute I spend at the meetings. It means a lot to me as a growing entrepreneur and I look forward to a long relationship with the WBN.
Anne Bruna, Cranberry Chapter
WBN is a wonderful organization of women who truly support each other professionally as well as personally. I have made so many contacts that have proven to be great sources of referrals and centers of influence for my business. I have made lasting friendships with some that are invaluable.
Trish Maizland, Cranberry Chapter
I originally joined to represent a staffing company I used to work for. I was then encouraged to start my own business because of my good organizational and business/secretarial skills. I now am in a full time job that appreciates me and I am learning new skills. This position was found due to a friendship I made in the WBN. She submitted my resume and recommended me for the position. My goal is to build my business so I can retire in 10-12 years from my full time job and concentrate full time on my business.
Karen McCrory, South Hills Chapter
In February 1990, I was selling business checks and forms for a national company and my boss suggested I join a networking organization. Shortly after the suggestion, a woman client phoned and asked me to join a new organization just getting started called Women’s Business Network. They had one chapter and about fifteen members. I thought that 8 AM in Robinson Township (a 45 minute commute) was a bit early and I would go to one meeting and bow out… eighteen years later, I have missed very few meetings.
While getting business was the criteria for joining, business is not what has kept me an active member for all of these years. I have formed many important friendships. Many personal and business services that I utilize, from my dentist and eye doctor to financial planner, are from WBN. Being a member of WBN is like having a “friend” in every type of business whom you can call and ask questions without feeling foolish or having to make an appointment just to get an answer. Whatever question I have had, there is someone in WBN I can phone who either knows the answer or who knows someone who knows the answer. I carry my WBN Directory with me wherever I go….just in case I need to phone someone.
I have done things I never dreamed I would do… going on two cruises (discounted, of course). One of the cruises was with another WBN friend for “girls only” to celebrate a mutually important milestone birthday!
Emotional support in times of trouble has been an extremely important factor. For a period of time I felt like the biblical character Job (who met with so much hardship) had nothing on me, but my WBN friends and supporters saw me through the worst of times and cheered me on through the best of times.
I have received a tremendous education over the years not only from the informative table topics and business presentations, but also from knowing and meeting such a diverse group of helpful women. This “education” helps me to supply better business services to my clients and makes me a more valuable resource to them.
A lifelong friend started a business in Fort Wayne, Indiana. When we discussed her business she would confide in me that she could only wish that there were an organization like WBN where she lived. I saw through her eyes what it was like to have no support, no confidants, no quick answers to questions, and no source for getting business when you are just starting.
I now own a service business that requires a lot of trust on the part of my clients. Advertising is most often by word of mouth. In 2005, 45% of my business was from WBN referrals and 25% from previous customers… who may have been WBN referrals. These referrals come from many members outside of my chapter.
The best advice to new members is to go to every event. Be a participator, join committees, be the Chapter Chairperson, the Chapter Rep, run for the Board of Directors. I have learned so much from volunteering to help with things… leadership from being a Board member for 4 years, getting group cooperation from being a committee chairperson, event planning, dealing with government bureaucracy from completing the first application for the not-for-profit status, organization and so much more. My first volunteer effort at WBN was to be on the committee that chose the WBN logo. I guess we did a good job, the logo has not changed in 18 years.
If the only thing you do is to give your one minute self-marketing at your chapter meetings and wonder why you are not getting anything out of “networking,” you are missing the boat! Be sure when you do your one minute self-marketing if your business has “visual” things that you do “show and tell” at every meeting. Offer a tidbit of “advice” if your business is a service business. Before long, the other chapter members will think of you as an “expert” in your field. Tell your chapter members what type of customer would make a good referral for your business. Be sure to pay attention in all of your conversations wherever you are to “listen” for someone who could use help from one of your chapter members. Networking is give and take!
Diane Rhone, South Hills Chapter
I have been a member of WBN South Hills since April 2007. I was new to the Pittsburgh area at that time and looking for a way to network my Shaklee business. I immediately felt a wonderful, positive energy in the group. I was also impressed with the professionalism of the members. I have had good growth in my business since joining and I believe WBN has been an important part of that. My thanks to Carole Babish and Karen McCrory for inviting me to WBN South Hills. I have found my networking home.
Donna M. Cheswick, Norwin Chapter
I have been a member since 2003 and have found WBN to be one of the most dynamic women’s networking organizations in our area. WBN is a community of women in business who truly support each others professional and personal growth. Not only has it assisted me in making valuable business contacts, but I have received invaluable business advice and support, as well as, friendships that truly make a difference.
Gina Agostino-Manes, Cranberry Chapter
WBN has allowed me to meet so many professional business women that have needed my service and I have also needed their services in return. Also, our group does a great job at sharing our roladexes and generating a lot of referrals each week.
Suzanne Venneri, Wexford Chapter
It seems to me that the women of the “hills” of Pittsburgh, ie. North Hills, South Hills, East Hills and West Hills, do not seem to venture out of their comfort zones of their “hills” areas. However, being a member of the Wexford Chapter in the North Hills, has given me the opportunity to broaden my client base by meeting and arranging travel for women professionals from other areas of Pittsburgh I never knew existed like Apollo, Valencia, and Fonibell. I therefore welcome this opportunity and anticipate arranging travel plans for those in ALL areas of Pittsburgh and to quote Buzz Lightyear, “to infinity and beyond”.
Cheryl Hassell, East Chapter
In startling and remarkable ways my membership in WBN has been an exceptional marketing and promotional tool. Referrals comprise 100% of my cleaning and host business; I credit WBN East Chapter for the quantum leap White Glove Cleaning and Host Services is experiencing. New to the area, these extraordinary women became friends and “hooked me up” in all sorts of ways, from helping me to find an apartment, to locating resources, and among other gifts, the learning and growth from being involved with this group of motivated, brilliant, creative women. I LOVE WBN!
Deborah Johnson, Laurel Highlands Chapter
I’d like to give credit to the women of the Laurel Highlands Chapter of the WBN for literally starting my business as a Photographer. I went to a meeting just to observe them several years ago. Before I even joined they were giving me referrals. I had planned to start my business slowly; however, through the guidance of these women I jumped in feet first and my business was off to a flying start. The women of this group are the most supportive women I have ever met, both professionally and personally. They become your friend whether you want them or not.
Ute Miller, North Hills Chapter
I just recently joined the WBN North Hills Chapter and feel definitely energized by all the networking opportunities that are arising by finding out about each others’ businesses. My fellow members are a great inspiration. We learn from each other and support and encourage each other. I very much enjoy our lively meetings.