June 2017  

President's Report

I am so very excited for the direction our chapter is going! We have welcomed back previous members, welcomed in new members, and strengthened each other as savvy women in our community by mentoring each other and enjoying great friendships.  Wow, we have done so much this year! 

As I step down into the Past President position, I will continue to focus on our smaller Information and Libation series and sharing our chapter with the community. I have been so honored to serve all of you fabulous ladies.  Thank you for sharing yourselves with each other.  Together we are always stronger.

I am also excited for our new board. We give a huge thanks to these ladies who are willing to serve, whether in a repeat seat or embarking on a new one.  I am confident that our leadership team, led by Liz Pollack, will bring us through another successful year.  Each board member is coming to their posts with their hearts in the right place - to support our chapter and the members in it.  Let’s take time to ensure we are supporting, learning and laughing with each other.  We are a powerful force in our community.  Let’s continue to do so.  Thank you again for letting me serve you all. 

Michelle Rouland


Now a word from your new president!  

When I think of the year ahead of me as the President of our wonderful NAWBO Chapter I am humbled, excited and frankly - nervous. The incredible women who have led this organization over the past 38 years have set a high standard.  Fortunately, in my three short years in NAWBO, I have made many friends and have been inspired by the strength, determination and energy of all my NAWBO sisters.  As we make this transition, I am grateful for the confidence my colleagues have in my ability to lead and I am grateful for this learning opportunity.  A special thank you to Michelle Rouland and to Susie Platt who have been my mentors and helped me prepare to transition from President-elect to President.  This brings to mind a quote: “Transitions in life can offer opportunities for discovery provided we are open to random encounters and serendipitous events.”  Robbie Shell

Liz Pollack

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Calendar of Events


What an exciting change-over event we have planned for you!  Mitch Williams, internationally renowed magician, will be presenting our program.  For over 25 years, he's wowed audiences from Beverly Hills to New York City, from Europe to Japan, and beyond. Mitch's magic entertainment and speaking programs will leave a lasting impression on you.  Come and be entertained as you enjoy the magic that will be in the air.  New officers will be installed and our President, Michelle Rouland, will turn the reins of our chapter over to Liz Pollack. 

Speaker: Michelle Rouland

As our President for the past year, Michelle has grown and changed our Chapter.  She will highlight those accomplishments and then turn the leadership over to our new Chapter President.

BIOGRAPHY: Michelle Rouland is not only our Chapter President but is the owner of A+ children's Academy. A+ Children’s Academy is the only facility in Central Illinois that centers their teaching around the Reggio Emilia approach, which emphasizes visual learning to help brain development in early childhood.  Michelle has been educating children and teachers for over 20 years.

Michelle graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bradley University with an undergraduate in Early Childhood with a focus on Special Education Endorsement, and a Masters in Curriculum Instruction.  The staff and teachers at A+ Children’s Academy promote creativity through visual arts, literacy skills, sciences, and more.

MEETINGS: Our meetings are open to members and guests. Social/networking time begins at 5:30 pm and dinner begins at 6:00 pm with the program following. The Central IL Chapter of NAWBO® meets the 3rd Wednesday each month.

COST: $30 for members and $35 for non-members. 

LOCATION:  Mt. Hawley Country Club, 7724 N Knoxville, Peoria, IL.  Valet parking available.

You may pay at the time of registration or at the door. Registration fee must be paid by the meeting date or a $5 monthly administration fee will be assessed.

For more information, please contact  or call 309.692-2225 and leave a message.



Pathways to Success - "The Courage to Lead"

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino, East Peoria, Illinois

This conference will give you the courage to lead in all aspects of your life. It is filled with courageous and inspiring women from diverse backgrounds.

"If there is one conference to attend this year, it is Pathways to Success," says business owner Pat Drake.  "The caliber of speakers, networking opportunities and inspirational women is something you won't find anywhere else!"

Keynote Speaker:

Iron Jen, aka Jen McDonough
Author, Motivational Storyteller, Olympian, Firefighter, Ironman Triathlete, & more!

Courageous women leaders are in high demand and short supply.  As history has shown, women who have the guts to step forward, take some risks, and lead with courage during times of turnoil and times of prosperity will be winners.

While this sounds great on paper, in all reality, how does this work in our busy world today?

Join us in this engaging, motivating and empowering keynote where will look at the 3 tips to becoming courageous women leaders both at work and at home. 

Iron Jen is the perfect pick for our 2017 Pathways Conference.  In her roles as a motivational storyteller, engaging Amazon Top 100 author and founder of GRIT (Growing Resilient Individuals & Teams), Jen will inspire you.  She is an 8-time national weightlifter, Minnesota Hall of Fame inductee, two-time Olympic Festival medal winner, Ironman triathlete AND volunteer firefighter!

Breakout Sessions:

  • What's Your Leadership Style - Presented by Chris Laible, On Track with Chris
  • Transformation Leadership - Presdent by Dr. Leslie McKnight, McKnight and Associates
  • The Courage to Crash Through Your Control Issues - Presented by Liz Pollack, Leg Up Services


Ticket Prices: - Individual conference tickets include Keynote Speaker, Breakout Learning Sessions, Exhibits/Vendors plus Social/Networking Opportunities - $65 for NAWBO and WIL members/$75 for non-members and guests




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Liz's Observations

Taking Initiative to Achieve Your Goals - by Liz Pollack

Have you ever heard of the story about the 18 year old boy, a 53-foot yacht, and a billion-dollar corporation? It goes like this:  Eighteen year old Kevin was hired to wax a yacht.  He had trouble getting the wax to buff out properly and so he went to ask his dad what he should do.  His dad was watching a football game with his friends and they started to work on the problem.  They explained just exactly how wax worked and each step of the process.  They told him the difference between different waxes and applicators.  They discussed the difference in quality between hand rubbing and machine buffing.  They talked and argued about possible causes and soon were discussing the many uses for wax.  Unfortunately, none of the talk was getting Kevin an answer.  Finally, a frustrated Kevin called 3M to discuss the problem. Within an hour one of their product specialists called him back. The specialist identified the problem and gave Kevin the name of a product to more completely strip the old wax.  He started again and got a beautiful result.  It is easy to get paralyzed in problem solving but just like Kevin, we need to know what we want, stay focused, and take initiative. 

The best way to avoid stagnation and procrastination is to make sure you have a clear understanding of the problem and the results you want. Kevin wanted a bubble free finish so he could collect his pay.  He didn’t need a three hour lecture on the difference between hand and machine buffing.  In order to move forward like Kevin did, we need to clearly define the problem and the desired results. 

We need to keep ourselves from getting stalled in problem solving by bringing ourselves back to the point. It is easy to get side-tracked and lose sight of our goal.  When this happens, we often get frustrated and stop trying to improve things. 

Most importantly, we need to recognize when we are stuck and take the imitative to free ourselves. Just like Kevin took the initiative, after a great deal of frustration, to call 3M, as leaders we sometimes have to take the initiative and get good information, seek help from an expert, gather more data and take our best educated guess.  Too often we are embarrassed to admit we don’t have the answers or are afraid to take a step because we may fail.  We must overcome our timidity and boldly move forward even if our first tries don’t get us to our goals. 

Developing the habits of goal, focus and initiative not only help us achieve our goals but they keep us motivated and ready to tackle the next challenge.

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Image Potential Shares

Moral Courage - The Heart of Great Leadership, by Cindy Byrd, image potential

60 Minutes recently aired an inspirational interview with Hamdi Ulukaya, the owner/founder/CEO of Chobani, the number one best-selling yogurt brand in the United States. His story is not only an example of courage in general but more important, a shining example of moral courage - the courage to do what's right.  As business owners and leaders, we can all learn from Hamdi, as he's affectionately known on the shop floor at all Chobani facilities.  Hamdi came to America on a student visa 23 years ago with very little money, no family, and unable to speak English.  Obviously, this shows a great deal of courage in itself; however, it's what Hamdi did over the next two decades that shows moral courage.

After finishing his studies, working at a dairy farm, and starting a small feta cheese business, Hamdi happened to see an ad for a yogurt plant being sold by Kraft - it was a major business in the small village of New Berlin, New York, and the closing of this plant meant about 200 people would lose their jobs. Again, with no money, Hamdi took a leap of faith, and made the decision to buy the plant, which I believe further shows not just courage, but moral courage.  He wanted to do what was right - help people get and keep jobs.  Hamdi managed to negotiate business loans that helped him purchase the plant, and the first five people he hired were from the 200 who had lost their jobs.  Eventually the plant expanded because of the brand's success; in fact, business was so good that he needed to reach outside New Berlin to recruit workers, but he only chose to do this after helping as many local residents as possible.

Hamdi's moral courage guided his new recruitment efforts. When he learned about an immigrant center in Utica having trouble finding jobs for the residents, he invited them to work at Chobani.  The challenges were language and transportation barriers -- again, Hamdi chose to do what was right in order to help the immigrants.  He arranged for transportation; and, even more remarkable, he hired translators to work at the plant.  Today he has 19 different nationalities and 16 translators working at the plant.

By 2012 Chobani needed further expansion, and Hamdi built a new plant in Twin Falls, Idaho, a very conservative state where he has continued to provide jobs for fellow immigrants, NOT in replacement of jobs for Americans, but alongside them. Even so, some media and conservative groups targeted Hamdi, and he even received death threats claiming he brought crime and tuberculosis to Twin Falls - neither is true or factual.  In the face of all this, Hamdi forged on.  He said in his interview, "It was an emotional time.  People hate you for doing something right.  I mean, what can you do about that?"  Except continue to be morally courageous, I would add.

The governor of Idaho, Butch Otter, said this about Hamdi: "I think his care about his employees, whether they be refugees or they be folks who were born 10 miles away from where they're working - I believe his advocacy for that person is no different.  And there's nothing wrong with that."  Indeed!  Every leader, manager, and business owner should make caring for their employees a priority, regardless of differences of any kind. Last year, now a billionaire, Hamdi made the choice to give 10% of his equity in Chobani to his employees.  He made it clear, however, that it's not a gift, it's a recognition because "it's the right thing to do." 

Hamdi's compassionate spirit reminds me of this quote from Dennis Prager: "Goodness is about character - integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like.  More than anything else it is about how we treat other people."  So make the mindful choice to be a leader like Hamdi, with the moral courage to treat others well and to always do what is right.  People want to do business and associate with companies and leaders like that.  Success will follow when you combine a head for a great product or service with a heart of moral courage -- just look at Chobani!


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For Your Information

At last month's meeting, Becky Wood, from the Management and Leadership Department at Bradley University, shared with us how to keep pace with all the changes that are happening - both in our business and personal lives.  It was a powerful presentation and many members asked for the slide show.  If you contact Pat Drake at, she will forward a copy to you. Becky also referenced the book, "The Power of Habit" and it is truly worth the read!  Thanks, Becky.



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Partner News

Dream Center Upcoming Events:

DCP Bike Challenge

July 15-17th

Join us July 15-17 for the 2nd annual DCP Bike Challenge. This year’s route will feature scenic backroads of central Illinois starting in Peoria IL and ending at the Archway in St. Louis MO.

Click here for more information.


Mission Peoria 2017

July 24th-29th

Mission Peoria is a week like no other. Over 300 young people from all over America participate in this week of service. They converge on the City of Peoria to make a huge impact on the community

Click for more info and youth leader packets

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Public Policy Topics

Moody’s downgrades Illinois to 1 notch above junk Moody’s Investors Service cited Illinois lawmakers’ $250 billion in pension debt and the lengthy budget impasse as reasons for its one-notch credit downgrade. Read more

S&P downgrades Illinois to 1 notch above junk S&P warns that Illinois is in danger of a "negative credit spiral." Read more

1.8 million Illinoisans are dependent on food stamps March 2017 saw 15,000 more Illinoisans on food stamps than March 2016. Read more

Fact-checking BGA’s claims on ‘low-spending’ Illinois Illinois has many areas of expensive inefficiency to reform in state and local government. Read more

Amended cursive writing mandate passes Illinois Senate A Senate amendment would require public elementary schools to teach cursive writing, while the original House bill would extend the handwriting instruction mandate to all Illinois public elementary and high schools. Read more

Have all voted who fish?  Illinois lawmakers passed a bill regulating the sale of catfish in restaurants. Read more

Madigan, Cullerton will hit the pension lottery

If he ever retires, House Speaker Mike Madigan’s annual pension will be more than $130,000 after one year.

Read more

Illinois approaching three years without a full budget Illinoisans are being told that Illinois’ dysfunction is the fault of the state’s two-year budget impasse.  Read more

Illinois Senate’s education finance bill bails out Chicago, fails at reform Senate Bill 1 provides a $215 million annual pension bailout and other carve-outs worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Chicago Public Schools. Read more

Bill preventing pension double dipping awaits Rauner's signature House Bill 418 prevents retired police officers from double dipping in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. Read more

Illinois lawmakers pass the Trampoline Safety Act The new regulations will force the state to spend thousands of dollars on new inspection equipment and pay travel and overtime for the new required inspections. Read more

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