Women’s Business Development Center to Honor Entrepreneurs, Advocates at 27th Annual Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference
The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) will honor successful women entrepreneurs as well as advocates who have demonstrated an enthusiastic commitment to strengthening women’s business ownership and economic development at its 27th Annual Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference on Thursday, September 26, 2013, from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at McCormick Place, Lakeside Center, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, in Chicago.
The awards will be presented at the 27th Annual Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon at 12 noon. Luncheon keynote speaker is Laurel Bellows, the principal of The Bellows Law Group, P.C., located in Chicago, and the immediate past president of the American Bar Association. This year’s award recipients are:
- 27th Annual Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year – Carolyn Gable, CEO, New Age Transportation, Distribution & Warehousing Inc.
- 27th Annual Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year – WBE Success, Lili Hall, President & CEO, KNOCK, inc.
- 27th Annual Advocacy Award – WVON
- 27th Annual Corporate Support Award – OfficeMax® Incorporated
27th Annual Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year
Carolyn Gable, CEO, New Age Transportation, Distribution & Warehousing Inc.
Carolyn Gable launched New Age Transportation, Distribution & Warehousing Inc., in 1989 with just one employee. Today, with 45 employees and annual revenues of $25 million, New Age is a leading third-party logistics business, which provides transportation and consulting services to dozens of companies, including several in the Fortune 500. Gable’s road to success was rocky. As a single mother, she was forced to make ends meet by working as a waitress for 12 years. When the restaurant closed, she took an entry level job at a freight company and eventually was promoted to a sales position. When the trucking industry became de-regulated, she saw an opportunity and seized it, starting her own independent freight business out of her home. The recipient of numerous awards for her business acumen, Gable gives back to the community in part through her Expect a Miracle Foundation, which has given more than 7,000 children nationwide access to music and dance lessons, sports and school tutoring. She is the author of a motivational book, Everything I Know as a CEO I Learned as a Waitress.
27th Annual Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year – WBE Success
Lili Hall, president & CEO, KNOCK, inc.
Lili Hall founded and leads one of the few female-owned advertising agencies in the nation. In 2001, she gathered a core group of talent, many of whom continue on the leadership team today, and launched a business that has grown at a remarkable rate, landing the agency on the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies list for three consecutive years. KNOCK’s strategic and creative approach to service has helped them win clients such as Target, New Balance, Levi’s and Perry Ellis. Hall also founded and heads two other local companies that support KNOCK's service offerings: a trend-inspired product development business called Treat and Company (2006), and Neighbor (2012), a 3-D animation and creative content developer. Under Hall’s direction, KNOCK devotes a significant amount of pro bono work to help non-profit organizations. Hall serves on the boards of The Children’s Theatre Company and The Italian Cultural Center, and maintains an active membership in the Women Presidents’ Organization. She recently completed an International Masters of Practicing Management degree at McGill University, where she studied at five management schools around the world.
27th Annual Advocacy Award
WVON, Melody Spann Cooper, chairman of Midway Broadcasting Corporation andd president of WVON and WRLL radio
As chairman of Midway Broadcasting, Melody Spann Cooper joined an elite list of female broadcast station owners after purchasing the company’s controlling interest in 1999. The company’s properties include WVON 1690AM, Chicago’s only black owned and operated radio station, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and WRLL 1450AM, a Spanish-language station. For five decades, WVON has been more than just a radio station but has served as a platform for the African-American community and the voice of information for social, economic and political issues both locally and nationally. Spann Cooper’s accomplishments in broadcast media have been recognized by numerous organizations, including Crain’s Chicago Business, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council. She is a member of the Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs, a board member of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters and The Provident Foundation, and is a trustee of the Museum of Science & Industry and the University of Chicago Medical Center.
27th Annual Corporate Support Award – OfficeMax
OfficeMax is being honored for its ongoing commitment to the advancement of women- and minority-owned businesses and for its steadfast dedication to the WBDC. From 2010 to 2012, OfficeMax grew its diversity spending by approximately 60 percent. OfficeMax also hosted its first Annual Business Opportunity Exchange in 2011, bringing together its diverse suppliers and vendors for a one-day conference to develop strategic relationships with internal stakeholders. And the second Annual Business Opportunity Exchange in 2012 required OfficeMax’s prime vendors and suppliers to engage certified diverse suppliers on contracts and projects. The program was also expanded to include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender certified suppliers.
In addition to the awards luncheon, conference attendees will find valuable connections, opportunities to win new contracts and information on increasing business growth. Supported by the 2013 Conference Co-Chairs Carolynn Brooks, vice president, chief diversity officer, OfficeMax and president, OfficeMax Charitable Foundation; and Marsha Cruzan, Chicago market president, U.S. Bank, the conference features:
- Face time with more than 200 corporate and government representatives at the Women’s Business & Buyers Mart, who are committed to purchasing products and services from women-owned businesses.
- Contract Connections, the WBDC Matchmaker, pre-arranged, one-on-one meetings between certified Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) and corporate and government purchasing decision-makers.
- Women’s Forum Breakfast, moderated by best-selling author Terry Savage, will feature the State of Women’s Business Development from the WBDC. Beginning with a discussion of the origins of the Women’s Business Development Center and how far it has come, the conversation will also cover the WBDC’s vision for the future and its commitment to continue fighting the challenges that still exist for women- and minority-owned businesses.
- Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon, honoring successful female entrepreneurs and supporters of women’s economic development. Laurel Bellows, the principal of The Bellows Law Group, P.C., located in Chicago, and the immediate past president of the American Bar Association, will deliver the keynote address.
- Workshops for start-up and established business owners, “Launch Your Own Business: From Dream to Reality,” “10,000 Small Businesses Growth Session,” “Small Business – Big Opportunities: Finding Solutions for Small Business Challenges.”
- Let’s get this party started! An entertaining, wrap-up reception where women business owners and corporate and government procurement representatives can connect in a casual, business setting.
Tickets are $225 for women business owners and $250 for others on or before August 31, 2013; thereafter, tickets become $300 for everyone, in advance and at the door. This fee includes access to all conference events. Individual tickets for the Women’s Forum Breakfast, Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon and Women’s Business & Buyers Mart are $125 each for everyone. For more information or to register, visit www.WBDC.org/EWC.