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About the Women's Initiative
Women’s Initiative Programs
Women Business Owners
Women's Initiative Blog
Recommended Readings

To join the Women's Initiative click here.

For eighteen years, Itasca Bank & Trust Co.’s Women’s Initiative
sm has presented an array of programs and services to advance the success of women. The programs are interesting and informative, addressing topics that make a difference in women’s lives. From personal interest to business and financial focus, the many roles of women have been celebrated and enhanced. The Women’s Initiative also offers the opportunity to connect with other dynamic women. There is no fee to join the Women’s Initiative, nor for the programs.

Whether you are:
• Employed
• A business owner
• Retired
• A stay-at-home mom 

The Women's Initiative is for you.

What we do:
The programs we offer cover a wide range of interests, and are for women of all ages and walks of life. Review a sample of some of our past programs, all offered at no charge to women:

• Women, Wisdom, and Understanding Wealth Creation
• Cyber: Threats, Trends, and Strategies
• Trusts Made Simple
• Joy!
• Celebrate Women's History Month: Louisa May Alcott
• The Savings Gap: How to Save Now For the Future You Want

Once a year we have a special program at Drury Lane in Oakbrook. 

 Following are some of our past speakers for the event:
• Bonnie Blair, Olympic Athlete
• Kathy and Judy, Radio Personalities
• Barbara Stanny  Author of "Overcoming Under Earning" and "Prince Charming Isn’t Coming"
• Alison Levine, Team Captain of the First American Women’s Everest Expedition

We also offer special programs for women business owners. 

  Here is a sampling of past programs:
• Five Reasons Business Owners Should Have a Retirement Plan
• Positioning Your Business to Sell
• The Why and How of Video Marketing
• Are You Running Your Business or Is It Running You?
• Succession Planning for Women Business Owners


More Joy!

The Holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving and concluding with New Year’s Day, often finds us stressed with the hectic pace of cooking, buying gifts, decorating, and coordinating family visits. The holidays might also be tinged with sadness when we think of loved ones who are no longer with us.

Join us to get in the right frame of mind to experience More Joy this holiday season.

Dr. Chris L. Johnson is a favorite of the Women’s Initiative, having previously guided us in the practice of mindful awareness. She will present some ways we can focus on and enjoy each moment as it comes which can lead to a more joyful Holiday season.

We will conclude the morning with a Holiday Trivia Contest designed to bring back some happy memories, along with a good dose of laughing and More Joy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Holiday Inn Itasca
860 W Irving Park Rd, Itasca

There is no charge for the program, but advance registration is required. Because this will be a very popular program, only Women’s Initiative members may attend. To register online click here, or telephone Itasca Bank & Trust Co. at 630-773-0350, ext. 450

To join the Women's Initiative click here

Itasca Bank & Trust Co. believes in the success of women business owners, and backs up that belief with programs and services especially designed to encourage that success. The Women’s Initiative provides opportunities for networking, for learning, and for enjoyment, all with a focus on encouraging women business owners to shape a future that is whatever they desire.   

Business Roundtables
The Business Roundtable brings together women business owners of non-competing businesses to provide confidential resource and platform for exchanging ideas in order to build business satisfaction and revenue.The group addresses real-life business issues, provides realistic feedback and solutions, and monitors progress toward goals. The Business Roundtable meets once a month; there is no fee to join the Roundtable.  Telephone Diane Middlebrooks, Women’s Initiative Coordinator, at (630)773-0350 for details on joining.

The Business Roundtable sessions bring these benefits:
• Your own personal Board of Advisors
• Reaching goals that are important to you
• Strategies for growing your business
• Solutions to your business challenges
• Education in a variety of business areas
• Impartial feedback
• What you need to know when you need it
• Support from women who walk in your shoes
• Connection with smart, dynamic women.

Following are testimonials from some of the Roundtable participants.

"The Roundtable is the highlight of my month. It's a great place for me to connect with fellow women business owners who share the same challenges I do. The group is a tremendous resource for ideas, answers, support, and friendship. Even if I don't have a particular question or concern, I always come away from the meetings with fabulous ideas and a renewed admiration for the wisdom of the women in the group. The facilitated discussions that are also part of the Roundtable force me to dig deep and think about how to run my business better. This is a task I often overlook during the busyness that comes with being a business owner. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful association."

“The Itasca Bank Women's Business Roundtables have been a great source of information and inspiration. As a business owner, getting mentoring and support from my peers is priceless. In addition to building a strong network, I use the group as a sounding board when I am facing tough decisions and love getting a fresh perspective with a variety of solutions. I look forward to the meetings every month and highly recommend participating in these groups.”

“I find The Women's Initiative Roundtable to be a comfortable environment in which professional women share business news, knowledge, and issues. This intimate exchange of experiences and expertise has led to our becoming true champions not only of each other’s businesses, but also of each other as independent women."

“When I was invited to join the Women’s Initiative, I was so hesitant to commit to anything that would take me away from the office once a month. It was, at that time, a brave thing for me to do.  Since then my life has changed both personally and my business has changed. The Women’s Initiative has existed through several recessions, 9/11 and other major world events as well as the business and personal events of our groups.  It has helped me grow as a person and as a business owner. I’ve made friends and acquaintances from all types of businesses and learned that there is so much out there beyond “me”.  We in the Women’s initiative start out thinking we have nothing in common, and find out very soon that we have everything in common!”

Diane Middlebrooks,
Women's Initiative Coordinator
Diane comes from a corporate management background. Prior to joining Itasca Bank & Trust Co. Diane owned her own business, The Business Coach, and led numerous companies and individuals toward greater success and prosperity. During that time she was very active in the National Association of Women Business Owners, serving on the Board for four years, and one year as the Chicago chapter president. As Women's Initiative Coordinator, Diane plans the programs and events. She also facilitates monthly Roundtables for women business owners.

Diane invites you to contact her about the Women's Initiative at 630-773-0350 ext. 421


Time to Think about Money!

Has another year passed and you have been so busy with work, family, and other interests that you haven’t taken time to do something for yourself? One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to take some time to think about money – how it affects our present and our future, and that of our family.

I sat down with David Mercurio, Vice President, Itasca Bank & Trust Co.’s Financial Planning Center, to ask him to share any advice he had about money that would help us create a more secure financial future. Here are eight suggestions that David has found, over years of working with people, which can have the most beneficial impact on their financial future.

1. Take care of yourself – your health and your mind. Stay physically and mentally active; keep up social connections and develop new interests. If you deteriorate too prematurely as you age, all your savings that you had intended to use for a comfortable retirement will be eaten up by medical costs and nursing home care. Your goal should be a long, healthy life so that you can enjoy your money, and also be able to gift to family members or favorite charities.

2. Always pay yourself first. Have some amount from your paycheck directly deposited to a savings or investment account each month. Your goal should be to have enough money in an FDIC insured savings account to cover all of your household expenses for three to six months. If you work at a company that offers a 401k plan, enroll in it, especially if it matches your contributions. If you change companies, roll over your 401k to the new employer plan or to an IRA – do not spend the money.

3. Manage your debt.This is crucial to your financial flexibility. You do not want to be in a position of having the majority of your income used for paying down debt. Stay away from high interest credit cards, payday loans, and car title loans. Make a budget and stick to it. This does not have to be a complicated spreadsheet. Use whatever works for you to live within your means – it can even be as simple as using envelopes for different living expenses.

4. “Chance only favors the prepared mind” – Louis Pasteur. Always work on learning new ideas, new skills; take classes, read voraciously. That way you are preparing for an opportunity that you may not even know exists right now. Be open to reinventing yourself over your lifetime.

5. Mitigate risk. Review all insurance plans to assure you have the right coverage. Do you have a personal umbrella policy? Do you have cash reserves in the event of an unexpected job loss? Do you have a health care power of attorney, a living will, and other estate planning documents, and are they up-to-date? Who knows about these documents and your wishes? Are they accessible by the people you choose to carry them out?

6. “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” - Benjamin Franklin - What is your plan for guaranteed income?  Pension or Social Security? Learn the impact on your payments based on the age you file for Social Security. Understand the impact of being invested in dividend growth stocks, annuities, reverse mortgages and other sources of retirement income. 

7. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. While the need for getting one’s financial affairs in order often seems far off in the distance, as we know, life can change in an instant. Make sure you have necessary Powers of Attorney, your Will, a Trust (having evaluated if you should have a Corporate Trustee), and have identified your wishes for your final resting place. Not addressing these things will put a terrible burden on your family, often leading to divisions in the family.

8. Be an informed consumer. While the Internet can be a great source of information, for something as important as your future, seek the advice of reputable professionals in person, especially when it comes to many of the things discussed in this article. 

If you would like to discuss any of these ideas or want more clarification, please contact David Mercurio, at 630-875-4234. He would be glad to offer a complimentary consultation. David is easy to talk with; he has a good sense of humor which I enjoy; and as you have noticed he favors memorable quotes! I also like the way he sees money in a more holistic way, rather than simply credits and debits.

2018 is an exciting year for Itasca Bank & Trust Co. – we are celebrating 70 years of helping people shape their future, through services like those provided by our Financial Planning Center, and of course, through the Women’s Initiative.

We wish all of you a Happy, Prosperous New Year!


Diane Middlebrooks
Women's Initiative Coordinator
Itasca Bank & Trust Co.

All Securities through Money Concepts Capital Corp., Member FINRA/SIPC
Itasca Bank & Trust Co. is an independent firm not affiliated with Money Concepts Capital Corp.
Not a Deposit. Not FDIC Insured. No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value. Not Insured by any Government Agency.

We often come across articles that we feel could be a good resource for our Women's Initiative members. These articles address everything from finance to life balance issues. We hope you enjoy the selection.

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