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Influential Women in Business

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The Business Ledger's Influential Women in Business Awards are given to suburban business women who share a commitment to professional excellence and their communities. The judges will base their selections on the nominees' business and professional achievements and the challenges they have met in building their careers. The selection committee will also consider how the nominees "give back" to their communities and/or employees.

Presented by
The Daily Herald Business Ledger in partnership with National Association of Women Business Owners

The 2018 Influential Women in Business awards ceremony will be held Nov. 2 at Belvedere Banquets, 1170 W. Devon Road, Elk Grove Village. .Click here for registration form


• Susan Beth, COO, NRD Capital Management LLC, Downers Grove

• Andrea Biwer, executive director, Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce, Des Plaines

• Terri Brax, co-founder and CEO, Women Tech Founders, Schaumburg

• Erin Brooks, executive director, Township High School District 214 Education Foundation, Arlington Heights

• Julie Chavez, senior vice president, community relations manager, Bank of America, Chicago

• Michelle Damico, founder and CEO, Michelle Damico Communications, Lincolnshire

• Linda S. Fine, co-chair of estate planning and estate settlement departments, Kelleher & Buckley, LLC, North Barrington

• Jennifer L. Friedland, member and managing partner, Momkus LLC, Lisle

• Lisa Gilbert, president, Schaumburg Business Association, Schaumburg

• Dr. Anuja Gupta, general partner, Aman Living LLC, Frankfort

• Noreen Heron, president, Heron Agency, Chicago

• Sue Kramer Harrawood, founder, Peace of Mind Virtual Assistance, Orland Park

• Jean LaVallie, founder and CEO, Women Entrepreneurs Secrets of Success

• Laura Newman, city administrator, Batavia

• Diane Nyhammer, vice president of educational affairs, Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove

• Danielle Ozer, executive vice president, brokerage services, Benefits Solutions Group of TandemHR, Westchester

• Adria Meehan Siewert, vice president, financial adviser, Wealth Enhancement Group, Itasca

• Jean Theis, executive vice president and COO, Andigo Credit Union, Schaumburg

• Amy M. Toepper, founder and CEO, AMT Law LLC and Legal in A Box Inc., Naperville

• Catherine Tojaga, president and owner, CT Mechanical, Addison



All that is required in making the initial nomination is the name and contact information of both the nominee and the nominator.

A letter from business management, customers, employees or others familiar with the nominee can also be submitted at this time.

Self-nominations are accepted.

Previous award recipients are not eligible.

The nominees' business must either be located in or have a major presence in The Daily Herald Business Ledger's primary editorial coverage area, which includes suburban Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, McHenry County or Will County.

Nominees' whose primary business address is in Chicago are requested to explain their business presence in the suburban business community. Preference is given to businesses located in our suburban circulation area.

Exceptions are made when a Chicago based firm has branch offices or an otherwise major presence in the suburban business community.

Nominations must be submitted online at by Sept. 12..


The selection committee is comprised of staff members of the Daily Herald Business Ledger and Daily Herald Media Group.

Decisions are made from personal knowledge of the nominees and/or the quality of the supporting materials that are submitted.

Nominees will be notified via e-mail of their status following the judging.


Award recipients will be honored at a luncheon reception to be held Nov. 2 at a location to be annouunced..

 Honorees will be profiled in a special section of the December issue of the Daily Herald Business Ledger.


After the nomination deadline, nominees will be contacted by e-mail and given an opportunity to submit supporting materials for their nomination portfolio. The following guidelines will assist nominees in providing additional information:

• Please submit a biography or resume detailing the nominee's achievements in business, civic or personal arenas. Include information that tells the story of the nominee.

• The selection committee will consider the nominee's business and professional achievements and the challenges they have met in building their careers.

• List honors, awards or achievements that the nominee has earned.

• The selection committee will consider how the nominees "give back" to their communities and/or employees. List any involvement with business organizations, charitable or civic causes.

• Magazine or newspaper articles may also be included, as well as brochures, letters or any materials that tell the nominee's story.

• Please include whatever information or materials you think would be helpful to the selection committee. Please do not submit any material that must be returned.  Please do not submit any audio/visual material.

We encourage sending all nomination supporting materials via email to

You may mail your information to Kat Polomsky, Daily Herald Business Ledger, 155 E. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005. Please do not submit any material that must be returned. Please do not submit any audio/visual material.


Q. How much financial information must we disclose?

A. Not that much. There is no need to disclose proprietary information. We are looking for some general benchmarks of financial growth and success. Percentages are often used. (e.g. "the company grew by over 200 percent in the last five years and expects sales to exceed $25 million in 2017.")

Q. Why should my company and I participate in this awards program?

A. The awards provide a significant public relations opportunity and lets your entire company share in your success. Honorees are profiled in the Daily Herald Business Ledger as well as online through our e-mail newsletter The Business Edge. You can send out your own press release to interested media. You can post your honor on your company's web page and insert copies of articles in your sales kits. You will also have the opportunity to meet other successful business executives who are being honored.

Q. Who does the judging and what are they looking for?

A. The editorial staff of the Daily Herald Business Ledger conducts the judging. They will select up to 20 honorees. They are looking for a diverse group - by industry, size of organization, financial success, product or service, commitment to business and charitable organizations. Our goal is to select a representative sample of women business executives that are successful in our community. We are looking to honor successful businesses and the people who make them successful.

Q. What is the recognition event like? Who should attend?

A. Approximate attendance is 200 people. The evening begins with a reception. A keynote speaker will set the tone for the evening. The honorees are introduced from the podium and recognized with an A/V presentation. Each honoree is offered one minute to speak to the audience. Honorees often bring several employees, family members and friends who have been instrumental in the recognition of the company/organization to share this honor.


Click here to meet the 2017 Influential Women in Business honorees.

Click here for coverage of the 2017 Influential Women in Business awards ceremony.

Click here to meet the 2016 Influential Women in Business honorees.