The 1st Source Bank annual Women in Business Luncheon took place in early November at the Valparaiso Country Club. The purpose of the event is to celebrate female trailblazers, business owners, entrepreneurs, and empower those who are on their way to these titles.
The day began with lunch prepared by the kitchen staff of the country club, and while everyone ate and mingled, the program began.
“We all know the struggles of women in business. You have a business, you have a career, deadlines, meetings, children, chores, and other things to take care of,” Jayne Cooper, Regional Sales Manager for 1st Source Bank said. “And we’re very unique because if you start your own business you often start with very little, no employees, limited funds, but we still make things happen.”
Following Cooper, multiple women clad in capes “flew” to the front of the room. They represented the Heroes for Hilltop Campaign, and Jennifer Wright, executive director for the Hilltop Neighborhood House sent out a call-to-action to the hidden superheroes in the room.
Wright said, “Most superheroes live in the shadows like teachers, grandparents, parents; they do their jobs, and don’t let anyone know about their superpowers. You all have superpowers. You all can teach children how to be confident, have inner strength, and to be strong. You may not know that you are a superhero, but you can make a super difference in a kid’s life whether it’s at Hilltop or anywhere else. Be a superhero, align with something good, help a child in need, and by the way, we think that capes go with everything.”
To find out more visit www.hilltophouse.org.
Each year a new speaker takes to the podium. This year it was Darlene McCarty Cohn, owner of D. Cohn Communications. D. Cohn Communications is a marketing company that deals specifically with digital media. Darlene is a woman who harnessed her passion and used it to help people navigate the fast-paced and sometimes slippery world of social media.
“It may seem strange to be passionate about it, but I’m passionate about social media. I’m passionate about it because a lot of good can be done with it, it’s a great tool, but we all kind of have a love/hate relationship with it,” Cohn said. “When we think social media we think Facebook but there are so many other sites that serve different purposes and we get joy out of each one in a different way.”
Cohn’s focus of discussion was the pros and cons of social media and how businesses can best utilize this tool. The main focus of social media is to make connections. We can connect with old friends and family who live far away and stay part of their lives in a way. We follow businesses and nonprofits who are doing great things in their communities, we get our news online now – right now – and it has provided our lives with instant gratification, which has thrown media companies through a loop.
“We used to get our news the next morning but we can get it now. And we want it now and the news industry has had to adopt to that,” Cohn said. “We use social media to stay up-to-date and to get big news stories as well as small ones. We stumble across opportunities that we may have otherwise missed.”
“It’s not all about pictures of our friends kids, there is a lot more to social media than we realize. It also has positive effects on our psychology,” Cohn continued. “People will come to us and support us through social media. There’s a reason we take selfies; we want 30 people to think we’re cute. Let’s be honest.”
Cohn stated that the best part, to her, was that for the generation who grew up with cell phones and technology as a constant presence in their lives has not only sparked the interest of young men to take on tech jobs, but for young women as well.
“More and more women are getting into the technological field. They don’t want to just use an iPad, they want to program one,” Cohn said.
But there is a great deal of pressure to keep up with social media. We get such a huge amount of information given to us each day that it can get overwhelming. We’ll see things we did and did not want to see. Cohn said that she actually had enough one day and removed herself from social media in 2011.
“When I came back I made sure to learn as much as I could so I could control what I saw,” Cohn said.
More serious consequences of over usage of social media can be a disconnect from the real world. It’s more and more common for families to have cell phones at the dinner table. It’s not healthy.
It can also have dire consequences on our privacy, if we don’t use it correctly.
“What we put out into the world on social media is visible to anyone unless we change our privacy settings to keep our stuff to ourselves,” Cohn said. “If I can impress one thing upon you today it’s to go home and check the privacy level on your Facebook account. If you have a public account switch it to friends only. Otherwise, if I Google you, I can see what you are doing on Facebook.”
This is bad if a potential employer sees your rowdy party days from college or someone finds out that you are on vacation and that your house is just asking to be burgled. And then there is the negative and depressing posts that flow into our feeds and the trolls and cyber bullies who use social media as a shield.
So we need to think of social media as ours and we need to let the people we know and care about see what we send out into cyber space. If you need help with that, Darlene Cohn can help you. For more information on D. Cohn Communications visit http://www.dcohn.com/.
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