10 Years and Counting for Our DPWN Tribe
What will the next 10 years look like for our DPWN Tribe? What started out in 2005 as one little group of women uniting in to grow their businesses, has evolved into a vibrant and “dynamic” multi-chapter networking community that I am truly very proud of. Back in 2007, when I changed our name from “DuPage” Professional Women’s Network, to “Dynamic”, little did I know how appropriate that name would really become for us. The word “Dynamic” is characterized by constant change, activity, or progress. When I chose it from the list of descriptive words, I was describing the group of dynamic women who we had on our team. But over the years I see how that word also describes our organization as it has had to be dynamically changing and progressing to remain relative and to do our best to continually be providing value to our members.
Have we succeeded at those goals? Well, I can say that we have tried many things, but have we continued to add value to our members. Sometimes YES we have, but I fear that sometimes we may not have.
Looking back over the last 10 years, I really think we were the strongest when we were smaller and more centralized because then we were able to successfully hold big luncheons, allowing all of the members the opportunity to connect with each other at these events. Then as we kept growing, it became harder to find a location that would be convenient for everyone so the far ladies would not come and would send me feedback how they wanted events closer to them. The only problem is if I were to hold an event so far, none of the other members would come. So or event focus ceased and we now support the chapter events if they join efforts with another local chapter.
In 2008, I invested big bucks for a customized website (which I am still paying for J) that would not only provide member, leader and admin functionality, it would provide visibility for our membership allowing them search engine rankings. It was really cool back then and a unique tool that no other organization like ours had. But over time, the look of that site became old and dated so we embarked on a website facelift adding additional features and benefits for our members.
Around 2011 we had 3 amazing women step into Regional Director roles which was awesome because they provided support and training for our ever-expanding leadership team which allowed me the time to focus on the internal workings of our community. I was excited!!! The only problem with that plan is while our chapters may have been the highest functioning at that time, our profits started dipping into the red with the added expense. So that plan didn’t work. Back to the drawing board….
As we approach our 10 YEAR Anniversary Celebration I look back on the many other things we tried throughout the years. I recognize the things that worked as well as the things that didn’t. I truly loved building our DPWN Tribe and finding ways to support our members. We have supported over 1,800 women to date and have had almost 40 chapters overall. We now have 19 chapters, HOWEVER it has not always been a bed of roses. Every time I feel completely frustrated and ready to give up, I visit a chapter and hear the wonderful feedback from a woman or more who just love our community, so I keep going!! Just recently, I re-posted something on Facebook about the big women’s march in January. I never post anything political, because I just am not into politics, but I was seeing things that Monday morning that led me to voice my opinion. The purpose for me with that re-post, was not how it was received by some of our members which resulted in some hurt feelings by all of the parties involved and then a whole chapter resigning. I felt ready to quit once again, but I regrouped, researched and figured out the next best step.
Looking back I can see how tired, and frustrated I have been over the past 4 years or so. And even though that infamous Facebook post caused me so much stress and internal turmoil, it was the catalyst that prompted me to initiate changes that I have been contemplating for the past year. So here it is…
- I believe that I have done a great job so far with DPWN. I’m sure there are, but I do not know of any other organization like this that has done what we have done.
- I know that to get to the next level I can’t do it alone. I DO NOT WANT TO do it alone!
- I need help. I need the brilliant minds of the true leaders in our community that can see the vision of what we can create together over the next 10 years and want to be a part of that transformation.
I am working with a business consultant, who has specific experience with this type of business, to help guide me in these initial steps and the overall plan. I am creating an advisory board of women who want to take an active role to make DPWN a bigger and better resource than ever before. I am looking for support with leadership, finances, events, customer service, growth, education, communications as well as overall advisory support.
If this is you, and you want to know what is involved with this effort, click on the link below to be included on this Advisory Board communication list.