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NAWBO Chicago Celebrates Success: Powered by Women

The Chicago chapter of the premier organization for women entrepreneurs, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), honored 10 of Chicago’s most successful and notable women in business as 2012 Corporate Women of Achievement, Woman Business Owner of the Year and Member of the Year during its Annual Achievement luncheon in downtown Chicago on April 19.

Chicago, IL, April 22, 2012 --( The Chicago chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is pleased to announce the honorees for three of its most prestigious signature awards: 2012 Woman Business Owner of the Year, 2012 Member of the Year and 2012 Corporate Woman of Achievement. All of the honorees were recognized at the chapter’s Annual Achievement Luncheon on April 19, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel and Towers, 720 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago.

Gail Zelitzky, President of NAWBO Chicago, explained, “The theme of the luncheon was Success: Powered By Women, and we called it that because these women are making their small- or mid-sized businesses soar, directing key functions and inspiring employees within corporate America, leading rich personal lives, and strengthening our communities through their voluntarism.”

Two Chicago-area business leaders -- TH Hilson Company President Lori Hilson Cioromski and Victoria Court Reporting Service, Inc. Founder and Owner Victoria E. Rock – were lauded as Woman Business Owner of the Year.

“Both Lori and Victoria are successful entrepreneurs who actively promote small business and entrepreneurship, while also exhibiting role-model qualities such as community service, business acumen and the ability to overcome obstacles,” Zelitzky said.

Under Lori’s leadership, privately held the TH Hilson Company has expanded its territory, developed new markets and formed a strong management team focused on the company’s commitment to service and growth. One result: in 2011 TH Hilson had its best year ever in terms of sales and profitability, as a preferred distributor of specialty chemical raw materials to leaders in the coatings, adhesives, personal care, metalworking fluids and lubricants, and plastics markets.

NAWBO Chicago also recognized Victoria for her business acumen in founding three thriving businesses, as well as for her agility in scaling those businesses to meet changing customer needs and market conditions. More than 30 years ago, Victoria founded Victoria Court Reporting Service, Inc. to provide reporting and litigation support services. In 1999 she launched Victoria’s Transcription Services, and in 2010, she formed VTS Consulting Services.

At the luncheon, NAWBO Chicago also lauded Emily Smith of Chicagoland Commercial Real Estate as its 2012 Member of the Year. A successful commercial real estate broker and tenant advisory specialist, Emily helps small, medium and large businesses alike negotiate favorable terms on lease occupancies – even with the most recalcitrant landlords – and operate from a position of power. “As NAWBO Chicago’s Membership Director, Emily has been equally tireless in steering our member recruitment and development efforts,” Zelitzky explained. “Emily has also championed more member-focused programming and networking, and spearheaded the planning of events and special projects.”

Finally, seven business leaders were recognized as NAWBO Chicago 2012 Corporate Women of Achievement. Nominated by their respective firms, “Corporate Women of Achievement have overcome obstacles to climb to extraordinary heights in their companies while bringing other women along, and performed at the highest levels to pave the way for other women to follow,” Zelitzky added. Here are the seven honorees:

Ann Benschoter, Vice President of Personal & Commercial, BMO Harris
Vickie Bowman, Financial Service Representative, The Principal Financial Group
Katherine Boyd, Wells Fargo
Christine Harmon, Voltage
Kathy Karaboyas Malamis, Tressler LLP
Sandra McCraren, President, Highland Park Bank & Trust, a Wintrust Community Bank
Victoria E. Rock, Victoria Court Reporting Service, Inc

About NAWBO Chicago
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is the only dues-based national organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs in all types of businesses. Founded in 1974, NAWBO currently has more than 7,000 members and 70 chapters across the United States. The Chicago-area chapter was organized in 1978 and today ranks among the largest and most preeminent NAWBO chapters in the country. For more information, visit
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Sylvia Alston

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