Power Brokers Meet New Players at Women's Business Expo

ROCKFORD, Ill.--Tanzee Miller is new to the Rockford business community after her husband relocated for work more than two years ago.

"I'm looking forward to re-entering the workforce after a long career with a major corporation," Miller said. "I think Rockfordis going to be a wonderful opportunity for us."

Miller was among the 400 people looking to see what's out there at the 18th annual Women in Business Expo sponsored by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

Some of the Expo attendees already have jobs and some own their own business. However, it was clear that today was a day to make connections.

"A lot of time you see logos and you don't know what a company does," said Lindsay Oswald, Accounts Manager for the marketing firm Meridian."It's just nice to come out here and hear their stories."

Oswald knows that Miller and all those looking for new jobs and new business are in the right place.

"You definitely have to get out there and tell your message yourself," said Oswald. "People won't know you're there unless you get out there and do it yourself."

That message seemed to be the theme whether it was in the marketing field or the manufacturing business.

"We have (a lot of) networking available to us at our fingertips," said Josette Fillbach, President of the Women in Today's Manufacturing group. An organization dedicated to keep Stateline women involved in the manufacturing business.

"Just when you go to work in your daily job every day, you don't realize that opportunity is there."

Forty businesses were represented at Cliffbreakers set to listen to Martha Mertz talk about her experiences creating a real estate empire in Michigan. Mertz, the founder of Athena International, is quick to note that today's business leaders may not look the part of a CEO.

"Huge budgets, million dollar companies and they look like the person next door, or the person in front of you at the grocery store line," said Mertz.

"But you'd never guess that these women are doing that."

Times have changed in the business community. For Miller, the same can be said about the process for being a part of that community. No longer is she dealing with resumes and cover letters.

"It's more about meeting people and putting their hand out there, and greeting and saying hello," said Miller.

"It's much more personal this time around."

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