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Meet wegg®’s Design and Technology Lead, Laura Fairman

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I am in pursuit of global reach and purpose. I’m continually asking myself… Is my work helping our world become a better place?” 

-Laura Fairman, Design and Technology Lead for wegg®

Meet wegg®’s Design and Technology Lead, Laura Fairman! She has had the pleasure of being involved with our organization since wegg®’s inception in 2008. Our Communications Intern, Lucy Brooks, sat down with Laura to interview her. Check out our feature on Laura, to learn more about her, and what goes on behind the scenes at wegg® .

Lucy Brooks: How would you describe your position at wegg®? What do you oversee and do for the organization?

Laura Fairman: I have a unique relationship with wegg® because I work for wegg® as a contractor for design, art direction, project management and technology support. I am also a founding board member, serving on the board since 2015. My goal as a board member is to be the voice of design, guiding the organization toward supporting key design initiatives, like rebranding and launching a new website. At the same time, I’m always looking to strengthen the organization’s visual cohesiveness and continuity across their many print and digital offerings.

LB: What has your professional background been like? How did you come to work for wegg®?

LF: I’m a creative through and through. I graduated from Vanderbilt University as a Fine Arts major with a double minor in music and European studies. I began my career in the arts as a portrait painter, but swiftly moved into graphic and web design to supplement my passion with consistent work. In 2001, I began my own small business, Blue Canvas (bluecanvas.net). 17 years later, I’m still creating print and digital work for small- and mid-size businesses across many industries: medical practices, nutraceuticals, health and wellness, financial advisors, law firms, technology, trade shows and events, engineering, publishing, restaurants, and nonprofits.

Through a shared client, my path crossed with wegg®’s founder, Laurel Delaney. My earliest project with Laurel Delaney dates back to August of 2007, with the redesign of the Globe Trade website. This early site was developed entirely in html, and content management systems had not yet become the norm. A lot has changed in the digital space in the last decade! Clients are managing their website content entirely on their own, and they are constantly pushing new information to their audiences. To achieve this, they are relying heavily on social media outlets, creating video blogs, online community groups, and organizing live webinar presentations with 100s of attendees online. Websites used to be simply an extension of a business card. They have become the digital handshake for a company, where making a great first impression is paramount. It’s fun to see the evolution of the digital space, and Laurel is consistently folding the current trends into her businesses, particularly with wegg®.

LB: What part of wegg®’s mission, “To educate women business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide on how to go global, so they can run healthier businesses, and create a new future for themselves, their families and their communities,” resonates with you, and how does your work connect with, or support this mission?

LF: I am in pursuit of global reach and purpose. I’m continually asking myself… Is my work helping our world become a better place?

I have found joy working with non-profit organizations because they are doing good things, and because the leaders are so passionate about what they are trying to achieve. In wegg®’s case, the mission is to educate, and they are meeting this goal with the production of free monthly wegginars® on a variety of topics designed to help women business owners and execs improve their businesses, their communities, and their lives.

I have created the outreach graphics and participated as an organizer on over 30 wegginars®. Truth be told, I have been actively involved in every single wegginar®. I’m proud to be able to say that. Each of these wegginars® are available to watch on the wegg® website, so the work is continually giving back (and hopefully inspiring!)…and that feels great.

LB: What moves, projects, or strides do you hope wegg® takes in the coming year?

LF: wegg® is still in its founding years, and we have big plans ahead. In recent months we have been focusing on sharing expertise, and we are continually meeting this intended goal. What I’d like to see in the months to come is a focus on the women of wegg®. Let’s share the stories of those women that have been measurably impacted by the resources wegg® has provided them. I’d like to see wegg® do focus features and videos of these success stories.

The second part is to see this piece realized globally. Is there a woman-owned factory in India producing woven textiles and is now exporting these products globally because they’ve learned how to do so from wegg®? Has a woman from Bangladesh achieved success for her family and community because of a business connection she made through wegg®? We want to meet these women! And, I’d like to share these global stories of impact visually.

LB: What has been your most meaningful project to take on, event you have been apart of, or moment you have had during your time here?

LF: My personal goal was to help wegg® rebrand and build a global digital platform to aid them in achieving their education mission. Under my art direction, we launched the new logo at the beginning of 2018, and we are very close to realizing our goal of launching a new education-driven website. These two projects have been the most meaningful to me, because rather than stepping in and creating a brand, I helped guide and direct the process of wegg®’s new identity. I was able to connect wegg® with an incredibly talented designer from Seattle, Gabriel Lopez. Bringing the visual goals for wegg® to fruition has been a laborious process, but when you have great people on your team, like Gabriel and Laurel, who are willing to collaborate and put the time in, it makes the work worthwhile.

wegg® thanks Laura for sharing her story with us. She is an integral part of our team, and has helped our organization thrive. To learn more about what wegg® can do for you and your business, visit our website.
Registration is open and free for our 12/5 talk with Andrew Molinsky, Ph.D. He will talk about how, “if you are not outside your comfort zone, you won’t learn anything.” Register here.

Meet Bob Marovich, wegg® Director of Development

Bob Marovich, Director of Development, wegg®, is one mighty talented individual. He has spent three decades in nonprofit fund development for colleges and universities, secondary schools, museums, public broadcasters, animal welfare agencies, social service agencies, out-of-school programs, and healthcare.  His skills include grantwriting, annual fund, major and planned giving, and strategic planning.

Beyond wegg fund development, Bob is also a gifted author.  He has written about and reviewed classic and contemporary gospel music since the mid-1990s.  His book, “A City Called Heaven,” received the Certificate of Merit for Best Historical Research in Recorded Blues, Gospel, Soul, or R&B, Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), 2016.

If that is not enough, he also is an award-winning radio host through “Gospel Memories” on Chicago’s WLUW 88.7 FM and founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Gospel Music, http://www.journalofgospelmusic.com.

Bob holds a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

Needless to say we are lucky to have Bob on board with us!  The photo above is Bob seated at the vendor table (before the show opened) at the 4th Annual Global Small Business Forum held in Chicago on Friday, October 19, 2018.  wegg was a partner at the event and it was the first time we reserved a vendor table at a global business event.

wegg® keeps energizing women entrepreneurs the world over. We can help you build confidence, find great resources and show you the steps you can take to go global. Join us for our FREE wegginar® on 11/7 with Cristina Bandal. You can find all of the details, and register for the event, here.

President and CEO Julie Smolyansky on “Following Your Gut”

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This past Wednesday September 12th, President and CEO of Lifeway Kefir, Julie Smolyansky lead a wegg® workshop about the importance of following your gut on business and personal endeavors. Her inspiring talk covered the journey of Lifeway beginning in her parent’s basement, in the mid-eighties, when they began making Kefir, a food inspired by their home country, the former Soviet Union.  It is now a $120 million publicly-traded company, thanks to Julie. She grew Lifeway to the size it is now, without a business degree, and became CEO at age 27, when her father suddenly passed away. Smolyansky shared the story of how one of her father’s friends reacted when he died and she was made CEO…

“[He said] ‘forget it, the company is done. Sell all of your stock tomorrow. There’s no way a 27 year old girl could run a company.’ This is done. Lifeway is over…I go into the office Monday morning…and everyone had sold their stock….It was devastating…[I] picked my head up and moved forward. Then, we had 70 people, today we have 320. We’ve grown our business from 12 million to 120 million…We continued to execute on the strategy we believed in, and continued to follow our gut, and worked really really hard….That man who said ‘she’s never gonna do it,’…I literally think about him every day. I say ‘thank you’, ‘thank you so much for underestimating me, for pissing me off, and making me angry…You gave me the fuel to move forward.”

Smolyansky went on to describe how being a young CEO became a strength for her. She followed her gut and made Lifeway one of the first businesses ever to have an active social media presence. She explained, “We were ahead of the game…Vogue called us ‘avant garde’ for being on social media.”

She also shared her beliefs on the importance of female entrepreneurship,

“If women were employed at the same rates as men, we know the global GDP would rise exponentially…That I think is really important. A rising tide raises all ships, and when women create jobs, an entire community is more safe and stable….Women are the key to saving the world…Entrepreneurship…can heal the world.”

Other inspiring takeaways from Smolyansky’s talk…

  • Keep moving ahead no matter what your challenges are in life.
  • Make a big impact:  it only takes one person one step at a time to change the world.
  • Follow your gut (we should all listen to our intuition on important matters in life).

Thank you to Julie, and her team, Justine and Maria, for making our on-the-ground wegg® workshop a success.  And thank you to Bank of America, Moji Eagan and Aneta Mazur, for hosting us.

If you were not able to make this wegg® workshop, we are having a wegginar® on Wednesday, October 3rd with Katie Kollhoff, CEO, NUMIX.  She’ll present on “Small Startup, Big Impact.”  Thanks to our sponsors, IBM, UPS, Bank of America and GlobalCare Clinical Trials, the program is no charge but you must register to attend, here.

Innovators Desire More, So Should You

Are you out to change the world?  We are.  The IBM WolfPack is an innovative technical team dedicated to making it easy for you to find the right platform, tools, and education so you can change the world.

The WolfPack Live series is your chance for you to work hands-on with our experts, and IBM’s platform and tools to help drive your own innovative solutions forward. Microservices, ML and AI, Blockchain, and IoT sessions are all in the schedule with multiple events and dates to choose from throughout the year.

Here are some of the things that will be covered at these hands-on events:

√  Cloud Fundamentals and Architecture
√  Building customer insights with Watson Personality Insights
√  Build and deploy a Cognitive Conversation Assistant

Any small business looking to understand more about Cloud technology, IBM’s role in it and their own potential involvement in leveraging it, should participate in this program.

Select a date (starts 2/6/18) to get going.  It’s in Chicago, our home city.  Cool.  Better yet, it’s free.

If  you are located in a city other than Chicago go here because there are plenty of cities from which to choose — from Boston to San Francisco to Denver!

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Upcoming WEGGinar Feb 7Note: Don’t miss our next WEGGinar™ 2/7/18 on “Dare to Be Bold!  Here’s How” and presented by CamMI Pham, Partner, ThinkRenegade. Register here. Event is free of charge but you must register in advance to attend.
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WEGG Mission

Our mission is to educate, inspire and nurture women business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide on how to go global so they can run healthier businesses and create a new future for themselves, their families and their community.


Women Entrepreneurs GROW Global is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. EIN/Tax ID #47-2956522.

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