EPWA Current News
  • Tuesday, September 25, 2018 12:00 PM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

    Whether you're new to the Chamber, or you've been a member for years, Chamber 101is designed to help businesses maximize their memberships! Learn about all the membership benefits, our various events, how to set-up a mini-page on, how to utilize Save Local Now and more!  Date: September 25, 2018  12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT

  • Thursday, May 10, 2018 5:30 PM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

    You are invited to be a prominent part of Red Fusion!      Thursday - MAY 10, 2018 - 5:30PM - 9:00PM - Shadowland on Silver Beach - 333 Broad Street - St. Joseph, Michigan 49085

    What is Red Fusion all about?

    The Southwest Michigan chapter of the American Red Cross is proudly hosting the sixth annual fundraising event: Red Fusion. Funds raised at this unique, high profile event will directly impact disaster relief efforts within our community.

    You are invited to join the American Red Cross for a night of cocktails, music entertainment and delicious food! Shadowland NEW and unique venue will be part of the exciting CARNIVAL theme! Join in this night of masquerade, while supporting the life-saving mission of the American Red Cross. A silent auction will offer guests the opportunity to bid on experience packages awarding unique pairings of the best our region has to offer.

    Tickets to attend Red Fusion are $60 per guest in advance ($100 for two, before May 1, 2018) and $70 after at the door. Over 250 art and culture seekers, civic and business leaders are expected to attend. This will be an event you won’t want to miss!

    We know that you will want to become a part of this high impact event, which helps bring help, healing and HOPE to so many in our community every single day. Please consider adding a Red Fusion sponsorship to your charitable budget plan for 2018.  For sponsorship or ticket information, please email Eva Alexander

  • Wednesday, December 20, 2017 5:05 AM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

    Beginning January 2018 Melanie Owen will be the first ever Vice President of the organization. In that new elected leadership position with a term of two years, she will chair the advertising and marketing committee. 

    The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, established in 2002, is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the development of the outstanding wine producing and tourism industry in southwest Michigan. Its mission is to stimulate interest in wine in general and specifically the wines of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, and to assist local wineries in becoming industry leaders.

    The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail is wrapping up a yearlong celebration commemorating 15 years as a wine trail, that culminates with the addition of the 22nd winery,  serving loyal and new guests along the ever growing wine trail.  Join all 22 wineries at the annual Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival on June 16th, 2018, at Warren Dunes State Park.

  • Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:11 PM | Kim Jorgensen Gane (Administrator)

    As of right now, the snowiest area seems to be downtown St. Joe. And just a few moments ago, the sun was shining. Safety is our priority for our members and guests. With the nature of lake effect snow, of course, it’s difficult to predict how much actual snow we’ll be dealing with later and where. 

    We have the benefit of being at Papa Vino’s tonight, where they can accommodate pretty much whatever we throw at them. So, unless it gets much worse, we’ll still be there. And if you feel that it’s safest for you to stay home, please let me or Jo Ann know and we will apply your paid December fee to your next meeting registration.

    BONUS:  A glass of wine and dessert is included tonight! So, come on into the back room, and the servers will take care of us. We’ll enjoy a family-style variety of delicious Italian entrees with a glass of wine and dessert included. If you have any special dietary needs, please let our server(s) know and they will accommodate.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. (, 269.487.6024.)

    I look forward to seeing everyone who can make it tonight!

  • Saturday, November 18, 2017 8:25 AM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

    Burnison Galleries, Lakeside MI

    This year’s event will feature:
    •    A Holiday Market with unique ornaments, food gifts, 24 decorated wreaths, many centerpieces, lanterns and other holiday gifts to purchase
    •    Silent Auction of 5 decorated trees
    •    The live auction will feature several fun experiences: 2 sailing packages, a yachting experience, sports team event experience, wine baskets and several other surprises.

    No better way to spread some Holiday Cheer and help support children in foster care. Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) of Berrien County recruits, trains and supports citizen-volunteers to advocate in courtrooms and school communities for the best interest of abused and neglected children in foster care.
    Generous contributions and purchases at the event will help support the CASA of Berrien County program. 

    $75.00 per ticket
    Learn more and purchase tickets now at

  • Thursday, November 02, 2017 2:36 PM | Judee Hopwood

    Be part of Williamson Employment Services year-long 25th Anniversary celebration and help us Stuff-A-Truck through November 17!

    Donations can be brought to the November EPWA meeting or dropped off at our offices at 213 Hilltop Road, St. Joseph.

    Click here for more information and a flyer you can print

    Some of the items needed include:

    "Non-Perishable" food products
    Canned Goods:
    Veggies, Tuna, Fruit, etc
    Boxed Food:
    Pasta, Mashed Potatoes, Macaroni & Cheese, coffee, Juice
    Baking Products:
    Flour, Sugar, salt, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, cake mixes, Brownies, corn meal, cooking oil (Please no "out of date" items)
    Personal Hygiene Products
    :  Shampoo, Conditioner, Deodorant, Bar Soap, Lotion, Laundry Detergent, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, Mouthwash
    Baby Products
    :  Diapers, Wipes, Baby Food, Formula
    Paper Products:
    Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, Facial Tissue, Tin Foil

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Judee Hopwood

  • Saturday, September 09, 2017 3:15 PM | Kim Jorgensen Gane (Administrator)

    Back in May of 2016 I told my family's story of restaurant ruin after 9/11 and my husband's new dream of owning a taco truck for a live storytelling show called PechaKucha, which takes place several times a year in something like 1000 cities across the world. It's pretty amazing that Benton Harbor/St. Joseph is one of them. 

    This Saturday, September 16th, I'm telling another story for Artoberfest with PechaKucha Night: Mother Ffffeminist! It was a huge hit last year when the PechaKucha storytelling took place on a screen dropped against the huge brick wall in The Livery's parking lot. We're praying for good weather and hoping it will be again.

    Enjoy artists and some amazing music during the day, and some incredible storytelling with photo slides at sunset. Also for your enjoyment, local food vendors (including the hubby's taco truck) and The Livery's beer and regional wines will be served. Bring your lawn chairs and be ready to enjoy an evening of laughs, artistic expression and deep thoughts.

    Here's the lineup, you might recognize some other names (like MY HUSBAND's(!) and Meagan Francis from 98.3 The Coast with Jonny & Meagan in the Mornings, etc., etc.):

    8:00 - entertainment intermission

    Outdoors! Projected against the massive Livery building.
    TOM HURST, Family Boatbuilding, Getting Kids on the Water with Their Own Hands
    JENNIFER ZONA, Entangled-up-cycled weavings
    JULEE LAURENT, An Intrigue of Kittens
    MAGGIE GALLOWAY, Art Grief Therapy 
    LAKESHORE ROBOTICS TEAM, Robotics Competition
    SCOTT GANE, I could Have Been a Mother


    LOON MABIANS, Brace, open, laugh. My story on Stand-Up
    KIM JORGENSEN GANE, Mother Ffffeminist
    MEAGAN FRANCIS, I Swiped Right For Your Dog: Adventures In Dating Apps
    SIMON RUSK, The Livery, Craft Life
    JERRY PRICE, Wait! I Have Something to Say!

    Hope to see you Tuesday, September 12th for our EPWA meeting (you can still register, it'll be $35) and again Saturday for Artoberfest with PechaKucha Night! 

    --Kim Jorgensen Gane, President/Communications Chair
    EPWA of (SW) Michigan 

  • Friday, August 25, 2017 9:55 AM | Kim Jorgensen Gane (Administrator)

    Dear members:

    I am so excited at the prospect of starting a new season of EPWA with all of you! I hope everyone has had a prosperous summer filled with lots of fun, sun and family. 

    Mine was ... interesting. I ran for office (St. Joseph City Commission--although limped may be more appropriate), prompting a primary in St. Joe. That doesn't happen very often. As it turned out, I was the sacrifice fly (meaning, I was the candidate with the lowest number of votes and thus, I'm the candidate that dropped off the November ballot--somebody had to be!). But I learned a lot about what I'm made of and what challenges I have to overcome before I take another crack at it in 2019. Sounds a lot like running a business, eh? I have nothing bad to say about the incumbents. They have served our community well. Just for long enough--we're talking for decades. 

    Two challengers remain who I am delighted to champion: Laura Goos and Peggy Getty. If you enjoy the City of St. Joe I hope you will look them up and consider helping with their campaigns. And if you live in the City of St. Joe, please mark your calendar and VOTE on Tuesday, November 7th. Laura and Peggy agree with me that big gestures are needed and that better planning can make tourist season and every season function better for tax payers.

    My husband's taco truck, BajaGringo Tacos, was a big reason I ran for City Commission. For three seasons now, when it's not in use, his truck is parked behind our garage which is adjacent to our downtown St. Joe alley, just down the block from City Hall and the police station. This spring, when we finally closed on purchasing the house we'd been renting downtown for two and a half years, it struck me that we would be paying taxes to a city that has been strangling our ability to thrive and support our family. (You're business people, so I'll take a moment to explain. If you don't want to read about the food truck, I welcome you to scroll down to St. Joe is a wonderful city....)

    Food trucks have wheels, you see. And they are seasonal businesses we should be taking advantage of and enjoying during peak tourist season. They are meant to go where the people are. If you park your food truck and business isn't good, the idea is that you pick up and move to where business is better. (What they don't tell you on The Great Food Truck Race is that most municipalities require that food vendors purchase permits, often for each occasion you're conducting business--this can get pricey.) In the summertime in southwest Michigan, where the people are is downtown St. Joe. Too many people for us residents to enjoy our own city, even while we appreciate our thriving tourism industry for things like job security for ourselves, our teens and college students. But outdated city ordinances only permit three food vendors in the downtown proper: Mimi's Cupcakes (they occupy the one parking space allotted on the corner of Broad and Lake Boulevard, even though they're not even open every day of the week) and two hot dog vendors hold permits; one on the corner in front of Moxie's, and one by the entrance to the stairwell. And all allotted spots are in stone, no one is allowed to move to other locations within the city, even with a paid permit. So, despite having all the appropriate inspections and licenses, despite being the first food truck licensed in Berrien County to cook on board, for three seasons now we haven't been able to take advantage of living right downtown.

    This is a big part of the reason my husband works and is away so much, in Detroit and other parts of the globe. 

    He spent $1000 last summer on a permit to park at Lions Park Beach, which proved to be a dismal location (Tiscornia Beach is another option, but the dunes blocking the parking lot make that undesirable--no food truck parking is permitted anywhere near Silver Beach). $1000 is a LOT of money to a food truck. You have to understand how weather-dependent they are and the risk they take on, because of the prep involved in serving fresh food and how perishable the product is. The city wouldn't refund his money, and they wouldn't allow him to park elsewhere. Again this season, as in the previous two seasons, my husband has struggled to find locations where the taco truck can park, guessing week after week where the people might be, other than in downtown St. Joe. His team has done Taco Tuesday at Watermark Brewery quite regularly, which has been great. They've done great business at the Krasl Art Fair each year, done several festivals out of town and private events, such as weddings, reunions, and graduation parties. On Saturday of Labor Day weekend, thanks to a special permit, BajaGringo Tacos will FINALLY be downtown, in the parking lot across from Wanderlust, for their WANDERversary celebration. We're so excited! I hope you'll come and try some fresh, authentic, amazing tacos, do some shopping, and enjoy the sailboats!

    St. Joe is a wonderful city I'm deeply proud to call home. And I believe it can better serve residents and tourists, but especially those of us who invest here, choosing to live and raise our families in St. Joe for all the reasons it is fun and so spectacularly beautiful, year-round. 

    In the meantime, I'm so very honored to be your EPWA president for this season. Our board is excited to bring you some great programming. 

    You can register now for our September 12th meeting at The Hilton Garden Inn, "Level UP Your Linkedin." We will welcome member Susan Mason who is bringing us some fun fashions, including scarf tying techniques, from her downtown store, Friends by Design. Joining her will be photographer Amie Witkowski, who will talk briefly about how to be your best, most confident self and really glow on camera. While we eat and network (for this meeting the Tuscan Buffet will be offered after their formal presentation, so have a snack before you come if you need to), Amie will be taking our head shots! Those of us taking advantage of Amie's generous offer will each receive a CD of one professionally edited headshot at our October meeting. There is nothing to lose here! I strongly encourage you to take advantage! You can then use your head shot as you wish digitally; for your LinkedIn profile photo, for your website, and in any other ways you choose. If you'd like to purchase prints of your headshot, or book other paid sittings with her, I'm sure she will have price sheets and information available so you can do that. 

    Due to the Cornerstone Business Expo at Mendel Center, where again this year we are looking for volunteers to staff our booth, our October meeting will convene the THIRD Tuesday, on October 17th. Our featured speaker is Dr. Stephanie Slye, PsyD with Inside Out Comprehensive Wellness. She will be talking about mental health, food psychology and eating disorders (yes, even in middle-age), to help us better take care of our whole selves. If available, Whitney Schueneman, RD, also with Inside Out, may join in the presentation. I'm hoping my mother, Dot (Bond) Belke can attend this meeting, as she is their staff esthetician, which is how I became aware of their wonderful facility. 

    November 14th, we will welcome author (A Killing in Capone's Playground, In-Depth Editions, 2014) and local historian, Chriss Lyon. Her presentation on Forensic Genealogy, which is such a hot topic right now, is sure to be riveting!

    We will let you know soon what other fun things we have in store for this season. As always, please let one of the board members know if you have any ideas for future speakers, or EMAIL ME ( IF YOU HAVE A PITCH FOR PRESENTING AT A MEETING YOURSELF. We love to pull from the stories and expertise of our members whenever possible!

    Thank you all for making me your EPWA president. With your input and assistance, I'm looking so forward to making 2017-2018 a fantastic year!

    —Kim Jorgensen Gane

    President/Communications Chair, EPWA

    Executive Professional Women’s Association of (SW) Michigan

    REALTOR® with Pete Jorgensen Real Estate


    Superpower: Connecting the dots from where

    you are, to where you want to be.


    Co-Facilitator with #Write2TheEnd Writers Workshop™ ,

    SAVE THE DATE: Friday, September 22

    Book Party/Author Talk announcement coming soon!

  • Wednesday, April 05, 2017 9:00 PM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

    2017 marks the third and final season in Southwest Michigan! 

    Listen to Your Mother: Southwest Michigan returns to the St. Joseph High School stage with all new stories celebrating motherhood and Mother’s Day for a third and final season on Sunday, May 7th, at 4:00 PM Listen to Your Mother is a live theatrical reading event. Here’s the short version: The Listen to Your Mother brand has been sold to a theater company. That’s actually amazing news! It WILL live on, just not with our esteemed founder and national director, Ann Imig at the helm, and not with the same national team, all of whom have been incredible to work with. I have no doubt that Miracle or 2 Productions, Inc. will be amazing to work with, too. And the cool thing is that in the future Listen to Your Mother shows could pop up anytime of year, anywhere, featuring either local readers with original stories, as always, or actors reading from a provided script. You can learn more about the future of Listen to Your Mother here.

  • Wednesday, March 08, 2017 4:59 AM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

    Networking Group;  Thursday, March 23, 2017;   11:30 AM - 1:00 PM EDT

    Registration required. Contact for additional information.

    Event Description:  Free to local businesses looking to make valuable business connections. 

    Location:  Anchors Way Marina, 143 Anchors Way, St Joseph, MI 49085

      Contact Information:   (269)932-4040

      Fees/Admission:   Free to any local business, bring business cards! 

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