EPWA Current News
  • Saturday, September 09, 2017 3:15 PM | Kim Jorgensen Gane

    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

    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! 

    1. Friday, January 06, 2017 6:00 AM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

      Severe winter blood shortage: Blood donations are urgently needed.

      American Red Cross

      Severe Winter Blood Shortage Alert

       There's no way to say this gently: this is an emergency.

      Hectic holiday schedules for many regular blood donors contributed to about 37,000 fewer donations in November and December. Snowstorms and severe weather have also impacted supplies. More than 90 blood drives were forced to cancel in December, resulting in thousands of uncollected donations. The American Red Cross is announcing this crisis on national news and media outlets, calling for donors across the U.S. to help.

       The most vulnerable and critical patients across the U.S. may face delays in critical medical care unless generous donors like you can help make up for the gap.

       Will you commit to make a donation?

    2. Sunday, January 01, 2017 10:30 AM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

      SWMI SHRM is hosting their 3rd Annual Half-Day Summit on January 18. Our theme this year is Leadership.

    3. Thursday, December 01, 2016 5:01 AM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

      Did you know that Cornerstone Alliance Small Business Services and the Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance helps entrepreneurs launch and grow their small businesses in Harbor Country? Harbor Country is part of Berrien County and includes Grand Beach, Michiana, New Buffalo, Union Pier, Lakeside, Sawyer and Three Oaks.     
      We have an office at the Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce at 15311 Three Oaks Road, Three Oaks, MI. We are ready to meet you to hear your new business start idea or discuss opportunities for you to grow your existing business.  Typically, we are there every Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. And of course we will make appointments as needed to work with you on a business plan or anything else you may need to start or expand your small business.
      Let’s work together to:
       ·         Put your innovative ideas into action
      ·         Get you signed up for workshops/classes focused on your success
      ·         Strategize on improvement and expansion opportunities
      We want to hear your great ideas!  Contact Margaret Adams at 269-469-5409 or 269-925-6100 or via email at

    4. Thursday, December 01, 2016 5:00 AM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

      The Women's Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance Advisory Council is comprised of business professionals who provide guidance, technical assistance and advocacy for the WBC.

      Judee Hopwood, Williamson Employment Services, Inc. President and Owner of Williamson Employment Services,

      Helen Adams, Helena's Boutique

      Gloria Ender,  Freedom Finishing Inc. President and CEO of Operations at Freedom Finishing.

      Brian McMahon, Kreis, Enderle, Hudgins & Borsos  attorney at Kreis Enderle law firm in St. Joseph, Michigan.

      Erica Molden, 1st Source Bank  Branch Manager at 1st Source Bank

      Katie Montoya, Berrien County Community Development

      Katie works at the Berrien County Community Development Department as Assistant Director/Housing Coordinator.

      Patricia Muellen, Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce  Director 

      Kim Richardson, 1st Source Bank  VP, Retail Sales Manager of Cass and Berrien County.

      Jim Roberts,  CEO of Jim Roberts Enterprises LLC, a management consulting company, and Centennial Securities Advisory Services LLC, a registered investment advisory company.

      Dr. Jacquelyn Warwick, Andrews University  Professor of Marketing, Enactus, Co-Advisor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

      Tyanna Weller, Four Flags Chamber of Commerce  President and CEO of the Four Flags Chamber of Commerce in Niles, Michigan.

      Becky Young - Edward Jones  financial advisor at Edward Jones, St. Joseph, Mi

    5. Thursday, December 01, 2016 3:30 AM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

      ARS Gallery is proud to exhibit the works of the "I Am The Greatest" teens during Art Hop on December 9, 6-9 pm. We are excited to lend our gallery to such an exhibit!

      The three foot wood painted sculptures, are all designed by each of our students. The teens were able to express their thoughts and feelings as they work through adversity. Each teen focused on color, design, and symbolism, which are all incorporated in each piece of art!

      We will also be kicking off our IATG Legacy Sculpture Project. These special sculptures were created specifically to pay homage to a legend, Muhammad Ali. Ali has been a role model and muse for our IATG Project for the last 4 years. With this new "phase 2" sculpture exhibit, we will continue to honor the life of Muhammad Ali! As you know we lost the greatest champion of all time in June of this year.

      These sculptures will be on sale during the reception. To sponsor or own a sculpture, contact Anna at 269.208.4409.

    6. Thursday, December 01, 2016 3:00 AM | Jo Ann Bertrand (Administrator)

      As a local business owner in the Benton Harbor area, I wanted to thank you for trusting us with your business gifting needs!

      With the holidays just around the corner I wanted to share some of our amazing new products that are sure to WOW your employees, clients, and vendors.

      We make holiday gifting sweet and simple with incredible fruit creations for every holiday occasion and business budget. As you already know, we carefully craft all of our products hours before they are hand-delivered by an Edible Arrangements Delivery Ambassador. Although we are locally owned and operated, we are part of a nationwide network and offer same day delivery across the US and Canada through our network of 1,200+ independently-owned and operated stores. No rush fees ever! Do not worry about bulk orders, our team will take care of order entry and ensure each and every gift is delivered with care with your personal message. So, whether you need one gift or a thousand, we have got you chocolate covered!

      I invite you to explore our 2016 holiday collection. As you will see, we have a product for every holiday occasion from sweet additions to your company party to thoughtful gifts for everyone who makes your business successful!

      My team is ready to help you check business gifts off your list! To simplify the process, feel free to call us at (269) 926-9300 and have a team member place the order for you. Please do not hesitate to call us with any questions you might have or to learn more about our offerings.

      Fruitfully Yours,Gale Rue

      Owner, Benton Harbor Store #1559

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