D211 Post: All Girl Business Team Pitches Concept to Area Women Business Leaders

Gianna Valero (right), a senior at Palatine High School, discusses her group’s business model during a presentation to the Palatine WIBAF (Women in Business Advisory Forum) during the organization’s monthly meeting at Palatine High School.

            Three Palatine High School Business Incubator students, Phoebe Domanus, Gianna Valero, and Anushri Gupta, presented their business design for Nail Bubs, protective covers for freshly painted nails, to the Palatine Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Advisory Forum (WIBAF) during the organization’s monthly meeting held at Palatine High School, Feb. 13.

            Business teacher Adrienne Stewart said having the programs only all-female team present to the forum was part of a plan to show students what it’s like to be a woman entrepreneur.

            “This was part of an initiative that is reaching out to woman business leaders to expose our female students to what it’s like in a male-dominated field,” she said.  “We’re so thankful the Palatine Chamber allowed us to host this event.”

Bridget Witt, a member of the Palatine Women in Business Advisory Forum (WIBAF), offers feedback to a group of Palatine High School Business Incubator students.

            Katie Forsythe, a chairperson with WIBF said she enjoyed hearing the students’ pitch.

            “It was awesome to see and hear their pitch,” she said.  “It was great that the students could get feedback from this dynamic group of women.”

            For all three students, presenting to a room full of women was a welcome change. 

Phoebe Domanus, a junior enrolled in Palatine High School’s Business Incubator program, discusses her team’s business model to the Palatine Women in Business Advisory Forum Feb. 13.

            “It was a good experience because we are not used to dealing with women in business at all,” said Gupta.  “We’ve dealt only with men, whether that was in class, or as mentors.”

            Valero stated that she hopes events such as this will encourage more girls to enroll in the Business Incubator program.

            “There is definitely a disproportionate amount of men over women in our class,” she said.

            Domanus added that presenting their pitch to women was better received.

            “This was very beneficial,” she said.  “It was better than the previous investor board which was all male, because women understand our product better.”

Anushri Gupta, a senior enrolled in in Palatine High School’s Business Incubator program, discusses market research conducted on their “Nail Bubs,” project.




Two D211 Alumnae Win Scholarships from Palatine’s Women in Business Advisory Forum

Two District 211 alumnae recently received scholarships from the Palatine’s Women in Business Advisory Forum (WIBAF).

Kathleen McManus

Nina Vrtjak

Palatine High School Alumna Kathleen McManus and Fremd High School Alumna Nina Vrtjak each received $1,000 from the Palatine Chamber of Commerce group. The non-renewable funds will go toward college tuition, fees, books, or supplies.

To be eligible for the scholarship, female students must have a 3.0 GPA or higher, with the intent of attending a two-year or four-year college or university to earn a degree in a business-related field. Other criteria considered by the judges included business coursework in high school, employment experience, clubs/activities/service/volunteer roles, two short response questions, and two letters of recommendation.

Kathleen, the recipient from Fremd High School, will be attending University of Alabama where she plans to major in Marketing. Kathleen’s many activities in high school ranged from clubs to theater groups to the competitive dance team. Kathleen has been working in marketing while attending high school through an internship in digital media—a position she earned through a networking connection formed in her Business Incubator class at Fremd.

Nina Vrtjak, the recipient from Palatine High School, will be attending University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she will be majoring in Accounting. Nina’s application demonstrated a strong combination of coursework and employment experience and she was also very involved in clubs and athletics at Palatine High School. One of Nina’s essays described a mentoring relationship she built as part of her Small Business Incubator class—which truly relates to the relationships built by members of the WIBAF networking group. Nina plans to study accounting, which she describes as being like a “jigsaw puzzle” because there is always “an answer that adds up.”

This year’s scholarship committee volunteers included WIBAF members Joan Scovic from Palatine Park District (committee chair), Fay Ellen Buican of HomeSmart, Deb Gabriel with Edward Jones, Amanda Kamick from Sport-Clips – Palatine, and Alex Looff with Signs By Tomorrow – Arlington Heights. Funds for the 2016-2017 scholarship program were raised through a fashion show fundraiser and raffle prize drawings offered at WIBAF’s monthly networking luncheons.