Welcome to Women United’s Member Spotlight series. This week, join us in learning more about Frances Simons and her connection to Women United. If you would like to learn more about Women United and the work they do, click here.
What year did you join Women United?
What is your professional background?
I spent the first 11 years of my career in community banking; last as SVP of Retail Banking Administration for a bank in Lincolnshire, where I spent 10 years. In 1997, I left community banking to utilize my skill set in a different role, serving the banking industry as a Strategic Relationship Manager in the data processing/financial solution outsourcing business. Almost six years ago, after returning to work following four years at home with my daughter when she was a toddler, I totally changed careers and became a Realtor with Baird & Warner at our Libertyville office. Most recently, over the past year, I was offered and accepted an exciting position as Managing Broker for our new Lake Zurich office.
What originally inspired you to be a part of Women United?
I was introduced to Judy Kotsiopoulous, a fellow Women United member, through a friend at church and, through knowing Judy, was introduced to Women United. After attending Power of the Purse, Women United’s annual signature fundraising event, and a Wine & Learn I was really impressed by the hearts of and synergy among the women I met.
What does early childhood education mean to you?
It’s interesting…prior to understanding the mission of Women United, I honestly don’t know that I thought about it very much. I guess growing up in a middle class suburban family with college educated parents and through my own educational journey and that of my daughter, I just took early childhood education for granted…access to it, preparedness for it, etc. Through Women United, my eyes were opened to the challenges within our broader community and my heart expanded. Children are brought into this world and they are so helpless. They don’t get to choose the economic, familial or geographic circumstances that they are born into. All children deserve to have champions advocating for them…giving them a voice and access. We at Women United can do that for them…we must do that for them.
What has surprised you most about being involved in Women United?
I’ve previously mentioned the synergy of the women, but the diversity is also refreshing. There are career women, retired women, stay-at-home moms, women of all races, etc. And when all of these women come together, what we are able to do is powerful. Every woman can play a role that is comfortable for them during any given season of their lives, whether that season is providing for them to make solely a monetary contribution, or a contribution of volunteering time or participation on one of our committees; there’s something for everyone and everyone’s role, whatever they choose it to be, is relevant and impactful.
What does Women United mean to you?
It means community, it means purpose, it means friendships. It means helping to create an opportunity for a meaningful future for the littlest in our communities.
What would you say to a woman who is interested in becoming a member of Women United?
I would say, jump in! Our members truly have servant’s hearts and all members feel valued. This organization has no pretenses and best of all our “no guilt” culture provides for all women to contribute when and how they are best able at any given season of their lives. I invite you to give me a call. I’d be glad to have you be my guest at an upcoming Wine & Learn (Note: see below for more info.)
Women United has periodic informational meetings, called Wine & Learns. The next Wine & Learn is on May 9, 2019 from 6-7:30 PM in Lake Forest at a member’s home. Interested? Contact Janice Scarbalis at firstname.lastname@example.org. View this event on Facebook here.