Nov 28, 2013

Grace House holiday season even brighter with overflow of donations from Women Helping Women event

On November 14, the women attorneys of Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. hosted the firm’s ninth biannual Women Helping Women event–at Lloyd’s Chicago. Drawing over 165 women, the evening of networking and philanthropy was the firm’s most well-attended event to date.

Women Helping Women is a networking group for women business leaders and entrepreneurs to mingle, build business and support a not for profit organization benefiting women, or women and their children, all at the same event.

For this event, WHW partnered with Grace House, a near west side residential program that provides interim housing, professional counseling and emotional support to women exiting the Illinois prison system.

Upon entering the event, guests were greeted with refreshments and added their holiday donations to tables overflowing with gifts. Scattered throughout the room, life-size mannequins dressed in festive sleepwear caught guests’ attention and became a topic of conversation as women mixed and mingled throughout the night.

Event attendees generously donated over 150 items of new sleepwear including robes, pajamas and slippers for Grace House residents for the coming winter months. Grace House also received over $2,000 in gift cards and monetary donations, including contributions from Chuhak & Tecson employees for Jeans Day, a firm-sponsored event where employees contribute to a select not for profit in exchange for wearing jeans to the office that day.

“The overall event and the donations received were very heartwarming,” said Sister Theresa Mayrand, Grace House administrator. “I am extremely grateful for the efforts made by our hosts and the many attendees of the evening. Grace House could not have felt more supported.”

Helena Constanzo, a resident of Grace House, shared how the residential program embraced her and gave her a second chance. Mayrand echoed this sentiment.

“Grace House is all about lovingly welcoming and embracing the women that come to our organization,” Mayrand said. “We very much appreciate that Women Helping Women embraced us in the same way. Because of the ladies’ generous donations, our residents will have a wonderful holiday.”

Beyond networking, the charitable component of these events is a highlight for Chuhak & Tecson’s women attorneys and their guests.

“What makes our Women Helping Women initiative unique is its reflection of the firm’s commitment to charitable causes in the Chicago community,” said Chuhak & Tecson attorney Mimi Stein. “The blend of business development and philanthropy inspires and motivates women to not only come to the event, but stay, enjoy themselves and contribute to deserving organizations such as Grace House.”

After welcome remarks from principal Eileen Sethna, who has previously volunteered at Grace House, guests were invited to take part in the “biz dev” challenge. The challenge provides an opportunity for attendees to drop a business card into a fish bowl and retrieve someone else’s card. Guests then connect for a one-hour coffee or lunch meeting to network and discuss business development. This interactive but informal activity has been praised as a highlight at past WHW events.

Chuhak & Tecson looks forward to holding its 10th WHW event in spring 2014.