The Sweet Taste of Success! Meet Chapter President Marna Proscia
Marna Proscia here—pleased to make your acquaintance. I am the current and founding Chapter President for the Putnam County (New York) Chapter. By day, I’m a CPA at Speilman Koenigsberg and Parker, LLP working as a tax accountant. I also have a small “side business” called Marna’s Miracles, a cake business where I design, bake and decorate custom cakes for each customer. My goal is for my cake business to grow big enough to become my main source of income. I think my involvement in NAPW will help me reach that goal.
I’m not exactly sure when I became a member of NAPW. It must have been at least five years ago. Many people consider their membership in NAPW as an investment in themselves. I don’t look at my membership in that way. I approach my membership, and more importantly my role as the Putnam County Chapter President, as an investment in the organization and the truly amazing women who I am proud to call co-members. As I think more about my view of my membership, I realize my perspective may have changed since my initial decision to become a member.
When I first joined the organization, it was with the intent to start building my network outside of the usual sources. In my role at work, I was always networking with other professionals who worked with my clients or potential clients in order to expand my client base. I was looking for a way to broaden my networking rolodex (did I just date myself?) and the idea of joining an organization of women was a huge plus for me, so I became a member.
I believe I became President approximately two years after becoming a member. My membership predates the Local Chapter structure. Quite honestly, the only thing I had really done with my NAPW membership prior to the Local Chapters forming, was attend the annual event held in NYC. When the Chapters were established and I received an email indicating that they were searching for someone to start a Chapter in my area, I inquired about the role. The decision to accept the role was truly a selfish one. I had already decided that I needed to either do something with my membership or move on. What better way to get the most out of my membership than starting a Chapter in my area to bring together some amazing women that I had not met yet?
I have met some truly amazing women in my journey as President of this Chapter—ladies who I will be connected with for years to come. Ladies who have moved on but whose impact I will never forget. I have watched connections happen at our monthly events that inspire me to continue building this Chapter to what I believe to be its true potential. Bringing our members, along with their guests, together and watching the looks on their faces when they learn something they think can help them grow their business, is priceless.
Like our members, I’ve experienced the value of these connections. Many of the entrepreneurial ladies who attend our events have given me advice about my cake business. These are successful women so I listen to anything they have to say. They are very supportive of my cakes, which they have seen through photos and tasted in cupcake form.
Though our Chapter has had some challenges, we’ve also tasted sweet success. Every Chapter President has had the same challenges and I would rather not dwell on them. The rewards outweigh the challenges so much, that you tend to forget how big the challenges seemed at the time. One of my main goals for my Chapter has been to build our membership and have a good turnout at each of our monthly events. The fact that we have finally broken the 100-member mark is a great reward for me.
Admittedly, some monthly events have had less than a 10% turnout, but I have received feedback—on more than one occasion—that despite the smaller turnout, the content and the connections were so worthwhile that it made a great impact. Hearing that confirms for me that we are doing good things and we can continue to build on that. I will still work on the fundamental challenge of membership and increasing monthly event attendance. Our status as a national organization will help.
There are many choices in our area for not only networking groups but those just for professional women. NAPW is the largest, most recognized networking organization for women in the country, and that is our advantage. That is what we bring to our community of entrepreneurial women. I also feel that we have connected with our community through our charitable initiatives.We had a hugely successful Zumba event last year to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Preparing a full Thanksgiving dinner and a few other meals for a less fortunate family in our community was fun for us and clearly appreciated by the family. We have also formed a relationship with a women’s center in our area. We adopt a family in the shelter for the holidays and purchase holiday gifts from their wish lists.
As women we always want to help. Making it a group effort allows us to make a bigger impact.
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