“Women in the Know” group reaches one-year milestone
Lake Forest’s Amie Marks launched a women’s discussion group in May 2013 because she believes women can move mountains when working together toward a common good.
A year later, Women in the Know is still going strong — and evolving in its second year.
Through monthly luncheons in Lake Forest and Forest Park, Marks offers research on timely world issues and a forum for discussion to women.
The series has touched on such topics as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and organics, the United States healthcare system and women’s issues in foreign countries. The June and July talks will address the effects of globalization.
The 43-year-old Lake Forest resident is a 1989 graduate of Lake Forest High School. She double-majored in business economics and studio art at Lake Forest College, where she graduated in 1993.
Marks is a registered principal and financial advisor with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc member FINRA/SIPC. Her office is located in Oak Park.
In a recent interview with The Lake Forester, Marks talked about why she started Women in the Know and her hopes for the future. The following is an edited version of that interview.
Q. What inspired you to start the discussion group, Women in the Know?
A. The idea really came from a friend of mine. I started doing it to as a perk for my female clients. I thought it would be nice to gather women together to talk about world topics, to talk about timely issues. They really enjoyed it and they wanted to bring friends, so it just sort of grew and I let it open up. I enjoyed it as much as the women seemed to, and it just got bigger.
Q. How do you become so well-versed in the topics you address?
A. Being in the business that I’m in, our life is a lot of research. I certainly feel that both my education and my career path have trained me to be relatively good at research. That’s really all it is: researching a topic, putting out some factual information in the most unbiased way that I can and then asking the women to participate in a discussion about it. They bring a lot to the table, so it’s not just me presenting information. I’ve certainly put the time into the research, but it’s just as much the women who attend that bring their own thoughts and ideas and knowledge and experience to the table. We end up covering a lot more ground, because of the dynamic of who’s in the room.
Q. Has the group fulfilled its original intention?
A. It’s even better than my original intention. The call to action that has emerged came out of it organically. I wasn’t expecting the magnitude of reaction, although I should’ve expected it because that’s how women are. They don’t end with a conversation. They’re doers, they’re proactive. They take away from it and they do things. That is something that is coming out of it that wasn’t even really my original goal, but it’s the reason I want to continue doing this.
Q. What does it feel like to reach the one-year mark?
A. It’s exciting, but for me it’s just the beginning. There’s still a lot that we can talk about. I have no intention of ending the relationships with these women any time soon.
Q. What’s the future of Women in the Know?
A. I don’t know. I think we’re already starting to see small changes and, individually, women are walking away thinking a little bit differently and setting out on their own to change things. Maybe, eventually, we’ll be able to do something as a group. I can see some of the regulars banding together and having a stronger voice because there’s many instead of one.