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sittercityGenevieve Thiers, self-described as disruptor, entrepreneur, speaker and investor, has been named to the panel of successful entrepreneurs at the 13th Greater Chicago Networking Extravaganza from 5:30 – 8:45 pm May 14, 2015 at TechNexus in Chicago.

The 13th version of this highly popular Chicago networking event will focus on how to leverage relationships to start, build and grow a company. “Relationships are crucial to finding customers, partners, advisors, capital and peers with whom to share the journey,” said Lillian Bjorseth, event co-founder and co-producer.

Genevieve puts it this way, “Relationships are the only way anyone in business gets anywhere. Period.”

Her first company, Sittercity.com, was America’s first company to take caregiving services online. It now has millions of users in the United States with new locations in the UK and Canada.

The idea first came to Genevieve when she was a college student and saw a pregnant mother walking around the campus, posting “help wanted” fliers for a babysitter. She hurried outside to take over the job and sent the woman home. It made her wonder, “Why isn’t there an easier way to find a babysitter or nanny?”

Though Genevieve was initially laughed out of the room by venture capitalists when she sought funding, she knew her idea to connect families and babysitters online could work. In 2001, she launched Sittercity.com. The rest is history.

She is also co-founder and CEO of Operamode that focuses on providing paid roles for new, emerging singers in the Chicago area. Genevieve herself is a professional opera singer.

Genevieve was recognized by President Bush at the White House as the Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur Champion of the Year for 2006. Her companies have won more than 18 major awards, including the CEC Momentum Award, the WBDC Rising Start Award, a CNN Young Heroes feature, the UPS Out of the Box Award, the INC 500 list and more.

Genevieve has been featured thousands of times in the press for her work including by the TODAY show, Ellen, the View, MSNBC, the CBS Early Show, CNN, Live & Style, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Redbook, Parents, Parenting, Marie Clare, TIME, Better Homes and Gardens and Working Mother. She is the author of Love at First Sit.

Genevieve has mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs throughout her career. She is on the board of the CEC, which created 1871, a co-working space in Chicago, and also teaches classes there. She is also an investor in TechStars and the FireStarter fund and in several female-run new tech startups that target women and lesser-known industries. She speaks regularly on the lack of women in tech and how to right the balance.

“We are thrilled to have Genevieve on our panel as she has spoken for hundreds of companies and groups around the company,” Bjorseth said. “Our attendees are in for a real treat!”

To register and/or get sponsorship information about the event, visit www.greaterchicagonetworking.com

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