Women In Consulting


In late 1997, Eileen LaPorte, the founder and first president of WIC, organized a small network of long-time consultants who could benefit from collaborating in consulting engagements and sharing best practices in their own businesses. Originally called SEWN, the Self-Employed Women’s Network, WIC was born at the first official meeting in January 1998.

The purpose was twofold. First, create an organization of high-caliber professionals who were dedicated to their own consulting practices, and who wanted to improve their prospects for interesting projects and the breadth of their potential offering and to tap into a wealth of experience to improve their own business through the educational programs presented by WIC. Second, become the first destination for companies seeking seasoned professional consultants in a wide range of specialties.

Women In ConsultingWithin months of the first meeting in the back room of Vic’s Restaurant in San Carlos, the invitation list grew to more than 200. Years later, WIC has exceeded all of its original goals, and then some. Learn about our 10th Anniversary Celebration here and our 20th Anniversary Gala here.

Today, WIC has hundreds of members and supporters, an active community of community, professional, contributing and executive members, satellites in the East Bay, Peninsula and South Bay, and a regular calendar of events that delivers best-in-class business advice and education on a wide spectrum of topics. WIC hosts an active email community that provides a forum where members collaborate, ask questions, get advice and find valuable business resources.

“WIC has been generously sharing best practices, expertise, advice and resources to expand its members’ capabilities, shorten time frames, and take our businesses to the next level successfully since 1998.”

Deb Siegle, Strategic Marketing Solutions 


Past Presidents

Kathryn GorgesKathryn Gorges, President, 2019-2023
I care deeply about women having a community to share business hopes, dreams, challenges, insights, and advice. I am committed to strengthening that community and expanding its impact beyond our membership. Women In Consulting offers a unique experience of connection that bridges business and personal with focus on the professional ambition of women. Our organization provides a haven for those connections and exchanges.

Ellen Grace HensonEllen Grace Henson, President, 2017-2019
A thought leader with experience across multiple markets and technologies, Ellen Grace brings a unique combination of analysis and creativity to business and product strategy, market and customer insight, product-delivery process design, and aligning cross-functional teams to deliver high levels of customer satisfaction and strong business results.

Deb_SiegleDeb Siegle, President, 2015-2016
“WIC is such a collaborative and supportive organization for independent business women and consultants. It provides education, best practices, and resources to aid business women at all stages of their business – from considering whether to start their own business to launching it to growing it to managing a thriving established business. It is both rewarding and humbling to see and contribute to the lasting positive influences on our members’ businesses and personal lives from all roles whether as president, Board member or member.”

Kathie Sherman

Kathie Sherman, President, 2013–2014
Kathie Sherman, president of TenFour Marketing, doubles direct marketing campaign response rates. Kathie's background includes more than 20 years in enterprise software and marketing. Her underlying philosophy is to ensure that marketing messages are clearly received by their target markets, in a relevant voice with personalized offers. She is an expert in the field of multi-media direct marketing, and her customers continue to defy direct marketing statistics by consistently more than doubling response rates.

Avery HorzewskiAvery Horzewski, President, 2010–2012
“I can’t think of an organization that I love more—or one that has been more beneficial to my business and my sanity—than WIC. And I don’t say that because I was president. Quite the opposite. I became president because I believed so strongly in WIC. It’s an amazing organization comprised of amazing members who are generous with their time, ideas, and ears (Never underestimate the power of having a sounding board for ideas and issues!). It was truly my pleasure to serve them and work with such a talented group of smart, giving women as those who served on the board with me. Thank you!”

Linda PopkyLinda Popky, President, 2008–2009
“It's been a privilege to lead WIC during the past two years. I’m continuously amazed at the quality and dedication of women who make up this organization—both the volunteers who give substantially of their time and energy to drive WIC, and those vibrant, successful, independent business women who are our members and affiliates. Their efforts and strong collaborative spirit have transformed WIC into the premier organization for supporting women at all stages of consulting. We look forward to working together with our community of consultants and the greater business community to take WIC and its members to the next level in the coming decade.”

Karilee WirthlinKarilee Wirthin, President, 2006–2007
“I joined WIC right after starting my business in 1999. I always say I wouldn’t be in business today if it weren’t for WIC. Not only have I learned how to run and manage a successful consulting practice, but I gained a great set of colleagues who pump me up when things don’t go well and cheer me on when they do. This camaraderie has been an integral part of my business success. Serving as WIC’s president was a great honor, and I was thrilled to give back to the organization that’s been so pivotal in building my business.”

Deborah HenkenDeborah Henken, President, 2004–2005
“It was my honor and privilege to work with some of the most amazing women that I’ve ever met. Each of us focused on building our businesses, while always offering a hand, heart, and mind to support others in their goals. WIC was my foundation for running my consulting practice. Leading the group allowed me to give back to the organization and help it grow in new directions.”

Kate PurmalKate Purmal, President, 2002–2003
“WIC is a vital resource for its members, providing information, coaching, and tools to help them launch and grow a successful consulting business. Equally important, WIC facilitates opportunities for networking and collaboration between its members. By far, the greatest reward from my tenure as president and time on the Board was seeing the positive impact that WIC had on the success of our members. WIC is responsible for creating lifelong business partnerships and enduring friendships. Not many organizations can make that claim.”

Amy FritzAmy Fritz, President, 2000–2001
“I was in awe of the benevolence and collaboration of the WIC women during my time in the organization. To this day, I hold it up as the gold standard for the communities with which I work. It was an honor to serve as president.”


Elaine StarlingElaine Starling, President, 1999
“I attended the second WIC meeting and became the second president. I am continually energized, inspired, and empowered by the other consultants who run and attend WIC events. The collaborative nature of the group illustrates the potential for every participant to excel. WIC maintains an orientation of welcoming others, remaining open to participation and input, accepting strongly differing perspectives, nurturing new and growing consultants, supporting each other’s determination to excel, providing informative programs, and showcasing an insightful group of volunteers. I attribute a great deal of my personal and professional success to my involvement in WIC.”

Eileen LaPorteEileen LaPorte, Founder, 1998
“I started WIC in 1998 as a small community-based networking group of women consultants to fulfill the need we had to network and share business and information. It’s grown into a dynamic networking organization serving over 400 people. I look back fondly on my consulting days and time spent with the WIC women, and congratulate the women who’ve grown this organization into what it is today.”


“WIC is a major reason I moved to the Bay Area.
It is an incredibly collaborative, supportive and welcoming group.”

Robin Weintraub