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Relationships Fuel Growth for Thriving Woman-Owned Tech Consultancy

Karen Fleshman is a master networker. She excels at connecting products to people and executives to the resources they need to lead successful businesses.

As founder and CEO of Haskins Advisory Group, Karen has grown her business from a one-woman show to a hardworking team of five. Since her first participation in ICCC, the business has grown its revenue by 69%, and she credits the program with setting herself up for future success.

The Future is Growth

Karen leveraged her background in barcode technology to launch her company. “I realized pretty early on that had a future – a huge future because technology was changing and there was such a big need for information,” Karen says. She saw opportunities to grow her business, but she knew she’d have to incorporate as an LLC (limited liability company) first.

So she participated in ICCC with that goal in mind. “There was an expert in marketing, an expert in finance, human resources, and these individuals, their knowledge and expertise and passion just really came through in each session,” Karen remembers. “It was blowing me away.”

One of the sessions Karen attended tackled small business taxes. She notes that this presenter “made himself very available” after the seminar to discuss her concern about transitioning to an LLC. She knew she’d come to the right place; she could see a clear growth pathway for her business.

Networking with a Mission

Karen has used her network to hire people like herself to the Haskins team – individuals over 50 who have had successful careers in the corporate world but are unable to find positions. “They are my hiring market. I look for people like that,” says Karen.

She also maintains relationships she’s built through the ICCC community both as a mentor and mentee. One woman she went through the program with remains a close confidante, meeting for dinner occasionally, while another has become her go-to resource for marketing outsourcing. She is also a huge advocate for ICCC, nominating 10 businesses for the 2018 Chicago ICCC program.

For a networker like Karen, relationships are everything. ICCC helped open doors, but it’s clear: Karen would have waltzed through that door with her entire network in tow regardless.


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