Long Island Business ForumOne of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made was forming the Long Island Business Forum.

In September 2016, I asked six friends to go out to lunch with me. Each of these friends were business owners and they also happened to be incredible women. I thought that each of them needed to know each other.

I was right.

Lunch was incredible. We talked about our businesses. We shared about how to make them better. We asked questions; we gave advice. The time flew by. And we knew we needed to do it again.

One month later, we were back at the same restaurant, this time in a private room, and we had invited a few more business owners to join us. It was even more powerful.

Every month since then we have met. We have watched each other expand our businesses, grow as entrepreneurs and leaders, and have formed a tight bond. Every business owner needs a cheering squad. We’ve become that for each other.

Because we know each other so well, we are able to offer insight into how to do better and be better. Some of my best ideas have been inspired by their input.

In addition, each year (except 2020 due to the pandemic) we’ve hosted a party to celebrate people who have contributed to our success. And, each year, we’ve invited influential women to come speak to and inspire us.

In 2017, we welcomed Dorie Clark, best-selling business author, and recently voted the #1 Communication Coach. She shared how to maximize streams of income.

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In 2018, we welcomed Liz Kislik, an influential management consultant and frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review and Entrepreneur. She shared on how to handle difficult people.

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In 2019, we welcomed Jenny Blake, best-selling author and speaker, whose talk on her book Pivot was especially prescient given the events of 2020 and the need of so many to change direction quickly.

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I attribute the success of the LIBF to our very strict membership standard – we have to like you. There are so many people you can network with, but very few you actually want to.

Because of the camaraderie that we’ve forged over the years, we can speak truthfully to one another. Each member is exclusive to her industry (i.e., we only have one trusts and estates attorney, one CPA, one realtor). This allows us to share what’s going on and not be concerned about our “competition” learning something about us. Everything said at the LIBF, stays in the LIBF, to paraphrase a saying.

We are always on the lookout for new friends. If you’re a female entrepreneur and you are interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to me. It could be the best decision you ever made!

"There are some days in your life and business that you can look back upon and realize that a shift was made that day ... for the better. Such was the day that I met Francine Love and attended my first LIBF meeting. Francine leads LIBF with an amazing mix of "stick to the script" professionalism and "3 cheers for the sisterhood" enthusiasm. She has curated an amazing group of talented and ambitious women who share a common belief in that by lifting up one another, we are lifted up ourselves.

Francine is a wealth of information on many topics, but certainly one of her fortes is in nurturing and growing your business, and I have certainly been the recipient of her aura of success. Since my introduction to LIBF, my business has grown exponentially - in part from the wealth of referrals which have been bestowed by this amazing group of women, as well as through my own mindset shifts and expanded goals due to Francine and the members of LIBF's limitless vision. That day - my first day at LIBF - was truly a pivotal moment in my business, and one I would encourage for business owners looking to fly higher than ever before."

Stephanie Larkin

Head Penguin at Red Penguin Books

RedPenguinBooks.com