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Who Says an Economist Can't be Beautiful?

 November 2011
In This Issue
Diane Swonk's Words of Wisdom
Clients in the News
Honor Roll
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They Oughta Know...
"If everybody likes you, you're obviously not doing something right."
--Chelsea Handler
"Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss what insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a poem."
--Walt Whitman
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
--Bill Cosby

National Speakers Association 


Looking for a speaker?


I'm eager to be of service! 

If you're planning a conference, a workshop or an executive retreat and need a speaker or facilitator, let's talk. To see some of my sample audiences and topics, click here. 


As a member of the National Speakers Association, I continue to revel in the rich resources of NSA and all it has to offer. This year I serve as Dean of Speaker University for NSA-IL along with the inimitable Steve Beck of Beck & Associates.  If you're interested in learning more about Speaker U, please contact us at: or  

Contact Us
Vickie Austin
615 W. Front Street
Suite 201
Wheaton, IL  60187
630-510-1900 (ofc)
312-213-1795 (mobile)
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If You Missed my "Building Your Golden Rolodex" Workshop...
Golden Rolodex eBook
...You can still purchase my
e-book, "Your Golden Rolodex: How to Network for Results!"  This 51-page e-book is packed with tools and techniques for leveraging your own network.  Remember: everyone you need to know you already know and they're in your Golden Rolodex.


Click here to purchase!
Debbie, Diane and Katie
Debbie Krieps, Diane Swonk and Katie Schimmel of Mesirow Financial
Thanks to an invitation from my friend Katie Whalen Schimmel of Mesirow Financial, I attended a breakfast last week for women in business co-sponsored by Mesirow, the law firm Jenner & Block and Deloitte.  I was so excited--not only would I get to see Katie again, a friend from my days at Edelman, but I was going to get to meet Diane Swonk.  I've been a huge fan of Ms. Swonk for years, not just because of her stature as a respected economist who is quoted often by the financial press but because of her grace and beauty.  She stands out in a field of black and grey, giving all of us a model of what a woman in authority looks and sounds like.


I was struck by many things about Diane Swonk: her ability to summarize the tenuous economic times we're in both domestically and internationally; her compassion for how the recession disproportionately has hit women, children and veterans; and her sharp sense of humor about our government as well as her ex-husbands.
Diane Swonk and Vickie Austin
Ms. Swonk and a Fan
During a panel discussion with Deb DeHaas of Deloitte and Ginny Clarke of Talent Optimization Partners, Ms. Swonk brought up the topic of mentoring.  She distinguished between a mentor and a sponsor.  What a powerful distinction!  A mentor may guide you, but a sponsor is someone who "has skin in the game," she says.  I loved her description of a sponsor as someone who will "pound the table" to open doors for you.  A sponsor, she said, is equally if not more important than a mentor. 


Have you had a sponsor during your own evolution in your business and/or career?  During this week of Thanksgiving, it's a great time to reach out and thank them.  Or, if you're so inclined, take a look around you.  Is there someone you could sponsor?    
Clients in the News


Jill Foucre, owner of Marcel's
Jill Foucre', owner of Marcel's

Jillian Foucre' is the new owner of Marcel's Culinary Experience.  A former healthcare executive, Jill laid the groundwork to transition from a Very Big Job in the corporate sector to Entrepreneur in Glen Ellyn.  Read about her transition and also her tips on getting ready for Thanksgiving!




Jennifer Wilken, a financial advisor for Edward Jones, was

Jennifer Wilken featured in Chicago Tribune

Jennifer Wilken

of Edward Jones

featured  in the Chicago Tribune in a recent story on Chicago's Top Workplaces.  Jen is a marathon runner, a globe-trotter and a fierce advocate for women in business.  She leads the WINGS (Women's Initiative for New Growth Strategies) program for Edward Jones in her region, recruiting the best and the brightest for her company.   



Sue Neustrom EdD
Sue Neustrom, EdD

And how thrilling to open my mailbox to see the smiling face of Sue Neustrom, "cover girl" for the College of DuPage magazine!  Sue tells a compelling story of her transition from high school dropout to a woman with a bachelor's degree, a master's degree and a doctorate in education.  Now executive director for JUST of DuPage, a not-for-profit at DuPage County Jail, Sue is an inspiration for all of us who are eager to continue learning throughout our work lives.

Honor Roll

Many thanks to the people who invited me to be part of their conferences and events over the past few months, including:


Joy Rosenberg and the staff of the DuPage Region of the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Mary Roy, Vickie Austin and Lesley Ronson Brown
Dr. Mary Roy and the Yoga Diva

 Joy invited me to emcee this year's Pink Tea which raises money and awareness for breast cancer research.  I had the opportunity to honor the memory of my mom and the courage of my beloved friend and yoga diva, Lesley Ronson Brown, as well as to meet Dr. Mary Roy who gave an amazing talk on options for breast cancer treatments.



VaLois Hounsel and Vickie Austin
VaLois Hounsel of the TX WCR

VaLois Hounsel, president of the Texas Chapter of the Women's Council of Realtors, and her board of directors.  I met VaLois when I spoke several years ago in Chicago for the National Women's Council of Realtors and she was gracious enough to invite me to her home state to give the keynote address on leadership to all the incoming leaders throughout Texas.  What an extraordinary group of women (and men)!  Special thanks to a former student from Roosevelt University and now colleague and friend Natalie Scholberg of New Leaf Communications for hosting me at her home in Grapevine.                                                              


Julia Sportolari and Julie Stagliano from Heartland International.  You may remember I worked on a project with young entrepreneurs from Kenya... this year Heartland invited me to adapt my leadership presentation for a group of young women involved in an exchange program from Belize, Nicaragua and Chicago.  These amazing women are leaders and volunteers of grass-roots organizations that help women and families affected by poverty, lack of education and other resources.  Their passion and commitment gave me hope for a bright global future.


Kim Millhorn and Vickie Austin
Kim Millhorn, Rockford NPW

Kim Millhorn and the Rockford Network of Professional Women.  Kim and I go way back to when she worked at the Business Ledger (she's now with WQRF Rockford) and I was VP of marketing at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital.  I was thrilled to adapt "Show Me the Money!" for this group of 90+ women who attended their October luncheon. 



Sandy Jones and Women Emerging in Business (WEB). These ladies invited me to their meeting, a "salon" style dinner and conversation in a member's beautiful home in Wilmette, and I shared about women and the art of negotiation with a customized version of "Show Me the Money!" All of the attendees are in some stage of developing a business and they're brilliant to know they need support from others. If you're looking for a master-mind group like this in which to flouish, Sandy said they're looking for new members.  Contact her at

VickieEnjoy this coming day of celebration during which we stop the action, travel long distances to be with family and friends, enjoy time-honored recipes (or bow to the chefs who cook them, meaning my brother-in-law Pat McCann) and indulge in food and football if that's your passion.  I'm counting my blessings and you are among them. 


Happy Thanksgiving!  



Vickie Austin 

CHOICES Worldwide

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