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And the Winner Is...
 September 2014
In This Issue
And the Winner Is...
"Biz Books Review" launches at WPL
Share Your Story for "Circles of Gold"
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NSA-IL Speakers Academy Launches
The National Speakers Association of Illinois just launched the Fall 2014 Speakers Academy at National Louis University in Chicago with a class of amazing participants. 

This year I'm honored to be the 

National Speakers Association Dean of the NSA-IL Speakers Academy and supported by Co-Deans Bob Roitblat and Steve Beck, CSP. The program includes a curriculum developed by best practices from Speakers Academies throughout the NSA network. We also have a terrific cast of Guest Faculty who share their own stories about the life and times of professional speakers.

If you're interested in learning more about our NSA-IL Speakers Academy and want to take your own speaking business to the next level, please visit NSA-IL's website or call me at 312-213-1795 

Fall 2014 NSA-IL Speakers Academy Class

Shameless Plugs


This past week my friend and former executive coaching client Jill Foucré was an Honoree in the Innovation Category for the Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards sponsored by the Daily Herald/Business Ledger. 

Jill is the founder of Marcel's
Culinary Experience 
in Glen Ellyn, a retail store filled with marvels for gourmet cooks (and chef wannabes) and breath-taking tableware as well as a school for
Photo credit: Anne Furnam, WSJ
chefs. Marcel's offers classes for everyone from kids to skilled foodies and everyone in between. Since opening her store Jill has taken the world by storm, receiving a
2014 Best of Chicago Award  from Chicago Magazine for " Best Cooking School for Date Night" as well as being featured in a full-on profile of her mid-career transition (with a nod to her executive coach!) in the Wall Street Journal
Jill surrounded by her posse, including (L to R) me, Cindy Martin, Jill's publicist, and Staci Hulseberg, director of the Village of Glen Ellyn Planning and Development Department
Congratulations, Jill, on yet another honor for you, your team of chefs and staff and all the people who have supported you these last two years. And Happy 2nd Anniversary!


Joy Meredith, friend, social media maven and idea woman extraordinaire, is once again offering her workshop, "Creating 2014." 

Next month's workshop will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 4, at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Wheaton. Joy will present the "Me-Mapping" process which she created to help people map out their lives. The process provides clarity, vision and purpose and Joy delivers it with panache. 

For more information visit Joy's website and learn more about her extraordinary workshop and her, and you can also subscribe to her blogs. You'll be glad you did!
Contact Us
Vickie Austin
615 W. Front Street
Suite 201
Wheaton, IL  60187
National Speakers Association

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Once again I waited with bated breath as the winners of the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grants" were announced. Once again [sigh] I was not among them.
Twenty-one people known as MacArthur Fellows were acknowledged last week with a $625,000 stipend, a contribution from the MacArthur Foundation which grants this gift over a five-year time frame with no strings attached. 

The fellowships are given to people from all walks of life--the arts and sciences, those who have made a difference in social justice and other extraordinary people who are up to big things in the world. This year's fellows include two poets, a jazz musician, several attorneys, two mathematicians, several historians, a physicist, a computer scientist and a playwright. These are all people who have shown innovation, creativity, commitment and promise. Rather than being called "Genius Grants" I think they should be called the "Keep-Up-The-Good-Work Grants."    

Please visit my blog to learn more about the criteria for this program and read my earnest plea ("pick me! pick me!") to be considered next year.

(photo: "Man Dealing the Four Elements, 1998" by Robert Heinecken, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2010) 
"Biz Books Review" Debuts at WPL


There's a new executive director over at the Wheaton Public LibraryBetsy Adamowski was appointed within this past year and you can just feel the winds of change blowing a fresh breeze through our library. She is committed to making the library a vital resource for our business community and to that end, Betsy and her staff welcomed me and my new monthly program, "Biz Books Review." 


We meet at 8:00 a.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Wheaton Public Library, 225 N. Cross Street. Each month I'll share highlights from a business book, including classics or those trending on the best-seller list. My goal is to make available to business leaders the best of these books and authors in a fun, engaging and accessible format.


The good news? You don't have to read the book! And you can bring your own coffee or morning tea right along with you.


On October 21 I'll be reviewing The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. This book, written by a reporter from the New York Times, has been on the best-seller non-fiction list for more than a year. Join us to learn how to harness your habits for success.


Sally Hogshead's book How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination will be our topic on November 18. I know Sally through the National Speakers Association and she has built a franchise on the topic of "fascination" and its power in business and life. Come learn how your fascination factor can affect your business or career.


Many thanks to my partners in this project including the Wheaton Public Library, the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce and Prairie Path Books. If you're looking to buy a copy of any of our books, head over to Prairie Path Books, a new independent bookstore tucked in the corner of Tom's-Price Home Furnishings at 303 E. Front Street in Wheaton. 

Request for "Circles of Gold" Stories

Over the years you've heard me allude to the "Golden Rolodex," a metaphor for your network--the people you know who know 
you. Turns out that most Millennials, some Gen-Xers and many people from other countries don't always know what a "Rolodex" is (no, it isn't a fancy watch). So with the help of my fabulous social media consultant Joy Meredith, we've coined a new phrase for describing your network: "
Circles of Gold (SM)."

You are surrounded by your Circles of Gold, the people within your various communities: work, friends and family, your house of faith, neighbors, fellow alumni, sports, hobbies and all your other interests. In order for someone to be in your Circles of Gold you need to have shared a common time, space or experience.

This August I completed a manuscript for a book on the power of networking and now I would love to hear YOUR story to add to my book.  I'm looking for first-person stories about a time when someone from your own Circles of Gold--your existing network--made a big contribution to you and your business or career success.  The story doesn't need to be long--200 words or so would be great.


I can't guarantee every story will get in the book but I will acknowledge everyone who contributes. My deadline for receiving your story is October 13, 2014. Please send them to


Thank you for sharing your stories with me--I look forward to hearing from you.

"You, Inc." Presented at HFMA Chapters in Indiana and Georgia

The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) is the nation's leading membership organization for healthcare finance leaders, comprised of 40,000 professionals in the U.S. and abroad. Over the years I've had the privilege of working as a writer, speaker and business & career coach with both HFMA national and chapter leaders throughout their association network. 
With Mike Nichols and Bob Brandenburg at Indiana HFMA
Recently I developed a new speech entitled "You, Inc.: Positioning Yourself for Career Success" and I had the honor of presenting it to both the Indiana Pressler Memorial HFMA Chapter in the spring and to the Georgia HFMA Chapter in July. The presentation, given as both a keynote and a breakout session, emphasized the importance of nurturing your network, your "Circles of Gold," and how to be responsible for your own career.

My thanks to Mike Nichols, CPA, FHMFA, for his generous
With Roxann Arnold and Jonathan Skaggs in beautiful Georgia
introductions to people within the HFMA network; to
Bob Brandenburg, CPA, FHFMA, past president of the Indiana HFMA Chapter and Shelly Haggard, program director; and to Roxann Arnold and Jonathan Skaggs, president and program chair respectively from the Georgia HFMA Chapter, for their hospitality. 

If you're an HFMA chapter leader, or you work with a group or association of professionals who need to hear the message of "You, Inc.," and other topics related to business and career success, please give me a call or send an e-mail. I'm eager to serve!  

Vickie AustinHow can it be nearly fall? Somehow, after graduations, June weddings and lazy summer vacations, the weeks seem to speed up. We're already seeing Hallowe'en and even Thanksgiving decorations in the stores and I suspect the holidays are sneaking up on us. 

Remember what the Rolling Stones taught us? Time really is on our side. Enjoy yours and invest a little something in yourself this fall. Take a class (see "Me-Mapping" sidebar). Get a massage. Play a musical instrument or join the choir. Try a new recipe (see Marcel's Culinary Experience sidebar). Live it up!



Vickie Austin 

CHOICES Worldwide

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