Monthly Archives: May 2013

meet elyse: chicago jewelry artist

Elyse Marie Vieni modeling one of her creations. "I find it fun," Elyse says about jewelry design. "It’s something I’m passionate about, and it’s my outlet."

Elyse Marie Vieni modeling one of her creations. “I find it fun,” Elyse says about jewelry design. “It’s something I’m passionate about, and it’s my outlet.”

I’ve always adored high fashion, but when it comes down to it, I fall somewhere in the middle. I was voted “Best Dressed” in high school, but I’ll never forget the harsh, judgey looks I got from my co-workers during a summer internship I did at Versace. Continue reading

meet courtney: chicago protector of the apes

"I would rather live a life they make a movie about than be in the movie," Courtney says.

“I would rather live a life they make a movie about than be in a movie,” Courtney says.

“I’ve always believed that if you step off the cliff, the bridge will appear,” says Courtney Berne, 35. “I’m really afraid of heights, and now I feel like I’m on a parachute trying to get across because the bridge is very faulty. But I have to keep believing I’ll get there.” Continue reading

meet the moms: robyn in chicago

Every day, my mom inspires me to go after what is important to me. She has been my biggest supporter, friend and advice-giver. For Mother’s Day, I wanted to share her story with you because she perfectly embodies everything People with Panache stands for.

Though her path to success wasn’t easy or straightforward, my mom, Robyn, has followed her passion and reached her dream job helping people make their lives better by improving how they work.

Happy Mother's Day to my beautiful mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mom!

Kate: Mom, can you please summarize exactly what you do? I’ve never been good at explaining it.

Robyn: I lead a human resources and management consulting practice called talent solutions. We help to develop capability in organizations, leaders and teams to achieve shared success. I personally specialize in and my biggest passion is in leadership and executive team development. I believe that if you improve someone’s ability to be better in their work, to strengthen the way that they work, that it improves their entire life.

K: Is this your dream job?

R: Yes it is. I really believe that this kind of work changes people’s lives. I believe that when we strengthen our companies, we also strengthen our communities and we strengthen our families, so all of it fits together. And to help people think through ways to be better and to achieve more and feel happier is, for me, a dream. It’s a dream job. I’m here to do that. I’m not here to do anything else.

K: When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

R: A singer when I was young, then I wanted to be a surgeon, then I wanted to be a pharmacologist. Then, in college I discovered social work and decided to do that because I really liked the people part, and I’ve always had a passion for human behavior. Always.

“Follow your passion, and be the best at it.”

Eventually I got a job at Great Western Bank in California in training and development and literally on the second day of work I knew I was home. I knew that this whole learning and development thing was absolutely something I could wrap my head around. Helping people be better in their jobs. I could see the connection between that and their lives because the way we make money is central to how families function and how communities function. So I wanted to help make that more successful through learning, growing, stretching, achieving, developing. Develop is a really big word to me. Life is all about that. You never stay the same. You never actually want to stay the same.

K: What would be your one piece of advice for someone trying to figure it all out?

Mom, Grandma and I

From Grandma’s chicken stores, Lee’s Famous Recipe, to mom’s consulting practice she created from scratch, to all of my plans for the future, here are three generations of hard-working, entrepreneurial women.

R: Follow your passion, and be the best at it. Connect your passions to your strengths. I’ve always believed that if you go after what you feel passionate about and you wrap your strengths around it, you’ll be better at it than anyone else, and you will make money. You have to believe in yourself, and you have to work hard. It’s not going to come to people who do a half-hearted job at it. You can’t leave anything on the table. Anyone who knows me knows that I work pretty hard, but it’s easy because I love what I do.

If you look at a job like it’s a job and you count the hours that you put in it and you look at how much effort for how much money, if you do that at any point in your career, you’re in the wrong spot. You won’t grow and develop. If you look at it that way, you’ll never amount to anything super successful.

K: What makes you happiest?

R: My family and friends make me the happiest. Seeing my daughter happy and thriving is everything to me. Nothing else really matters if you don’t help the people around you be the best that they can be. Watching my mom do the same, no matter how many times she starts over. She’s 77 years old and is now revitalizing the American Business Women’s Network Association in Kalamazoo.

Mom and the girls on the boat on Lake Michigan in South Haven

Mom, Aunt Lori and the girls on the “Cat’s Meow” on Lake Michigan in South Haven, Mich.

It makes me happy when I’m doing the work that I love to do. And when I’m with really smart people and we’re exchanging smart ideas and everyone is one-upping each other in a positive way and everyone is building on everything. It also makes me happy when I’m boating on Lake Michigan and looking at a sunset on a Saturday night. Nothing beats that.

[Photos from Aunt Lori’s Facebook and some digital camera that I am sure I have now lost.]

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meet the moms: cindy in milwaukee

Is that confetti in my Corona?! Here, my mom and I are at Carnival in Viareggio, Italy.

Is that confetti in my Corona?! Here, my mom and I are at Carnival in Viareggio, Italy.

Talking to Brooke, to Cristina, to Jon-Girl and more, Kate and I have had the opportunities to meet truly amazing yet incredibly down-to-earth women. They’re inspiring, empowering, realistic and sharp—and as we talked the other day about how fun People with Panache has made our lives, we realized that journey began long ago. Continue reading

meet brooke: chicago & milwaukee fine-art business owner

"What’s great about singing, just the same as acting, is you can really push students pretty far and get them to come out of their shell," Brooke says. She helps budding artists find their joy through the arts.

“What’s great about singing, just the same as acting, is you can really push students pretty far and get them to come out of their shell,” Brooke says. She helps budding artists find their joy through the arts.

This week, I was lucky enough to steal an hour from Brooke Kosowski, President/CEO of Fine Arts StageWorks in Chicago and Sing It Child in Milwaukee. She has barely lived in Milwaukee a year and is already happily growing her newest artistic venture while enjoying the same things I love Continue reading