Q: What is your background and what led you to opening your businesses?
A: I was just a happy “Suzy Homemaker” when in 1967 my husband suddenly died. I was left with two kids, a mortgage, and no money. That makes you think pretty quickly what are you going to do to support your family.
Q: What would you say are the three top skills to successfully lead an organization?
A: Honesty, help employees to be successful, and have fun!
Q: What advice would you give for other women in business?
A: Do a lot of listening and go for it.
Q: Do you really think women have come a long way? How so?
A: OMG – have we ever. When I joined the Chamber, there was one executive director and one secretary. There were two business women as members. Now look at us. Before WWII, women, like me, were Suzy Homemakers. But during the war, the women started working as the men were all overseas. They found out they enjoyed doing their own thing and earning money. Many of us can no longer can stay at home and bake and read and sew. For me, I find the business world inspiring. I love it.
Q: What is your involvement now in the Chamber, WIB and community?
A: I so enjoy the legislative meetings as that is where the action is and it keeps you up to date on what is going on. But most of all, I enjoy Women in Business events. It is so inspiring to talk with each member and find out what they are doing and how they got started. I am so proud of the women and their achievements. One job I enjoy is as a greeter. Having been in business so many years and knowing so many people, it gives me joy to help others and open doors for them.
Q: Tell us one thing most people don't know about you.
A: I used to be shy! But in sales, I had to learn to overcome it. Later my husband threatened to send me to bashful school.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: My two kids. They were in 7th grade and a freshman in high school when their father died. We had to move out of our house, I started working, and it was a traumatic time for all three of us. Life and business were definitely not always easy. But my two kids turned out beautifully and have given me five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I am so blessed.
Q: You are known as a notable Napervillian and the first woman on the Naperville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. How does that make you feel?
A: That is not important. I’m just happy to contribute in any way I can. The Chamber has been a big part of my business career and my life.
Q: If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do? A: I can’t think of anything I would do over. No regrets. My life has not been an easy one, but I always took one day at a time, and said “Thanks to the Man” upstairs. And we DID have a lot of fun at work. How can you sell music if you are not happy and cheerful?
By Robin Boggs Choquette, Psy.D. Elite Performance Counseling
Elite Performance Counseling provides psychological services to individuals from preteen through older adulthood in individual psychotherapy, family therapy (including parenting strategies), couple’s therapy, and skill seminars. In addition, she consults with a specialized emphasis on performance enhancement for athletes, artists, musicians, entertainers and executives.
Photo by: Sabina Cavalli Photography, a boutique studio in south Naperville that specializes in creating photographic art with you or your favorite people in it. Sabina is a Certified Professional Photographer, has her Masters of Photography Degree and has received top accolades including the Top 10 Imager in Illinois by the North Central District of the Professional Photographer of America (PPA) and National Bronze Photographer of the Year by the PPA. She teaches lighting and posing techniques at PPA affiliates in the Midwest. Please visit her website at www.sabinacavalli.com or call 630-699-2072 for a visit to her studio.