What is your name and title? 

Nancy Cooper, Chief Executive Officer at Servio Consulting

Briefly describe your role at your company? 

I am responsible for the strategic planning and direction of the organization.  I work closely with my executive team to ensure we are hitting or exceeding plan, if not, make and execute any necessary adjustments.

How long have you been in your current position? 

2 ½ years

What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?

My advice is to follow your dream and never give up.  Stay focused, organize, and be proactive in everything you do and over communicate. Lead by example!

Is there a cause that is particularly close to you? If so, why this cause and how did you get involved?

I love all aspects of business and I love learning about different businesses, therefore, I joined the Board of Directors for the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce in 2011 and just finished a two-year term as the Chairman.

Do you serve as a mentor?  If so, what does mentorship mean to you?

I love to mentor people. I feel I mentor people in all aspects of my life, from employees, my children, and organizations within the Chamber of Commerce.  Mentorship to me is taking someone with skills, passion or a dream and helping them grow to accomplish their vision and help them move up in the business world – lead by example.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to yourself 5 years ago?

Don’t be afraid and don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.  Keep learning and pushing forward.

Are you reading anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite read!

Great Game of Business by Jack Stack – It is a great book that talks about increasing revenue and employee moral by being very transparent with your employees about all aspects of the organization, including the financials and making them accountable for a line item in the budget.  It talks about how many companies have gone from being nearly bankrupt to an increase in revenue by following this approach.  It is a great read so far and I have already incorporated some of their recommendations into Servio’s operations.

If you could sit down with three women (living or dead) for dinner, who would those three women be (and why!)?

Susan Wojcicki – I think she is an amazing business woman that truly understands the aches and pains of a technology startup and what is needed to grow it and take over market share. I love to talk to successful business executives to hopefully learn from them.  I love to hear their challenges and how they overcame them and their successes and what they think contributed to those successes.  I would love the opportunity talk to Susan, as you do not see that many female executives in the technology industry and pick her brain about her challenges and successes and see what advice she can offer me.

My Grandmother – she was always a role model to me.  She handled everything she did with such grace.  She was one of very few women who went to college and graduated from the University of Illinois, she had eight children and my grandfather passed away at a very young age of a heart attack.  She never remarried, worked as a teacher full-time and finished raising her children and enjoyed the time she spent with her 16 grandchildren and several great children (at the time she passed).  She never complained, worked hard and enjoyed life to its fullest.  I would love to let her know how much she inspired me over the last 8 years.  I became a single mom through a divorce, finished raising my two children, inspired them to follow their dreams and started my own company.  During the difficult times – I would push myself forward knowing what my grandmother went through and knowing she came out of it fine.

Harriet Burns – She was the first female Imagineer for Walt Disney.  Disney is a happy place for my family, we go at least once a year. Even with my kids now 24 and 21 they still enjoy every minute of it.  My daughter’s dream was always to work for Disney designing hotels. She is now an Imagineer for Architecture and Design fulfilling her childhood dream.  I would love to talk with Harriet to see how things were run back then and what inspired her to go for such an amazing opportunity.  I think the Disney Corporation is an outstanding organization that offers so many opportunities to not only their employees but to their vendors as well.  I hope Servio Consulting can one day do work for Disney.

What’s something coming up soon (personally or professionally) that super excites you?

My children are 24 and 21 and I will have them both at home living with me for the summer.  I am very excited about that because it has been a long time since we were all under the same roof.  The Servio office is 5 minutes from my house, so I plan to work hard and play hard with them.  We all love the outdoors, so we will be on the bike trail or swimming all summer.

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