Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Nicki Pecori

MBA '96; director of community affairs at the Illinois Housing Development Authority

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
At the ocean with the one I love, enjoying a great meal.

What is your greatest fear?
Running out of time before I accomplish and experience everything I’d like to in life.

Which talent would you most like to have?
To be an excellent singer.

Who are your heroes in real life?

  1. My grandparents who came to America with virtually nothing and made a good life for themselves by working hard and saving to get ahead.
  2. My parents, who taught me to get a good education and not live beyond my means.
  3. The people close to me who courageously battled cancer and who have shown me the true meaning of grace.

What qualities do you most admire in business professionals?
Authenticity; a strong work ethic; intelligence but with a good dose of common sense; creativity; a pleasant disposition; punctuality.

Which qualities do you dislike?
Self-importance; greediness; dishonesty.

What is the best advice you can offer to young women and men as they start their careers?

  1. Do your homework: know about a company and key personnel. A vast amount of information about a company is available online. Don’t ask the basic questions that could be answered on your own by doing a little research. This will help you ask more intelligent questions.
  2. Volunteer. Meeting people outside your immediate universe is invaluable. Volunteer for a nonprofit whose mission resonates with you; volunteer for a campaign for an elected official or judicial candidate. We need good, reasoned public officials in office and on the bench. We are a nation of laws; we should care about who is making decisions for us.

Your top three networking tips?

  1. See No. 2 above.
  2. Stand up straight, make eye contact, and don’t have a wishy-washy handshake.
  3. Send a handwritten thank you note when appropriate. Be brief and sincere. In this day and age, a handwritten note blows an e-mail out of the water and helps you stand out.

Connect with Nicki on LinkedIn.