Forrest E. Powell Foundation

Community | Family | Spirituality

Nancy Klaiber

The surprise winner of the Work Ethic Award was Nancy Klaiber. She was honored for her committed life as wife and mother, while juggling a full career. She was shocked and tearful as she gratefully accepted the award.

Nancy Klaiber Biography:

  • Born in St. Louis in 1961
  • Moved to Darien Illinois in 1965
  • Attended St. Mary’s Catholic School K-8
  • 1979, Graduated from Benet Academy High School
  • 1983, Graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Education
  • 1983, Started work as a Showroom Manager at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago with an office furniture firm
  • 1984, Wedding Bells rang
  • 1986, sales representative at REFF, another office furniture company in the Mart.
  • 1989, stay at home Mom until 1999 and had three children, Sarah, Jonny and Patrick
  • 1999, Fixed Income Sales and Trading Associate at Romano Brothers Investment Firm until 2008
  • 2008, Executive Assistant at Prairie Management Group to Gordon Segal founder and former owner/CEO of Crate and Barrel

In order to add context to her bio and accomplishments, we asked her kids and some past and present coworkers to provide some of their thoughts on just what Nancy meant to each of them. Below, you will see what Nancy means to all of us:

Sarah, daughter age 22:
“Where do I start about my mom? Growing up she was always there. She was there to make our peanut butter and jellies, tie our shoes, and put band-aids on our scraped knees. Even when my dad was working a 24 hour shift, or at a meeting, and there were six neighbor kids running around our house, she was there. For those however many years when I was an unpleasant, overemotional teenager, she was there. Those are the years I really, truly appreciate. And now, she is always a phone call away. Anytime I need life advice or just to vent, I go to her. I respect her so much, and thank her for always supporting us. She has taught my brothers and me how to be good, caring people. She works so hard, being a full time mother, full time working woman, full time wife, and community member. Not to mention, house mediator. There are many women out there living similar lives, and it is unfortunate that they are not more frequently recognized for their strength and dedication. I am so proud that my mom is receiving this reward, because she deserves it. She deserves to be recognized for everything she does for our family and for others.”

Jonny, son age 20:
“Mom has always been there for our family. Through thick and thin, hard times or not, she has always been there to support, encourage, and hold our family together. I appreciate everything that she’s ever done for us, and what she still continues to do. My Dad used to work a 24 hrs on, 48 hrs off shift at the fire station. So my dad would be gone and it was up to my mom to support three children while working a nine-to-five job. She always made time for us no matter what. She has provided us with guidance we need throughout our lives, even as we get older and life gets more complicated. She has always been one of the most influential people in my life, and will always continue to be. Thank you, Mom, for everything that you’ve done and sacrificed for us. You go above and beyond the call of duty. I love you and thank you for being such a great mother.”

Patrick, son age 17
“My Mom has been an inspiration to me my whole life. Ever since I can remember she has treated everyone with kindness and care. I have always tried to model myself after her by treating people with the same acts of kindness that she has treated everyone with. I am sure that every mom can learn something from her. Like the hundreds of times I couldn’t sleep at night when I was a kid and she would either sleep in my room, or let me sleep in her room to help me fall asleep when my dad was on duty. She is the most caring and loving person I know and will ever know. It’s a hard job being married to a firefighter and raising three kids at the same time, but she has been the best mom someone could ever be. She has done an amazing job raising us and I couldn’t ask for anything more from her. I Love you mom.”

Greg Klaiber:
I fell in love with Nancy at the University of Illinois in 1980; we were married in 1984. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. For 28 years she has been a wonderful wife, mother, coworker and friend. Most recently I have also seen her display just how great of a daughter she is as well. For the last year or so, she checks in every night at 9:00 with her 88 year old father who lives alone, to chat and make sure he is ok. I have yet to meet anyone who is more sweet, kind and loving than Nancy. I am in awe at her ability to juggle being a mother and wife while also working full time. Perhaps her most difficult job has been putting up with me for the last 28 years. I know from personal experience that I am not easy to live with.
Nancy is an extraordinary woman. I thank her for love and patience towards me, and for being such an incredible mother to our children. Thank you Hecky and the entire Powell Family for recognizing Nancy. She is most deserving of Forest E. Powell Work Ethic Award.

Kristine Bishop, Prairie Management Group:
“Nancy Klaiber is an integral part of the Prairie Management Group team, and our office would be lost without her. She’s intelligent, hard-working, and wise beyond her years. Often times Nancy is the first person to arrive at the office and the last person to leave. She’s a take-charge person, tackling all assignments with dedication and a smile. Nancy’s an excellent role model, particularly for women, as she gracefully manages a full-time work schedule while caring for her family’s needs. She is well-deserving of recognition for her years of hard work and integrity.”

Gordon Segal, Prairie Management Group:
“Nancy Klaiber is amazingly prepared, well-organized, and productive. She does whatever is required with a smile and a pleasantness that belies the workload that is required of her. Nancy is confident, reliable, and very important to Prairie Management Group.”

Douglas Geisser, Romano Brothers Investment Firm:
“Nancy had no financial industry experience when she started but successfully passed the series 52 Municipal Licensing Exam within 90 days of her start date. She eventually developed into the “go to person” in the office for special projects. She continued to gain knowledge with investments and worked hard to bolster her resume by successfully passing the Series 62 Limited Registered representative exam in 2007 along with the Series 63 State law exam. Her work with clients was exemplary.”