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Nancy Vetakis Keene '72

Nancy Vetakis Keene '72Starting college can be an unnerving situation for many freshmen, but add being a 16-year-old one day out of high school, placed in the Summer-January program, and knowing that none of your friends will be starting with you, and you have the circumstances that Nancy Vetakis Keene faced.

At the time, new residence halls were being built at IUP and there was not sufficient housing for the fall class, so some freshmen were admitted through the Summer-January program—they started taking classes in the summer, sat out the fall semester, then came back in January.

“I was scared, to say the least,” Ms. Keene said, “but it was a successful launch. I honed a career edge at IUP—how to adapt and be comfortable outside of one’s comfort zone.”

Graduating from IUP at the age of 20 with a Bachelor of Science degree in English Education, Ms. Keene credits the university and faculty as a contributing factor in her career success.

“Dr. J. David Truby and Dr. Daniel Grubb encouraged persuasive writing, strategic thinking, and development of communication talents,” Ms. Keene said. “They helped shape me as a consultant and business developer.” Dr. Truby, in particular, was like a demanding client, she said. “He inspired, critiqued, and drew the best out of you!”

After teaching for a semester in her hometown of Altoona, Pennsylvania, Ms. Keene focused her career on business. “The opportunities for women were newly evolving. We had to be explorers!”

During the rise of the Sunbelt economy, she moved to Texas, where she built one of the first technology marketing resources in the Southwest and launched new companies, products, and distribution channels, working with some of the most legendary industry leaders of the time. She rose to become vice president of the Keller-Crescent advertising agency, then an operating unit of American Standard.

As an entrepreneur, she ran her own marketing consulting firm, then served as a regional director in the Global Technology Industry Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

She leveraged her network and knowledge of corporate inner workings into a new career in executive search—as director in the Dallas office of Stanton Chase International, where she handled assignments in the energy, manufacturing, and technology sectors, as well as finance and corporate development searches across all industries.

As a frequent speaker and media resource on management and talent-related topics, Ms. Keene consolidated her content into The Perfect Fit, a blog (at drawing on her career foundation in marketing and 10 years in executive search.

“I saw that there was power and efficiency in sharing thought leadership and current industry trends through a multi-platform social media distribution channel,” Ms. Keene said, “so whenever I did an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune or any other news outlet, I would write a blog post on the topic, provide additional discussion points from my interview preparation notes, and include a link to the story. Then, I would post the link, plus commentary, on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.”

Ms. Keene feels that writing the blog is a delight, not a chore, and thanks Dr. Truby and Dr. Grubb for nurturing and encouraging her writing skills. “But the best part is sharing information that might be helpful to others forging a path in the workplace or reinventing to a new destination.”

The blog grew into a business when clients began asking Ms. Keene for assistance in areas beyond a pure retained executive search. “I expanded the blog into a brand for an ‘encore career’ and a new stage of life,” she said. It comprises speaking, writing, and consulting and complements her work on the Board of Advisors of Texas Women Ventures, a mezzanine fund that invests in women-led businesses.

Through The Perfect Fit, she is introducing the Changeometer™—a framework for decision making based on focus and synergy. A version for students and career centers is called Don’t Wait Until Graduation—Your Life Starts Now!

The daughter of Mary Vetakis and the late Frank J. Vetakis, Ms. Keene is married to John D. Weeks II. She and her husband reside in Dallas.

Profile published on 5/29/12

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