Month: July 2005

Security is in Her Blood: Julie Smith Nelson

If her family had paid closer attention to the road signs along the way, they would not have expected Julie Smith Nelson to follow the example of her mother, a traditional, if somewhat feisty, stay-at-home mom. Nelson, who has always had her own ideas and the drive to carry them through, chose seven years ago to follow her father and grandfather into the security business. She is owner and chief executive officer of Smith Legacy Security, the largest privately owned security company in San Antonio. Her services include providing companies with uniformed security guards — some commissioned to carry...

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The Gals in Blue: Police work may still be a man’s world, but some brave women are proving themselves in the ranks

The police van is parked just outside a building where two accountants are held hostage by a co-worker named Leslie. A woman with no previous criminal record, Leslie was recently indicted on 56 counts of embezzlement, money laundering and tax evasion, and she is angry and armed. She blames the accounting department for mishandling her accounts. In the van, a specially trained hostage negotiation team of the San Antonio Police Department is trying to keep Leslie on the phone long enough to assess the situation. Other team members are hurriedly collecting information on both the hostages and the hostage...

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Giving and Getting: Mentoring at its best

Mentoring is a notion that represents the best of human nature: people helping people. Supporting. Sharing. Connecting. Nurturing. It’s a noble act. It’s also a practical one in today’s business world. Research has shown that mentoring is an important factor in business success. Being the beneficiary of a mentor or a mentoring program does increase one’s chances for success. Certainly a person can “make it” without a mentor, but how much more efficient is it to be guided by someone who has “been there”? To be supported by a person who has the breadth and depth of practical knowledge...

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Blind and Talented: Lisa Fittipaldi learned to paint after losing her sight

If she is not traveling, Lisa Fittipaldi can usually be found in her studio, painting away for long hours at a time. It doesn’t matter that right now her makeshift studio is just a corner room in the house she and husband Al are renovating in the King William area. Painting is something she needs to do for her own good. “I have to paint to give myself tranquillity in this chaos,” explains the petite artist, referring to the construction work around her. “I am back to my roots, painting shapes. It’s just a fun painting.” What got her...

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Swimming with Giants: Senior animal trainer at SeaWorld has the career of her dreams

Several of Leslie Popiel’s co-workers could be extremely intimidating: They’re much more powerful than she, favor a severe black-and-white look and crunch on ice balls for snacks. Ice balls? At the top of the food chain? “Whales like ice balls the way people like ice cream,” Popiel explains. Frozen water (in super-size portions) is a change-of-pace treat for Shamu and the other whales she works with in SeaWorld’s Shamu Stadium. As a senior animal trainer, her job is to help keep the park’s seven killer whales healthy, active and interested. It’s a fulltime, year-round task that requires 16 trainers,...

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