Billie Tekel Elias grew up in Philadelphia, living with an Auntie Mame-like mother who made her childhood fun, taking her to visit every relative, exposing her to culture, tirelessly reading favorite stories over and over.
She graduated from the top all-girls high school in Philadelphia. Her college years were spent 100 miles away from home, at Columbia Engineering, followed by graduate school at Stanford. That decade included a 9-week summer adventure backpacking around Europe with a friend, and 2 cross-country road trips with stops at dozens of points of interest including National Parks, campgrounds, Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls and Indian Reservations. On one of those trips she was accompanied by her mother, who shared in the driving, pumping gas and reading maps.
Her career as an engineer included 7 years on in the Operations and Controllers departments of an international money center bank. Each year that she was a bank officer, she used her 4 weeks vacation to explore the far corners of the world.
One day it hit her! She was NOT aspiring to give the corporation the best years of her life. She tendered her resignation and headed to Africa for a couple months. With the entrepreneurial spirit she inherited from her mother, she began her own costume jewelry import business. She wore every hat: negotiating purchases, customs clearance, sales, marketing, shipping, invoicing, trade shows. She continued learning, but something was missing….she wasn’t married and didn’t have a child — two large personal goals.
In time, she achieved both.
Worried that her physically demanding work might jeopardize her pregnancy, she put her business on hold, enjoying the sleep-filled nights and the enhanced hormones of a beautiful pregnancy. After her son was born, she realized that Breastfeeding + Baby +Billie were 3 B’s that didn’t add up, and she found herself unable to get back to work.
Once again, she shifted gears, and embarked on a new venture, allowing her to work from home. Over the past 21 years, she grew an educational toy business alongside her growing child, walking him to school everyday and chaperoning his class trips. Her efforts paid off; today her son is a recent graduate of MIT.
The writing of this book marks Ms. Elias’ fourth “career.”
As you will learn when you read her book, what mothers do in their children’s formative years can truly impact their lives. She had one zany role model!
FUN FACTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT BILLIE
- She is passionate about architecture, particularly Art Deco, and adores Frank Lloyd Wright’s work.
- Her favorite film is The Talented Mr. Ripley.
- While on safari in Africa, she was in an open vehicle just 10 feet away from lions who were mating.
- Her favorite game as a kid was Lie Detector. It involved deductive reasoning and an electronic gadget.
- White chocolate sends her into rapture.
- In the mid ’70s her first car, a Cutlass S 442, had such a large engine that gas station attendants always jumped to check her oil just for the thrill of seeing it.