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WomanOf the Month 11-05: Ann Tardy

You’ve only to meet her in person to understand why a boyfriend once told her she had “moxie,” thus providing the inspiration of the name of her educational and consulting company, LifeMoxie!. Ann Tardy’s animated face, voice and gestures are just one indication of the enthusiasm she generates about her passion: empowering women. “The best decisions I’ve made are the ones using moxie,” she says. LifeMoxie!, launched in 2004, presents seminars for women and girls, featuring local experts, to help them take on “economic power.”

Tardy grew up outside of Chicago in the town of St. Charles. An entrepreneur early on, she started a newspaper at the age of 11, covering everything from world events such as Princess Di’s wedding to neighborhood happenings. She charged 25 cents per copy, and the newspaper stayed in print for 1 ½ years, not bad by media standards of any age. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in accounting at the urging of her mother, who recognized the value of understanding one’s finances. Further, Tardy’s mom, now successful in the real estate business, had to grapple with her own finances after the death of her husband.

From there Tardy earned her law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law and set off for California and a position with a Big 6 accounting firm (when there were 6) and then a large law firm in Silicon Valley. Several years later she put in a two-year stint as an inhouse counsel with a software technology firm. It was during that time, which was a less than satisfying period in her career, that Tardy became involved with the Girls’ Middle School as a volunteer teacher. At this school in Mountain View, California, all 7th graders are required to take a year of Entrepreneurial Education, learning about personal finance, negotiating, writing business plans, starting their own businesses, budgeting, etc. She is currently co-director of the program.

“During this time, as I was getting volunteers and mentors for the program, women were telling me they wished that they had learned what these girls were learning. They were helping out in part because they wanted to learn it too!apostrophe

And so the idea for LifeMoxie! was born. Tardy began holding economic skill-based workshops and set about building her company and her present team of experts. She’s since held three Women’s Economic Power Days in San Francisco, one in Sacramento, and one is scheduled for this month on November 19 in Denver. (Go to www.lifemoxie.com for more info on upcoming events nationwide, including events for girls.) She’s also launched events for girls that focus on topics such as how to fill out job applications, ATM cards and bank checks, budgeting, and how to start a business. Her first, aimed at 14 to 18 year olds in Palo Alto, drew 100 girls.

“We believe in featuring local experts at our Power Days because we want to furnish our attendees with an “economic power squadapostrophe who they’ll be able to rely on in the future,apostrophe says Tardy. The sessions are targeted for women who are new to the corporate world, starting a business, launching a career, or reentering the workforce.

As Tardy sums it up on her website, “I am convinced that feeling powerful is the key to leading a