2011 Ms. Classic Elite USA
As a loving mother of three young girls and a devoted wife I am pleased to be asked to share some things about myself. We run an animal ministry that takes unwanted, unloved exotic animals, and train them to perform. We then take them out telling bible stories, using the animals to help people see that they should embrace their uniqueness and be proud of whom they are. Every animal shown had been cast aside by our society as being worthless. We prove everyone has value and is important.
What I Enjoyed About Elite USA the Most: I entered the Illinois Elite Pageant at 53 years of age, as a size 18 Baby Beluga Whale, to share the experience with my young daughters that were competing. I thought it would be an amazing memory to create together. I was so embarrassed I wouldn't even let my mother come and watch, until I got there and learned what Elite was really all about. Elite embraced each girl's uniqueness and showcased who she was inside. My oldest daughter, Ashley, and I, both won state titles and began making plans for the Elite Nationals. We had the best time together planning and preparing.
I had modeled for 10 years, over 40 years ago, but believed that inner beauty shines from within, far more brightly than outer beauty. I wanted to be my best to carry the Elite banner and show what one can do with determination. I worked very hard and in 60 days lost 30 lbs. and got down to a size 12. That transformation made me want to encourage every woman of every age – to find that strength deep inside to be all that you can be!
I have worked in business since I was 18 years of age and ran global businesses that required travel for much of my 35 year career. You lose your sense of self when your entire focus is on shareholder value. For decades I had not spent any time on myself, or doing anything for me that I really enjoyed. Competing with the wonderful young women, especially my 15 and 10 year old daughters, seeing the pride my wonderful husband had of "his girls", and watching my 14 year old daughter Christen cry with happiness for each of us really touched my heart and reminded me how blessed I was to be loved and supported so by those who mean the most. I feel my life will be forever changed by the impact Elite has had on my view of the world. Winning the National Elite proved that everyone can accomplish anything they put their heart and soul into.
I am eternally grateful to have shared this amazing experience with my family and the wonderful people from Elite.
Professional Modeling Experience: Full Time Model for RFM Kaufman; Worked with Shirley Hamilton, A-1, and Ann Geddes Agencies; Nine Years Television Experience Hosting and Producing; The International Canadian Royal Red Arabian Horseshow.
Titles Held: 2011 National Elite Champion, Elite USA Model, Classic Elite USA 2011, Illinois Ms. Classic Elite, Mrs. Illinois First Runner Up 1996 (90 days after having first baby), Miss Illinois Runner Up 1977 and 1978, Miss EAA, Miss World of Wheels
Education: In 1992 the University of St. Francis presented me with an Honorary Bachelor of Commercial Science Degree. In 1995 Southern Illinois University presented me with an honorary doctorate degree of Commercial Science.
Career: I am a 36-year veteran of the telecommunications industry and serve as President of the Goeken Group of Companies, headquartered in Naperville, Illinois. The Goeken Group comprises of wholly-owned subsidiaries – Global MEDNET, Inc. and PolyBrite International, Inc.
Boards: I have had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Directors of Rush Copley Hospital, Success Magazine, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), DuPage Children's Museum, Joliet Junior College, University of St. Francis, and Chairman of the SIU Advisory Board of the College of Business.
Leadership Roles: In 1992, I was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to the Federal Communication Commission's Small Business Advisory Committee where I was elected Chair of the New Technology subcommittee.
Accomplishments: As the past Chairman and CEO of In-Flight Phone International, and President of Airfone, Inc., I helped lead the way in the air-to-ground industry. I've set up and served on the boards of international corporations with local partners in Canada, South America, Europe, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Australia, Thailand and Indonesia. I did a reverse takeover of a Canadian company that became a public company, trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, was also instrumental in the startups of Business Telecommunications, which was sold to a Canadian phone company and Goeken Systems' Mercury Network, later purchased by FTD. I was chosen by Southern Illinois University as their Chicago Business Leader of the Year and in 1996, I was inducted into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame by the University of Illinois. I have also served as an adjunct professor at Southern Illinois University (SIU).
Interesting Facts: In 1993, I founded Women of Wireless (WOW), a non-profit association to ensure women's representation at the auction table for spectrum.