83° F Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Name: Johanna Vernick

Age and place of birth: 50, Long Beach, Calif.

Education: Bachelor of science degree in education from University of Illinois at Chicago.

Occupation: Owner of Audrey Kelly Fine Gifts Boutique.

What’s your career ambition? To continue to build and grow Audrey Kelly and expand the stores success with causes that are important to me.4-chat-Vernick

Civic or other nonprofit activities: Charlie’s Gift Autism Center in the Chicago area and Safeplace Expect Respect in Austin

What is the latest project in which you are involved? A Day To Shine, An Event to to raise funds in support of Safeplace Expect Respect.

I have a knack for: Selecting the perfect gift.

Most significant or interesting job: Being a mom and trying hard to get it right – accepting that I often don’t, but knowing that I will never give up trying.

Which of your civic-oriented accomplishments make you the proudest? Founding Charlie’s Gift Autism Center in the Chicago area.

What is one interesting fact about you that people probably don’t know? I am huge sports fan. I really love the Chicago Blackhawks.

What is your fondest childhood memory? Spending summers in Emporia, Kan., with my Aunt Peg and Uncle Irish.

A bad habit I have is: Buying lots of shoes and purses.

If the world were silent for 20 seconds and all ears were turned to you, what would you say?: Please discover what is causing autism.

My pet peeve is: People who are disrespectful of others that are providing services.

My most humorous moment: Trying to pretend I was really enjoying raw and unusual seafood dishes during a corporate dinner in Japan for my husband’s company. There is no way to disguise eating one very large Snail.

If you could sit down and ask question of anyone (living or dead), who would it be and why? Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. My store is named after Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly and these two women exemplify timeless elegance. I love the classics and discovering things that will become someone’s treasured memory. It would be great to find out these beautiful women’s inspirations.

Most exciting or dangerous thing I’ve ever done: Surviving a tornado when I was in the sixth grade in my Oklahoma elementary school that demolished one half of the school and a large part of our community.

Life’s most challenging endeavor is: Learning more and more about autism so that I can select the best interventions and therapies to help my 20-year-old son overcome the challenges of Autism and be the best he can be.

If you were stranded on a uninhabited island, with no means of communication or escape, what is one thing that you would like to have: The Bible.

Is there anything that you passed up on doing that you now regret? Quitting the band and not continuing to play the flute.

How would you like to be remembered? As a woman of character, who believed in helping others achieve and fulfill their accomplishments.
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