Today’s #30Over30PHL is one kickass woman. She’s an insurance “know it all” and boss lady here in Philly with a love for whiskey (as you’ll read throughout her profile), a passion for supporting other women, and a knack for making introductions to anyone and everyone (just hit her up on Twitter!). Read more about the inspiring Alice Niles below!
Name: Alice Niles
1) What neighborhood in Philadelphia do you call home? Center City Mid Town is my work ‘home’ but ‘m a suburban dweller.
2) Tell us about what you do professionally: I help companies identify pitfalls in their businesses that may adversely affect the equity they are trying to grow. Once identified we devise a plan for how to manage those risks: retaining, transferring or financing. Usually the process involves buying insurance for some of the risks but it also involves developing a more thoughtful process that strengthens companies against pitfalls.
3) What makes you happy? Hiking in the woods. Helping someone in a way that makes a difference in their lives. Writing.
4) Who inspires you and why? Young people. Largely, I find their approach simple…therefore they have a wonderful ability to charge through obstacles and accomplish things that they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to be able to accomplish.
5) What’s your biggest regret and why? I don’t have any. I don’t thing it makes sense to have regrets.
6) What is your life motto? Make an ‘ask’ of yourself.
7) Name a guilty pleasure: Very good Irish whiskey. And garden stores…
8) On what occasion do you lie? Very rarely. It’s just so much work to remember.
9) What’s in your purse right now? My wallet. Keys. Chapstick. Lipstick. iPhone headset. I believe in small purses.
10) What is your greatest extravagance? Very good Irish whiskey. Travel.
11) Where is your favorite travel destination? Ireland. I’m a dual citizen and I’m in love with the Irish people so every visit is like a gift. Although I was recently in Iceland and it was outstanding.
12) How do you take your coffee? Skim milk and a packet of Truvia…I actually just like a little coffee with my milk and sugar…
13) What is your most treasured possession? A Miraculous Medal my Mom gave me and my Dad’s Boston College class ring.
14) What is your favorite magazine? Femme & Fortune of course!
15) What advice would you give your 20-something self? When you hear that voice in your heart telling you to go to the edge and take the risk because you know deep down that you really are THAT good…listen to it and do it. The more risks you take the easier they are to continue to take. You may fall on your face a few times but if you’re smart you’ll learn from those falls…and the sun will come up the next day…and everyone will forget about your falls…even you.
16) Where can we find you on a Friday night? Maybe out with friends for happy hour…maybe at the gym…maybe by myself.
17) What motivates you? The desire to leave some sort of indelible mark on the world after I’ve left it. It may be a bequest after my death or it may just be a conversation I had with someone that made a difference. Some words that had such an impact that they will carry them with them for a long time.
18) What’s something unique that we can find on your desk or around your workspace? A bottle of ten year old Laphroaig.
19) What’s the best relationship advice you’ve ever gotten? The only person with whom one can affect change is with oneself.
20) What’s your favorite thing about Philadelphia right now? The development of the outdoor, public spaces. The best thing, I believe, about Philly has always been the people. Creating these spaces is the best way to showcase Philly’s best asset.
21) If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why? Hands down it’s gotta be Wonder Woman. I already feel like I wear those bracelets everyday deflecting ‘bullets’ but what I really need is that golden lasso!
22) Do you have a fashion icon? No. I mean I really think that if hiking boots or flip flops are not acceptable footwear at an event then I probably don’t want to attend.
23) If you could go back to one decade in history, which one would it be and why? It would have to be a decade in ancient history. Contemporary history is fairly well recorded so we have a very good idea as to the facts but ancient history is vastly mysterious. I’d have to say 3200-3300 BC in the area that is now known as the UK and Ireland. It’s when a passage tomb called Newgrange was built. It’s older than the pyramid at Giza and it has so many unexplained features. As a risk manager…I need to know answers.
24) Where’s your favorite place to eat? In Philly that’s like asking what’s your favorite gemstone! The city is filled with outstanding choices but among my faves are Tria, Talula’s Garden and 20 Manning. My real favorite place may be home because I really enjoy cooking…and I’m good at it.
25) How do you stay sane balancing your life and career? I really don’t try to balance it. And I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about sanity. I do have the best group of friends out there and they allow me to dream, cry, yell and laugh with them. I guess that gets me through. But I believe ‘balance’ and ‘sanity’ is overrated and fairly impossible most times so I don’t think it makes sense to aspire to those things. The real victories in life are had when times are challenging and one figures out a solution to overcome a hurdle. So I suppose how I stay sane in my attempt to balance things is that I am constantly identifying weaknesses in my processes, plugging those holes and planting new seeds along the path that will hopefully grow into something useful when I’ll need them.
26) What’s your favorite drink or cocktail? Whiskey (with an ‘e’). Neat.
27) What is your favorite movie? I watched ‘Braveheart’ for like the gabillionth time the other night and I’ve been yelling “FREEDOM” since then…so yeah. Maybe that one…
28) Tell us about an embarrassing moment you recently had: I really don’t get embarrassed. I have daughters…I generally do the embarrassing.
29) What’s your favorite app right now? Airbnb…Where should I go next??
30) If you could, what would you say to yourself fives years from now? I’m glad that you finally published that book you wrote.
#30Over30PHL is a month-long series highlighting Philadelphia’s most ambitious women. Created in collaboration with Melissa Alam of Femme & Fortune and Alex Kacala of Fayme Problems. #30Over3PHL is being presented with support from Hard Rock Cafe Philadelphia.