7 Questions – Know Your Chapter President Better

Chapter President, Carol Parker Walsh, AICI CIC, answers a few questions so we can get to know her better.


Q1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m originally a California native and will always be a California girl at heart. I grew up, however in Chicago and it was there that I finished high school, received my BA in Organizational Communication from Loyola University and my law degree in Employment & Labor Law at Chicago-Kent Law School. Later I received my PhD in Human Development and Social Systems. I’m married to another California native who ended up in the Pacific Northwest as well. We have two gorgeous kiddos, our son Nick a 20 year old college student and our daughter a 17 year old college bound high school senior. When I was younger, I wanted to sing on Broadway or in the Opera and I actually studied at the Chicago Conservatory of Music for 2 years. I’m also soon to be 53 years old, which I’m rather proud of!

Q2. What made you become an image consultant ?

I’ve always loved fashion, shopping, and clothes. After a career in law, I experienced a bit of burnout and wanted my work to be fun. I started building a retail jewelry business and this served as the jumping off point into becoming an Image Consultant. So I searched training programs, became a certified image consultant and most recently an AICI Certified Image Consultant.
I absolutely LOVE the versatility of this industry, the work you can do and the clients and corporations you can work with. It’s like being a holistic practitioner because you have the ability to work with individuals and businesses in such diverse ways.

Q3. What is the biggest challenge you find in being successful in this profession and how do you tackle it ?

I’ve found 3 key areas of challenge and I don’t believe I’m alone in this, having spoken to other image consultants. First, the public have no clear understanding of the profession. There’s no real industry standard for being an image consultant and anyone can really call themselves an image consultant whether they have any formal training or not. In addition, most individuals don’t know the difference between a stylist, image consultant, fashion blogger, or style influencer and many of use the terms synonymously which fuels the confusion.

This leads to my second point which the varied nature and capacity of the work image consultants can do. Because we’re trained in appearance, behavior, and communication, any image consultant can specialize in one, two or all of these areas. When I started, I was focused on the appearance aspect ignoring all of my previous education and training in the other two. Now, after 2 years in this industry I’m gaining clarity on the work I want to do, but the breadth of the field and possibilities was a bit overwhelming and I struggled with trying to be all things to all people.

Finally, there’s no clear path for building an image business, which I believe has something to do with the two issues I’ve outlined above. Other industries are more forthcoming with what they did to find success, I know because I’ve been in a few careers over my life.

As a result the profession is very good at educating and preparing you for the myriad of ways you can work with clients but once you reach the end of this you’re kind of dropped off cliff and expected to build your wings are you’re falling.

Those who do learn how to do that succeed and for that reason may be less than forthcoming on how they did that, and for the others…well you get the picture. So I’ve had to get some coaching and mentoring and recall what I did when I build my last 6-figure consulting practice and put all that to work for me.

Q4. Who is your inspiration ?

In life, my late Aunt Mary! She was an innovator and survivor. I learned so much about how to live my life and achieve my goals. From afar, I look to so many powerful women who have blazed a trail for me and walked a path of authenticity and truth. From Harriet Tubman to India.Aire and Helen Keller to Marianne Williamson.

Q5. What are you doing when you are not working ?

My two favorite activities (outside of traveling) is reading and watching movies!

Q6. What is the one style advice you would give to everyone ?

Take the time to get to know yourself, what you love, and what reflects and fuels who you are! From there your style will emerge and when it does embrace it and your significance.

Q7. What is your advice to future image consultants ?

Take the time to figure out what you want to do with your image business, who you want to work with and the type of work you want to do. Be open to the possibility that your interest and focus may change but try to don’t to do everything all the time, it will drive you crazy. This business is beautifully and surprising creatively complex so the sky is the limit as an image consultant.

To learn more about Carol, please visit her website Evolve Image Consulting.
This article originally appeared in the AICI SFBA Chapter Newsletter.

What I Would Tell My Younger Self

Our Chapter VP Communications, Nupur Singh, asked Alyce Parsons, AICI CIP if she would share the thoughts she would tell her younger self. These thoughts were published in our Chapter newsletter and are shared here.
Alyce Parsons, AICI CIP
Dear Young Alyson,
Looking back from the vantage point of almost 40 years in the image consulting profession, I have a great deal to tell you. When you grow up, be thankful for the courage you display. You will be one of the founders and so always continue in this wonderful profession. You would have seen it grow from the first San Francisco chapter to a world wide organization. Image Consulting affords us a great opportunity to affect our clients in such a positive way. By working with people’s outer appearance, we affect their inner being, self-concept and motivate them to be the best they can be.

Thirty years later, you will write an article for the International Newsletter titled, “Image Consulting- a Nobel Profession”. In that article, you will tell the world that image consultants wear three hats. First, we are consultants solving a problem. Second, we are teachers providing the answers to what they need to know. Third, we are therapists/coaches motivating people to understand themselves and live into their highest potential. The next thing I would tell you, is to preserve and not give up if this is your dream.

Have faith and trust in your ability to get the education, find right teachers/trainers, circumstances, and specialized area of interest for yourself. Also, find a mentor. It will bring you a long way. Each of us has a unique gift to contribute, and if we do not utilize that gift, we will not recognize that we have it, and most importantly, our gift will not be received by anyone. We must “follow our bliss” and do what we love.

Never forget that it is a crucial to have a work life balance. Realize that every period and decade has its own purpose. You do not want to miss out on what is occurring during that time. You will marry young and have children during that decade, so don’t worry if it takes time to fulfil your dream. The wait will be worth it because the time you spend with your children will be invaluable. There is always time to get into the “passion” of your career whether it be in your forties, fifties or sixties. It is never too late to do what you love.

Regarding balance, it is also important to take care of your physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs. All of these will work together to make you a more well rounded and successful image consultant. You will have more to offer your clients from your wholeness. It is vital to find a sense of propose and vitality in every decade of your life. It is also important to keep learning and growing. It keeps us young and interested in the life.

Last but not least, always be grateful. Image consulting will give you untold satisfaction and a true outlet for creativity and purpose.

– Love, the Older Alyson

To know more about Alyce Parsons, visit her website Universal Style.

2015-2016 Rising Star & Chapter Member of the Year Awards

Chapter Awards word collage

In any venture, it’s the commitment and contribution of the people that make things happen.  The AICI SFBA Chapter has been an example of commitment and contribution from its inception, as the founding Chapter of AICI.

Two awards were given at this year’s annual Installation event that recognize significant member commitment and contribution over the past year to the Chapter: Chapter Rising Star and Chapter Member of the Year.

Rising Star

Our 2015-2015 Rising Star is incoming-President Carol Parker Walsh. a well-deserving recipient of the award. The Rising Star award is given to a Chapter member who has been a member for four years or less, and has provided significant contribution to the Chapter as a new member.

Carol joined our chapter November 14, 2014; seven months later she volunteered to be Co-VP of Education (not a position for the faint of heart!) She thought of creative and new ideas for the Board to try and also volunteered to get them done. She lives out-of-state which could have created some challenges, but never seemed to affect her. And, now she has volunteered to step up into this year’s Chapter President position.

In addition,  Carol is a #1 Best Selling Author, and has had guest appearances on CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX channels. She is one of 20 licensed Fashion Feng Shui practitioners in the US, writes a monthly column for a Business Journal, and is a trained classical singer.

Carol’s business is Evolve Image Consulting. Congratulations to our Chapter Rising Star – Carol Parker Walsh!



Member of the Year

The Chapter Member of the Year award is given to a member who has acted above and beyond in their capacity as a Chapter member, has been an inspiration to others, and has achieved extraordinary results in AICI.

Our 2015-2016 Chapter Member of the Year is Elena Daciuk, a 5-year member of the Chapter and Board of Directors. In fact, Elena was attending Chapter events even before becoming a member.

She has been truly dedicated, passionate, and very hard working during her years of service, always willing to go the extra mile in everything she does. Elena has held a strong belief in this organization and what it can offer its members.

This past year she not only held one position on the Chapter Board, but THREE of them: Treasurer, Co-VP of Programs, Immediate Past President.

Elena’s business is Styling Fabulous. Congratulations to our Chapter Member of the Year – Elena Daciuk!

Congratulations to President’s Award Winner – Susan Hesselgrave AICI FLC

SusanH President's Award

A hearty congratulations to Chapter member, Susan Hesselgrave AICI FLC, on being awarded the President’s Award at the recent AICI International Conference in Washington, DC. Susan received this award from International President, Jane Seaman AICI CIP, for all her hard work on AICI’s incredible Global Magazine. The professionalism of this publication has caught the attention of the membership, hundreds of thousands of external hits and attracted new preferred partners.  This publication personifies AICI’s mission to set and promote the highest standards for image consultants in appearance, behavior and communications.

Susan lives in Vashon, WA where she runs her image consultant business, Style With Susan. Congratulations on a job well done, Susan!

Anticipating a Tiny New Addition to our Ranks

Bianca baby showerWe don’t exactly have a membership category to accommodate our anticipated newest member, but we will welcome him nonetheless.  AICI SFBA Board member Bianca Stark-Falcone will be delivering her son in early April!  The Board of Directors recently honored Bianca and baby at the March Board meeting with a bag of baby-goodies, a diaper cake and the cutest baby cupcakes.  Bianca is a certified image consultant (her business is B Well Dressed), has served on the Board of Directors for a number of years and will soon have her hands more full than ever. Congratulations to Bianca and family – stay tuned in April for the delivery update!

Bianca baby shower 2Diaper cake

Welcome to our Newest Members

We’re happy to welcome our newest members to the Chapter.  Please look them up on Facebook and other social media and reach out to them.  We look forward to sharing lots of great educational, motivational and social experiences with each of you!

Malia AndersonMalia Anderson, Style by Malia, Santa Rosa, CA

Susan EvansSusan Evans, Social Essence, Eagle, ID

Allison Mistlebauer, Chandler, AZ (photo not available)

laurie muellerLaurie Mueller, Eye for Elegance, San Francisco, CA
Rosalinda RandallRosalinda Randall, Your Relationship Edge, San Bruno, CA

Congratulations to Eva Koeck-Eripek – New CIM!

EvaWe’re so very pleased to be able to congratulate the newest Certified Image Master in AICI – and she is a member of our Chapter:  Eva Koeck-Eripek AICI CIM!  This is a very prestigious achievement (there are only 10 in the entire AICI organization, four of which are in our Chapter.) The CIM requires more than 2000 hours of full-time consulting in the profession, as well as the development of original programs and systems and serving in leadership capacity at the International level.  (The full requirements can be found on the AICI website.)  This achievement shows clients, colleagues, and the media that the consultant has achieved the highest level certification, proving that he/she is an exceptional, dedicated consultant, having a recognized brand in the industry and owning a successful image business.

Eva Koeck-Eripek, AICI CIM has been an Image Consultant for over 25 years and is the CEO of Image Institut Austria. She is an educator of more than 600 Image Consultants and president of the Association for Image Consulting Austria. She works as a speaker and trainer for successful people and companies in Europe. For 11 years she has had  her own Styling Show on TV and gives more than 300 speeches and seminars every year. Eva is 2012 IMMIE Award Winner.

Congratulations to Eva on this outstanding achievement!

Thank You for a Great 2013!

A message from our President, Carrie LaShell, AICI FLC…

The AICI SF Board of Directors would like to wish you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year!  2013 has been a wonderful year for our chapter.  We had a lot of really fun and educational events this entire year and we wanted to share all that fun we have had.  A huge thank you to Adena Di Tonno for creating this great AICI Year In Review video.  It captures all the memories of our chapter over the last year.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do and can’t wait to see you at one of the many events we have planned for 2014!  (Hint, hint…we have two events just around the corner.  Our First Friday Resource Swap phone call is on Jan 3rd and on Jan 9th we have a Round Table happy hour on the Peninsula).  Happy New Year friends!

Members Socialize…Share…and Support

Carrie's cocktail event girls

Our first membership social hour was a resounding success! Held at Modern China Cafe in Walnut Creek and led by President Carrie LaShell, the group shared ideas, successes, and support, along with snacks and libations.  This informal setting was very conducive for talking about our common concerns (such as package pricing vs. hourly, pushy sales people, etc.), as well as just getting to know one another better.

Carrie's cocktail event purses

Of course, whenever image consultants get together, there is bound to be a lovely array of handbags as well. Love the rainbow of colors!

The next event will be held in Marin on October 10, with Bianca Stark-Falcone serving as our discussion leader.  Remember, it’s open to any member from any area – you don’t have to live in Marin or the north Bay to participate. Stay tuned for details!

Well Done – Marion Gellatly!

Marion Gellatly-2012-14We’re not above tooting the horns of our members! Congratulations to former AICI SFBA Chapter President, Marion Gellatly, AICI CIM, on her recent quote in the Wall Street Journal.  Marion has been in the image business since 1991, working in particular with corporate clients to help them find their full potential by using image as a powerful business tool.  So it’s no surprise that when the Wall Street Journal was preparing an article on how emulating the boss’s attire can help improve your chances for advancement, they called on Marion.

Marion shared her experience with a particular client who needed to step up her corporate presence, but in a way that suited her own personality.  “[Ms. Cruse] has a lively personality,” said Ms. Gellatly, a former president of the Association of Image Consultants International. “We can’t put her into a conservative suit and have that be authentic to who she is.”  Together they “laid out a plan to shop for colorful and patterned dresses and skirts, but also, to nod to the polished look of her higher ups, neutral jackets she could wear over them, and the occasional suit. The goal was to conform, but in a way that suited her.” Read the full article here.

Well said, Marion, and well done on representing our industry in the national press!