Nancy Kimball Austin (born c. 1949) is an American writer and business consultant, best known for co-writing the bestsellers A Passion for Excellence (1985) and The Assertive Woman (1975). Her books have sold approximately one million copies, and been published in seven languages.
Austin was born c. 1949 in Portland, Oregon, the oldest of three children. Her parents were both from Seattle, Washington – her father was in mortgage banking, and her mother was a homemaker. Austin received a BA and 1977 MBA from UCLA, became a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority , and was affiliated with the Neuropsychiatric Institute, where she was part of a team that was brought together to study and improve the community mental health system in California. She married Bill Cawley c.1975, becoming stepmother to his 8-year-old son, Jeff. 1975 was also the year that she wrote The Assertive Woman, which continues to be in print 30 years later. It has been translated into several languages, and sold approximately 420,000 copies.
She worked for four years at Hewlett Packard Company in Palo Alto, California, where she ran the company's management-development seminars. In 1983, she co-founded The Tom Peters Group, the Palo Alto-based consulting and research firm, and in 1985 she founded "Nancy K. Austin, Inc." in Northern California. In 1985, Austin and Peters wrote A Passion for Excellence, which soared to #1 on The New York Times bestseller list and sold more than 500,000 copies in its first six months.
Austin was also President of Not Just Another Publishing Company, a coach for managers and health-based practitioners, and a frequently-invited keynote speaker to international business conferences, speaking both to corporations and to government groups such as the United States Air Force. She has given hundreds of talks in the United States, Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America, and is a contributing editor to Working Woman and Inc. magazines.
- The Assertive Woman: A New Look (co-written with Stanlee Phelps)
- A Passion for Excellence: The Leadership Difference, 1985 (co-written with Tom Peters)
- Working Woman
- Inc. magazine
- Incentive, "The Competitive Edge: Work-Life Paradox", September 1, 2004
- AEI Speakers Bureau biography
- Professional Convention Management Association
- Speaking.com biography
- CNN, March 3, 2003, "Workaholics anonymous: The sweet science of slowing down" (Austin is quoted)
- AOL Chat, May 29, 1996 "Ask the Headhunter" forum