Chasing Perfection in Lake Minnetonka Magazine

by Ali Stieglbauer

Sue and Ali were recently featured in Lake Minnetonka Magazine! Together they discuss Chasing Perfection and their experience writing the book as a mother-daughter team. Check out the full article below. 

Sue Hawkes, a natural entrepreneur since she started a business in fifth grade, has a passion for sharing her talents to help others achieve their best. Together with her stepdaughter Ali Stieglbauer, Hawkes wrote Chasing Perfection: Shatter the Illusion; Minimize Self–Doubt and Maximize Success. The book aims to help readers achieve their full potential in all areas of life.

Hawkes’ own struggle with perfection was her inspiration for the book. “I wanted to help others learn from the mistakes I made,” she says. “Leaders often chase an elusive model of perfection. This has its positives … but the downside is that you can cross the line to a place that’s not healthy. I want to be in the spot where I’m challenged and thriving, but not chasing an illusion. Chasing perfection is like chasing the horizon: You’ll never get there,” she says. “We need to stop chasing, and instead focus—on discipline, persistence, humility and patience. It’s a tricky balancing act. We need to keep going after we make mistakes instead of being devastated.”

Hawkes also addresses how outmoded gender roles affect workplace success; she spends a whole chapter on it. “Women in particular tend to struggle with perfection,” says Hawkes. “Men often have a different level of confidence. To [women’s] detriment, we apologize too much. We’re raised to be nurturing and supportive, whereas men come into business situations with a perception that they deserve success.”

Hawkes wants female leaders to know they’re not alone—many issues women face in business are universal. “There’s the famous quote, ‘You have to be twice as good, twice as prepared, twice as effective to get half the credit,’” says Hawkes. “And it’s even more true for women of color.” Hawkes is adamant about the need for women to support each other. “Too often we’re pitted against each other. Instead, we need to band together. We need to become ‘unfble’ with. That means being in a place where nothing anyone says or does can touch you,” she says.

One of Hawkes’ favorite things about writing Chasing Perfection was the opportunity to collaborate with her stepdaughter. Ali Stieglbauer first started working with Hawkes as a summer intern focusing on social media at Your Extraordinary Success Strategies (YESS!), Hawkes’ company that helps entrepreneurial leadership teams maximize their performance.

Along the way, Stieglbauer “fell in love with small business because of its relationship-driven nature,” says Hawkes. Stieglbauer is now the business and communications manager for YESS!.

“Writing Chasing Perfection was a chance for different generations to work together,” says Hawkes. “We need to move past these stereotypes that hold us back and learn to work together by focusing on shared values,” says Hawkes.

For her part, Stieglbauer says one of her goals has always been to write a book. “What I’m proudest of about Chasing Perfection is that it’s useful for anyone who wants to bring their best self to what they do. If you want to be the best person in your workplace, or the best mom you can be, Chasing Perfection can help you reach your goal.”

Hawkes and Stieglbauer founded Women’s Entrepreneurial Experience (WEE), a nonprofit mentoring program for young women. They were inspired to create WEE after Stieglbauer attended a meeting of the Women Presidents Organization (WPO), a peer organization for women presidents of multimillion dollar companies, where Hawkes is chapter chair and founder of the Minneapolis chapter. “WPO opened my eyes to the world of small business,” says Stieglbauer. “We want to give other young women the opportunity to have their eyes opened as well and learn about all that small business has to offer.”

To learn more about Chasing Perfection or to grab a copy, visit For information about Hawkes’ and Stieglbauer’s other initiatives like YESS! and WEE, visit the website here.

Ali StieglbauerChasing Perfection in Lake Minnetonka Magazine