Women is...: Leslie Hindman, Wheeler and Dealer

Leslie Hindman, Wheeler and Dealer

born: 1954

the biz: In July 1997, Sotheby's bought Hindman's auction house and tapped the entrepreneur to run its Midwest beachhead. In 1996, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' sales totaled $15 million.

how she got there: "In 1978 I landed a job as assistant to the woman who opened Sotheby's Chicago office. After two years of grunt work, I became office manager, but at 27, I decided I was never going to be the head of the Chicago office. So I went out and formed Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. After 15 years, Sotheby's approached me [about the merger]."

best part of the job: "Dealing with people and their possessions, learning why they got them, why they are selling them."

toughest part of the job: "Oftentimes, you're part psychologist, because you're handling property for people who are under duress. We work with clients going through at least one of the three D's -- death, divorce or debt."
warning to aspiring auctioneers: "This business is difficult to enter, and it doesn't pay well in the beginning because so many people are interested in [the field]. I worked really hard, feeling like I was putting in more hours in five years than a lot of people put in their entire careers. But if you do what you love, you'll rise."

parental advice: When she asked her dad to invest in her business, he refused, telling Hindman to have babies instead. "Now it's a huge joke in my family, and I know he's really proud of me."

school daze: When Hindman dropped out of Indiana University, she wrote "boredom" on the school form asking the reason for departure. Boredom, she says, also drove her from the office manager job at Sotheby's to found her own company.

how she celebrates Easter: Every year, right before Easter, she dons a bunny costume and parades down Michigan Avenue, handing out candy to passersby. When she reaches her office she doles out plastic eggs filled with money to her staff.