Award-Winning Marketing Writer

A career in writing for business results in a lot of detail!  Here‘s a summary.

Virginia Nicols Award

  • My 30 years of writing started because people in the Bay Area (California) were being unexpectedly laid off and needed help with financial decisions. My “Leaving Early” guidebook developed into “Your Retirement Benefits,” published by John Wiley & Sons, part of a series for the Institute of Certified Financial Planners.
  • In the 90s I developed a wide variety of marketing pieces for hundreds of financial services companies including specialty material for AARP.
  • At The Stenrich Group, a boutique direct response marketing agency in Virginia, I had the privilege of working with talented creative teams to develop award-winning campaigns for utilities, non-profits, and a number of tech companies.
  • As President of the independent consultancy, The Marketing Machine®, I took on assignments for professional service groups, insurance providers and manufacturing companies. I have been President of the company for two decades.
  • Starting in 2001, the Marketing Machine turned to promoting energy efficiency and solar, working with The Energy Coalition and EcoMotion.
  • And starting at about that same time, with the disaster of 9/11, I began a committed affair with emergency preparedness. You’ll see years of my work at, and, in the sidebar on this page, a collection of guidebooks just published.

And the fine points:

Whether for consumers or for business prospects, I’ve been responsible for hundreds of lead generation and outreach campaigns – making use of the internet, direct mail, white papers, postcards, flyers, door-hangers, community meetings, presentations and public relations, in both English and Spanish.

A number of these programs have earned honors for creative and marketing excellence:

  • 2006    Top Award, Orange County International Association of Business Communicators (IABC),  San Bernardino Energy Demonstration Project (Community  Energy Partnership)
  • 2006    2nd Place Award, Orange County IABC,  “California’s Electricity Traffic Jam” (The Energy Coalition)
  • 2006    Bronze Telly Award — 14-minute video (Community Energy Partnership)
  • 1995 1st Place, XVII John Caples International Awards (Skytel)
  • 1993 Silver Award, Midwest Direct Marketing Association (US WEST Communications)
  • 1992 Gold EFFIE for Advertising Effectiveness, American Marketing Association (Virginia Power)
  • 1991 Gold MAXI, Direct Marketing Association of Washington DC (US WEST)
  • 1991 Richmond Area Marketer of the Year (Virginia Power)
  • 1991  Best of Division, Pro-Comm Awards (US WEST)
  • 1991  Finalist,  Direct Marketing Association ECHO Awards (Virginia Power)
  • 1990  1st Place, Mobius Advertising Awards (Virginia Power)
  • 2nd Place, Mobius Advertising Awards (MCI)
  • 1990 Gold ECHO, Direct Marketing Association (US WEST)
  • Regional ADDY (Congressional Quarterly)

Industry Experience

Individually and as part of The Marketing Machine® I have represented a wide variety of national and regional business clients, such as AARP, Ability Tri-Modal, American Express, Bell Atlantic, Benefit Capital Corporation, Charles Schwab, Congressional Quarterly, Delta Dental, EcoMotion, Exide Electronics, Hank Fisher Properties, PSI Energy (Public Service of Indiana), Southern California Edison, US WEST Communications, Virginia Power, Western Union, Zeiss Optical and others.

Industry Leadership

As a long-time member of the National Association of Women Business Owners, on both coasts, I’ve been active in a variety of leadership roles.  From 1981-1987 I served on the board and was President of the Silicon Valley (CA) International Association for Financial Planning (IAFP) and also served on the board of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners (ICFP).  In 1994 I helped found the Direct Marketing Association of Central Virginia.  Back again in California, from 1996-2000, I rose through the ranks to become the President of the Sacramento Valley American Marketing Association (AMA).

Virginia Nicols CERT
Emergency Response Team Interests

Since 2001 I’ve been active with Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. I maintain a website on the topic of survival ( and currently serve as head of our local neighborhood organization. In 2014 our team took home the First Annual Community Preparedness Award from our city! All these years of working with the community became the basis for my 4-book series on Disaster Survival for different types of neighborhoods. And I’ve added another 14-title collection of Mini-books on specific elements of personal preparedness.

You can find out more about my books on emergency preparedness by clicking on this image: