Astrid learned at a young age that you don’t get far in life without good negotiation skills. “Why should we share the chocolate 50:50. I'm twice as big as you and need more food,” was her older brother's standard argument. The early school of brotherly hard knocks was her first experience with lopsided negotiation.
In 1990 after graduating from high school, Astrid, an art lover, enrolled at the University of Graz majoring in art history and minoring in French and English translation. To finance her studies she waited tables. After two years of waitressing and studying art history, Astrid decided that the former had a limited future and that the latter was a great hobby but wouldn’t pay the bills.
In 1992 she took a break from her studies and hired on full time at Hypo Bank in Graz. Over the next two years she gained her first sales experience working at the cashier’s counter, selling standard financial products, and handling basic customer requests.
In the fall of 1994 Astrid returned to university to get a degree in political economics. In her first years back at university, she held a variety of part-time sales jobs selling everything from bread and pastries in a bakery, to private English lessons, to enrolling people for the Graz summer school for theater and performance street art.
In 1996, parallel to her studies, Astrid accepted a full-time position at Grazer Wechselseitige Insurance in the planning and audit department. After one year she was made assistant to the sales director and upon completion of her degree in 2000 was promoted to manager of the sales controlling department. In this role Astrid was responsible for establishing KPIs and target-based assessments of approximately 1,000 sales representatives.
Astrid’s responsibilities also included training and coaching the operational managers of both Grawe’s regional offices and foreign subsidiaries in effective implementation of operative sales management tools. Through these internal trainings Astrid discovered her passion for employee development and one-on-one coaching. In 2006 she decided to make this her full-time career and made the leap into self-employment.
Astrid's personal focus is customer acquisition which she pursues with passion and an unequaled skill-set. Since 2008, she and Bruce Straight have combined their talents as Schilcher & Straight Consulting. They are also privately a couple.
When she isn’t working with clients, Astrid is an author. Writing fiction fuels her creativity and sharpens her verbal dexterity. Her debut novel Mitgefühl für den Teufel was published in 2018. Der Alpendiktator und Menschenfreund, her second book, was released in January 2020.