Diane Swonk
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Diane Swonk is chief economist at Mesirow Financial, and an advisor to the Federal Reserve Board and its regional banks. She grew up in the Detroit area, and pre-economist jobs included: maid, fast food cashier, and hostess/waitress for a Mr Steak. She is an avid runner, and mother of two teenagers. Her first book was titled "The Passionate Economist." In her words:

I am dyslexic, which means that I don't know my left from my right. I also don't think linear, my brain works more in reaction functions. It makes me strategic and perfectly suited to be an economist, which requires multi-dimensional thought. I am at good at seeing where we are going, and thinking outside of the box, but very bad at giving driving directions.

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Economy
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet this coming Friday with the hope of making important decisions regarding the future of Europe.
Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images