A Self-Made Woman
In 1971, Erica Van Acker was the subject of "No Tears for Rachel," a public television documentary about a woman who had been raped -- how she was treated and how she responded. It was Ms. Van Acker's story, without her name.
Ms. Van Acker, 62, had an English mother and a French father. She was born in Manhattan but spent much of her childhood in Europe. Despite schooling in drama, she turned to business when she returned to the United States in the 1960's.
She worked for the Off-Track Betting Corporation, Citibank and Aon Consulting in the trade center. Along the way, she also had her own human resources consulting firm, called VASA, and started a restaurant staffed entirely by women, the Station Bistro, in Water Mill on Long Island. She had homes in Manhattan and Sag Harbor, N.Y.
"She was a self-made person who had to overcome a lot to get where she got," said Susan Thompson, a friend since the 1970's.
"People were Erica's bottom line, always, and that was reflected in all of her projects," Ms. Thompson added. "Whether her task was to introduce automated systems to parimutuels at the racetrack or to create workshops for middle managers in crises, her goal was to reach each individual to help them adapt — and she succeeded beautifully."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 19, 2001.