Learning From “Bossy” Women

In Reflection by Terri Wallace

Before sharing a bit of my story, I want to start by saying how excited I am to meet this community of entrepreneurial women. I’m passionate about the opportunities entrepreneurship provides to learn, grow, and ultimately create your best personal & professional life!

My entrepreneurial story begins with me as a young girl who was called “bossy” and told to “get off her high horse.” I remember feeling a deep pain of anger and frustration with a world that wanted me to be smaller than I felt I was. I learned through experience that shining too bright or being different brought even more pain. This was an era of women who were told their greatest contribution to society was a clean house and well-behaved children. They were told the only way to be powerful was through their husband and his business success.

At an early age my mother told me that I should have a career and not get married and have children. You can imagine this was a somewhat confusing message. I suppose in her world it was an either/or situation. I could see that she was right about the advantages of being in the business world. This prompted me to start my first business (in my mind) at the age of nine. I would play office and store owner in the storage area under the stairs used to board the small sailboat my family lived on—think Harry Potter, but the stairs are freestanding on a dock. A good trip down the office supply aisle of any store still brings me childlike joy! Flashing forward through some tough years, I graduated from college and got my first job as an entry level staff accountant. I was so excited to wear my suits, need a briefcase, and be in the world of business. I quickly became dissatisfied with creating spreadsheets and somehow believed that I could run a business better than the people I worked for (LOL!). At this point, I was fortunate to have my parents back me in my first small business. Contrary to my earlier sense of confidence that I could run a business better than my former employers, I actually found myself paralyzed by fear. I finally had the opportunity to do what I wanted without any external barriers. As my own boss, there was nobody I could blame and nobody to complain to. I began the most important work of identifying the internal barriers that kept me from having the life I wanted and began to move through the fear of being myself and shining more brightly. I did ultimately figure out how to create a small business that allowed me to support myself. I went on to marry, have children and start another business. It was always my intention to bring light into the world through my work and this business was formed with that in mind. Over the next several years I divorced and became a single mom. As alimony dwindled, it was clear that the business I had created was not a viable financial option. I needed to figure out how to take care of myself and my children. I took another leap of faith and began training to be a life coach. It was soon after the training ended that I met my amazing husband. He was at a pivotal point in his career too. He was in need of a change but didn’t know how to make that happen. He had been helping dentists for the previous 17 years with malpractice insurance, malpractice claims counseling and overall risk management. We decided to join forces and go into business together. I am so grateful he trusted me to create a home for the important relationships he’d built in the dental community.

That was 10 years ago and I’ve been blessed to be a part of helping dentists all over the country secure quality advice and the insurance coverage necessary to protect what they’ve built through years of education, training and hard work. I have the joy of creating a business that provides opportunities for all people based on merit and encourages people to shine brightly and be themselves. Being married, having children and having a career, my life is fuller and richer than I could have ever imagined.

 Thanks for the opportunity to share my story. I’m looking forward to meeting and learning from the other “bossy” women in this community who are creating their best lives!