WBOC’S LEADING WOMAN: Teri Nichols
BY ALYSSA LAFARO | PHOTO BY MATT TURNER
“Looking the part helps get the chance to fill it. But if you fill the part, it matters not if you look it.”— Malcolm Forbes, former publisher of Forbes magazine
“I did not become a WBOC member for solely myself. I became a member to see what I could do for others, and enjoy the company of other professional women,” shared Teri Nichols, a current board of director of Women Business Opportunities Connections (WBOC).
After learning about WBOC through a conversation with Cindy Bell, a WBOC member and SWM cover photographer, at the New York State Fair in 2005, Teri joined the WBOC and volunteered to help setup and greet women upon entrance to the meetings. That was just the beginning. Since then, she’s been on the membership committee, the vice president of membership, the recording secretary and finally, director at large.
“I believe that when you help enough people get what they want, you will get the results you want,” Teri said. “In WBOC, each position I held was to build up and support the membership. The whole organization is like that — run by volunteers willing to share their time and expertise to create opportunities for all members to meet, connect, learn from and share with other members.”
Teri offers plenty of personal experience to fellow members too. Thirty years ago, while working in the treasury department at the Niagara Mohawk Building, she was forced to choose between work and her family. “I needed to be at home with a sick child,” she explained, “and I was asked if I wanted a full-time job or to be a full-time mom.” She chose mom ― and a company that supported her choice.
Today, she works as an independent sales director for cosmetics company Mary Kay. “Mary Kay employees are encouraged to put their faith first, family second and career third,” says Teri. “Many of us have found that in that order all things come together. Deviating from that order creates stress and strife.”
Teri found this philosophy mirrored at WBOC. “It was easy to recognize the potential at WBOC,” she says, “because their mission statement aligns with my own — to ‘support and advance the success of women entrepreneurs.’ What I see in my future and the future of WBOC is creating an even greater impact on the CNY economy by supporting and advancing women entrepreneurs.”
When asked what advice she’d give fellow businesswomen, Teri told me, “Seek out and accept guidance and support when needed. Work your business every day, focusing on the most important aspects for growth.”
With so many years spent working in cosmetics, she adds her two cents about the importance of appearance as an autonomous female entrepreneur. “The more authentic a person is, the more successful they are,” Teri said. “Dressing for success really can help a woman be taken seriously as a professional. Multiple studies have proven that skin care and some color cosmetics artfully applied greatly add to a woman’s professional look and could increase the potential for higher income.”
“One woman may not be able to do and be it all,” says Teri, “but she can look the part.” And she — for the women of WBOC anyways — can always look to Teri for guidance.
The WBOC is a non-profit organization that has been empowering professional women in the Central New York area for more than 20 years. Its members are women business owners, women in business and women business start-ups. Syracuse Woman Magazine is a signature sponsor of the WBOC.