This month we recognize Teresa Straley's dedication and outstanding work as an S&P Brand Champion.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Chambersburg, PA. I still live in the area and raised all three of my children here.
What three words would describe you and why?
Talented - My friends always tell me I have a very crafty side as well as a great fashion sense. I guess I just know what I like. It’s my way of expressing myself.
Hard working - I was a single mom for most of my children’s lives. I’ve always worked full time, and have had a side job for a good many years. As I watch my children grow into adulthood, I think that is one of the best qualities I have passed on to them.
Dedicated - I give everything I do my all. And if I set my mind to do something, I’m gonna do it.
Do you work another job in addition to Sword & Plough? If so, what job is that? What is it like to manage bot responsibilities?
I work full time as a Marketer for a Senior Living Community. It’s a job that I absolutely love! We have about 160 seniors that live here, from Independent to advanced Dementia. They make my job 100% fulfilling.
I guess I’ve always been good at time management because I’ve had to be. With my children grown, it gives me a little more flexibility to dedicate to Sword & Plough. And I think if you are passionate about something, you can make it work.
What made you decide to be a Sword & Plough Brand Champion? What is it about the products/brand you love?
My oldest graduated from high school last year. I’ve been trying to find a good match for me to give back. I’ve been most interested in something related to the military, as I come from a military family, and especially after my oldest joined the Air Force. When I saw Emily and Betsy on The Today Show in the spring, I think I knew I found my match. I did some research and loved what I saw.
What has been the most rewarding experience of being a Sword & Plough Brand Champion?
I did an event at an Armory a few weeks ago in Carlisle, PA. I guess seeing all the active duty service men and women, and meeting some of their spouses, seeing their interest in what we stand for and what we do, that hit home. My father, brothers, grandfather, son….all of them share an unbreakable bond. That’s what is rewarding for me.
One of the hopes for the Community Brand Champions program is that each member will leverage their own entrepreneurial spirit. What creative ways have you employed to reach customers?
I carry the product with me at all times. I actually attached a wristlet strap to my crossbody and carry it as my wallet.
I am in a lot of Vendor groups on Facebook so that has enabled me to find a lot of local events.
Who is the most interesting veteran you know and why?
Well of course I have to say my son Coltin. His choice to join the Air Force wasn’t something that he had planned through life, so when it happened, I think his father and I were a little shocked. But as in everything he does, he put complete effort into it. He served 6 months in Honor Guard, probably one of the things I am most proud of. He did a year tour at Kunsan AFB in Korea. He’s only been out for about 3 months and has already passed his Florida real estate test and gotten a job as a Realtor. This is such a testament to the transition from military to civilian workforce. He is also now classified as disabled, but he doesn’t let that slow him down. He takes life by the horns and continues to push forward and succeed.
What veteran cause do you care about the most and why?
Disabled Veterans. My son’s disabilities are minimal. We were very fortunate that he never saw combat. When I sit and watch real life war movies on TV, the thought of what those soldiers and their families have had to endure...my heart just aches for them. We as Americans need to offer more support, and be thankful every day for others’ sacrifices for our freedom.
What Sword & Plough product is your favorite and why?
My favorite today, which will be my next purchase, is the Camo Zip Top Tote. My coworker just bought the one out of my kit and I admit, I’m jealous.
Tell us about the service members in your life and your connection to them.
As I mentioned, I come from a military family. Aside from my son, my dad is a Vet and my brothers were both in the military. My grandfather was a POW on a war train, contracted TB and passed away when my mother was a toddler. I can’t imagine how hard life was in the 40’s for my grandmother to be a single mother with two babies to raise.
What, if any, experience did you have that made you feel like the Brand Champion program was a good fit for you? What advice would you give to someone who is just starting as a Brand Champion or thinking about applying?
I think all of my life experiences make S&P a great fit. Not only my connection to most branches of the service through family and friends, but my 25 years of Direct Sales gives me the edge on marketing our brand.
The best advice I can give is let your own experiences show through your passion. I’ve always said, I’m not a sales person. What I sell is what I believe in. Sword & Plough has the potential to continue to do amazing things while supporting our Armed Forces and service members.