Thank you to the Hats Off to Mothers Committee for this honor. Thank You to Life Unlimited for the outstanding work you do for our community, and congratulations to all the others being honored here today and in years past.
Raised in Oklahoma Teresa met her husband Tom in 1982. Teresa and Tom eventually moved to Kansas City in 1986, raising their family and making KC their home. Prior to Kansas City, Teresa and Tom lived in the Boston suburbs and Houston, TX, where Teresa followed her entrepreneurial spirits founding several successful companies. In 1997, now the mother of 3, Teresa co-founded Silpada Designs along with Bonnie Kelly. Over the next 15 years Silpada Designs became the largest sterling silver jewelry retailer in North America sponsoring over 30,000 sales representatives in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Some of Teresa’s proudest moments in her career were those celebrating the achievements of the independent Silpada Sales reps. In 2013 Silpada was acquired by Avon capping off a wonderful career of advancing women in business. It is especially rewarding to Teresa to watch the dozens of former Silpada employees who have launched their own successful businesses right here in Kansas City.
Teresa is a passionate supporter of The University of Kansas Health System and the Cancer Center in particular. In 2011 Teresa and the leadership of the KU Cancer Center created the Nurse Navigation system for cancer patients at KU.
In 2014 Teresa and Tom founded HNC Living Foundation in the midst of Teresa’s own battle with head and neck cancer. (Thanks to the expert care of her team at KU Cancer Center, Teresa is now cancer free.) HNC Living Foundation provides financial assistance to patients battling head and neck cancer during and after treatments. Since its founding, the Foundation has provided over $1.8 million in financial aid to 3,800 patients in 44 states and is the only foundation providing such aid on a national scale.
THOUGHTS ON MOTHERHOOD
Naturally, it all starts with my own Mom; Betty Keith; a school teacher who instilled in me a foundation of caring, effort and sharing. She was always an inspiration to me and always had the right words to share when I needed them most. I am so proud of my own three children who are now 42, 37 and 34 and reside in Kansas City. We enjoy weekly dinners with their families, which now includes our 6 grandchildren ages 18 months to 7 years. I am so proud that my kids; Hailee, Kelsey and Spencer are best friends with one another, and still lean on me as they advance through their own lives and careers. Each has become a successful entrepreneur in their own right. I’m most proud that I’ve influenced their belief in themselves and their desire to achieve by providing something valuable for others.