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APEX winners share advice with next generation of female business leaders 

Teri on Apex panel for agency buzz

Priority Marketing President and Chief Creative Officer Teri Hansen, APR, had an opportunity to join four other talented businesswomen for an inspirational conversation about their secrets to success. The five women – all former APEX Award winners – shared advice, lessons learned and personal challenges with the next generation of female entrepreneurs and business leaders. 

Teri, who founded Priority Marketing in 1992 so she could be both a dedicated mother and a successful businesswoman, was honored in 2018 with the APEX Award, which recognizes Southwest Florida women with outstanding reputations for professionalism, philanthropy and leadership. 

Teri offered insight in response to several questions, including:

What advice can you share with aspiring entrepreneurs?

  • Develop a business plan and list your short-term and long-term goals, then tap into the expertise of role models and mentors to refine that plan. 
  • Determine why you want to start your own business. Reasons can include financial gains, professional fulfillment or a commitment to serve the community.

Can you describe your leadership style?

  • Try to inspire, motivate and guide team members. 
  • Roll up your sleeves and do whatever it takes to get the job done. 
  • Provide a form of scaffolding that allows team members to build confidence, grow their skills and progress professionally within the company. 
  • Hire talented individuals with a diversity of skills, backgrounds and mindsets.

What significant experiences helped shape your path to success?

  • Don’t jump on the bandwagon. In the early 2000s, marketing agencies were dedicating all of their energy and resources to the thriving real estate market. Priority Marketing, which also had multiple clients in the real estate and construction industries, began diversifying its clients across a broad spectrum of industries, including hospitality and tourism, retail, health care, senior living, legal, financial, government, education and locally owned businesses, as well as nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations. As a result, the company continued thriving as the real estate market crashed in the late 2000s. No employees were laid off. 
  • Adopt a conversative mindset. Don’t be in a rush to add clients, customers, products, services and locations. Instead, try to steadily grow the company. Take carefully calculated risks and reinvest profits into the company to help avoid going into debt. 
  • Understand the market: Conditions change day to day, month to month and year to year. Make strategic business decisions on your timeline – not because you feel forced or pressured to do so. 

The APEX Award is bestowed through the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Committee. 

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