When asked what one word best describes herself, Terri Hornsby says “energetic.” It’s this energy that has undoubtedly helped Terri become the accomplished woman that she is today. While a student at WVU, she was a resident advisor, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the first African-American Homecoming queen and the first African-American female to be inducted into Mountain Honorary.
After graduating in ’86 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Terri’s energetic lease on life continued as she tried her hand at a few different careers before finding her niche. She worked in radio broadcasting and marketing in West Virginia and retail in Maryland before relocating to Houston, Texas where she worked for two advertising firms. In 1995, after realizing how in demand women and minority owned companies were, Terri decided to open her own advertising company.
Ten years after opening its doors, TLC Adcentives has grown from an apartment-based business to warehousing and fulfilling orders for products that have been pre-selected for its clients. Although Terri didn’t always dream of owning her own business, she holds it as one of her greatest professional accomplishments and one that she takes very seriously.
“Being able to employ others and delivering on the promises that I make to my clients is very important.”
Though she has worked hard to get to where she is, Terri doesn’t credit herself for her successes. “I don’t have really a mentor per say in what I do, so I seek guidance from God…,” she says. “When I have big decisions to make, I pray that I get a real understanding, and that I work for a purpose.”
In 2003 Terri got news that would change her life – she had breast cancer. While to some this would be earth shattering news, Terri stayed positive. “I sat back and said, ‘I have a two-and-a-half year-old son, a company to run and a husband.’ I had to put my priorities in line.”
By this time, Terri had built such good relationships with her clients, that not only did most of them offer her time off without her having to worry about losing their business, but they wanted to do whatever they could to help.
“One of my clients who owned a limo service sent a car for me to go to and from my chemo treatments,” Terri adds.
Today, Terri is sharing her life-changing experiences with four women – none of whom she has met – as they face the battle against breast cancer. Terri is able to tell them what they can expect throughout the treatment process, offers them questions they should ask, and tries to keep things light hearted by sharing some of her experiences with them.
“I sported the bald look. You have to look at it like this: you save money on eyebrow wax, hair cuts, hair dye, etc., but it comes back.” Terri jokes, “I got hit on more as a bald woman than I did when I had all of my hair.”
She says that all in all it was a very positive experience and it helped her realize what was really important in her life.
“The business is great to have but it’s more important to have family, and to understand that I can’t be all to everybody.”
Throughout her life Terri has been an inspiration to many. Her reign as WVU homecoming queen allowed her to inspire young African-American girls in the community. Her great success in business has given her an opportunity to inspire both women and minorities to do great things in their professional lives. Terri’s strength and positive attitude through her fight with breast cancer has moved not only her friends and family, but clients and complete strangers as well.
Throughout it all Terri has proven exactly what she wants people to realize, and that is: “The only limitations we have are limitations we put on ourselves.”
Terri will no doubt continue to use her energetic and positive outlook on life to inspire people every day, and is now working on a book about her experiences that will enable her to touch more lives with her story.
She still has strong ties with the University and still gets excited to see the Mountaineer Marching Band come on to the football field. Terri keeps in touch with many of her friends from WVU as well as her favorite professor, Charles Cremer.
As she recalled all of the fond memories she has of WVU she says, “If I had to do it all again, I would come back to West Virginia U.”