Theresa De Priest believes we are more than just our careers and our pasts.
Coming from a lineage of Harvard graduates and doctors, there was a lot of pressure for Theresa to fill these shoes.
Theresa started off college on the right foot, attending Middle Tennessee State University, where she was on the equestrian team and the Dean’s list. Her circumstances changed as she battled addiction and faced criminal charges.
“I was told that I could do nothing,” she says.
Even after facing a felony conviction, Theresa went back to school to finish her degree at MTSU. She earned her bachelor’s in industrial & organizational psychology, as she wanted to bring together her interests in business and psychology.
She went on to work under the director of the career development center at MTSU, helping students with resume coaching and career placements.
Theresa started working on a master’s program but was unable to finish it. She was going through a hard time after her mom moved across the world to Korea.
She then moved on to Tractor Supply Company, where she worked her way up from a sales team member to team lead.
Last year, Theresa was recruited to work for Amazon as an Ocean Transportation Specialist and Customs Broker Specialist. After several months of working there, she realized that working for a huge corporation just wasn’t for her.
“The job was great, but it didn’t really line up with who I was,” she says.
At Theresa’s most recent job, she was unfortunately terminated from the position after speaking out about being discriminated against. She says that she would receive hateful comments about her appearance from some employees there.
One hour after she spoke up to a supervisor, the company fired her, even though she had a positive 30-day review.
“It’s sad to say there’s many people at that company still that feel the way I do that aren’t able to speak up,” Theresa says.
Though she lost this job, she does not regret standing up for herself and staying true to her values.
“At the end of the day money is not everything. What matters most for me is love and happiness,” she says.
“I’ve had a lot of different job titles despite what people told me I could and couldn’t do. I don’t think there are bounds and limits when it comes to my journey.”
Losing this job has inspired her to follow an entrepreneurial path of her own. She is a certified animal trainer, training dogs and even horses. She hopes to one day open a horse sanctuary.
She has also worked as a photographer at weddings and model shoots.
Theresa loves to write and aspires to publish her own books someday. She writes content on her LinkedIn page about her own personal experiences with the hopes of inspiring others. She has over 2,000 followers on this page.
Over the past few months, traveling has been Theresa’s priority. She has been all around the United States meeting new people and broadening her view of the world.
“As an aspiring author, traveler, and photographer, I wanted to see everything I could, experience as many cultures and destinations as I could, while I had the chance,” she says.
One day, Theresa would love to give a TedTalk.
“[She can be both] can apply in so many different ways. She can be a mom and she can work. She can be a writer and also work for Amazon. She can be a writer and also a horse trainer. She can speak English and Korean. Which story do you want to tell and how do you want to tell it?”
You can find Theresa on Instagram, where she posts pictures of her travels.