I’m willing to wager that when Theresa Randleman became a single parent at the age of 30 with two young children to raise alone. Never in her wildest dreams could she imagine how her humble, but challenging journey would eventually lead to her across the globe advocating on behalf of socially, economically and culturally disenfranchised women. Yet, here she is, sharing her story and empowering others to “find their seat at the table.”
After she regained her composure from marital separation and then the unexpected death of her husband, the father of her two children, Theresa had to figure out what to do. Where do I go from here? Despite her grief, Theresa recognized the importance of keeping her children socially connected so she encouraged a small group of single mothers to charter a bus for an upcoming activity. She’d never done it before but took the chance to make it happen and it did. The other moms joined in, they designed a flyer to invite others and before they knew it, the bus was full a van and two additional cars were filled to capacity. The trip proved cost effective for everyone, paid for itself and her children didn’t have to pay anything. Hence, Theresa’s premiere travel/entertainment business venture was born out of necessity.
Thereafter, the travel group grew and together they enjoyed many live shows, concerts and sporting events at affordable costs. Meanwhile, Theresa’s confidence grew and her interests expanded into other entertainment entities. Soon a vision for entrepreneurship in the entertainment industry was birthed and produced T-Rose Entertainment.
However as major contacts were made and the business expanded, she sat quietly beside the wall with no voice or seat at the table. Theresa was not comfortable with that. She decided that something had to be done differently if she was to succeed in the business. So at the next meeting, she sat at table, placing herself at the middle. Her body language was whispering, “Look at me sitting here. I have a voice.” By the third meeting, she asked questions and looked around the table making direct eye contact, engaging an audience. Her voice was heard.
They tried to marginalize her with suggestions that she handle the catering. “Catering?” she asked. No thank you. Theresa wasn’t seeking a stereotypically female role at the table. She had much more to offer and would make certain that everyone knew it. “I can oversee routing and production,” Theresa said. “Yes, I have experience routing national tours and artists. I stepped further into the doorway when others believed and said I could not.”
Around the same time, she secured a major entertainment contract with the military where, again, she “took her seat at a table” surrounded by men. They thought she was there to take notes. Those Military men… whose eyes and body language shouted, “Who is she” and “why is she here?” They soon found out when the Commander discussed the possibility of adding Jazz music