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Getting to Know Our #WomanOfTheWeek Terri Spaugh

Dallas Professional Women (DPW) is an organization that believes that every single woman has the potential to inspire all women! That's why we created the #WomanOfTheWeek segment which focuses on spotlighting incredible and inspirational women from across the globe! Although DPW and the majority of the organization's members are in the Greater Dallas area, we can all be inspired by women anywhere! With us living in the digital age - aren't we only one keystroke away from meeting mentors across the nation anyways? So why not open and expand our network to spotlight the creatives, the brave, the empowering and the strong leaders that are trailblazing in their industry and roles?

Now that you're super pumped up, we hope that you're inspired to learn about all our #WomenOfTheWeek, but today we're going to learn more about Terri Spaugh!

DPW: Tell us about yourself Terri!

Terri: I'm an executive producer with Jole Blon Media located in the Hill Country artist community of Boerne, TX.

DPW: How did you decide you wanted to be an executive producer?

Terri: I lived in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston and like many, I began my second-life as a screenwriter following the tragic death of my sister. Already having a BS degree in both geology and history, I entered the UCLA Professional Writers Program and completed advanced certificates. My work as a screenwriter, journalist, story editor and producer lead me to form the highly recognized, Texas Film Institute, a 501c-3 corporation, cofounded with producer, David Felzer, formerly of Santa Monica and New York. TFI went on to break writers that include Academy Award winners and nominees: Shawn Otto (House of Sand and Fog), Eric Heisserer (Arrival), Shane Morris (Frozen), Marcelo Mitnik (Chau, Beyond the Lines) - to name a few. My work in promoting writers earned me a nomination to the WGA - which I've been a member of since early 2000.

Several years ago, I began to work independently with 1080 Productions which lead me into a relationship with the Discovery Channel and the History Channel. I continue to bring projects to them - both my own and those I develop with other writers/producers.

I've produced in feature and short films. My next goal is to produce independent features with female-majority principals and crews.

DPW: Wow! That is quite a journey, and we have no doubt you're going to achieve your next goal! Tell us about the additional hats you wear.

Terri: I wear many different and meaningful hats like mother, wife, sister, daughter. I also have professional hats too like Creative Producer, Artist, Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Educator, and Mentor. My philanthropic and social impact hats are towards advocacy and being a mental health advocate and animal rights advocate is very important to me.

DPW: What is the 1 thing you wish you had known when you began your career?

Terri: Finding your own voice is easy; letting it speak is not.

DPW: In your opinion, what is your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?

Terri: Losing contact with my youngest daughter. It was, and still is, the most heartbreaking moment of my life. I’ve no answers for it only questions. What I learned is that everyone’s grief, happiness, pain, and joy are unique to them - we embrace the whole or we lose it wholly.

DPW: Do you consider yourself a builder or a developer?

Terri: A developer. Artists have their own vision - whether they are musicians, writers, directors, painters or performers. You can influence a part of that but you should never try to usurp it. I enjoy taking an idea or story to fruition but I also enjoy helping others do the same. It was recently suggested I host a podcast for women writers. It wasn’t something I’d considered before but if I did have a podcast I think I’d call it: Women without Adjectives.

DPW: What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career similar to yours?

Terri: Collaboration is a science, it is not an art. Art is an inherent part of ourselves - no one can take that away from you. Collaboration requires we give something up for the greater good. If you cannot collaborate - which is so much harder than it sounds - you should accept that about yourself.

DPW: How would you define success?

Terri: I haven’t found success so much as I’ve found opportunities to be successful. I find the most joy when I’m asked to solve a problem and I can.

DPW: What skills should every woman leader master in a male-dominated industry?

Terri: Listen to what is being said without judging its value.

DPW: What is one habit that every woman leader should develop in her daily routine?

Terri: Claim worth in yourself - not in an esoteric way - but in individual action.

DPW: What is one thing you are the proudest of?

Terri: Being able to work with others and putting aside ego to do it. I don’t know everything and I try really hard not to pretend I do.

DPW: Do you believe that women can have it all?

Terri: No. Men have tried that for millennia why should we repeat their mistakes? We should learn and move on.

DPW: Have you ever been bullied?

Terri: Many times. By men and women. Friends and colleagues.

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