Telli Swift Exemplifies the Impact Of Entrepreneurialism
By Benjamin Lacker
Born in the Philippines and raised in Japan, Telli Swift began her career as an ER nurse in Los Angeles, California. She later put her career on hold to raise a family with heavyweight champion boxer Deontay Wilder. Together, they recently launched the acclaimed UNISEX fragrance, D’Telli, a rich, luxurious, and unisex scent comprising seven different notes. The reality TV star describes the product as her tribute to Wilder. “From a vision in my head that turned into reality, two souls connected, and D’Telli fragrances was born. It represents the love between Deontay and me always be connected in scent even when we’re apart.”
EL SEGUNDO, CA: Telli Swift attends the Boxing WAGS Association Event In Support Of Autism Awareness … [+]GETTY IMAGES FOR TELLI SWIFT, FOUNDER OF BOXING WAGS ASSOCIATION
Telli Swift is also the founder of the Boxing Wags Association (BWA) – a foundation that helps raise money for sick children and their families while also supporting female entrepreneurship. “The world needs strong women,” she tells me on Zoom. “Women who will lift and build others, who will love and be loved. Women who live bravely, both tender and fierce. Women of indomitable will.” Consequently, Swift explains that the purpose of the BWA is to have an alliance of women within a network fully committed to affecting change within themselves and their surrounding communities.
Support initiatives such as BWA offer an opportunity to plug into the entrepreneurship space with manageable risk in terms of initial capital outlay. Although there are debates and reservations about the purpose and value of many network marketing companies, it is fair to say that they offer opportunities to “test the waters” and learn transferable entrepreneurial skills, concludes Telli Swift. They also often provide a community of like-minded micro-entrepreneurs who offer support to one another.
For the female entrepreneur, business development and market share growth depend on a solid personal brand driving personal networks supported by technology. As a result, investing in a personal brand to support differentiation in a competitive market gives the entrepreneur an intangible asset with multiplier effects, says Swift.
A strong brand fuels growth for every entrepreneurial venture today, suggests Karla Raines, author of Differentiated: The Breakthrough Approach to Strategy for Purpose-Driven Organizations. “When authenticity and originality matter most, you can’t separate the personal from the professional. Your brand must deliver a unifying promise,” agrees Swift.
Much has been written on the importance of equity and equality, with a keen focus on female leadership. Seminal tomes such as Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ have brought the concept to a mainstream audience and made many of us question our role as cheerleaders, role models, and mentors, concludes Swift. The outdated perception that female leaders are ‘bossy’ and territorial, power dressing to get to the top is gradually subsiding for a more realistic and holistic understanding of what it takes to be a female leader. Alongside this sits the need to be entrepreneurial within that leadership.
What is meant by that? Within leadership, we need to continually reinvent, grow, and take risks, ensuring that we are at the forefront of our industry, ready for an uncertain and shifting future, Telli Swift continues. “Horizon scanning, seeking opportunities, and being prepared for challenges will help sustain our role, workplace, and industry as the world changes and adapts at pace. So how can we marry the two themes here: female leadership and entrepreneurialism?”
Risk-taking is essential to an entrepreneurial leap. Today’s dynamic world calls for risk-taking outside the usual comfort zone. “Get used to it and make the most of it. If you sit by and wait for things to settle down, you’ll miss the opportunity to make your bold move,” remarks Raines. This is especially important for female leaders. “Courage is a muscle that gets stronger every time you flex it. Flex it often.”
Acclaimed female author Pamela Ayuso agrees, stating, “female leadership is, thankfully, becoming much more visible, and female leaders have more room to develop.” Consequently, she believes leaders should role model inclusivity and willingness to contribute to a team, knowing when to shine and when to hold a torch to others in the room.
Telli Swift agrees and concludes that leaders should be the first to lift others, promoting those around them, knowing that by doing so, they are developing future talent as well as strengthening their team. “Actively seek ways to nurture and mentor that talent, passing on the golden nuggets of advice, feedback, and support that they too have benefitted from,” she remarks, and continues, “being candid about mistakes made, and humble about successes enjoyed gives confidence to others, safe in the knowledge that we are all learning, reflecting, refining and succeeding.” This cannot happen by accident: to truly develop other female leaders and entrepreneurs, it needs to be strategic, led with energy, commitment, and belief that you are shaping the future and writing a legacy at the same time.
Female entrepreneurs are everyday role models for other women, showing a way forward, observes Telli Swift. “I’m amazed how often a female will say that my efforts inspire them. That fuels me to keep going, especially when things are tough, as I know others a cheering me on.”