A Day in Her Life: Terrell Fuller.
I am very excited about today’s Day in her Life feature as Terrell is actually one of the reasons I started my inclusivity challenge. She reached out to me, a) asking me to profile women who were a bit more curvy and b) stressing that sometimes she got sad because she couldn’t buy things I was wearing because they didn’t make them in larger sizes – when you’re too small for plus size but too big for a lot of designers. She challenged me, so I challenged her… to do this feature! And when I found out she has two bunnies (and is a massive Harry Potter fan), that sort of just sealed the whole deal for me!
Name: Terrell Fuller
City: Washington, DC
Job Title + Company: Founder of Terrell Fuller Consulting!
Educational Background: I went to College at Kenyon College, where I majored in English with a concentration in Creative Writing plus a Minor in Classical History. I just completed my MBA at Darden School of Business at UVA. Best two years of my life!
Tell us a little bit about you and what you do.
I am a born and bred DC Native now working in consulting focusing on workspace management and internal communication. I am the proud fur-parent of two rabbits, Neville and Luna. If you can’t tell from their names, I am also a Harry Potter fan. I am an avid reader, mediocre tennis player, and theater nerd. When I am not at home, you can normally find me checking out DC’s amazing museums or going to the theater.
How did you get started? Briefly walk us through from college to now?
I have had an extremely windy career path, but I am not sure if I would have it any other way. I went from being a teacher to being a trial clerk for a federal court before going into advertising and marketing. I liked how Marketing was always about talking and communicating with other people, but I felt like the landscape of advertising was changing, and the robots were coming for my job.
After a lot of deliberation, I decided to apply business school and ended up attending the Executive Program at Darden School of Business at UVA. It was the perfect program for me because it allowed me to keep working full time but also let me join an awesome community of people, which is hard to find in an executive program.
I started my consulting firm last year with the encouragement of my classmates at business school. It has been one of the hardest things I have ever done but also one of the most rewarding things. I nabbed my first big contract last year, and it has been an adventure. My company focuses on using marketing tools to help companies communicate better internally… which is really just fancy consultant speak for I want people to work better together and come up with strategies for better and more productive work environments.
Best part of your job?
Building something that is my own. When I first started my job, I got the advice that building a business goes much slower than you want but also faster than you think. I have found it to be incredibly accurate. I love meeting with people and discussing complicated problems and helping come up with creative solutions. One core part of my philosophy is that there really is not any such thing as a work/life balance because it is all life. It is essential to create a work environment that fosters a happy life.
Being my own boss. It is easy to work all the time when you start your own business. Some of the best pieces of advice I got was to set up an office (or in my case get a co-working space), make sure you put REAL clothes on each day and give yourself time off.
A Day in Her Life: Terrell Fuller
When do you get up?
7:30..ish…. depending on how many times I hit the snooze button.
Tell us about your morning routine.
I honestly don’t know what happens between me getting up and finding my way to my coffee machine. For all I know, I could be composing a symphony or doing cartwheels. Once I have my coffee, I immediately turn on NPR so I can catch up with the news. This is typically followed by me feeding my two pet rabbits, Neville and Luna. I adopted them from the House Rabbit Society three years ago. After some time hanging out with them, I usually end up realizing I am running late and then frantically attempt to get my face done up. I always wash my face with Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash, followed by Biologique Recherche P50 (it smells horrible but works), then Cosrx Advanced Snail Mucin Power Essence which sounds gross but really helps my serums get absorbed.
As a Rabbit parent, I have worked really hard to make sure the brands I use are Cruelty-Free. In the morning, I use Ren Ever Calm Serum followed by Super Goop’s Everyday Sun Screen (life of a ginger- never too much sunblock). If I am not running late, I usually do a pretty minimal makeup routine which consists of Root Beauty Pretty Primer followed by blush and setting powder combo from Trisha McEvoy. I then use Eyeko’s Liner (love a bold eyeliner) and Better than Sex Mascara followed by some Ilia Lipstick in Bang Bang. I am a fan of “quick” makeup, but I love the look of old Hollywood glam, which is why I tend to focus more on a red lip and big eyeliner. I am utterly obsessed with Ilia’s Bang Bang is just the perfect shade of everyday red and it is very moisturizing. I never leave the house without spraying myself with perfume. Even on days when make-up doesn’t happen, I always will have some perfume. I even keep a spare bottle in my car and purse just in case. Right now, I am using Kai, which I discovered from a friend of mine. It smells just like Gardenias. Often in the winter months, I will wear either Kiehl’s Musk or a fragrance from my favorite perfumery Etate Libre D’Orange.
I usually end up listening to an audiobook or a podcast on the way to work if I drive to a client site. I love DC public libraries, and one of the best parts about the libraries is the fact that you can download books straight to your phone using the app Libby.
Walk us through your full day and what that looks like.
The fun part of being your own boss there isn’t a typical day! I switch between working at my client’s site, working at my coworking space, or working at my desk. Here is my best breakdown or my own version of a “typical” day in my life.
7:30-8:30: Wake up, Coffee, Feed the Bunnies, getting ready, and out the door!
8:30-9: Driving to my client site or walking to my co-working space while jamming out to some podcasts
9-5: A mixture of conference calls, emails, and meetings with clients. Stress eating pretzels as needed and a lunch break which involves me doing the NYT crossword puzzle while eating leftovers. Days when I do venture out for lunch, I often end up at Chaia, which is a vegetarian taco place in Georgetown. I am lucky that my co-working space, The Wing, has fantastic food. I am obsessed with their Turkey Club Sandwich. I have really loved being part of a co-working space as an entrepreneur. It forces me to get out of my PJs and has introduced me to other amazing entrepreneurs. Plus did I mention the excellent food there? Snacks are vital for business success.
5- 5:30: Commuting then feeding the bunnies again, frequently lying on my sofa for a bit and staring at the ceiling or maybe doing my meditation app Headspace.
5:30-7: Working out… in theory… I am training for a half marathon this fall and recently added a small spin bike to my apartment and created my own DIY peloton situation. So far its worked really well with my busy schedule and as I am trying to get back into shape. I try to scarf down a quick dinner. I wish I was better about cooking but normally it is something pretty boring and fast or ordered from seamless.
7-10pm: For the last two years this spot has been held for my MBA classes. I have been doing the executive MBA program at UVA’s Darden School of Business. Most nights, I log in from my apartment to attend class two nights a week, read cases, or meet with my learning team. It sounds rough, but I loved going back to school and learning all sorts of new things. I would have class two times a week online and then in class at Darden’s Rosslyn campus one weekend a month.
Now that I graduated (literally last weekend), I am excited to fill this time up with one of my biggest passions, Improv. I started taking improv classes 5 years ago at the Washington Improv Theater. I was always a theater nerd and was looking for something to do to meet new people and get the creative juices flowing. There is nothing better than spending three hours with a group of people laughing. If I am not in class or doing improv, chances are I am attending an after-hours event at a museum or meeting friends up for a late night drink. I keep a full schedule, but that is the way I like it.
10pm to 11pm: This time is generally reserved for reading, catching up with friends on the phone, or swiping on a dating app while watching Netflix.
What’s your bedtime routine like?
As haphazard my morning routine looks, my night routine is actually pretty good. I have trouble sleeping, so I try to shut off my electronics an hour before bed before doing my body/face routine. I sometimes will try to practice French using Mango (also courtesy of DC Public Libraries) and then read for a bit along with some writing if I feel inspired. I am a big fan of matching PJ sets. When I traveled for work, I always brought cute PJs because it just made me feel like I was sleeping in my own bed.
For my skincare, I follow the same basic routine as I do in the morning (Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash, followed by Biologique Recherche P50), then Corsrx Advanced Snail Mucin Power Essence). At night I switch out my Ren Serum for Missha Time Revolution Night Repaire Ampoule. This is finally topped off with one of my favorite products Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream. Once I have finished off that admittedly ridiculous 5 step process for my face, I will put on some lavender oil or turn on my diffuser to get settled into bed.
When you have a big meeting or moment, what is your go to uniform?
Definitely, a dress made from Kit! My friend Merin started the business many years ago to create high-quality custom made clothing for women. Custom clothes first sound really scary at first but Kit’s clothes are all about creating the clothes that you want and not what happens to be available in your size. We all know that women sizes are all over the place, and I am always struggling to find outfits that I like in my size and most of the time I have to get things hemmed. I have several dresses from Kit, and I love them because they fit me perfectly and make me feel like I can just rule any room I walk into. Plus the fact that it is created by another successful female entrepreneur gives me an extra boost of confidence.
Quick & Random
Favorite social media channel?
Instagram and Marco Polo. If you haven’t discovered Marco Polo- check it out! It is such a fun way to connect with friends that you don’t see all the time!
What are your favorite blogs and Instagram follows?
Truth be told, I am not big into following many Instagram people or blogs. I have gotten really into newsletters and love the newsletter Two Bossy Dames started by Margaret Wilison and Sofie Brookover. If you want to hear about fun/sassy corners of the internet as covered by two hilarious young adult librarians- this is your jam. I also love reading The Cut from NY Magazine.
Favorite Show to Binge?
I am always watching 30 Rock and Parks & Rec on repeat. More recently, I have not been able to stop talking about Derry Girls and Fleabag. I also adore any British Murder Mystery Show. I think I have seen every British murder mystery show, but my favorites are Ms. Fishers Murder Mysteries, Sherlock (obvi), The Bletchley Circle, and Jonathan Creek. My friends make fun of me because I subscribe to Britt Box just to stream some of my favorites.
I also love Handmaid’s Tale. I have been a Margaret Atwood fan since I was 17 years old and I think the show is incredible.
Best Career Advice You’ve Received?
Talk to everyone you know! There is a saying in business school that most of our connections do not come from close friends but instead come from our weaker connections. When I started my business, I think I was scheduling coffee with people 4 times a day. I was probably the most over-caffeinated in DC, but it helped me get started. Also, when you end a meeting, ask what you can do to help that person. Networking should be about connecting and giving, not about taking.
Creativity, courage, and compassion are the best business skills. I joke that these are the traits that will keep us employed once the robots take our jobs. Often times, we focus on having more quantitative skills in business, but creativity is even more valuable, so do not tamper down that part of your personality.
For those feeling a little lost in your careers, I would HIGHLY suggest the book Reinventing You. It was one of my favorite books I read in business school, parts are a little dated, but her advice and approach are stellar.
Become a mentor. I got so tired of my friends complaining about how none of them had mentors to help them with their careers, and I was also in that camp! After complaining about not having a mentor to my parents, I asked them if they mentored anyone. Their answer was “No” which surprised me. They have since sought out a few mentees, and it made me realize that even with my small experience, I could help someone get their foot in the door. I talk to recent college grads all the time about breaking into advertising or landing a job in marketing and applying to business school. I used to think I could not be a good mentor because I did not have enough work experience, but the truth is that you always have something to share and being a mentor has helped keep me honest and has given me valuable management experience.
Take an Improv class. Clearly, I am a convert to the improv community, but it has helped me with my public speaking tremendously. My first boss told me that for me to advance, I needed to work on my public speaking. It was terrible. I got nervous and flustered all the time. Now, I consider my public speaking to be one of my strongest talents. Improv has taught me how to brush off mistakes easily and stay collected when I get asked tough questions.
If you are interested in start-ups or feel stuck in your career, look into business school. I realize that this is a DEFINITELY controversial statement. It took me 5 years to convince myself to apply to school, and my test scores were going to expire. As someone who lived through the recession and currently living through the student debt crisis, it is not an easy choice to go back to school and take on debt. I came up with so many excuses on why not to go (“I am bad at Math,” “I don’t want to work on Wall Street,” “Who has time to study for the GMAT”). Like anything, there are great programs and bad programs out there so do your research. What sold me was attending a class, and it made a massive difference in the way I saw potential in the program.
Learn about the world of money. It also does not help that money is just something are taught not to talk about. Luckily, we live in a time where there are tons of excellent and often FREE resources to learn about Economics, Finance, Investing, and all that other scary stuff. Listen to Planet Money, take a Coursera Course on Accounting or a Macro Economic Class from Khan Academy, and read the business section. I was an ENGLISH major. The last math class I took was in high school, so I understand how intimidating it can be. However, once I started learning more about these topics, I was surprised how better informed I was about international events or even how I thought about my own purchases.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get so much inspiration from podcasts (like WSJ Secrets of Wealthy Women or Second Life) and from the various other entrepreneur women I have met while starting my business. I am also lucky to have a grown up with a working mom who taught me how to try to balance work and fun realistically. I hate the idea of effortless perfection that we see on social media, but I am lucky to have found a community of women who are honest about how hard it can be in the workforce or starting your own business.
Your all time, desert island favorite beauty product.
I love perfume. I think I got it from my mom who wears Yves Saint Laurent Paris every day. Even when I am super busy and barely have time to wash my face, I always will manage to put on perfume. If I had to pick just one, I think it would be Kiehls Musk. It has a nice clean almost soapy smell which makes it work for all year round.
A big thank you to Terrell for participating (and for such lovely, thorough answers – I feel like I learned a LOT from this installment!!!
photography by Mark Tegetoff.