Time for a coffee break? Take a few minutes to get to know Theresa Harrison, Director of Inclusive & Sustainable Procurement of EY, including her best career advice, advice for women entrepreneurs, and the importance of innovation in business.

What education/training programs should women entrepreneurs make sure to learn more about?

Our commitment is to inspire women-owned suppliers to think big and be confident in their ability to provide high quality products and services that meet our needs. EY hosts national competitions and leadership programs, such as EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™, in more than 50 countries to identify a select group of high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale and then help them succeed. In seeking to increase the number of market leading companies run by women, member firms target “the missing middle” — second-stage entrepreneurs who have built profitable small companies, but cannot readily find the essential tools needed to grow to scale. EY provides the entrepreneurs selected for the program access to our networks of award-winning entrepreneurs, investors and advisers, and local EY professionals, as well as business-building knowledge and marquee events, all designed to help women entrepreneurs think big, be bold, build brands and scale their companies.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice is to understand the difference between a sponsor and mentor.

Who is championing you/Going to bat – Sponsor

Who is coaching you/Career advice – Mentor

Do you have both on your personal board of directors as well as great peers who are fueling you for success? The question is – have you set yourself up for success and taken control of your career? It is your responsibility.

What women inspire you?

The woman that most inspires me is my mother, Andra Harrison. She reminds me of the great women entrepreneurs I meet at WBENC everyday. She had a goal to become a nurse, balanced a family, and accomplished an amazing nursing career.  She became head nurse of Ear Nose and Throat Surgery and at the end of her career, a hospice nurse. She was at every basketball game, honors program and always with a word of encouragement and a loud voice on the side line. Her faith has helped me through my saddest moments, losing 2 best friends in the span of a year. She is a surrogate mom to many women of WBENC and I do not mind sharing her joy, smile and love for many who have lost their moms. She is a Rockstar and a true inspiration of determination and grace.

How has being a WBENC Corporate Member helped your corporation and/or procurement department?

Being a WBENC Corporate Member has allowed EY to accelerate the growth of women entrepreneurs. It has allowed us to identify, develop and build relationships with the top women-owned businesses across the country.

What are you reading or listening to now?

You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life

My best friend died at age 48. From that moment I started living for the day not tomorrow. This book is a great resource and a reminder on what living life to the fullest looks like. Stop putting off for tomorrow and start living your true authentic self: find those skinny branches and venture out to see what unfolds.

How do you unwind after a long workday?

A nice glass of wine and trying new recipes. I love to cook. I am a total foodie. I have a Facebook page called T-Stop that highlights the best restaurants and aspiring everyday chefs who make amazing dishes. Food is diverse and fuels my learning of new culture and cuisine. What culture have you explored today?

Fill in the Blank

When I face a challenge,… don’t see an obstacle I see an opportunity.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… get your business degree in accounting.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my Family and “Framily” – they are everything to me.
Diversity and Inclusion inspires me because, … embracing differences shows you endless possibilities.


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Theresa Harrison
Director of Inclusive & Sustainable Procurement of EY