The Gem of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Meet my dear sweet friend, former co-worker, and artist extraordinaire. Teresa Haag! I have known Teresa since 2001 when I first went to work for Bausch & Lomb. There are many things I admire about her, such as her sweet effervescent and bubbly personality, but under all of that is a strong woman with a desire to achieve, prove that she is better than you think she is, and capable of anything she sets her mind to accomplishing. I think we got along instantly despite our twenty year age difference because we share a similar upbringing and many like core values.
We were both born in hardworking blue collar industrial cities. For her it was Rochester, New York, and for me it was Baltimore, Maryland.
We also worked and went to college at the same time to help pay to educate ourselves, and create a way to a better life than what we were given.
When she first went to work for Bausch & Lomb in customer-service her ultimate goal was to be an outside sales person. She was initially denied that opportunity because she hadn’t completed her four-year degree. But like the industrious determined individual she was, I believe she was given a deadline to complete her degree by the end of a certain year so Teresa wound up taking twenty eight credit hours in that one semester to complete it on time.
Then, the next corporate hurdle of making the switch from customer service to outside sales person without the benefit of any outside sales experience appeared.
I am proud to say that I gave Teresa that first chance when she filled in for one of my Territory Managers that went out on maternity leave. After her success in my Region, she went on to manage her own territory in Philadelphia and the rest as you say is history!
What I respect most about Teresa is that she learned very early on that all the trappings of the “dream job” may not in fact bring you the satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment she was looking for.
So in 2011 she took that first leap of courage I talk about in my book the Sno-Cone Diaries in chapter three, and became an urban landscape artist and hasn’t looked back since.
In her own words Teresa describes her work as “through layering and unique choices of ground, subject matter, and paint application on top of newspaper, I push to capture the noise…chatter…of the urban environment. I want to transport you through common and ordinary places helping you to get lost in the stories.” Speaking strictly for me when she gave my sister and I each pictures from our home town of Baltimore, the back of the row houses like we grew up in, and the Inner Harbor, the iconic scenes that give Baltimore it’s unique character and charm, brought back a flood of emotion and childhood memories of the place I once called home.
I say Teresa is a rock star artist as she has done life size murals of buildings and stores in the town of Phoenixville, Pa. she now calls home, and has lectured, won awards, done individual and group exhibitions, and has even been the “featured artist” in Professional Artist Magazine, November 2012.
In addition to her art Teresa is a wife and mom of two children, Teresa has found the secret sauce for her own sustained happiness when she paints her art in public places. Often people will walk up to her that lived, worked, or grew up near what she is painting and share their own personal stories and missing pieces, that bring her work to life.
Teresa is just another example of someone who gave herself permission to do the work she loves and in return the love and happiness comes back to her ten-fold as her art touches the hearts of thousands.
I’d urge everyone to visit her web-site at teresahaag.com, like her page, browse her work, and see if it inspires you to pursue your own version of the “dream job."
Thank you for your gracious hospitality, the gift of the art, and the pure pleasure of your company, admiring your many accomplishments, and making my birthday week so special.