Teri Hansen, Faith, Family and Business
Priority Marketing guru cherishes giving, driven by faith, family and business
There’s something especially nice about an unsolicited love note lipsticked onto the bathroom mirror. Priority Marketing CEO Teri Hansen knows all about such comparisons. She and her staff in Fort Myers could, in fact, load a warehouse with the spontaneous trophies and citations that Priority in three decades has earned―Best Overall this and that, literally offices of professional awards.
Yet the achievement she seems to prize most is this year’s induction into the Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida Business Hall of Fame, a peer confirmation to those giving more to us than is taken from them. Hansen shares the Junior Achievement award with Sandy Stilwell, the Sanibel businesswoman and former chair of the PACE Center for Girls board of directors. JA Hall of Fame laureates and notable givers such as retiring Lee
Health CEO Jim Nathan and Hope Hospice CEO Samira K. Beckwith precede Hansen and Stilwell, who got the JA award in May.
Which places Teri Hansen in rare air among Florida’s most involved and giving executives. “[You] feel very humbled looking at that list,” she says of fellow JA laureates. “It’s something to be counted among that group.”
Priority Marketing rates as one of Florida’s most innovative and successful firms in its field. Priority and some of its 31 st affers, for instance, handled public rollout of Lee Health’s new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, a major event for those inside the medical and marketing communities. Hansen was also the first person to be named Marketing Director of the Year by the Lee Building Industry Association, and she was the Florida Public Relations Association PR Professional of the Year in 1999. In all, Hansen has been honored with more than 150 local, state, national and international awards.
Priority is also behind the clever packaging of Norman Love Confections, the premium chocolatier. “Teri stands for quality and integrity and her award-winning work has elevated my company,” Norman Love says.
In a tastefully purposed headquarters office that conveys her affluence and commercial success, Teri Hansen will confide that winning in business is wonderful. A Southwest Florida native, she began her career with a premier Naples builder, transitioned to television media, opening Priority from home in the 1980s to raise a daughter, she says. She has also survived cancer, other existential challenges, each fortified by her faith, her innate belief that yielding wealth and time is a far stronger and more gratifying guidepost, she says. Hansen will, for example, grasp an office trophy by the throat and beam a flawless smile. You’d expect others in her elevated place to hold the statuette to the sun, an offering to whatever drives entrepreneurs to succeed. The gold figurine she chooses to share, however, is for business citizenship, one of dozens of such awards for her firm’s gifts of energy, consideration and cash. “It never gets old," she says of giving. "Never gets old."