Sauk Valley Community College

an institution of higher education that provides quality learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of its students and community

Alumni Profile - Theresa Shoulders

Theresa Sholders

Alumni Profile - Theresa Sholders

Sauk Valley Community College helped alumna Theresa Sholders find her way in her own personal career journey to where she is today – owner of Tangibles, a ladies clothing and gift shop in Dixon. Straight out of high school, Sholders moved away from home and enrolled for a semester in a fashion design school in Atlanta, Georgia.

"I wanted to be an interior decorator. I went one semester down there and decided it wasn't a very good value for the money we were spending on it. I was more or less lost so I came back home and my dad encouraged me to take classes out at Sauk," explained Sholders.

She remembers everyone was very helpful, the students were all very friendly and there was camaraderie because it was a smaller group. The professors were very helpful, very knowledgeable and she liked the fact that classes were smaller. Two years later she completed her Associate in Science with a major in business management. Being confident because of the business sales classes that she had taken, Sholders earned her realtors license and her Illinois Appraisers license.

"I was very well prepared as far as marketing, and I was an independent contractor so you had to promote yourself," she said. "Your income was 100 percent-based on commission. You got out of it whatever you put into it so you had to work hard."

Even though Sholders did well in the real estate field, she soon discovered it was not her career choice for life. So, she got some advice from a very wise person in her life – her father. He saw that she liked business and had a good head for it. Sholders said her father gave her "a lot of guidance and a lot of help."

Sholders started out with a small gift shop called the Gift Basket Express, which soon grew into a much larger venture.

"I'd always wanted to have a ladies clothing store so I thought 'let's expand, now is the time,'" said Sholders. "Everything just fell into place and it worked perfectly for us. That was five and a half years ago."

So Sholders recognizes that her choice in a business degree from Sauk was still the right direction for her even though her career choices have changed somewhat along the way. She still thoroughly enjoys working in retail and with people.

"So that was 10 years ago that I opened my own gift store, and that's what has brought me here (to Tangibles)," Sholders said.

Encouraging others to go to Sauk Valley Community College is high on the priority list for Shoulders.  " I think that just getting out of high school you don't necessarily know what you want to do. I mean you could be 45 years old and you still don't know what you want to do with your life. Economically, it (Sauk) is wonderful and it's nice to have that direction that they take you in, they are helping you with a path that is very important."

Sholders is glad her career path has kept her in Dixon. It is home for her and Sauk continues to be a part of that picture. To this day she still sees instructors that she had at Sauk.  She reminisces, "It's interesting to me now how many of them I see in the community and we can have conversations. For example, I took Spanish out at Sauk with Kit Lillyman; we had gone to the Memorial Day parade and she was sitting out in front of her house and she introduced me to the people at her house and said, 'Oh, this was one of my best students!' and so it very nice. I enjoy Dixon because it a home feeling and its people you are comfortable with and I guess that's what I would say about Sauk, is that as a student your very comfortable there."