It had always been a dream of mine to go to college since I was little. That decision was set in stone when I was asked by a family friend what my plans were for the future (meaning to be friendly and only inquiring about the upcoming school year), I took the question to mean my whole life! So, the end of the long and in depth answer was "and then go to college". With that final thought the woman proceeded to pat my head patronizingly. It was then that I vowed to myself to prove that woman, and any other naysayers wrong.

One would assume, it was surely set out to be an uphill battle, being that I was the daughter of a young single mother. My neighborhood was filled with middle class boys who were more expected to go to college than myself, a little girl growing up on food stamps. I excelled in school though, teachers loved me, and by 2nd grade I was advanced to honors English level classes since my reading level was that of an 8th grader. By 8 years old my budding entrepreneurial spirit was taking form when I wanted to open up a lemonade stand with my friend Sara,but with a twist. I wanted to go to the big box wholesale store and buy candy, chips, burgers, and hotdogs in bulk and get Sara's dad to do the grilling while Sara and I would sell the lemonade! That led to wanting to have a restaurant, which then snowballed into me taking culinary arts at the Insitute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts program at Travis High School where I trained alongside star chefs like Chef David Bull and did catered events for such notables as Alton Brown and local dignitaries, while taking regular classes at McCallum High School.

It was in those teen years that 2 major things happened. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis after missing countless days of school over and over again. At the age of 17 I started my first business.

I took on selling cosmetics through mark. a daughter black_n_white.jpgcompany  newly started by Avon. It was here I came to realize that even if you know who your target market is, things can prove challenging. After that experience I got my feet wet with an MLM company, Quixtar. With this company my growth was stifled by  limitations the company had in place. This was frustrating because if an 18 year old could make the  kind of business deals  I was in negotiations with doing I couldn't see why anyone else could not do the same.  So, onward and upward I  went reading 2 entrepreneurship textbooks during the summer before  being accepted to 5 out of the 6 colleges I applied to. I declined a full-ride scholarship to the University of Texas at San Antonio, and attended the college that seemed a better fit, Cornell College.

With the health problems I had in high school that followed me to college I knew no one would ever want me as an employee because of all the missed days of work I would have to have with my condition. It became clear more then ever that entrepreneurship and my own business were the only real answer. Most importantly I was tired of seeing all of my family work hard, paycheck to paycheck making someone else's dreams come true. Growing up in the wake of Enron, Worldcom, and Tyco scandals I knew you could work hard your whole life, be loyal to a company, and have your whole world pulled out from underneath you. I wanted to be in control of my life, if I failed that was going to be my fault and I was going to own it and if I succeed that was on me too, no one was going to take credit for what I made of myself. Cornell turned out not to be the perfect fit for what I was seeking. It became clear, that more classes then not I felt I was leading the class through the discussions, making valid points, bringing real world examples to the table when I  transferred to International Academy of Design and Technology at Chicago the second college I attended.  Up to that point I had spent 12 years studying businesses,  and people and what made them tick.

Unfortunately, it took being on the receiving end of a violent crime to shake me to my core and set my life back on the entrepreneurial track. It made sense to me, more so then the rules companies I worked for had in place simply for the sake of having rules. I could not understand how rules were made by people in offices that never knew how the typical front-line interaction actually happened. I came to understand through those positions you can't pressure sales, you have to build relationships. People don't buy things, they buy experiences, a lifestyle, a promise of what they are striving to achieve. People buy results above all else.

When  the name Nicole Bienfang is uttered one should automatically think "above and beyond". This is because I go above and beyond job descriptions, expectations, and the bare minimum on anything I do. My dedication and effort to any project is 100%. I have  a lot of book smarts , but I possess street  smarts  as well.  My demeanor is very  confident, often times I come off blunt (not to hurt anyone just to get to the  point), and have a dry wit . When I care about something  I   become very passionate about it. Although knowledgeable about a  plethora of topics ( I'm self described "Jill-of-all-Trades") I will  always be willing to admit I do  not know something and will look  into it and follow up to give you an answer. I work well in teams, as  my peers often officially or unofficially elect me as leader.  My enthusiasm for life, and  projects often spreads like fire wherever I go. 

Want to get to know me even more check out these pages:

What I'm Reading


What I'm Watching


In the Press/Public Eye


My Recommendations

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