About the Author

  • Published Author
  • National Speaker/Prison Fellowship
  • Leadership Volunteer/Washington Corrections Center for Women
  • Workshops/Seattle Union Gospel Mission

Teresa Nickell was born and raised in Spokane, WA. Following her only role models, life became driven by drugs, a misdirected search for love, and ultimately homelessness and incarceration. When her misdemeanors became felonies at 26 years old, she was legally blind and living in a car. With limited options, she entered a drug and alcohol treatment center to avoid more jail time. Motivated by desperation and fear, she set out on a new way of life.

At 29 years old, Teresa began working her first full-time job at the Coeur d’ Alene French Baking Company in Spokane, WA. At the end of a production line and making $5 per hour (minimum wage at the time), she began running the department after three months. When the owner decided to open a new facility in the Seattle area, he asked Teresa to relocate and oversee the

With little previous work experience, Teresa accepted the position and quickly learned about contractors, health codes, and outsourcing. Eleven years later, and thoroughly knowledgeable in the business, she purchased the company- a risky move for a high school drop-out with a
felony conviction.

As the owner, she grew the business into a multi-million-dollar corporation with a well-respected brand in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. The company secured and expanded business with foodservice distributors, retail stores, and Seattle area restaurants. Her customer list included Costco Wholesale, Trader Joe’s Stores, Cash, and Carry, Food Services of America, among
many others.

After a 23-year career in baking, Teresa has now turned back to help others striving for a better life. Using her life experiences as classroom lessons at the Washington Corrections Center for
Women and Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, she regularly met with the frustrations of this deeply discouraged population. Knowing from experience that change is possible, she began writing her life story to make it available to more people.

Teresa resides in the Seattle area with her husband, Scott, and two little misfit dogs. She coaches volunteer teams about underlying beliefs that can cause confusing behavior in those they serve. She continues to lead workshops at Hope Place Women’s Shelter, is a featured speaker at women’s events, and is a National Speaker for Prison Fellowship.

Donated copies of “The Girl in My Wallet” are currently in 22 prison libraries and women’s
shelters in nine U.S. states.

Book Reviews

“I’m so grateful for this book it has helped me understand a lot about my past. and how to deal with things differently.” Dianna T.

“A well written account of a life by all accounts didn’t matter to anyone. Through all the turmoil this little girl goes through, she is able to use all of it and, emerge to become a successful woman who cares passionately about others with similar life experiences. There is something for everyone to learn as a result of reading Teresa’s book.” lheider

“It pulls back the curtain on behaviors and coping mechanisms we rely on while enduring trauma; and the reasons we continue to rely on unhealthy habits even when they don’t serve us. A brave memoir worth reading and learning from.” April R.