Mission-driven Serial Entrepreneur

Teresa Goines is the founder and CEO of Old Skool Café Old Skool Café – a supper club run by at-risk youth in San Francisco, which provides training, jobs and a second chance at life for youth coming out of incarceration and foster care.

Why do people look up to you?

I think I do most of the looking up to others, since I’m only 5’2”! One of the things that I have to inspire others is my story of hope against all odds. I didn’t have the “necessary skills or experience to fulfill my dream of creating Old Skool Café but I did have faith, tenacity & a willingness to risk, fail and learn along the way. It didn’t happen overnight & it’s been an incredibly hard journey, but so worth it in the end! One of my all-time favorite things is to see someone’s eyes light up with hope and possibility of a dream they may have allowed to die, after hearing my story. One man came back to tell me that after hearing my story, he went back home and pursued a dream he had given up on and this time stuck with it until it came to fruition! That made my day!

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done at work?

As a corrections officer in training, my supervising officer hid one of the young inmates in the bathroom to see if I would notice one had gone missing. He asked if I was sure my group was accounted for and suggested I do a count. Of course when I did, I came up short and had no idea how I had managed to lose a young man! Everyone but me was in on this little training exercise.

Biggest regret?

Because I grew up as a caretaker of my father and grandmother who were disabled and experienced a significant amount of death of family & loved ones at a young age, I decided early on that I was going to life without regrets. I purposed in my heart to love hard & live everyday like a precious gift and not take anything for granted. Mistakes I’ve made along the way have taught me to be less judgmental, more understanding and compassionate. So I can’t even regret my mistakes and failures, because they have made me more humble and loving towards others.

Favorite pair of shoes?

I love my red & black heels with a leopard print heel, but they are awful to walk in! Super sexy shoes if I’m sitting or standing in them...walking not so much!

What would you tell your 18-year-old self if you could go back in time?

Embrace and celebrate how God has made you – All of you; your imperfections, weaknesses as well as strengths. Don’t waste precious time trying to be a perfect version of yourself…nobody would relate to that version anyway! Relax into YOU, be kind to yourself and enjoy the journey.

Favorite comedian?

Key & Peele, Michael Jr.

Dream car?

Any car with a driver… because parking is such a challenge in SF! I guess that means uber or lyft!

Favorite line from a movie?

“Carpe diem. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary.” –Dead Poets Society

Best skincare or makeup secret?

Toothpaste helps dry up blemishes if you are in a pinch.

Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs in 140-characters or less?

Dream big. Write your vision down in full detail. Reach out for help. Try things and don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t give up. Pray.

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