By Donna Parker
Seven years ago, Rory Werner Siefer, who received her bachelor’s degree in business administration with concentrations in marketing and international business from Trinity in 2002, was putting her major to good use as a marketing manager overseas for an Italian cosmetics firm. However, she discovered she missed America, feeling she had gone abroad, challenged herself for a year, and been adventurous. Seeking a new challenge in Texas, Rory sat down with her beloved grandfather and listened…really listened…to his stories, wondering how she could better capture his memories and commit them to paper.
“I was amazed at some of these stories that he was telling me for the first time, and all because I took the time to ask; he talked about experiencing the depression as a child, WWII, and so many of those events that I’d only read about in history books,” says this entrepreneur, who founded The Texan Biographer, based on her own familial experience.
“Soon after recording my grandfather’s stories, I met with Dr. Kim Robertson, department of business administration, to brainstorm how I could parlay this into a viable business, and market to the baby boomer generation. Six months later, I launched my custom biography business, The Texan Biographer,” says Rory.
“The biographies I create are almost like a time capsule. I capture all of that oral history that our parents and grandparents love to tell, but never write down. Then I bring to life those priceless stories by creating a leather bound biography, written in their own words, featuring hundreds of their favorite old photographs, and most importantly, focused on their advice for their kids and grandkids. My goal was to find a way to make sure that the “Greatest Generation,” has a chance to leave behind their legacy, just the way they want it to be remembered. I will travel anywhere in the country to work with my clients and spend a week on location. We complete a series of interviews in the comfort of their living room, take pictures of family heirlooms, collect hundreds of photographs, and then set off to work creating their masterpiece. Each biography takes on a life of its own. Whether it is an entire chapter about war experiences in the South Pacific, a chapter about grandmother’s stuffed animal money collection, or even a section that highlights a love story, I love to uncover those stories that the families never want to lose.”
Rory is slowly growing her business nationally and has even hired several Trinity students as interns, but it’s taken her all to really make her business a success.
“I realized it was entirely up to me to make it work,” says Rory. “I found how important it is to set tough goals, hold myself accountable, and create a plan that could take my company to the next level.”
Rory gives back and stays involved with Trinity helping first year students move in on campus and remembers several professors who steered her to the success path.
“What I remember most about Trinity is really getting to know my peers. Some of my favorite memories include being on team “Miller Tomato” my freshman year, during hallolympics, and crushing the competition in flag football. I also served as a student ambassador, giving me opportunities to meet people such as Desmond Tutu and Former President George H. W. Bush. It was really fun to meet these famous people and discover they’re just as down to earth as the rest of us.”
Rory has carried her philosophy of involvement into her home community of San Antonio, becoming a member of the Junior League, joining the San Antonio Sports and Social Club, playing volleyball and kickball and “burning calories.”
Mostly though, she’s focused on living life to its fullest with her husband Jeremy and her “baby”—www.TexanBiographer.com.
“I’ve really got that entrepreneurial sprit inside. Six months ago, I put together some tough sales goals for Q4 of 2008, and I’m happy to report that we met them all. It feels great to check them off and more importantly set our sights on 2009!”
You may e-mail Rory at email@example.com.