Woman of the Year Profile: Sherry A. Beaird, Shelby Industrial Supply

Article excerpt

Sherry A. Beaird is a testament that through faith and determination one can overcome adversity.

Beaird's mother died of breast cancer when she was 8, her father when she was 21 and a brother when she was 26. As if that wasn't enough, her oldest son was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 18. Last year, her husband died of lymphoma cancer.

Now Beaird tells people she's starting a new book in her life.

The first half of my life, book one was called Thriving While Surviving, but the second book is entitled Look Out World, Here I Come!

Beaird came to Oklahoma City from Nashville in the early '70s to attend college and be close to her mother's family. She worked for Howell Law Office in Midwest City for more than 15 years before starting a custom gift basket business with a partner in 1990. In 1992, Beaird decided to open her own financial consulting business in which she received various awards from Mass Mutual including Agent of the Year in 1993.

For me, I felt I had come full circle. I really wanted to help other women become educated about their financial futures, especially since statistics show men either die or divorce us and we are the ones left in charge of our finances, she said.

In 2001, her husband was laid off from his employer - the day after he learned he had cancer. Two weeks later, the couple decided to open their own electronic business, Shelby Industrial Supply.

I knew how to help people invest money. I didn't know anything about electronics. However, I was willing to learn, she said.

Beaird did learn to run the family electronic business. In fact, she has grown the business by almost 40 percent since her husband's death in October 2004 by expanding the business through government and international contracts. …