Jacquie Elcox admits to some teenage rebellion. And she never really felt like she fit in. But for the English transplant, non-conformity and a willingness to live outside the box made perfect business sense and turned the immigrant into a CEO.
Elcox’s father blazed trails of his own. He moved to Boise as one of Hewlett Packard high-tech pioneers in the early 1970s. The entire family joined him in Boise in 1974 and now Elcox serves Boiseans as CEO of Treasure Valley Hearing and Balance.
It didn’t look like a likely landing point for the high school dropout.
“My parents only knew the English life and we were very, very poor,” Elcox says of her family’s arrival to the United States.
“I never even had an inside bathroom before we got to America … so it was a challenge growing up and being a regular teenager here. Coming from a very strict, poor English background, I found myself rebelling here. I ended up leaving home at 16. And I ended up leaving high school,” Elcox says. “I was a really rebellious child and I was determined to go out and do it on my own,” Elcox recalls. “I thought I didn’t need school, then I went to college.”
And like a lot of success stories, Elcox’s didn’t always play out as she planned. “I wanted to see the world but suddenly I was entrenched in the community and I’m glad that I am,” she says.
Elcox married at 18-years-old, had her first child at 20 and entrenched herself in the Boise community as a speech pathology and business student at Northwest Nazarene University, then Boise State University. And at just 25-years- old she planted business roots with the launch of Treasure Valley Hearing and Balance.
But she found that she took a lot of the frustration that surrounded her teen years into the business world.
“I always thought I was more mature and had it all together than I really did. And I was hell-bent on proving to the world that I had all this,” she says.
Elcox’s youthful illusions turned into business decisions. Then she realized she was her own biggest barrier and challenge. “It was my way or the highway and I blew through a lot of employees,” she recalls.
But things changed. “I did a lot of self-help,” she says.
She came to terms with her youth and realized that she didn’t have to be angry with herself. “I didn’t know how to deal with my own frustrations,” she said. “As young women we have so much more to prove.” Elcox spent so much time trying to prove herself to the world that she didn’t take a lot of time to develop herself, she says. Her self-help turned into personal success which blossomed into professional success and now Elcox counts a handful of honors, community service and three Treasure Valley Hearing and Balance locations among her achievements.
In between successes Elcox found wisdom that now passes down to the younger generation.
“Work as hard on yourself as you do your business,” she says.