Headshot of Taylor Paige Nealand '14

Taylor '14: Simmons Made Me a Strong Business Woman

ON CHOOSING SIMMONS: I fell in love with Simmons the moment I stepped foot on campus. At the time I didn’t know it, but going to a women-centered college was so integral to my growth and I'm so proud to be a Simmons alum. What attracted me to Simmons right away was the location — obviously! And the fact that it's a small school in a big city. I felt welcome and safe the minute I arrived. 

Simmons taught me to be a strong woman. I meet a lot of different people every day — some are great and kind, and some are pushy and hard. Simmons taught me how to stick up for myself and handle myself as a strong business woman. 

ON STARTING A BUSINESS: I started Taylor Paige Photography while at Simmons because I knew I'd have four years to grow, learn, build my network and have so many mentors at my fingertips. I worked for a photographer in high school, then friends and family started to hire me to photograph their weddings and special events. Eventually I thought, “hey, I can do this.” 

It was tricky to be a full-time student and athlete AND run my business. At times I was definitely overwhelmed and didn’t know how to do it all. I remember from day one I had to be really organized with taking jobs because I had class and regattas on the weekends — those where my first priority. After a while you just figure out to have a great planner, stay organized, and make sure your priorities come first.  Taylor Paige Nealand '14 with her dog, North

ON BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR: When I graduated I felt the societal pressure to get a “real” job. I felt like if I didn’t give it a shot I'd never know what I was missing. So I took a job as a real estate photographer while still photographing weddings on the weekends. I quickly realized that working for someone else wasn’t for me and after six months I made the decision to put all of my effort into my business and work for myself 100%.

My favorite part of working for myself is the flexibility. I try and map out my year in advance and put in any events I want to go to, vacations I want to go on, trainings and trips, etc., then I schedule my work around that. It’s a blessing to be able to say yes and no to certain jobs — and I’m still learning when to say no. I also love the freedom it allows me to have with who I work with. If I want to donate a session to a small new business I can, and if I want to turn down a job because it doesn’t feel right I can also do that. 

ON ADVICE FOR STUDENTS: Find a mentor in the field you want to get into. Having multiple mentors changed the game for me and I believe that’s what allowed me to be very successful right out of Simmons. 

You should also learn to be okay with failure. Expect mistakes and tough moments because they will happen. I learn the most when I mess up or fail, and as bad as it feels in the moment, there's a greater lesson the universe is trying to teach you. Don’t let it ruin you, allow it to make you stronger and a better business woman. 

Taylor Paige Nealand '14 with her fiance, standing in front of "Bruce the Bus"ON TURNING A BUS INTO A HOME: I've always had a vision to travel the world for a long period of time. Not just for one month or two months, but years. There is a huge community of (mostly) millennials who are living full time on the road, working for themselves and living their dream life each day. After about a year of research and planning we found this bus in Los Angeles and decided it was the right time for us to begin this dream. We flew out there on a whim and made the trek back to New Hampshire on "Bruce the Bus." 

Yes, we broke down twice and had many struggles, but we're still working on our dream and we've learned a LOT along the way. Bruce is now in New Hampshire at my family house where we are demoing him and making him our full time home. 

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Alumnae/i and Friends


Nov

9

Taylor '14: Simmons Made Me a Strong Business Woman
We caught up with Taylor Paige Nealand '14 about her business, Taylor Paige Photography, and her plans to travel the world.

Nov

6

Kate Sylvester '10MS on the Supportive Environment of Simmons
We caught up with Kate, HR Manager at SFJAZZ to see how Simmons helped her career path.

Oct

24

Jennifer Gordon '02MS Wins Milken Educator Award
Credited for making the library cool again, Jennifer tells us what it was like to win this $25,000 award.

Oct

22

Work Your Magic: Erica Feldmann '12MA Makes Witches Her Business
Erica tells us how she turned her passion for witchcraft and feminism into HausWitch Home + Healing.

Oct

17

Simmons University Launches Podcast
Listen to Simmons Under the Surface

Oct

11

Jenn Walker Wall '05 Makes Your Job Her Priority
We caught up with Jenn about how she became a career strategist and founded Work Wonders Careers.

Oct

3

Research and Recipes: Bringing Library Science to America's Test Kitchen
Araceli Hintermeister ’16MA/MS on her role as a Research Assistant at America’s Test Kitchen.

Sep

25

SLIS Community News, September 2018
Award winners, a new Library Director, and a Citizen of the Year

Sep

20

Campaigning for Social Justice with Sophie Hansen '16MSW
As Political Director for the National Association of Social Workers-MA, Sophie advocates for positive change.

Sep

19

Where Are They Now: Emina Zahirovic '14, '15MBA
Emina shares her experience as a Payment Processing Manager for Synapse Group, Inc.