Sheela Marshall loves a challenge.
"I love games," Marshall said. "I love competition." And she loves to win.
Her road to success was a long and tough journey that started 38 years ago when she immigrated from India. She was candid in speaking out about being sexually abused in her home country. "Because you go through experiences in life like that," Marshall said. "You get stronger. You really do."
She was living in Boston when her marriage to her husband deteriorated, and she ended up divorced. She landed in Dallas with two young daughters. "I remember having my two babies in my car in a car seat, and a trailer bed and my Toyota Camry, and I had $1 and I'm like, 'Wow. I'm on Webb Chapel with one dollar. What am I going to do?'" she said.
She took an accounting job to pay the bills and eventually became a real estate agent, but Marshall had a dream. "I had a passion for tequila," she said.
She wanted to start her own tequila company after first trying some when she lived in India. "I tasted the tequila and it was terrible," she said, "and I paid $35 for a shot of it."
Knowing she could do better, she shared her dream with her best friend Natalie Merrick. "So she wrote me a check for $2,000, which I still have not paid her back," Marshall said. "This was 13, 14 years ago."
With the money, she began researching how to launch a tequila line, but then she had another setback. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer and went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. "As a human you ask, 'Why me Lord. Why me?'" she said. "I was determined to say, 'Thank you God for choosing me.'"
She beat cancer and then she met her miracle, Brooke Marshall. "On our first date, I found out that he could speak, write, rap and curse in Spanish, and I said, 'Brooke, let's go to Mexico,'" Sheela said.
After multiple trips, they found a distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, that made 100 percent agave tequila. And so began Tequila Sheela.
She launched the company first in India, and then three years ago in Texas, and now she's about to open her first bar at Texas Live in Arlington. "It's very exciting," Sheela said. "Can you believe Sheela is here?"
Marshall turned 60 last month and wants people to know it's never too late to launch a company. "Like I said," Sheela said. "You have a passion and a dream. It can come true. Don't give up."
She wants people to know that if an immigrant woman who had to start all over again can make it, anyone can do it.