The man who shot her, convicted double murderer Bobby E. Bowden, 64, of Fayetteville, N.C., is in the midst of a court fight that may set him free after 38 years in prison. The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled a few days ago that he had served his time under sentencing guidelines.
The news about her mother’s terrible tragedy gave me a new appreciation of Hurley, 55. The story came to be about a tenacious woman who scraped and fought to get an education and accomplish something. Now she owns a successful business and makes a lot more than most journalists I know.
She did it mostly without help from her father, who exited her life following her mother’s death.
“He lost his way,” she said.
So from the age of 17 on, which is how old she was when her mother died, Hurley essentially grew up without parents. I was still on an allowance at 17.
The tragedy might have redirected the life of someone else. But Hurley is nothing if not scrappy. She has been a college dropout, a travel agent, a waitress, a library worker.
She said she learned it from her mom, who sold Tupperware, gave art lessons and was a substitute teacher until she landed in real estate, where she showed a knack for sales.
“She was always doing something,” Hurley said.
Hurley followed suit. She married, gave birth to a son in 1984 and eventually earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
For the next few years, she worked as a teaching assistant in Wilmington, but the heavy load of classes and difficult commute took its toll.
“I was working my butt off for $18,000 a year,” she said. “I was teaching four classes, my son was 10 and I drove 31
2 hours for my PhD a couple of times a week.”
She decided to go into business for herself.
She focused on PPD, a giant worldwide pharmaceuticals company headquartered in Wilmington. She called. And called. And called.
One thing I have learned as a reporter is that persistence is everything. It’s the most important key to success. If you make 100 calls, a couple will get returned. Same with sales, same with job hunting. And Hurley gets that.
“I called anyone at PPD who would listen to me,” she said. “It was over the course of a year, and I was calling once a week. I’m very tenacious. You have to be. That old adage, ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is true. You have to keep reminding people that you are around.”
She finally broke through at PPD when someone called her back and told her they needed help. She sent a 10-page proposal detailing what she could bring to the company, and received a contract that included teaching all new PPD employees to write internal documents.