Nicolette Teo is a UCLA grad, Olympic athlete and co-founder of L.A. Spirits Awards, a spirits competition that judges “from the perspective of a new generation of experts, by a fresh and diverse team that better reflects the look of the overall spirits industry.” As most judging panels are made up of white men, Nicolette committed to addressing those biases and ensuring hers were more inclusive. “We wanted to take advantage of the huge diversity in the talent pool and give these often overlooked individuals a platform to better serve our industry and consumers at large,” she says.
Nicolette is raising the bar and redefining the spirits competition industry, and that begins with full transparency. “I am a strong believer in integrity and impartiality — one of the core values at L.A. Spirits Awards is that our judging be as unbiased as possible,” says the Hall of Femme honoree. “[Its] managers only manage and its judges only judge. This policy is a cornerstone of my directorial philosophy.”
Prior to diving professionally into the wine and spirits industry, Nicolette was a three-time Olympic swimmer for her native Singapore. And when it comes to defining success, she adopts a quote from fellow athlete John Wooden: “Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
“I love and subscribe to this because it focuses on what you can control; it's about the effort one puts in and not just the results,” Nicolette says. “Life is unpredictable and can throw curveballs at you. External factors can disrupt your ability to achieve your desired outcome, and effort is the only thing that is truly in our control.”Find Nicolette on Twitter and Instagram.