Terry M. Giles never gives up. He believes in empowering people to dream their dreams and to set their minds to accomplishing those dreams. Just like he did. The Horatio Alger Award winner grew up in a loving, but impoverished family in St. Louis, Missouri. Born on July 3, 1948, Giles attended 21 schools in a 10-year period, settling in long enough to earn a debate scholarship to the University of California at Fullerton,
later earning his law degree from Pepperdine University. He also served with the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1976 during the back half of the Vietnam conflict.
Giles credits his mother for not resting on his laurels. He often said that although he never grew up with lots of material things, his mother gave him the gift of will and discipline. Keeping in mind his mother’s wisdom that positive thoughts could help him accomplish whatever goals he set for himself, Giles went on to establish or acquire 35 businesses, including a large West Coast criminal law firm, Landmark Education and Giles Enterprises, now a holding company for his family’s involvement in everything from banking to computers to travel. The investment firm is located in Houston, Texas. Some of his past businesses associations have ranged from food and entertainment, intellectual property and property development as well as manufacturing.
Giles has always managed to attract high-powered clients, especially during his tenure in law, of which he is now retired. Some of those clients have included Richard Pryor, Kenneth Lay, J. Howard, Marshall III and Martin Luther King Jr.’s remaining children during a much-noted familial dispute
regarding the corporation set up to control Dr. King’s intellectual property at the King Center.
Debate has always been the forefront of Giles’ success. He doesn’t believe that he would have accomplished all that he has without his undergraduate debate team participation. He unequivocally believes that debate organized his thoughts and helped him to think on his feet creating the positivity and the mindset to become a successful lawyer and businessman. Fullerton debaters have felt his presence through the years and he works with young debaters to support them as they continue their collegiate and business careers. Giles, a young man starting off with meager means is now a multi-millionaire, who, with his wife, Kalli O'Malley, lives in Houston, but owns a home in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and a French chateau that is well over 1,000 years old.
Well-versed in crisis management, the ubiquitous businessman knows that money isn’t the key to his happiness. He enjoys giving back to the communities that helped lift him up, giving him the tools to create the opportunity for success in his life. His life is a fairy tale of rags to riches through perseverance and the power of positive thinking. And behind it all was a mother who knew how to instill that empowerment in her children…and now he in his children.
- Horatio Alger Award winner (youngest in the history of the award)
- Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, board of directors
- The National Cabinet of Guideposts, member
- Giles Enterprises, owner, chairman and president, 2000-present
- Landmark Education Corporation chair and director, 2000-2005.
- Giles & O’Malley, law firm principal, Houston, Texas
- Pacific Biometrics Inc., director (resigned, 2004)
- Kast Telecom, director
- Pepperdine University Board of Regents
- Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management, Rice University, Council of Overseers
- University Cancer Foundation Board of Visitors
- Anderson Cancer Center Executive Committee of M.D.