After her disappointing marriage ended during the 1970s, Alice Combs was determined to support her two young daughters and herself, so she took the advice of a savvy mentor: “Ask prospective customers what they need and can’t get, and then get it for them.”

As a result, Alice, undeterred by a former employer’s condescending pronouncement, “You’re not corporate material,” transformed herself from divorced mother on food stamps to successful entrepreneur. She learned details of the recycling trade and its need for baling wire, and overcame the novice mistakes she made while teaching herself to operate Vulcan Wire, which would grow into a multi-million-dollar business – despite an embezzling partner, cutthroat competitors, and several employees who proved unreliable when they were most needed.

Alice refused to be intimidated and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Her exceptional achievement in a traditionally male arena is an inspiration for all women who aspire to the heights of success in their chosen fields.


  • COVID business impact – resilience during a bad economy
  • Building a business in a man’s world as a female CEO
  • Female entrepreneurship / leadership
  • Empowering women in business
  • Sustaining a business over decades
  • Single motherhood as an entrepreneur
  • Maintaining hope amidst personal and business struggles


  • Paperback Book Day (July 30)
  • Senior Citizen’s Day (August 21)
  • Women’s Equality Day (August 26)
  • Self-Improvement Month (September)
  • Read a New Book Month (September)
  • World Gratitude Day (September 21)
  • Businesswomen’s Day (September 22)
  • National Book Month (October)
  • International Day of the Girl(October 11)
  • World Smile Day (October 2)
  • National Face Your Fears Day (October 20)


ALICE COMBS graduated from Cal State Hayward, where she earned a place on the Dean’s List. After a painful divorce, Alice took a variety of unrewarding jobs. She persevered through every obstacle; she taught herself to be a skilled entrepreneur and expert employer, and slowly developed her startup company, Vulcan Wire, into a thriving business. By Vulcan Wire’s forty-fifth year, it boasted $10 million in annual sales. Now semi-retired, she and her husband live on Mendocino County’s scenic north coast. One of her ongoing missions is to empower women to pursue careers in business, especially in a male-dominated industry.


“This engaging book is actually three books in one: the very personal story of a strong-willed lady’s family, friends, affairs and motivations; the unlikely founding of a real live business by a woman in a man’s world, and a useful primer on ‘how to be an entrepreneur.’”
– Midwest Book Review

“Anyone hoping to make a success in the highly competitive realm of small business can learn from Combs, and anyone who likes the motivational account of a woman’s rise to power in a man’s world will find the story of The Lady with Balls inspiring and educational.”
– Feathered Quill Reviews

“A far cry from the kiss-and-tell memoirs of dubious celebrities, Combs’ self-made path to success feels true to life; it’s the raw honesty with which she writes that will strike a chord with so many.”
– BookViral.com

“Alice Combs is a pistol! Back in the 70s, when women were still fighting for acceptance in the workplace, she created a business selling baling wire. She fought hard and long and smart. She really has balls – guts and determination. I was amazed by what she accomplished. It is a great read!”
– Cottage Country Reflections