After 25 years in corporate, 11 spent at NASDAQ developing and running systems, including implementation of the internet, and then 12 years running my own business helping clients just like you design and bring their ideas & dreams to fruition, I know exactly what it takes to grow a wildly successful business and be a partner in your business growth.
I don’t just help businesses grow; I have the experience, knowledge and commitment to be a passionate and diligent partner-in-business – no matter the problem.
I’ve always been fascinated by history. Antiques, historical stories or places where history was made never cease to interest me.
When I was in my early teens I read books like ‘Andersonville’ or ‘Decisive Battles of the Civil War.’ I knew that it was important to understand the specifics of why and how something happened, was built or came to pass away.
I’m motivated by the backstory, understanding what’s behind the scenes.
Not surprisingly, I graduated from college with a degree in history. I was sure that I would get involved in historic preservation or museum curatorship.
But, as is so often the case for most of us, life ‘intervened’ and I instead found myself in New York City putting my husband through law school.
New York City wasn’t about glamour and the “high life” for me. I was working as a risk management analyst looking into insurance claim histories and trends. Yep, boring. But this “boring” position is where that unexpected opportunity came across my desk.
I was asked to select and implement the company’s first office automation system.
I wasn’t trained for this position, but I said ‘yes, not realizing the trajectory of my professional life had just changed.
And now, in retrospect, I know that this is where I learned one of the most important entrepreneurial lessons:
The international insurance brokerage house I worked for was sure different than that historical property or museum in which I envisioned wiling away my professional days!
But, really, was it so different if I thought about my core interest?
No, not really.
I was still finding out the ‘why’ and the ‘how’, putting the pieces together to understand and envision the full picture.
Remember my love for the backstory?
After this first job, my career path careened toward technology and analysis work, and as my experience grew, life picked up like a proverbial snowball, gaining more and more momentum with incredible opportunities based in technology.
Leaning into what I had learned earlier, I took the opportunities as they came.
I worked at NASD and Nasdaq for 11 incredible years during the ‘90s and the dot-com era.
I had a hand in setting up support departments, implementing nationwide systems and network infrastructures, researching new technologies like the Blackberry (yep, this was new technology at one point in time!), and introducing the company – in 1995 – to internet technologies (yes, like the Blackberry, at one point not too long ago the Internet was considered ‘new’ technology!).
The company’s mission inspired me to fervently seek and build bridges wherever there were gaps, to find strategic solutions and not just any solution. I strove to find and implement cutting-edge technologies and systems that also tied to NASDAQ’s holistic vision and services.
It was a pretty heady time with demanding management goals, multiple priorities, long hours and lots of travel.
As the dot-com era crashed in the late ‘90s, companies sought to outsource significant groups of technology staff, and, well, for me, major illness finally melted that snowball I had been riding along on for years.
I won’t claim that it was easy to ride the rollercoaster that severe illness can be. But it did let me begin to see what is ultimately another entrepreneurial lesion.
It was time for me to stop and recalibrate my ‘how’, and most importantly, my ‘why’ – it was time to revisit my backstory, and write my next chapter in the way I wanted it to play out.
The diagnosis was ulcerative colitis and it would be a major focus of my life for six grueling years.
Serious illness makes you consider what you have done in your life or what you are doing with it. So, it was with me.
I was at a crossroad, asking “what do I do?”
I needed to find work that would allow me to approach projects with ease and would allow me to balance my career and personal life – it sparked a new opportunity.
I decided to try my hand at consulting, something that I had always shied away from.
For the next 5 years, I was a vice president of technology solutions at a Washington, DC consultancy, and later a strategic and organizational development consultant for a New York firm.
In both positions, I was able to work with government agencies, large non-profits, and industry associations throughout the U.S.
I loved working with different clients in different places and industries because there was always something new to learn and piece together in order to address the clients’ needs or goals, both in the short and long term. And I especially liked the strategic discussions and planning.
But something was missing.
Having a role that allowed me to learn about various markets and business models was amazing.
Having my ideas succumb to lack of funding or picked apart by internal politics; not so much.
I was at a crossroads in my career – again.
I wanted to know that my work would matter, that what I recommended and presented to the client was going to get done, and that I could be there to help get it done.
And this is where the next lesson I learned popped in (even though I wouldn’t realize it until much later):
After 6 years of battling (and winning!) against a disease, I wasn’t just willing to settle at where I had landed.
We live in a world of moving pieces. Inevitably you, your clients or the marketplace will shift and you may need to also.
It became another puzzle to solve — so I began.
I didn’t feel the “pull” to contact colleagues and recruiters to start a job search.
As you can guess by now, I love to puzzle things out. I considered staying home, going back to school, and, finally, returning to the corporate world. But nothing seemed to get me out of my chair and take action.
But then two things happened: I read an article about virtual assistance and I was contacted by my state to participate in a program geared to people interested in starting a small business.
Now I was out of my chair! I have always been involved in finding solutions, providing support and making things happen.
This was a puzzle I wanted to work on!
I aimed to create a partnership with clients that were ready to make things happen and obtain tangible results. And the Internet gave me the chance to make these connections – with people, near and far, just like you.
I became an entrepreneur, a small business owner.
I had no experience as a business owner at that time. But, I enrolled in, what my Dad would say is the ‘school of hard knocks’ and I learned. I read, I listened and above all else, I executed my business plans, investing huge amounts of time, energy and money.
I graciously accepted the lows when a prospect said no, and I joyously celebrated the successes when I heard a yes.
In entrepreneurship I’ve learned that I have a purpose.
I help my clients – people just like you – discover how they most want to show up so that their voice and service can be the change that they unleash into the world.
This was the lesson that brought me to where I am today: