Sometimes life throws you curveballs, but sometimes you throw them yourself. Tameka Everhardt had worked in the medical industry on the patient-care side for about 10 years when she decided to take a position as community service director, a marketing position.
Cheryl Pfeiffer is a bridge. Pfeiffer, owner of Fluent Language Solutions, was an interpreter in American Sign Language when she decided to open her own language company to help people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to communicate because of language barriers.
Lisa Qualls began her career the way none of us want to: with a gun pointed at her. “My first day of work, I got robbed at gunpoint, and I knew I didn’t want to be a teller anymore,” she said. “I started to absolutely make my mind up, ‘I’m going to the loan department.’ I looked around and … everybody was a man. All the women were behind the teller line. I very quickly realized ‘Oh, this is how it works.’”
Dana Rader was one of the best golfers at Pfeiffer University, but the school didn’t have a women’s team. So she joined the men’s team. Rader, a golf pro who founded the Dana Rader Golf School in 1987, walked onto the men’s golf team at the Charlotte university and became the No. 2 seed by her senior year, earning a golfing scholarship to Pfeiffer while she was there.
Passion is what drives Stacey Randall. Randall, the founder of Randall Research, was a journalism major who worked in a variety of different jobs before opening her own consulting firm with just about no experience in the area. That, to Randall, is what set her apart. Her appeal was that she wasn’t already stuck in the swamp that everyone else who had been a consultant for 30 years was.
Chicago native Rochelle Rivas worked her way up the corporate ladder with speed and efficiency, so she decided to create her own challenge. She, along with Mark Weber, decided to found financial staffing firm The Darton Group at the beginning of one of the worst recessions in American history. And she had never done this kind of work before.
Most people don’t leave six-figure corporate jobs to start small businesses in fields others don’t know exist. But then, LeeAnn Shattuck isn’t most people. Bored and disenchanted with the corporate world, Shattuck left her job in corporate America eight years ago to help start a business that was “literally a kitchen table idea.” That business is called Women’s Automotive Solutions.
Janet Singerman simply doesn’t have enough time. Singerman, the president of Child Care Resources, has worked in the nonprofit realm for her career, but she still isn’t sure on what she wants to focus the most. At the moment, she’s focusing on providing resources for early childcare development and education. The most important time in a person’s development is early childhood, she said.
Tricia Sisson was surprised to discover the most controversial part of the indoor-shooting range she was opening was the building’s color. Sisson, a national account manager for Clorox and the owner of The Range at Lake Norman, opened The Range in October 2011.
Melissa Swanson’s business was one of those that literally began at the kitchen table. Swanson, bored with working in the public relations department at a bank, decided to return to the food and beverage industry by working nights as a nanny and opening Occasion Catering in her spare time.