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Tameka Everhardt, Home Instead (access required)

Tameka Everhardt, Home Instead <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/10/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

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.

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Lisa Qualls, Cunningham and Company Mortgage (access required)

Lisa Qualls, Cunningham and Company Mortgage <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/10/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

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.’”

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Dana Rader, Dana Rader Golf School (access required)

Dana Rader, Dana Rader Golf School <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/10/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

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.

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Stacey Randall, Randall Research (access required)

Stacey Randall, Randall Research <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/10/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

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.

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Rochelle Rivas, The Darton Group (access required)

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.

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LeeAnn Shattuck, Women’s Automotive Solutions (access required)

LeeAnn Shattuck, Women’s Automotive Solutions <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/10/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

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.

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Janet Singerman, Child Care Resources (access required)

Janet Singerman, Child Care Resources <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/10/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

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.

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Tricia Sisson, The Range at Lake Norman (access required)

Tricia Sisson, The Range at Lake Norman <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/10/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

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.

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