Co-Owner of BK Research Solutions
Little did I know that when I decided to leave The Pillsbury Company at the ripe old age of 27 and go with a new market research consulting firm, that it would be a lifetime commitment. Custom Research Inc. (CRI) was started in 1976 and I was part of the original seven people who started with the firm (three partners and four of us who were employees). After an exciting and successful career as part of the Leadership Team at CRI which included winning the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and functioning as the EVP in charge of Client Services, my job was suddenly eliminated in 2006. The Partners, wishing to retire, had sold CRI to a German company (GfK) and GfK eliminated my function in Minneapolis, replacing it with a person already on board in New York.
I was set up with Right Management to handle my outplacement and job transition. Since I had been in the same career all of my life, and with the same company for the majority of it, I wanted to take some time to determine what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was 56 years old, my third child was just finishing her last year of college, and my husband and I felt we had some flexibility in what we required for income.
The counselor at Right Management was leading me towards a more traditional outplacement, looking for a position similar to what I had. I knew that was not what I wanted, but wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. I then attended a Career Transition workshop put on by George Dow and was completely inspired. The workshop helped me to think about this time of my life in sections—work life, family life, and volunteer life. I knew exactly how I wanted to proceed and what I wanted to do.
Working with George, I set up a market research consulting business with a partner, went on the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association and began volunteering with the Jeremiah Program, and started spending a day a week with my daughter and grandchildren. The three parts of my life are fully in balance and I couldn’t be more fulfilled. The recession has had a small impact on my business but I am learning to live with the financial uncertainty, which to me is worth the tradeoff for the flexibility and balance in my life! I really credit my transition to George. He gave me the inspiration to create a balanced life and the confidence to pursue my dreams.