When I first was asked to explain why I am a “Bene Boss,” and began writing this article, I thought it would be an easy assignment to complete. I was wrong.
As I started to type out my story I found myself deleting the words on my screen. Every time I deleted a word it was because I filled my head with thoughts of inadequacy and started asking myself, “What makes my story unique? There are tons of women out there who have gone through more than I have and have overcome bigger hurdles than I ever have.
That’s when I realized that regardless of how big or how small you believe your impact is, the important thing to note is that you made an impact. We each have our own story and we must own it. We also create our story and have the freedom to tell a new one at any point.
My story is about a girl who grew up in Iowa and had a dream to one day make it in the big city of Chicago.
Since I was young, whether it was setting up Kool-Aid stands in the summer (along with my brother and a neighborhood friend) or it was playing shop in my parents basement where my friends and I would use monopoly money to buy and sell things, I always had a desire to ‘play business’
My parents played a massive role in my success. Growing up my siblings and I were expected to work and pay for the things we wanted whether it was for a cell phone, car, gas for the car, car insurance in order to drive the car, college, you name it.
Being young and immature at the time, I held slight bit of resentment toward my parents for this. As I’ve gotten older I am utterly thankful for what I learned by being independent. It has allowed me to prove to myself that I can make it, I can stand on my own two feet and be fearless when it comes to stepping outside my comfort zone.
I finished in fours years and left with a degree in finance and a certificate in entrepreneurial management. I picked up and moved two hours west of Iowa City to start my career at Target in their stores as an Executive Team Leader (a fancy term for manager).
I describe my experience at Target as “boot camp” for recent college graduates. There were dark days but there were also great days. I worked with amazing peers, some of whom, to this day, I still consider best friends, and my capacity for understanding people and ability to lead a team grew exponentially.
About six months in I started realizing that the job wasn’t for me and I needed to get out. My co-workers and friends thought I was crazy to leave because of high compensation, competitive benefits, and a development plan that would lead to a six-figure salary by the age of 26. After all that I still couldn’t deny that I was unhappy, felt trapped, and craved more out of life.
I was back and forth on actually wanting to leave Target four months prior to me officially leaving which was in June of 2012. One day I would be completely certain about leaving and the next I would think “This isn’t THAT bad, I can do this.”
I would try to convince myself that what I was going through was normal and would happen anywhere I’d go. I would also get nervous at the thought of leaving my comfort zone and freak myself out.
I sat at my kitchen table, ate dinner in the dark and cried. It was that moment that I made the DECISION to leave Target, for good. No wavering, my mind was made up. I felt it. I believed it and there was no doubt that it was time to move on. I started applying for jobs the next day and had an interview with a third party agency that was hiring recruiters to work for Wells Fargo.
I applied and was given an offer within a week. I put my two weeks in and say goodbye to my life at Target.
Working at Wells Fargo gave me at least 20 hours of my life back each week. I took a significant pay cut and had no benefits but it was well worth it. I was able to workout on a regular basis, have my weekends off and, more importantly, it gave me the space and time to network and really figure out what it was that I wanted from life.
During the transition from Target to Wells Fargo I attended a conference called Succeed Faster, a conference intended for college students and recent graduates. It was there that I met Chad Carden who is the owner of The Carden Group. His company works with clients from ATT to Kansas University Medical Center, Weight Watchers and more to help improve culture through changing behaviors and shifting mindset.
After he spoke I approached him and told him “I want to do what you do,” and I wasn’t backing down. I continued to network with Chad and his team for the next 9 months; making phone calls, learning the business and attending trainings. In April 2012 I got a call from Chad and he gave me an opportunity to be a freelance consultant on his team to work with ATT.
I’ve spent the past three and a half years networking with consulting groups similar to The Carden Group staffing projects and have had the opportunity to travel the world and experience different cultures all because I stepped outside my comfort zone.
This past January myself and two other lovely women launched a podcast called She Did It Her Way. She Did It Her Way began as an outlet for curiosity and turned into a fascinating medium to learn from women who hustle hard, inspire through their personal stories, and are beautifully authentic in every aspect of their life and business. Every week we reach and inspire over thousands of listeners with the show.
I am a Bene Boss because I am fearless, I am tenacious, and I am determined.