Three Women Who Have Made Successful Career Changes
We all know the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Well, sometimes motherhood invents a new necessity for moms. In my case, my entire business was inspired by motherhood. Before starting FIT4MOM, I was the General Manager at a multi-million dollar health club. I loved working in the fitness industry but struggled with having to leave my baby each day to go to work. So I created an alternative career path for myself that fit who I wanted to be as a mom and through FIT4MOM, I was fortunate to also be able to pay it forward to 300 other mompreneurs with a business opportunity that supports every stage of motherhood.
Through this journey, I have met hundreds of women who made huge career changes after becoming moms. For some, they realized that the hours and demands didn’t support motherhood. For others, they were inspired to do something different, to make more of an impact.
Here are three stories of incredible women who have also taken a leap of faith and made inspiring pivots in their careers:
Erin DiNicola, FIT4MOM Franchise Owner in Charleston
Prior to becoming a FIT4MOM owner in Charleston, SC, Erin was a United States diplomat serving our country overseas in Vietnam and Afghanistan. She served in many posts for the Department of State, including Acting Spokesperson for the Africa Bureau. In this capacity, she spoke to media about the State Department’s position on issues related to Africa, set up press roundtables and arranged high-level interviews for White House and State Department senior officials, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State John Kerry and former President Barack Obama.
Erin’s path to FIT4MOM ownership started when her dear friend and successor in Afghanistan, Anne, was killed while serving. On her last day in Afghanistan, Erin was running late to meet the armored convoy that would take her to the airport to return to the U.S. Erin quickly hugged Anne on her way out and told her that they would catch up when she was also back stateside. Nine months later, Anne was killed by a suicide bomber at age 25 while delivering books to children. They would never have that chance to catch up and Erin was devastated at the loss of her friend. It was a life changing event.
For years, Erin had been entirely focused on work and on advancing her career. But now she felt called to shift focus from collecting professional accolades to building the family life that she had always wanted, but had put off for so long. Erin married an active duty Army officer, and soon after, she was pregnant. When Erin’s husband received orders from the Army to transfer to a different state, she decided to take a temporary leave of absence from the U.S. Department of State.
Erin discovered FIT4MOM when started taking classes when her son was three months old. She became an instructor and taught Stroller Strides, FIT4BABY and Stroller Barre for FIT4MOM. She decided to pursue FIT4MOM as her full-time career and officially resigned her commission from the State Department. A day later, she purchased FIT4MOM Charleston and she’s never looked back.
“Women are the backbone of our society and FIT4MOM’s low cost to franchise entry and extensive back-end support ensure that we have the tools and resources that we need to be successful as business owners, women and as moms,” said Erin.
Every morning, Erin wakes up to her family. She then goes to work where she meets so many beautiful, strong moms and shares her passion for motherhood and fitness. On a daily basis, she is an example of living each day to its fullest and never being afraid to redefine yourself.
Liz Bentley, founder of Liz Bentley Associates
Liz Bentley is the founder of Liz Bentley Associates, a consulting firm specializing in leadership development programs for both individuals and companies. Drawing upon her background in psychology, 10 years of experience in sales and management, and as an athlete in competitive sports, Liz has a unique appreciation of mindset and the power it has to change patterns of behavior.
Before her company and before motherhood, Liz worked in television selling advertising. When she had her first child, Teddy, she was working in sales at Conde Nast. It was intense and very stressful. Liz managed 15 offices and had 45 sales people reporting to her. She eventually resigned because it felt like she had two jobs: her “work” job and her “mom” job. She felt strongly that she needed to learn how to do the mom job. So for a while, she chose to stay home and did all the mom things. But after her third baby, she missed being in the professional world. She knew there was something out there that would be the right fit for her new life, but didn’t quite know what it would look like.
“Then my friend told me about how he worked with a coach. It changed his life and in that moment, everything changed for me. I kept hearing similar stories about these high level executives hiring coaches. As an athlete, I always had coaches and as a psych major, I loved to study human beings. I heard NYU had a great coaching program so I signed up, got my degree and started my coaching business.”
Liz now works with C-Suite corporate executives and entrepreneurs within companies of all sizes, including Microsoft, Hearst, Wells Fargo, PricewaterCoopers, and many more. She helps organizations boost their leadership, transform their culture, plan for leadership succession, and onboard more effectively.
Liz loves the quality of her life as a working mom. She’s out in the world. She has interesting stories. Her kids are are so motivated that two of them want to work for her. She feels that work enhances her ability to be a good parent, and that her example will instill in her children to do what they love. She is now the breadwinner of the family. Lots of women do what they love but many don’t do what they love and financially thrive.
Jill Simonian, TheFabMom®
Before becoming a mom, Jill worked as a full-time entertainment journalist and television host. This included long hours (nights and weekends too) and travel on a moment’s notice. It was a fast-paced lifestyle that required focus and hustle. She loved it and actually freaked out when she discovered she was pregnant because she knew that chapter of her career could not continue (with sanity) with a new baby.
Jill still works in media and television, but on a more manageable scale and on her terms. Now, she is a hybrid of many things she loves to do. She is the founder of The Fab Mom. She is a writer for various parenting websites; a TV Personality; and an author. Her debut book for first-time moms was released last year — The FAB Mom’s Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby.
Jill began her shift into blogging and digital media the month before she delivered her first baby in 2010. She attended digital media conferences and started networking for opportunities. Eventually she landed her first on-camera job in the online mom niche. From that point on, she blogged during baby’s nap time, ramped up her social media and tried to learn as much as she could about this new industry that was rapidly growing online at the time.
“I love that I get to be at home with my kids in the afternoons, that I can take them to and from school without too much stress about ‘getting to work on time,’ and that I’m the first one they talk to when they get in the car to come home,” said Jill.
Jill feels her children are thriving and more confident not only because she is available as a mom, but also because she is modeling what a self-made businesswoman looks like — one who is in control of how much she works and when.
Shifting careers is not always easy to do, but these women prove that there is no one path to take. What felt right yesterday may not work today. With 70% of moms working full time, more than ever women are looking to blaze their own trail. Sometimes that trail needs to take another direction. It’s never too late to make a move. How has your own vision of success shifted as you’ve entered new stages of your life?
This guest post was authored by Lisa Druxman
Lisa is the founder of FIT4MOM, the nation’s leading company for pre and postnatal health, wellness, and fitness programs. FIT4MOM has created business opportunities for moms nationwide, with more than 300 franchisees and 1,000 locations across the U.S.
In addition to leading her team at FIT4MOM, Lisa is a noted speaker, author, podcaster and powerhouse of energy. A self-proclaimed mom boss, Lisa is passionate about paying it forward and empowering other women in life and business.
Druxman earned her Master’s degree in psychology from San Diego State University. She created the weight management program, L.E.A.N. Mommy® (Learn Eating Awareness and Nutrition), which is also the name of her first book.
Druxman has written on business for Entrepreneur and on motherhood for magazines such as Fit Pregnancy, Shape and more. Druxman has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, Access Hollywood and Home & Family, to name a few.
Druxman lives and relishes the FIT4MOM mission statement every day.
“Helping moms make strides in fitness, motherhood and life.”
She resides in San Diego with her husband, son and daughter.