Val Connects the Dots…Career Transitions

LoudounWOJOSeptOct2015_Page_11When I reflect on my journey and where I am today, I realize how far I have travelled. My story has many happy endings through determination, a network of support from family and friends and solid financial means.

From Navy Junior to college grad, military wife and mother, divorced mother of three, remarriage, blended family, mother of five, grandmother of five and two careers, OH MY!!

Each challenge I have faced was both life-enhancing and significant. Growing up in a Navy family, I moved nearly every year to face a new neighborhood, school and the “butterflies” of joining a new community. This lifestyle prepared me to fit in with many groups and situations. Living abroad in Italy and Germany gave me new perspectives to appreciate different cultures – that differences are to be noted and valued for their uniqueness; not viewed as being superior or inferior.

My graduations from high school in Italy and college in Virginia seemed distant as I married an Army Officer at the age of 21 and we had three children in five years. I soon realized that I needed a better way for my children and me. Considering single parenthood with three young children and re-entering the workforce after 11 years as a homemaker, I courageously took the steps to dissolve my marriage. With the weight of making a decision that would affect so many, I know that to succeed, I needed financial stability for my children. I started my first career in Information Technology as a systems analyst, based on my education; a degree from The College of William & Mary in Business Management.

Divorce means financial setbacks and many years of recovery. I was 34 and entering a new career at entry-level wages. The child support helped pay the mortgage, but the rest was on me. I labored over my monthly budget, counting each penny while sitting at the kitchen table with my ledger. I felt sure that I could make as long as there were no emergencies.

Within the year, a promotion and new position at another firm allowed some breathing room. I doubled my salary in a year and caught up with my cohorts! Being a single parent was the most difficult challenge I have ever faced – working all day then coming home to work for another five hours. Yet, I was rewarded with growing strength and confidence. I felt invincible! In another 11 years, my entrepreneur career blossomed… to be continued.

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