Leaving the Corporate World

Many women start their entrepreneurial journey because the corporate world doesn’t allow them the flexibility to care for their loved ones the way they want to.

One of my favourite photos of my husband Heinz and our daughter, Iliana.

I left my job as VP Marketing a Toronto hotel company in the spring of 1998. Actually I was sad to leave because it had been my dream corporate job. Leaving felt a bit like I was throwing in the towel, that I “couldn’t hack” what was expected of me: put in the hours, travel, be available whenever the owners were in town, be at their beck and call…

Deep down I knew it was for the best; I had a one-year old daughter and I wanted more control over my professional and personal schedule.

For the first year of my entrepreneurial career, we stayed in Toronto and I did contract work (an early adopter of the “gig economy!”); my husband Heinz continued in his position as Executive Chef at a hotel downtown.  But soon I also wanted out of a city that was becoming too busy, too scary.

A year later, in May 1999, we sold our townhouse, packed up and moved four hours East, to the little town of Alexandria, Ontario. At first I was so relieved we made the move! Just the week before there had been a shooting just a few blocks from our home.  The city just wasn’t where I wanted to raise our precious baby.

In the process I had convinced my husband Heinz to quit his job. He was fortunate to get a contract from his former employer that would provide us a steady enough income while we got our little consulting practice off the ground (the idea being I would consult on hospitality sales and marketing projects, while he would do food & beverage consulting work).

I remember spending that entire summer of 1999 scared that we had made a huge mistake! I was at home, with a baby, and no work was coming in for ME. How could we afford that? Surely I would “fall behind” professionally and everyone would forget about me in Toronto… Plus I felt guilty that I wasn’t enjoying my time with my toddler more than I was.

How could I be such a selfish mom and think of work while I could be with my darling girl? Why was I so angry that my husband could go off every other week, back to the city, and be a professional consultant?

I was torn, between love and business.

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