The Mid-Career Jump

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These women weren't afraid to step away from a role to take on something different. How did they decide what to do when they came to a fork in the career road?

Jennifer Jurgens | Owner, 1 Bold Step

The first fork came when I left for-profit to initially work on my own and start my consultancy, 1 Bold Step. This happened in 2011, when life threw me a curve ball: breast cancer. A game-changer like that would make anyone reassess their priorities! I quit my job, only knowing I wanted my work to really matter.

My business model was centered around helping companies with a goal other than just making money. I wanted to be part of something bigger than profit; to do well myself and do good for others. Then a recruiter approached me about a chance to become Susan G. Komen's new executive director. It was the year I themed "heart over head." I shuttered 1 Bold Step and leapt again at that chance to do more—though I had no idea what it meant to run a nonprofit.

I spent some time pondering my latest leap, back into the world of independent consulting, and I think there's something women should realize: It's natural and normal that our goals and aspirations change as we grow older. It's even been proven that we start to explore the opposite sides of our personality types in mid-life. Being open to change creates an environment where opportunities present themselves, one after another.

Instead of fearing the unknown, embrace it. I'm excited to embrace my return to 1 Bold Step: setting my own rules, living by my values, helping others succeed.

Julie Marklevitz | Executive Assistant & Donor Relations Manager, SpringHill

After almost 20 years in the accounting and financial industry, I was feeling called to a bigger purpose. As an Office & Regional Marketing Manager at Rehmann, I really enjoyed working with people and supporting them administratively. I gained a lot of wonderful experience and was successful, but God was nudging at my heart to use my gifts to help others in a different, more meaningful way. I started exploring options in the nonprofit sector and quickly realized what a huge need there is at many inspiring organizations in West Michigan. After praying and a lot of research I was led to SpringHill. Their mission is to glorify God by creating life-impacting experiences that enable young people to know Jesus Christ and grow in their relationship with Him.

I grew up attending camp, which had a big influence on my faith. The more I learned about SpringHill, the more I knew I could be used in it—God opened the door for me. I never in a million years thought I'd be working at a Christian camp, but here I am! And I love it. I learn new things every day, work with young people, and am part of an organization making a difference in kid's lives. It's rewarding to give back this way.

Tamara Rosier, Ph.D. | Founder, ADHD Center of West Michigan

I made a mid-career change because the position as Academic Dean at Kuyper College was eliminated. Although it was a sudden shift, I used it as an opportunity to re-evaluate what I really loved doing. I looked at where my passions and expertise met: learning, leadership and facilitating personal growth in others.

I began investing more time in the leadership development company my husband and I founded years earlier. I gained confidence in my ability to understand issues within an organization and align people and processes to meet strategic goals. I enjoy facilitating meaningful discussions among teams that improve communication and working relationships. My direct style of communication was an asset as I gave feedback.

My friends, Drs. Chris and Oren Mason, suggested I look into the ADHD coaching field. "Is that a thing?" I remember asking. Sure enough, it was a real field. Now, I'm president of ADHD Coaches Organization. I founded ADHD Center of West Michigan, working with individuals—across their life span—and families as they build an understanding of ADHD and learn effective strategies and skills for managing symptoms. From elementary to retirement, individuals need support as they learn to live effectively with their ADHD.

I now work in both companies and am delighted with the life I've created. I have flexibility in my schedule to spend time with my family.

Written by Amy L Charles, Editorial Director for West Michigan Woman.


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