Magazine article Working Mother

New Ventures

Magazine article Working Mother

New Ventures

Article excerpt

My story: After nearly two decades climbing ladders in corporate America, I was at the top of my game. I was the executive vice president of sales and marketing and chief financial officer for The Dallas Morning News. I had a comfortable expense account and access to box tickets to the Dallas Mavericks. But after a while, what I didn't have was passion for my job. I had a wonderful career but needed change. Call it what you will: burnout, maybe-I just wasn't happy. So I resigned.

I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur, but I didn't want to start a business in my basement-that just wasn't me. I'd heard, though, that if I went to work for a business that had been bought out by a private equity firm, I could run a company without having to start one from scratch. That just might be me.

A former colleague was on the board of PrimeSource, which is the nation's tenth-largest food service equipment distribution company and supplies nearly 19,000 restaurants in 47 countries. He called me and asked if I would be interested in running the company, which had recently been acquired by a private equity firm. Although I knew nothing about food service equipment, I had an extensive background in finance and operations. After long conversations with myself, I decided to take the leap.

In June 2003, 1 accepted the position of president. My actual salary was lower than I was used to, but if I performed well, I could ultimately make a lot more than I could working for someone else. I went on to become CEO in 2004 and chairman of the board of directors in 2006. PrimeSource's executive board offered me performance-based cash incentives as well as equity ownership and the ability to purchase additional equity in the company.

It was a challenge at first. I had to get used to overseeing everything from day-to-day operations to the conception of our overall business strategy - and solving all sorts of problems myself. When we had a tax issue the first year, I thought, WeM, we'll just send it to the tax department. Then I remembered that we didn't have one. On the other hand, I had the freedom to set strategy, invest for the future, pursue new lines of business and build a great team. So far, it's going well. …

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