An Unusual Path To A New Business

Understanding the value of stepping away from a large corporation to build a Hispanic business
An Unusual Path

Like many Hispanic business people Fortune 500 companies are great to work with until they interfere with your core values. That’s the situation I found myself in September 2001. The dot-com bust was still making its way through corporate America, the Enron debacle was about to hit the fan and the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists killing thousands. Because New York City was my hometown, 9/11 hit me hard. Add to that a second divorce and it’s no wonder a deep personal quest ignited within me.

As the economy fell apart, I began to notice things about my job that no longer worked for me. Each morning upon arriving in the parking lot at the Monarch building in Buckhead, the sophisticated financial hub of Atlanta, a ritual of makeup readjustment as I wiped the tears to take on another day of area manager duties became the norm. That’s when I knew something had to change. I could not go on another day.

The choice to leave behind a bright career with an S&P Company, five weeks of vacation, a six-and-a-half figure income, solid benefits and the “security” of a stable company – all things most single moms would have died to have – was not made lightly. My friends thought it was crazy, mostly because I had two teen-age sons in high school and was raising them alone. But when your source of joy is threatened, you must take action, and you must take it now.

The Porn Connection

Shortly after resigning I was at the Brio restaurant in Buckhead for a lunch interview with the president of a company that had acquired a patent for an airport security technology, a hot commodity item for the times. The interview was for a VP of Sales position, a job I could do with my eyes closed.

As I sat on a bench outside the restaurant waiting for my interviewer, the warm October day enveloped me—its Indian summer sunlight beaming down on my bare shoulders. I felt alive and renewed, free from the reins of a company that was so focused on numbers they forgot about the people. The freedom to pursue my dreams was finally mine although I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. There was a thought to get out of recruiting lurking in my head and it seemed the right thing to do. A new resume and direction were in order. But today was about exploring and I had no expectations one way or the other.

Lily Winsaft
Lily Winsaft
As CEO and Founder of Aldebaran Associates, Ms. Winsaft focused her 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience to create a company dedicated to addressing the hiring and training challenges facing corporations and professionals in the 21st Century. The firm provides highly selective recruiting services for fortune 500 companies in the consumer goods, advertising, marketing, legal, accounting, information technology and non-profit sectors. Given her notoriety in the Hispanic community and among international organizations, her firm plays a major role in boosting organizational diversity and in the placement of candidates at companies transacting business in Latin America or selling products and services to the U.S. Hispanic consumer segment.

Featured Items