Growing up, I was fortunate to have hardworking parents who did everything they could to raise a family of six children. With strong Sicilian roots, our large, extended family get-togethers were weekly occurrences. Missing a family holiday dinner was unheard of. Family came first in anything and everything.
I remember seeing advertisements on TV with children who were less fortunate. It was hard for me at a young age to understand why other children did not have family or someone to care for them. I would always ask my parents if the children on TV could come live with us. We were not rich, but our family had a lot of love. While it never happened, it stuck with me, and I grew up saying, “One day, I am going to help those children.”
The lead-up to delivering on my self-promise
Fast forward. I attended college to become a teacher. Like many others, I paid my way through college by working in the hotel and restaurant industry, and I quickly fell in love with it. I knew this was the path for my future. I spent more than 15 years in management, meeting and working with incredible people. I met my husband, my closest friends, and people I consider forever family. This was my new life. Fridays were my Mondays. And just like that, 15 years flew by working 60-70 hours a week, including nights, weekends, holidays, and 24-hour shifts at times. It was my norm, and I was ok with it.
Then, seven years ago, after several years of challenges in trying to have a child and having a miscarriage, my husband and I were finally expecting a healthy baby boy. A couple of weeks before our son’s due date, I came to the realization that either my husband or I had to part ways with the hospitality industry.
I just could not wrap my head or heart around having a child and having other people raise him, especially considering the way I grew up. However, I didn’t have the first inkling of where to transition professionally after working in restaurants for so long. Well, the answer came fast.
My new career and our son arrived in unexpected ways
A new restaurant manager I was training suggested that I consider the recruiting and staffing industry and referred me to someone he knew at Goodwin Recruiting. I went home and set up a call with his contact referral. The next day, I went for a routine checkup with my doctor and was immediately put on bed rest due to complications. Our son arrived a couple of days later – six weeks early! At that point, I felt my only option was to pursue this new opportunity in recruiting that I knew little to nothing about.
Aligning with Goodwin Recruiting as a partner in talent acquisition was the best decision I could have made. It gave me so much more than any other company could offer. I had the opportunity to develop and grow my own business while staying connected to the industry I loved. Hospitality recruiting is one of their specialties. Most importantly, it allowed my husband and me to follow through on the promise I made to myself when I was a little girl, to help children in need of a family and love. We became foster parents and caregivers!
Our foster child was only four days old when he arrived. Before he came to us, we were told multiple times that he would be transferring to a foster home to be closer to his biological mother, who lived about an hour away. Months went by, and he remained with us. Before we knew it, he became eligible for adoption, and we became his adoptive parents. During the adoption process, we ended up having a third child. Within one year, we went from having one boy to three boys, all four years and under.
Doing what I love – personally and professionally
What is mind-blowing about all of this is that I was able to continue to work full-time and enjoy nights, holidays, and weekends with my children – and exceed my salary expectations.
Not once have I had to explain my home schedule or worry about the stability of my employment. I have not only felt comfortable in following through with what is important to me personally, but I have also had an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement from company leadership and my colleagues. Goodwin has a culture that is second to none. I am truly blessed and honored to be part of such an amazing company with a diverse and phenomenal group of people and great clients.
I often think back on the timing of it all. What are the chances? I had no idea that fateful day was to be my last in restaurant operations, the same day Goodwin Recruiting was mentioned to me – or that the combination of those two things would push me to take this leap of faith.
Follow the path that is meant for you and hold your head high while doing so. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and maybe some unexpected curves in the road, but I can say from experience that they are there to get you where you need to be.
Welcome the journey! And if entrepreneurship and the freedom to build your own business sounds good to you, I encourage you to explore recruiting, too!