By Peter Viele Jul 01, 2016
Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our American Independence. It’s a time to spend barbequing in our backyards, watching fireworks, enjoying time with loved ones and recognizing that we get to enjoy many amazing freedoms in our country. Our N2 Area Directors are a great example of living out those freedoms and, for some, their role at N2 has provided more freedom with a new, more rewarding professional life than they ever imagined… even when opportunities seemed to be dwindling.
Here’s Washington, D.C. Area Director, Sarah Taylor’s personal story, in her own words.
A Seasoned Professional
Prior to N2, I enjoyed a 35-year career in radio sales and management, which included a seven-year stint as VP/General Manager of a CBS-owned, classic rock radio station in Washington D.C. I left this position to take some time to be with my two boys, who were 7 and 12 at the time. Within a couple of months I was contacted by another radio station in D.C. that wanted to hire me. When asked what I wanted to do I said, “Work part-time.” Thus, I became part of a radio sales job-share, with a radio colleague and longtime friend of mine. We each worked three days a week and were very successful as a team. We worked together for six years at three different radio stations in the market. I left radio in 2008, when an opportunity to become a business owner presented itself and I started a home care company for seniors.
In Adversity, An Opportunity
After being audited by the VA Employment Commission I learned that to continue my home health care business I would have to totally change my business model, so I began to look for a job; something I had never really done before. Thinking that my resume looked very impressive, I was totally dismayed when I couldn’t even get an interview. At 58, I felt like I was too old to be considered as a viable job candidate. Simultaneously, my closest friend from age 12, Chary Southmayd introduced me to N2 Publishing, where she is an Editor. Soon I became her personal recruit. I was attracted to N2 for several reasons, most importantly the opportunity to run my own business with the support of a company with a proven track record. I liked the idea of working both independently and collaboratively, the flexibility and the potential income a successful Area Director could make. My friend reassured me, saying that the Area Directors of a Florida publication she worked with were older than me and doing very well. I recognized N2 as a company where even someone approaching 60 has the opportunity to start a new career.
Support and Encouragement
Once I was recruited, I was really impressed with how structured and professional the company is as far as training and support. I had been through a lot of training programs over the years but hadn’t attended any that were as informative, buttoned-up, motivating and fun as the three days I spent in my initial N2 training session in Chicago. The one-on-one support that followed was amazing. I’m not sure I would have made it to print without the ongoing encouragement and tutelage from my Market Director and fellow Area Directors.
From Setback to Comeback
At my first N2 conference in September ‘14, I roomed with another Area Director candidate close to me in age. We quickly became good friends. She had gone to training a couple of months before me and was farther along in getting to print than I was, but we pledged to get to deadline by the end of the year so we could walk across the N2 stage together at the January conference. By the beginning of December, I was really concerned that I would not get to print by my deadline. I was just short of my goal and felt incredibly discouraged: so much so that I was going to throw in the towel… but I didn’t. With encouragement from my Market Director, my teammates, and my sons, coupled with belief in myself, grit, and a lot of faith, I experienced my Christmas miracle. I made six sales in a week, hit my goal and target deadline and walked across the stage in January with my friend.
A Rewarding Decision
During the two years I have been with the company, I have met some incredible and interesting people and established wonderful friendships within N2, my neighborhoods, and with many of my clients. The comradery is most rewarding. I am making more money than I thought I would, and have achieved some things that I feel very good about. For example, I now have two successful publications (which was not in my original plan) and I made a really cool corporate partnership with a large insurance company that provided a huge opportunity within 18 other N2 publications, with the potential of expanding into N2 publications across the country.
My neighborhood in Bethesda, MD., and my neighborhood in upper Northwest D.C., are filled with diverse and captivating residents. I have met ambassadors, political pundits, scientists, artists, doctors, and NY Times bestselling authors. They love the publications that bring us together as a community.
During the Fourth of July, there will be lots of events in the nation’s capital, including a nationally televised concert and fireworks on the Mall. But within my D.C. Kent neighborhood, which is part of the larger Palisades community, there is a Fourth of July parade that has become a hot spot in the city where people can experience a small town Fourth of July vibe.
The parade, which has been running since 1966, concludes with a picnic and neighborhood celebration complete with hot dogs, watermelon, pony rides and a moon bounce. The event is attended not only by residents, but it has become a tradition for DC politicians as well. “It’s got a patriotic quality about it,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray, wearing a white polo shirt, jeans and sneakers and greeting residents before last year’s parade.
As publisher of The Kent Connection, it is certainly how I will be celebrating July 4th … with camera in hand!
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