Rhonda Stoughton uses words like thrilling, exciting and fascinating to describe her new career as a managing partner in a local high technology firm. After working for more than twenty-five years in human resources Rhonda reinvented her career. It is a situation many mid-life professionals find themselves in as the economy continues to grow slower than it has in past decades. Rhonda and her adult son, Tom Stoughton, are co-managing partners of aSimpleReminder.com (ASR), a mobile phone marketing and reminder service that utilizes text messaging technology.
“I really enjoyed working for a large company and I loved my job in human resources,” says Rhonda when asked about making the change from Corporate America to a startup. As an entrepreneur both mother and son agree, “You have to be willing to look at business differently.” She explained that in adopting the mind-set of an entrepreneur she had to adjust to being more agile in making decisions. “In a big company decision-making can take weeks or months. Tom and I have to be comfortable making decisions in hours,” according to Rhonda.
Margie Beiswanger, a life coach and owner of Indianapolis-based, Fulfilled Life Design, says a combination of factors is motivating people to reinvent their careers.
“The idea of aging is changing. It is not necessarily viewed as a decline. For some people, moving into their fifties and sixties is prime time.” Beiswanger has observed a “definite shift” in people’s attitudes about getting older. People want to continue to feel energized and vital and reinventing themselves and their careers is a part of that. She acknowledges that the economy plays a part in people choosing to work longer.
Working with aSimpleReminder.com has sparked a new creativity in me and helps me stay connected with a younger generation.
For Rhonda Stoughton working at a start-up has not come without challenges. She admits that the technology is always changing and it is a very competitive fluid industry. “Tom and I look at opportunities differently and we try to combine what we are both good at to balance each other,” she says. For his part, Tom describes working with his Mom the past few years as fun. “She’s got this depth of corporate knowledge we can tap into and she’s really detail-oriented. She keeps me grounded,” says the younger Stoughton.
Rhonda’s advice to others thinking about reinventing their careers is to maintain a positive attitude and be receptive to change. Her approach was to find transferable knowledge, skills and attributes used in her corporate job that she could bring to a new career. Stoughton has embraced the technology facets of the business.
“Working with aSimpleReminder.com has sparked a new creativity in me and helps me stay connected with a younger generation,” says Rhonda, “I am always learning something new and constantly meeting new people as we expand our customer and distributor base.” Whether a person decides to take the do-it-yourself approach or enlist the assistance of a life coach, Beiswanger’s advice to those interested in reinventing their career, is to move into action. She encourages others by asking, “What are you waiting for?”