Trusting in your career path can be challenging, whether you’re in your very first job or stuck at one you haven’t loved for months. That’s when you turn to the inspiration of others. Every one of these executives have started at the bottom, and now hold their title, and the work that comes with it, as a true badge of honor. Use these stories to find the inspiration you need to take the next step in your career, leave a job you hate, or pivot into a position you never thought possible.
The Tech Transformer
20 years later, Brandon Ridenour is CEO of ANGI Homeservices (parent company of HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and Handy). This pre-law, political science major, achieving just average performance, was immediately jolted into a new world when he saw a video about the future of technology from Andersen Consulting, which would be his future employer.
He changed his major and worked for five hard years—including summers—to learn what he needed to move head first into the world of tech. He soon started his career as a Technology Consultant at Andersen Consulting where he was already transforming tech; as he says, “I was working on internet type ideas before the internet.”
Though only his first professional position, he was already taking a giant step toward his future—even if he didn’t know it yet. Ridenour says, “This job offered me the opportunity to work with Fortune 50 companies on projects of over $1B in size. As my first professional experience, this was such an important learning experience.”
Now, he no longer works as a “technical expert” but believes his experience in the burgeoning tech world helped him reach the level of CEO. “I started my career as a deep technology expert and then branched out to product and strategy, but the technical experience gave me a heads-up over other product peers. It gave me a much deeper understanding of the technology and product side and how it impacts the business side of the house. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without this experience,” he explains.
What drove him so successfully from one position to the next? The same trait we see in all of these successful executives: passion. He says, “I am only successful when I’m engaged in things that I’m passionate about.”
The Entrepreneurial Salesman
Sales is merely a shadow of what it used to be, and Sam Meenasian, Owner and Vice President of Sales and Marketing Operations, USA Business Insurance, start at the very bottom 12 years ago. “I began in a small cubical in another insurance agency where every hour my manager did a drill meeting where we would practice on how to speak to customers to sell products.” Meenasian spent years going door-to-door, putting flyers on cars, all in hopes of getting one call out of hundreds.
In all that time, though, he always knew there was something bigger for him. He says, “I knew from day one that I wanted to own my own business and it didn’t take me much time or thinking to realize once I understood how important insurance is.” This desire to do something bigger fueled him through the months when he walked away with $500 after paying for expenses, like rent and food.
He made his first big move at a time when others may have given up. He was forced to leave his office, due to relocation of the company, and instead of walking away he took that first giant leap: he found a small space for himself that cost no more than $500 each month—willing to give up the little he had left each month to build this business.
With his own space, he still pushed through rough patches, with major personal lines losses that rocked his business. Again, this encouraged him to take another big step: shifting from personal insurance into business, “to balance out my loss ratios.” From there, he continued growing his business to be a successful and honest business insurance agency.
To this day, Meenasian appreciates where he is and the work he does, “There is not a single day I take for granted or work any less harder. I work full hours plus overtime and know all my customer base on an individual level and never try to change my morals and values to grow my business any faster or make more money.”
The Career Changer
Dawn Anderson, founder and CEO of OHi Food Co, found her calling in Maui, Hawaii, late in September 2013. Her story starts far from where she is now, as a Doctor of Chiropractic, running a practice with her husband. Yet, her passion took her somewhere she didn’t even know she could do:
“Realizing how much I love the CPG (consumer packaged goods) world, the opportunity to provide healthy food to our communities, I would have liked to have started earlier in my career and life, but I had no idea this was ever a career option!” Anderson says.
Luckily, that didn’t hold her back. “I started this little food company out of a passion I had for healthy food and having a positive impact on consumers and my community, making bars by hand out of my own Maui kitchen, selling them at local farmers markets”
With so much support and love from the community, she and her husband quickly branched out to selling on the mainland, and before they knew it, they were selling in California. She went from making one hundred bars a day to tens of thousands.
Though she found her career late in life, she looks back on every step with no regrets: “Hey, everything I have done in the past has led me to this amazing opportunity in front of me now. So I wouldn’t change a thing!”
The Farm Boy Turned Executive
The Chief Consumer Security Evangelist for McAfee, Gary Davis, is focused on strategic alignment of products for one of the most well-known antivirus software companies in the world. But he wasn’t always driving change and success at this high level.
“The skill set and experience to do this has taken a lifetime to acquire,” Davis says, who started as a “farm boy,” with a high school graduating class of 37 students. His T.V. had three stations and his home phone was shared between seven households. If this is a journey you can’t possibly imagine, Davis agrees: “If I took myself back to that point, I could never in a million years paint the path to where I am now.”
In fact, those around him couldn’t imagine his path either. Instead, he was encouraged to become a dairy farmer or corrections officer—but neither felt right. He took his own path and joined the U.S. Navy, where he went to night school to pursue this Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
Between then and now, Gary has been learning, from growing into our connected world to developing his skills to assimilate a mass amount of data about the security space into a tool to inform their product strategy. What’s more, he and his team have to “distill the otherwise complex topics into material that educates and informs the consumers and businesses via a variety of channels such as blogs, social media.”
And no, he didn’t get here with just the degrees he earned: “It’s not something taught in any school, but rather a lifetime of experiences that shaped my mindset to do this.”
The Glass Ceiling Shatterer
This female CEO started at the bottom both professionally and personally. Not only has her 24-year career taken her “from the sales floor to the board room,” but Alessandra Lezama, CEO at AbacusNext, was also a minority immigrant in a new country and a single mom striving for a better future for her family. All while making her way through a career in a male-dominated industry. Lezama looks back and sees that her journey “was an odyssey of obstacles and shattered glass ceilings.”
Despite the challenges, she worked herself up the ranks of many of the largest telecom companies in the world, including Comsat International, acquired by Lockheed Martin during her time with the company. Her first executive roles included EVP and COO, after which she proceeded to hold three CEO positions before her current CEO role with AbacusNext.
She owes much of her success to her drive, instilled in her by her father a bullfighter and her ultimate hero. She’s also used a simple mindset shift to take her career on this remarkable journey:
“Over the years I have learned that as essential as fast-paced, dynamic decision making is to running a successful business, it’s equally important to slow down and take time to reflect and realign. Using these reflective moments to seek out and listen to the advice of my peers and mentors has proved invaluable to my career,” Lezama says.
Now, as CEO, she’s taken all of her experience and learnings to make a huge impact, growing her current company from 30 employees to more than 500, with international offices in San Diego, Toronto and Edinburgh.
After all this time, she’s also made another important shift: instead of worrying about proving herself more capable than her peers, she’s focused on helping others succeed. She says, “As the years have gone on and I have achieved the personal goals I set out for myself, my focus has shifted to supporting the people around me and empowering them to grow both personally and professionally.”
Find Inspiration to Build Your Career
We all start somewhere, whether you’re a farm boy or a door-to-door salesman. The journeys of these executives teach you to not only trust your career path, but pursue each step with passion and drive. Move toward what you want and take every step necessary to get there. The end of that journey may just have you sitting in a boardroom, making decisions for everyone else who’s just starting their career.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 7 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.45% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.05% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.49% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of October 11, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 10/11/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
Fixed rate options consist of a range from 3.75% per year to 5.80% per year for a 5-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term, 4.55% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term, 4.85% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.30% per year to 7.27% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The fixed interest rate will apply until the loan is paid in full (whether before or after default, and whether before or after the scheduled maturity date of the loan). The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.75% per year to 5.80% per year for a 5-year term would be from $183.04 to $192.40. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.25% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term would be from $137.84 to $147.29. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.55% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term would be from $103.88 to $114.31. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.85% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.30 to $90.16. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.30% per year to 7.27% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.66 to $79.16.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 2.50% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.35% per year for a 7-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 4.50% per year to 6.65% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.75% per year to 6.90% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.45% to 4.25% for the 5-year term loan, 1.95% to 4.30% for the 7-year term loan, 2.20% to 4.35% for the 10-year term loan, 2.45% to 4.60% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.70% to 4.85% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 2.50% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term would be from $177.47 to $194.73. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.00% per year to 6.35% per year for a 7-year term would be from $136.69 to $147.77. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term would be from $102.44 to $113.04. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.50% per year to 6.65% per year for a 15-year term would be from $76.50 to $87.94. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.75% per year to 6.90% per year for a 20-year term would be from $64.62 to $76.93.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
Borrowers who take out a variable loan with a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%. Borrowers who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.
For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS
Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).
All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.
For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.
The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.
The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.
POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS
After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.
If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of October 1, 2019 and is subject to change.
4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.05% effective September 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
7 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Disclosures
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.
4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
Information advertised valid as of 09/23/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
|2.05% – 6.49%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.05% – 5.98%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.65%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.43% – 7.60%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.14% – 7.21%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.01% – 8.88%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.74% – 6.24%7||Undergrad & Graduate|