International sales manager to Canine Behavior Counselor!
In January of 2004, with an MBA in Global Management,Cecilia Saleme enjoyed a lucrative job as a International Sales Manager for an electronics manufacturer. She traveled all over the world and met all kinds of wonderful people. Nevertheless,she had begun to feel burned out with all the travel. Having been in international sales and marketing for over 10 years, the traveling was beginning to wear on her. And while Cecilia enjoyed the work, she yearned for something more fulfilling.
Sometimes, it takes a “kick in the pants” to move from a comfort zone into something new and exciting. That happened in April 2004, when Cecilia was laid off – a common event these days. She was devastated and had many feelings of inadequacy and sadness.
Cecilia spent the ensuing months seeking a new international marketing or sales position, but her heart wasn’t completely in it. As her friends know, all the while she had been in the corporate world she had also been working part-time at her passion: training dogs. In those years she attended countless conferences on dog behavior, and had achieved several training certifications including Certified Pet Dog Trainer. Always considering it a part time endeavor, Cecilia had thought that she would dedicate herself to this in her retirement. It hadn’t occurred to her to take it full time at this point in her life.
As she sought a new job, she continued to teach dog obedience classes as well as taking private dog behavior counseling clients to help her “get by.”She would speak of this to her network and soon they began to ask her why she didn’t dedicate herself to it. Meanwhile, Cecilia had subscribed to various newsletters focusing on career change including Craig Nathanson’s Vocational Passion and Valerie Young’s Changing Course. The turning point occurred when she met with a colleague who told her to “do what you love and the money will follow.” She responded with “I’m not sure I believe that.” His response was to look her in the eye and say, “Well, that’s obvious.” This affected her profoundly. She talked a while more and then realized then that he was right –She needed to believe that this was POSSIBLE. The next day, she ran some numbers, and then began her business plan to embark on her new career: Canine Behavior Counselor. She took the company which she had launched as a part-time venture, and gave it her all. This was in late November of 2004.
For nearly a year now, Canine Higher Learning has been Cecilia’s full-time job. In addition, she has taken her passion for her work and launched a nonprofit corporation dedicated to dog bite prevention through education. KADIE – Kids and Dogs Interactive Education, is in the process of seeking the 501c3 nonprofit status, and currently offers free dog bite prevention seminars to local schools and community centers.
Today Cecilia enjoys what she does. She often works very long hours, but marvels that what she is doing is her “job” now. Oftentimes she feels guilty – like she should be doing something unpleasant in order for it to be “real work.” But Cecilia is quickly getting over that.
She is fortunate that her family and most of her friends and business colleagues were supportive. But not everyone thought this was a good idea. Those who questioned her choices simply weren’t told of them any more. This was necessary for Cecilia to keep the dream alive. She found it important to be choosy regarding whom she told about her new endeavor in its infancy. But now she tells it to everyone. She is a Canine Behavior Counselor and proud of it. Cecilia loves her work. And she does believe that if you do what you love, and combine it with sound business practices, the money will indeed follow.
What can we learn from Cecilia?
Once you start to believe a dream is possible, you can start to move towards it and as you do take action, the dream seems more realistic.