Opera CEO Exits, Stage Left, to Try Her Hand at Entrepreneurship [& the reviews are glowing!]

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You’re going to have major highs and major lows, sometimes on a daily basis – Carol Penterman, CEO Penterman Professional Care

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While grateful she didn’t sing “To Ho……To Ho” or stomp her spear during the interview.  We can’t assure she wasn’t secretly hiding some Viking horns or breastplate regalia in one of her secret closets (which would prove really scary). But this Opera exec turned entrepreneur, in person, proved anything but that stereotype. We found her to be delightful, professional, savvy, fun and full of some wit and wisdom… more below!

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ECS: Carol, thank you so much for joining us. If there was something you’d want to tell that person considering taking the leap into the vast black hole of entrepreneurship, like you did, what would your advice be?

CP: Be tenacious and courageous. Because it’s going to take a lot of effort – more than you ever imagined. Be positive.  Be organized. Don’t be afraid to change things on a dime if change is needed. Analyze everything you do and make sure you’re getting the results you want.  If something is not working, figure out why, and fix it.  And then move to make the changes necessary to make it happen. Don’t be afraid to do something different. Be aware that sometimes you’re going to need to go through 10 or 20 different revisions until you find the right thing that works.

ECS: What is the one thing you wish someone

would have told you prior to embarking on this great adventure?

CP: Be patient, keep moving forward, and hang on.  As you go along, take things one day at time and seek to constantly improve how you do things. I was recently shown a graph of the life of an entrepreneur.  The beginning of the graph says,

“This is exciting, I can’t wait to get into this.”  Then things start going up, and it says, “Things are going really well!”

Then the graph dips back near the bottom with, “What have I gotten myself into?!.” Then up again, “ I think this was a good day,” then down again, “I’m going bankrupt!”… This roller coaster graph of emotion is totally true regarding the life and feelings of an entrepreneur. People need to know that they’re going to have major highs and major lows — sometimes on a daily basis. Now, I was aware of all of this at the start of this the journey, but I don’t think I fully understood to what extent the ups and downs were going to occur. I expected them in year one, probably in year two as well, but here I am in year 4—and the roller coaster is still going on!  But thankfully there have been more highs than lows.

ECS: It’s so refreshing to hear someone be “real”, yet upbeat about what life as a business owner is truly like. Now, in fact, you don’t just own one business…you run three!

CP: Yes, but all of my businesses work together. So I refer to them as divisions. They all focus on different aspects of the service industry.

ECS: Tell our readers a little bit about each of your businesses. We think there are some that might find what you have to offer, well, just what they might be looking for at this time. One never knows…

PPC-Logo-web2CP: I have a Senior Care Division, which does in-home care for the elderly as well as facility staffing. Then there’s the Child Care Division.  We provide nanny placement services, part-time nanny services, and onsite day care for events. For example, when working with conventions or weddings, (or, working with the public school system, as we are right now) we go into the event location and set-up an on-site daycare so people have a safe  environment for their kids while they go participate in the activities.   

Then, we have our Concierge Division.  This division features specialties in three different areas.

1) House Manager:  where we can take care of your home (or multiple homes) while you are out of town.  We make sure services are maintained while you’re away, and keep everything in control in anticipation of your return.  Or we can do things on a project basis.  Perhaps you have a leak in the roof and you’re dealing with contractors, scheduling, and other issues around that.  We will oversee the project for you.

2) Personal Assistant: We will run errands, take your car in for service, and assist with meal planning and preparation, as just a few examples. We also assist with downsizing. Two current clients are currently selling their homes. We organize their packing, closets, and work with the subcontractors to get the house ready for sale.  We also synchronize everything with her moving company to make sure we covered every detail.

3) Waiting Service:  We all know the story too well…your cable guy says he’ll be there within a four to six hour window of time. You have a job and a life and you can’t be at home for that long.  But, we can. And, while we’re there, we can also offer a little light housekeeping or whatever else you might need done around your home.

ECS: You worked with the Nashville Opera for 18 years. How on earth did you go from Opera to owning your own “care” business?

CP: I worked in the world of Opera and Theater for 35 years.  I felt as if I had completed my legacy in that area.  I wanted to begin a new chapter in my life. My husband took over as the Opera’s CEO, so it’s still in the family, which is very nice. During the transition period, in which we searched for my replacement at the opera, I had that time to think about what I wanted to do with the next phase of my life.  Helping people and companies was a primary goal.

ECS: What’s your favorite thing about what

you do now?

CP: Helping people. It’s the moment you receive that call where the person on the line says, “You’ve made all the difference in our lives.” We recently relocated a Senior Care client that we have taken care of for almost 4 years. We worked with her and her family to plan and coordinate the transition from her home to her new residence. On the day of the move, we took her to the hairdresser, and then shopping. During her time out, our Concierge team organized and worked with the moving people to transport all of her things (which we helped pack up).  We then set up everything in her new facility, and had everything totally unpacked, set-up and looking beautiful by the time she arrived at her new home five hours later.

ECS: You have also tapped into something new in the marketplace—where you provide concierge service through HR companies?

CP: That is really our niche and definitely where we’re headed in the future. We now bundle our services, (Senior Care, Child Care and/or Concierge Services) and offer them to corporate HR Departments. Businesses strive for employee retention and they do their best to attract the best talent. In doing so, they must offer something different to their employees; benefits that will differentiate their company from the competition. We help the company by offering these concierge services to their employees, and it has proven hugely successful.  We believe the greatest gift a company can give an employee is the gift of time. It shows you care about them and their personal lives. It shows them that you understand they need to maintain a work/life balance. When you give them this gift of time, such as helping them pick up their children after work or getting their car to the repair shop, it speaks volumes…and generates incredible loyalty. We partner with companies to take care of the personal distractions in their employees’ lives so that the employee can concentrate on their job at hand for the company.

ECS: Carol, this is truly a remarkable venture.

We want to thank you for taking time to share with us what you are providing. We wish you nothing but wonderful, and continued success. As they say in the business…break a leg. But then, perhaps…maybe not. (wink)

For more on Carol click here!

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Email us: info@your-epiphany.com

Stephanie Huffman is the founder and CEO of Epiphany Creative Services. When she’s not meeting with a client or chatting it up with an E-team member, she can be seen enjoying time at home with her black Labrador Retriever, Bosco.

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