Never Too Old to Begin Again
Author: Melissa Lahti
June 4, 2013
I recently was introduced to a lady with an interesting story and a great ambition and drive for life. She is now 74 years young and still building a life that she started recreating at the age of 68. With only one 2 hour beading class she has grown a business that has, over the years, grown from a hobby to a company that has sold over 2,000 necklaces and holds 15 - 20 craft shows a year. Roz has gone from being a technophobe to creating a website, email marketing, and all the social media platforms for her business and through it all, become a business woman. She reinvented herself after 68 years and is a great example that it is never too late to follow your dreams and passions.
As an infant, Roz was born into a world that was just coming out of a depression and going into war. Her mother was trying to raise her and her two year old sister alone when a failed attempt landed the two girls into foster homes. At the age of three Roz and her sister were finally placed with a permanent family, Russian immigrants with 3 grown children of their own. They took the girls in and not only raised them as family, developed a relationship with the girl’s mother and allowed her to continue a relationship with her girls.
As a junior in High School, Roz had no thoughts of ever going to college as the foster agency had rules that required her to be self supporting upon graduation, which left no room for college. Although thankfully, Roz had a wonderful teacher that stated: “rules can be broken or changed”. She saw something in Roz and wanted to make sure her brains were not wasted. After many conferences with the social worker, extensive testing, and much more, Roz became the first female to continue to receive room and board while attending college. She worked part time in a community center while she majored in Sociology. After graduation, she fell into a great job as an interviewer for the New York State Department of Labor where she helped secretaries get jobs. Under the Lyndon Johnson War on Poverty, she was selected, with a handful of others, to get a masters degree from NYU in Vocational Counseling. She soon became a supervisor, training others to be counselors in Harlem, NY. While working on her degree she married and had a daughter. She eventually stopped working to raise her daughter but completed her degree.
While her husband struggled to find his own career, she returned to work for the Department of Labor, part time. In need of at least 4 hours a day of daycare, Roz helped to create a program for that. Eventually she was able to work full time again and being the only career counselor in a very busy office, went from working with welfare recipients to counseling unemployed bank presidents and CEO’s. She worked for 30 years at this career and loved everything about it. She taught herself how to create workshops so she could provide services to more than six individuals a day. She was a busy mom with two children now but still took on the duties of the Employee Assistant Program Counselor on top of her full schedule of being a career counselor in a very busy office at the Department of Labor.
After her daughter left for college and her son was a freshman in high school, Roz divorced her husband and began enjoying the single life and took up Cajun dancing. She remarried in 1999 and upon retiring, they began traveling a lot. After this, Roz began volunteering for a transformational program called Landmark Education. She worked hard and was able to bring this program to her area five times before she turned her duties over to someone on her team.
With too much time on her hands she decided to take a beading class and discovered a passion and hidden talent. Never thinking of herself as an artist or an entrepreneur, Roz never imagined she would find herself transforming from career counselor to jeweler. She now has a website and sells beautiful jewelry in a business with her daughter, who also shares this passion for creating jewelry. The two together are able to bring different designs and styles to the business, appealing to a much wider range of customers. Moving forward together, they are in the process of redesigning their website and content marketing. Her main goal is to enhance a woman's self confidence in her appearance with the accessory she chooses to complete her wardrobe.
Roz has been kind enough to share her story in hopes that others of all ages will be inspired and know it is never too late to start again. A person never knows what talent or passion can be uncovered unless they are willing to give new things a try. As long as you follow your heart you will continue to grow and become the person you were born to be. Never give up and never give in.