Featured Article -
WOMB: Woman On A Mission In Business
There are women who work, and then there are women who see work as part of a natural progression of life. Meet Yvonne Costin, the Here We Are featured Woman On a Mission in Business.
Yvonne and her company, Grandma's Handyman Service, are an example of flexibility, imagination, and application of doing one's best with what life has taught them. From the many submissions for the HWA WOMB feature, Yvonne caught our eye as a woman in business who takes charge, makes strides, and lives her life out loud by using her business to prosper while helping others.
Grandma's Handyman Service, based in Denver, Colorado, is exactly what it sounds like, but with a careful eye and a personal touch by "Grandma" herself, Yvonne. With over 50 years of business experience, this 70 year young business woman founded her company in 2004 with a mission to "provide essential home repair and maintenance services to all, but especially to seniors and single women." The company is fully insured and bonded, and each of the technicians have to pass a national background check.
Yvonne understands that her customers expect great workmanship when they hire her company, and she is committed to meeting their expectations. What they may not know is that this is about more than hiring a contractor by picking a name out of the phone book, it's about the mission to build a relationship of comfort, honesty, and trust with the workers who ring their doorbell. It is definitely working, take one glance at the testimonials and you'll see that Grandma's workers receive their reviews by name.
Don't let the glowing smile fool you, she has seen tough times in life and in business. A recent widow after 38 years of marriage, the grandmother to seven children, and having worked since the age of 15 in an ever changing corporate climate, Yvonne was kind enough to share her hard-earned wisdom. When asked what the biggest obstacle in business has been, she recounted her experience:
In Buffalo, NY, in the late 1960's, I did make a little less money and had to work a little harder than a man in the same position...When I arrived in Denver in 1970 and tried to find a job in advertising or the media, I was laughed at, literally. "We don't hire a woman above a secretarial capacity." It didn't matter what the accomplishments were. But, I didn't let that stop me. I just kept going like I didn't even notice it. Fortunately, times changed and it has gotten better, but not all better. In business, I think we have to be feminine but not flirty in order to be believed. When we are young, I think that we are self-conscious of our femaleness when working with men. As we get older, it does not seem to matter and being in business is easier. We shouldn't try to mimic men, we should be ourselves as we can bring a different perspective to any business venture.
This gutsy attitude also served her well when faced with the unexpected responsibility of raising her 2 year old granddaughter, Angelina. This little girl had a rough start in life - but having been graced with a strong and loving grandmother - she is now a thriving, lovely young woman about to begin college this fall. Over the years, Yvonne taught the shy Angelina that, "she can be whatever she wants to be; that no one can make her happy, that happiness comes from within." Worthy advice for all of us to follow.
Wisdom like this comes from experience, both one's own, and having the primary influence in one's life instill the message. Like Yvonne to Angelina, this grandmother/granddaughter relationship is similar to the one Yvonne shared with her own grandmother, Angelina N., a "rock and my inspiration." When Yvonne struggled with a childhood experience of being told she would "not amount to anything," her grandmother taught her, "You show them, you show them that you are better than they are!" Yvonne learned to conquer whatever came her way by telling the naysayers, "Just watch me!" While the generation may have changed, this lesson is one to remember.
With no plans to retire from this growing business, a thriving family, the wisdom and the strength to face future challenges, there is no stopping "Grandma." The next time you think about something negative someone said, or prevent yourself from making strides, think about Yvonne's message, "Just watch me!"
This Woman On Mission in Business sets an excellent example of a good mission to help people feel safe, great work to solve their home problems, and a grand lady who keeps on marching. We're watching, Yvonne, and we thank you for sharing your experience so that others may learn from you.