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A Woman of Faith

October 5, 2022by Barbara Flynn0

Being a woman of faith, I have always trusted in what God’s plan was for me.  I did not always realize that He was in control and thought that things happened to me because of good luck or because of my skills alone.  As I have matured both personally and professionally, I realize that it is because of Him, I have been able to accomplish the things I’ve done and know that He has much more in store for me.  I am open to whatever direction He leads me.


Regarding Risk, Sacrifice, Vision – I have made two major career changes in my life.  After 5 years of working in HR for the company that hired me right out of college and paid for me to get my Master’s degree in HR, I took a risk, made the sacrifice, and had the vision to give up everything to move to NYC to start a jewelry business with a friend I had met on a cruise.  At the time, I gave up a very substantial salary, benefits, and reputation in HR to venture into something totally new to me.  I was responsible for the business side of a wholesale jewelry company while my partner designed the high fashion jewelry.  In five years, we took the company from selling $250K in the first year ($10 earrings), to $5 Million in our 5th year.  We established a company in NYC and soon after formed companies London and Cebu, Philippines.  While he designed, I was figuring out the marketing, sales, operations, and finances.  I met with attorneys in the UK and learned how to form a UK company and then did the same thing in the Philippines.  I found myself with an apartment in Manhattan and a flat in London.  I loved Europe and my partner loved Asia.  I spent a lot of time in Europe where we formed a UK sales company and found myself traveling all over Europe selling jewelry at the major fashion shows in London, Paris, Munich, and Milan.  As we grew, we realized it would be cheaper to produce in the Philippines rather than NYC.  I traveled to Cebu where I bought land and built a factory where we produced the jewelry.  Unfortunately, my business partner and I had a major falling out and against the advice of my attorney, I made the decision to walk away from that business.  No money in the world was worth the stress of not getting along with a business partner.  I gained so much more from the experience and made the decision to move back to Florida and started over.


The second career was two-fold.  I started out working for Don Carter’s and in the time, I worked for that organization, I was able to gain a tremendous amount of knowledge from its CEO who through his support and encouragement, enabled me to form People First.  This was the result of the vision I had to provide the kind of Payroll and HR service so needed in our operation.  My business plan was to provide the service to the 16 locations and after three years, take People First out to market.  Again, God put in my path many opportunities to grow People First to where it is today with over 75 clients.  Taking risks is not foreign when you start a new venture and the sacrifices one makes are greater that can be written.


The one thing I do know that was probably the greatest sacrifice that I have made in my life was not settling down to have a family.  I was so busy with my career and growing my businesses that I never took the time to settle down and raise a family.  I guess there were opportunities, but the timing just wasn’t right.  I do know that God had and still has greater things in store for me and has blessed me with many wonderful relationships.


While it may sound like I am entering the later years, I am not.  It is not over until God brings me home to Him and so I know that keeping my eyes open, listening to Him, and following His lead, He will continue to give me the Vision to continue to do His work through serving my clients or in whatever door(s) He opens for me.  I know that I am willing to make sacrifices to do good work and it’s all part of my journey.  I am open to taking risks because through Him all things are possible and so I do not live in fear of the “what ifs”.


I believe because I live my life this way, I can provide leadership to others; that they see how I live my life and want to follow my lead.  It is an honor to serve others and to share with them this wonderful journey we call life.  I thank you for the opportunity to serve and look forward to being a part of your Vision.  I see the risks you have taken and the sacrifices you’ve made and want you to know that I want to support you in whatever capacity needed.

Barbara Flynn, MSHR, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

President, People First Inc.

Barbara Flynn

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