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Individual Success Story

Shelley

“Even when I had these insecure feelings, Fresh Start just took me and held me in their own way. And said, ‘Look we’re here for you, we can help walk you through this.” 

After working for nearly 50 years as a CT-Technician, Shelley* was unexpectedly laid off in January 2023. The news was shocking and forced her to look at her career choice. She realized she had to face the fact that for the last few years she hadn’t enjoyed her job.  

“I went to school right out of high school, and I’ve been doing (CT-Tech) ever since. I think I lost the passion for medicine in the last five years, but I didn’t know where to really go or what I really wanted to do. I didn’t feel like I honestly could do anything different,”  

While unemployed, she thought about going back to school, but she didn’t want to make such a big commitment when she didn’t have a strong drive or passion for something specific. She felt displaced, direction-less and was trying to find her place in society again. 

The woman who was working with Shelley through unemployment asked her if she was looking at jobs through the government’s unemployment website. Shelley expressed that she had only looked at Indeed and specific hospital sites.  

“I followed her advice and looked on the unemployment website and that’s when I saw Fresh Start. I was motivated to take classes to see which… other skills I could learn that might guide me to a new path that I hadn’t thought about. And that’s what Fresh Start did.” 

Her first experience at Fresh Start was attending a Lunch and Learn where she listened to women who had gone through Fresh Start programs and gotten jobs in trades as a result. 

From there, she took multiple classes at Fresh Start including Networking 101, the social security class, and the Personal Empowerment Series. Her favorite was the Empowerment Series which she found right when she needed it most.  

“I had been let go from my job, I’m an older woman and I felt a little displaced and lost, like I wasn’t valued anymore. I’d been in medicine for almost 50 years, I didn’t really feel like there was anything else I could do or offer.” 

The Personal Empowerment Series helped her connect more deeply to who she was outside of her career in medicine.  

“It helped me gain a lot of confidence and get to know me outside of medicine. I reconnected to myself differently. From there I kept on taking more classes, trying to find different things that interested me, an attraction that I could take off and find a job in. Then I applied for the Women in Finance program, and I got an interview.”  

Shelley was accepted into the Women in Finance program and was catapulted into an entirely new world from her comfortable & familiar bubble in medicine. The quick change also caused some insecurities that she had to face.  

“I was very unsure, and I felt like everybody else was younger than me with way different experiences than me because I’d been a lifer in medicine. I lost some confidence at that point. I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer, I was afraid to interview, just a lot of fears came up for me. Like ‘Why would anyone want to hire me?”  

To combat her feelings of inadequacy, Shelley began attending sessions with one of Fresh Start’s success coaches on the Social Work team and had support from Education and Career team members, Nancy, Sarah, and Sandra. 

“Because of the success coaching, I’ve gained more confidence, I look at myself differently now, I stopped comparing myself to the other people in my class because they’re younger and have different experiences. I know now they’re on their own journey and this was mine. And it’s never too late to start over, hence the name Fresh Start.”  

Shelley found that the Women in Finance cohort brought out a new side of her, one she had never met before and said the course taught her to get reacquainted with herself on a whole new level.  

“There’s a different part of me now, that wants to come out and play and be seen and heard,”  

For Shelley, she felt like Fresh Start was truly lifechanging. She felt very aligned with the organization as she recognized its shared values and appreciated that it was a special place that works solely with women. 

“This is an organization that I can step into and whatever baggage I’m coming in with, I’ll be met where I’m at and they will help me move through and past that and help me spread my wings. Fresh Start and what it stood for made me feel safe. I feel like I’m a totally different person today than when I walked in six, seven weeks ago when I started this course.”  

She also began to feel a bond of sisterhood with the other women in her Women in Finance cohort.  

“It was such a good feeling because I don’t really do a lot with a lot of other women, so I felt this bond and connection and it lifted my spirits up as well. It was a fun group; we all got along well. I’m going to miss them and (Women in Finance instructor) Sara Benet. It was so much fun walking in every day!”  

Her passion for finance was fueled when Shelley met with Fresh Start team member Natalie to build out her own personal finance budget. 

“She never looked at me like she was judging me, she looked at me like, ‘You can do this and here’s why.’ She was very direct and very informative… It fueled my passion to take the Women in Finance,” she said. 

She shared how everyone at Fresh Start’s has such big hearts and that the people she encountered every day wanted to see the best happen for everybody. The whole team worked towards elevating and growing each client. 

“That is what is so cool about Fresh Start, there are so many different walks of life, different ages, but the staff here treats each one of us like we’re all special… It helped me to see how far I’ve really come. And even when I had these insecure feelings, they just took me and held me in their own way. And said, ‘Look we’re here for you, we can help walk you through this,” she said. 

Even though Shelley didn’t start the Women in Finance cohort with any specific goals in mind, she certainly completed the course with a massive newfound one. 

“A goal that I did achieve was regaining my self-confidence and falling in love with myself again. I didn’t start with that goal in mind, but it evolved organically, and that’s exciting. Now I look at myself and say, ‘Yeah you are badass. You have a lot to offer. You are finding your way.” 

With the Women in Finance cohort completed and a new sense of direction, Shelley hopes that other women who need a helping hand find their way to Fresh Start. 

“I want women to know that they can do anything they set their minds too and I’d remind them to take care of themselves because they truly can make a fresh start of their life. There are people here who will support you and guide and elevate you. My advice to other women is to take a chance on yourself.”