Embrace the Journey
Glasa Gottschalk considers herself a natural-born leader.
Whether it’s working with a music shop, a bank or a startup furniture company, it seems every job or organization she’s worked with, she’s climbed the ladder into leadership.
“Business has always been something I’ve been drawn into,” says Gottschalk. “It’s been really fun to create culture, and see businesses thrive, and lead that charge.”
At one point, Gottschalk wanted a breather from the long hours and grueling work she’d been accustomed to. She planned to take a year off for travel and spending time with family and friends. It was during this sabbatical that she started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity’s Rockford ReStore, a thrift shop with a knack for hardware and home finishes. A college friend who happened to work with Habitat, Laura Butler, introduced Gottschalk to the group’s director.
“They were looking for someone to join their board,” Gottschalk recalls. “We talked, and I sat in on one of their board meetings to see if it was going to be a good fit. I instantly fell in love.”
The commitment started with some social media work and grew into more-detailed marketing and communications. Along the way, Gottschalk stumbled into her own business opportunity: a consulting firm.
“I had an old client who wanted help with his business,” she explains. “He referred a person to me, and then friends and family found out and they started referring to people as well. It just blossomed, and I was like, ‘I guess this is what I’m doing now.’ So, I made it all official. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past three years now.”
Perhaps the biggest lesson Gottschalk has learned along the journey is that it pays to embrace change and adapt with circumstances.
“I think the mindset prior to my generation was very much that you stay in an industry, and you work hard, and you move up the ladder in that industry, and you retire with a pension,” says Gottschalk. “But that type of mindset is changing. Life is just too short to stay in an industry just because you’re afraid or because you’re afraid of what other people will think. It’s really about being OK with pivoting and following your passions.”