Lessons from 24 Years: Reflections from an accidental CEO

May 23, 2023 | Spotlight

Business anniversaries are a funny thing. A celebration of making it another year. Of persevering, added experience and overcoming challenges. Basically, businesses are congratulated for staying afloat. But it’s never really celebrated for what it should be – the growth, the personal revelations and moments that transform us – big or small.

Who am I kidding? Financial success is ahead of all of those things. However, after 24 years running Knoodle, my perspective is shifting. Or maybe I’m just getting soft.

So as I look back on the highs and lows of running my business, I’m hit with key memories that changed the course of my professional and personal life. And of course, the why. Why leave a cushy corporate media job with an expense account for the rugged entrepreneurial life?

I wanted freedom. Freedom to achieve client objectives. Freedom to over serve clients, work on all facets of their marketing and create the media mix that works for clients. Selling one media, like television time, meant I could only offer clients that medium. The agency business gave me a world of choices in creating a personalized potion for success for each and every client.

Eventually this new found freedom found its way into my personal life. I divorced my husband, who was neither wildly supportive of the business nor happy to keep a job. I remarried six years later to a man who shares my values and my dreams. I also rediscovered my love of learning new things. I was able to learn the ins and outs of what makes effective creative. How to create strategy. Branding. Public Relations. Digital. Every facet of the business has had a different timeline. I learned the value of regular exercise and began to train for my first marathon. I have since done thirteen of them. I then began traveling around the world: Italy, Kenya, Egypt, France, and Spain. I am a perpetual student of Italian and visit Italy every chance I get.

In the Great Recession, I learned the value of saving money. After all, I went through hundreds of thousands of dollars just to survive ten years of business hell. This ended in 2018, leaving two years before we all got hit with the Pandemic. This taught me how to pivot, stay nimble and have a sense of humour. Currently, we are learning the wonders of runaway inflation. But as they say in Italian, passera’ (it will pass).

There you have it. A glimpse into what it’s like to get very close to reaching the quarter century mark. And because keeping a business running year-after-year can feel like a non-stop marathon, I asked my team to complete a 24 challenge for themselves. Meaning, commit to a goal and reach it consistently for 24 days, 24 miles or 24 times. I chose 4 six mile runs to get to the 24 mark. That’s my 24.

The results are good. They are funny. They are heartfelt. They are them. The Knoodle team is an amazing group of quirky but kind professionals. They certainly explain our three core values. Transparency. Harmony. Joy. We all look forward to whatever 2023 throws our way. Cin Cin

About Rosaria

Rosaria regards herself as an “accidental CEO” who started her company in 1999, when the ethics in corporate America became intolerable. Her mission has always been to advocate the best marketing in every discipline and personal service for her clients.

She still has Knoodle’s first client, Fulton Homes on the account roster and is proud of her long-term relationships.

Rosaria understands, reads, and speaks Italian on her spare time. Capisci?