Corporate Escapee: Pamela M. Turner: CEOx2
Whether it’s expressing her dissatisfaction with a project or trying to influence a decision during a meeting, being outspoken has served this businesswoman well.
The owner of two small enterprises, PMT Associates L.L.C., an information technology consulting firm, and TurneRound Fitness, a personal training business, in Forks Township, Penn., Turner was used to navigating the corporate world during the day and running her own show at night. When her job as a project manager at Computer Horizons Corp. in Mountain Lakes, N.J., ended last summer, she moved full time into entrepreneurship. Financially strapped Computer Horizons, a publicly traded IT consulting firm, eventually liquidated its assets and vanished from the NASDAQ.
“I always knew that I would start my own business. I just didn’t know exactly when,” Turner said in a recent interview with The Network Journal. A certified fitness trainer, she already had a booming part-time business, TurneRound Fitness, launched in 2005. Although TurneRound had a steady stream of clients—about a dozen at any given time—whom Turner visited once or twice a week for workout sessions, the income it generated was not enough to pay the bills. “The fitness business was doing well and generated a steady cash flow, but I still needed a day job in order to make ends meet,” Turner says. “I launched PMT Associates shortly after I left Computer Horizons.”
Turner had developed a network of valuable contacts during her corporate career in IT, consulting and finance and immediately used those contacts to PMT’s advantage. Shortly after starting PMT Asso-ciates last year, she was able to land several contracts, including a long-term deal with a major financial services company in Princeton, N.J. “I basically work on site for a client on various projects,” she says. “I provide regular updates, consultations and other information about the progress of the project to the client.” Assign-ments vary from a few months to a year or more.
Turner, 34, recently moved into her newly built $360,000 home in Pennsylvania. She sold her Woodbridge, N.J., condominium in February and rented out another home that she owns. The fitness studio in her four-bedroom Pennsylvania home is no luxury. It allows clients to come to her home for intense one-on-one training and to work out on the exercise equipment.
Some may argue that owning two thriving small businesses is more stressful than working for someone else in corporate America. For Turner, however, entrepreneurship is far more rewarding and fulfilling. “It’s great to be able to make your own business decisions and not depend on anyone else,” she says.
During her transition from salaried employee to self-employed, Turner sought help from Keith Latimer, a financial adviser at Merrill Lynch in Princeton, N.J. Latimer encouraged her to establish a clear-cut financial plan. “She already had a good start building a nest egg, thanks to some previous investments that did well,” Latimer says. “I helped her to structure a sound financial portfolio with specific long-term goals.”
Turner has been using the financial services of Latimer for about a year. “It’s always a little scary when you give up the security of a steady paycheck, benefits and other perks in order to strike out on your own,” she says.
Typical of today’s socially conscious entrepreneurs, Turner is determined to share her success and the wisdom she has acquired with others, especially youths. “If kids and [adults] feel good about themselves they will excel in school, work and in everything else they do. I really want to see people stay motivated about being active, see them do better and live longer,” she says.