HOLIDAY 2021 - Page 21

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chase his dream . He said something that has stuck with me ever since : ‘ Jump , and the net will appear .’”
Bonner often doubted that she would ever be able to leave the corporate world behind . “ Seeing him made me feel like I was never going to be able to make the jump myself . I had two kids , and my husband was very busy with his own startup ventures . I didn ’ t think it was possible to step away from my obligations .”
At the same time , another dream was taking shape . “ My husband , Matt , also went to Middlebury College . When we first moved back from Ireland we rented a house in Massachusetts , but we were always looking at properties in Vermont .” When the right fixer-upper popped up , they seized it . “ Originally , we drove up to Vermont every other weekend to work on our house , but we found that we never wanted to leave when it came time to pack up on Sunday ! So , I asked leadership at Dell if they were alright with me commuting from Vermont , and they agreed ,” says Bonner . “ It was the early days of remote work and I feel very , very lucky that we had that support . We moved officially in 2013 and enrolled our kids at the Cornwall School . It was an amazing educational experience for them . Vermont is a great place to raise kids .”
Three years after moving to Vermont , Bonner left her job at Dell and began working as Chief Marketing Officer ( CMO ) of Akamai Technologies , based in Cambridge , Massachusetts . Simultaneously , Bonner was also working on various home renovation , redecoration and redesign projects for herself and her friends . “ I loved helping friends and acquaintances that asked for advice . Sometimes it would be small things , like picking out wallpaper . Sometimes it would be a bigger thing , like a room renovation . We were renovating two bathrooms ourselves and our friends and neighbors mentioned that they wanted to renovate theirs . They told me , ‘ Just do whatever you ’ re doing for your own bathrooms to ours .’ It ’ s amazing to be asked , but it was always just a hobby . I do it because I love the creativity and problem solving aspect of it .”
As the global pandemic worsened in 2020 , Bonner ’ s business travel was limited , but her sense of possibility expanded . Somewhat whimsically , she launched a home décor and design blog she called Addison West – named after the street and county where she and her family live .
She described her projects in detail and offered insightful advice about the finer points of layout , planning and décor . Meanwhile , she was juggling her hectic work schedule while maintaining her family life . “ One day , I had just gotten off of a video meeting , and my youngest son came up to me and said , ‘ You know , Mom , you haven ’ t even been to one of my soccer games this season .’ I knew that it was time to make a change .”
According to Bonner , that pivotal moment served as the catalyst for the full-scale launch of her business . “ I had already started the Addison West blog , and I knew that I needed to do something to expand upon that idea . I had wanted to start a business ever since my pitch project in graduate school , but I had never been able to summon the courage to do it .” A perfect opportunity then arose for Bonner to transition out of her duties as the CMO of Akamai . “ It was truly a confluence of circumstances that inspired me to leave my corporate career ,” says Bonner . “ If COVID hadn ’ t happened and if my son hadn ’ t said what he said to me on that day , I think I would still have the same job . My dad likes to say that ‘ life comes in bunches .’ When a series of external factors come together all at once , it can serve as the spark that inspires action . Ultimately , it didn ’ t feel like a risky move to leave my career behind . It just felt like what I had to do .”
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