A Case Study About Finding a New Path After a Job Loss
From an early age, Cynthia Brinson took an interest in using her imagination and her hands. “From cooking, sewing, and gardening as a child, to paper and soap making as an adult, I have always loved to create,” Cynthia shares. “I took a clay class in college. While I loved it, it was not a career option at the time.”
In the early 1990s, she started a long-standing career at a large insurance and financial services company. As an auto claim representative, Cynthia reviewed, investigated, and concluded claims for property damage and personal injuries. “I became a volunteer arbitrator panelist and created a specialty team that completed arbitration filings on behalf of policyholders.”
Her love of art didn’t fade during this time, and she eventually took another clay class at a local establishment. “This inspired me to set up a studio in our two-car garage. When my company announced migration of its claim force, an idea began to coalesce.” Around this time, she was selling pots through a local pottery guild and other shows. She wondered if making clay for a living was her next step…
A Job Loss Becomes a Gain with a Career Coach
“Regina did the great and sometimes difficult task of listening to me as I worked through my options after losing my job,” Cynthia says of her dedicated career coach, Regina Moser. Regina has served as a career coach since 2006, leveraging her passion for educating others and coaching on job search strategies.
“She encouraged me to explore all opportunities.” Together, they developed ideas to turn Cynthia’s passion into a small business, discussing everything from Cynthia’s strengths and weaknesses to her business goals. “The sounding board that Regina provided was invaluable. She empowered me to stick with the process and work through challenges.”
After careful consideration, Cynthia developed a business plan and launched Cynthia Brinson Pottery. She makes high fire stoneware items, including food, microwave, and dishwasher safe plates, bowls, cups, and mugs. She also creates tiles, ornaments, and small figures.
Now that Cynthia’s world has transformed from auto claims to pottery projects, she sometimes can’t believe it. “I feel so free,” she shares, “which is a bit scary since it is so different from my career at the insurance company. I was once dictated by my work queue. Now I make my own work. I still have to pinch myself!”