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New Year, New Career: Becoming Your Own Boss in 2019

Kumon Franchisees share stories of drastic career changes-proving that it's never too late to follow your passion.
New Year, New Career: Becoming Your Own Boss in 2019
Image credit: Courtesy of Kumon
By Kumon

A radiant ball lit by 32,256 LED lamps descends 141 feet in 60 seconds, while an entire country reflects on a year of memories and celebrates the opportunities that lie ahead. We are talking about New Year’s Eve of course—and there’s nothing more rejuvenating than ringing in a New Year!

From going to the gym to eating healthier to saving more money, the New Year calls for new resolutions. As millions of Americans start to think about their aspirations for 2019, many of them will consider a career change, but not all will take the leap of faith.

“Afraid of starting over.”

“I’m too old.”

“I don’t know what I want to do.”

“I won’t make enough money.”

These are just a few of the deterrents keeping people away from taking the reins of their own career. But, changing careers doesn’t have to be a fantasy.

Each year, Kumon—the world’s largest after-school math and reading program—welcomes around 100 new franchisees. Many of them walk even away from stable careers for the opportunity to join the education franchise. They don’t focus on the “what if’s” and instead look at the limitless opportunities that owning a franchise has to offer.

Here are their stories.

Kumon franchisee Roopa Palakkat
Image credit: Courtesy of Kumon

Meet, Roopa Palakkat. After seeing the success her own children had in the Kumon Math and Reading Program, she decided to walk away from a 15 year-long career in the corporate finance industry to open Kumon Math and Reading Center of New Port Richey-Trinity in Florida.

“As a Kumon parent, I knew firsthand the value Kumon added to my children’s education,” Palakkat says. “The structured approach of the program and the mastery it gave my children was incomparable. My husband and I began looking at possible business opportunities and Kumon just struck a personal chord with me.”

Palakkat was inspired by the opportunity to not only invest in a brand that she believed in, but also take advantage of an opportunity to provide the same benefits her kids were seeing in the Kumon Program to even more families in the community.

Making a drastic career change wasn’t an easy decision for Palakkat. She had an extensive background working for several Fortune 500 companies. Her advice for other individuals who may be considering a career change in the New Year?

“Career changes can be difficult and overwhelming, but as long as you stay focused on what you love and have a passion for it, success will come down the line,” Palakkat says.

Dr. Issumael Nzamutuma, Kumon franchisee.
Image credit: Courtesy of Kumon

Meet, Dr. Issumael Nzamutuma. He experienced a remarkable 35-year career in university management. Noticing an increasing number of students needing remedial courses upon enrolling in college, Dr. Nzamutuma decided to forgo retirement and instead opened Kumon Math and Reading Center of Leominster in Massachusetts.

“Statistics indicate that about 50 percent of first year college students are not prepared for college math and that many have to take remedial classes in math or English,” Dr. Nzamutuma says. “I noticed this trend throughout my higher education career. When I was first introduced to Kumon by a friend, I decided to look into the self-learning method.”

Upon looking into Kumon, Dr. Nzamutuma was inspired by reading the success stories of many students and was intrigued by the fact that many children actually advance above their grade level in Kumon.

“With a doctoral degree in college and university administration from Michigan State University, I’m a firm believer in the benefit of a strong education,” Dr. Nzamutuma says. “Since I consistently promote education to our church community, and especially the role parents should play in the education of their children, I was inspired to forgo retirement and open a Kumon Center to help parents who want to invest in their children.”

Prior to Dr. Nzamutuma opening his Kumon Center, the closest one in the area was a 30-minute commute for parents. Opening a Kumon Center in Leominster was a great business opportunity, but also a service to the community.

His advice for individuals considering a career change?

“People have more than one talent. Look at the needs of your community, and see if your talents can be better served where the community needs them.”

Shamini Wijay, a Kumon Math and Reading Center franchisee in California.
Image credit: Courtesy of Kumon

Meet Shamini Wijay. As a 20-year veteran in the engineering industry, Wijay understands the importance of strong math skills. She enrolled her own children in the Kumon Math and Reading Program and witnessed them develop a strong academic foundation and love for learning. After moving to Corona Del Mar, and realizing there wasn’t a Kumon Center in the area, she was inspired to walk away from her engineering career and embark on a new adventure by opening Kumon Math and Reading Center of Corona Del Mar in California.

“More, now than ever, our children need a strong academic foundation in order to compete in today’s world,” Wijay says. “After seeing the success my children had in Kumon and the vacancy of a local center in Corona Del Mar, I was inspired to open my own Kumon Center. “I left my stable career in hopes to instill a love for learning and help cultivate important life skills, like motivation and confidence, which will help children within my community prepare for their future.”

Making such a drastic career change wasn’t an easy decision for Wijay. For her, engineering had always been in her blood. As a structural engineer and senior project manager designing and managing multi-million dollar projects, her ambition was always employing innovative ideas and bringing them to fruition. That being said, she has zero regrets with the career change.

“Kumon has been a soul satisfying career change for me,” Wijay says. “I didn’t think I could ever have the satisfaction and contentment that I have with my new job. The difference that I make in my students’ lives every day is priceless and nothing compares to it. All the smiling faces walking into my life every day and leaving the center with more confidence makes the transition all worth it.”

Visit kumonfranchise.com to learn more about the Kumon franchise opportunity or call (844) 849-4394.

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