Lillian Vernon (born Lilli Menasche; March 18, 1927 – December 14, 2015) was an American businesswoman and philanthropist. She founded the Lillian Vernon Corporation in 1951 and served as its chairwoman and CEO until July 1989, though she continued to serve as executive chairwoman until 2003, when the company was taken private by Zelnick Media. When it went public in 1987, Lillian Vernon Corporation was the first company traded on the American Stock Exchange founded by a woman. New York University’s Lillian Vernon Writers House is named after her and houses the University’s prestigious creative writing program.
What was your greatest challenge? Staying alive as a business, staying ahead of the game, and melding my business life with my personal life.
~ Lillian Vernon
Entrepreneurs juggle lots of responsibilities — especially if they are mothers and wives! Anyone who ventures out to create their own business is a brave person.
Luckily, I was able to start my business after all my children were mostly grown up. My youngest was still in high school early in my sales rep days and I remember taking her with me on a few trips. Great bonding time!
But, yes, balancing business with personal life can be a challenge. I remember the frustration I felt with trying to keep up with the housework between my sales trips. After awhile, I just could no longer keep up the schedule and decided to cut back on my travel time.
I was fortunate as I had an entrepreneurial husband who supported my desire to run my own business. Things would probably have turned out different if he had not been willing to do so!
Based on Lillian’s challenges, which one(s) do you struggle with the most?
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