4th Annual Shadow for a Day: Women Small Business Owners — Linda, my mom, and auto repair shop manager.

— By: Theresa Ellis — To continue my 4th annual Shadow for a Day program, I decided to include spotlights on women for National Women’s Small Business Month.

First: My mom. I shadowed her in business for many years.

Linda Mary Ranck Schmalhofer — even though she passed away in 2016. I know her story well.

Strengths: Math, English, Finance, Business
Built and managed our family auto repair shop, still operated by my dad today.

Like many couples years ago, my mom and dad married young, struggled financially, and sharing the 2nd floor of a house with my aunt’s family. Their dream was to run a shop — my dad had natural
skills in auto mechanics and my mom had a keen sense for business. Together they had a plan.

I was born one Christmas morning. They could barely pay the hospital and doctor. Mom was motivated. After years of working for my grandfather in a rented garage, my grandfather had a stroke. Mom took over the business side.

They saved and bought and moved to a larger facility. I helped in the office and learned customer service, banking, investing, and how to take care of employees, and the property with my mom. She was a good employer and always fair.

Whatever we did together, benefited all of us, like buying my 1st car — a 57 Plymouth Valiant with no air conditioning. I loved it. It was a green box, and it ran like a tank.

When I opened my own business in healthcare communication in Virginia, my mom came down and helped me find a place, offered suggestions on contracts, attorneys, insurance, and protection.

Shadowing her in my youth, prepared me for the future. Different business, but many similarities.

And now, I have paid it forward to many with mentoring and growing my Shadow for a Day program for our students and career changers to connect them to people in many jobs, trades, and skills.

Visit my website and contact me to be added to our Shadow for a Day Program network. I will email you the contact information for our large diverse network.