Corporate America won’t often get you what you think it will. By now, you’ve heard many stories of Bonvera leaders and entrepreneurs who were in corporate America. They worked countless hours to climb that ladder, and they didn’t get what they thought they would. They thought they’d find more peace and more time to be with their family. Instead, they were stressed, unhealthy, and unhappy. This next couple advanced in their careers only to find more peace, stability, and happiness outside of that world and in an entirely different industry — introducing Ed & Lynette Zentner.
On a beautiful day in Michigan, we caught Ed and Lynette in the midst of a Thursday afternoon to sit down and catch up with them. They were preparing for a weekend in Grand Rapids, Michigan to watch their youngest child, Adam (17), in a tennis tournament. He’s a senior in high school preparing for college, and they travel often to watch him play. Currently, Ed and Lynette aren’t completely free. Lynette is able to stay at home and dedicate all her time to the Bonvera business, but to make ends meet, Ed works another job outside of doing Bonvera. However, they are making huge strides to being able to dedicate all of their efforts to the Bonvera business. This isn’t how it always was for them though.
Before they got involved in this industry, Ed and Lynette were what they’d call “do it our-selfers.” Ed was working 50-60 hrs/week as an Engineering Manager for an automotive company along with running his own lawn irrigation company. Lynette was working for an automotive components company in Sales, Marketing and Planning. They had both gone to school to get their MBA’s and they were very busy building a family and a home.
Lynette explained, “At that point, we had two daughters (Erica and Monique). Between running back and forth to work, day-care and kids’ activities, it was a lot of hours and a lot of stress.” Ed added, “We just finished our custom built home that we helped design at that point. We just moved in, and there were still a lot of things we were working on.” They performed much of the work themselves — the construction, painting, landscaping, etc. Right around this time was when they were introduced to a new industry and a new way of thinking.
Ed laughed, “I didn’t have time, didn’t know anything about the industry and I had preconceived ideas about it.” But, this being the keyword here, Ed said, “From an engineering standpoint, I saw the potential for a residual income opportunity, and it made all the sense in the world.” Lynette’s apprehension decreased as she watched Ed grow in excitement and hope and change his perspective toward the profession. Fast forward one year, Lynette was able to give up her corporate career to be a stay-at-home mom, and Ed was able to close down his 22 year old lawn irrigation company to be able to devote more time to the community building industry. Years after that, and you’d find Ed and Lynette as impactful leaders who have built teams and are pressing on to new goals within the Bonvera business.
With Bonvera, things looked different. Lynette was able to leave her job and devote more time to the business and their three children (Erica, Monique and Adam). Though Ed still works in addition to being a Bonvera entrepreneur, he said, “It brought more sanity to us, and it allowed me the opportunity to do a little bit more. Partnering with people that wanted success and helping them achieve that is so rewarding.” With the Bonvera “business in a box” system, Ed and Lynette just had to “build the depth and relationships and let the system do the work.” These relationships are what made the difference. Granted, it hasn’t always been easy. Ed and Lynette have weathered some storms throughout this process with the business, with people coming in and out of their lives, and with employment outside of Bonvera. However, they admit that they “don’t give up” and they feel a deep commitment to help everyone they come across as Bonvera entrepreneurs. “Anyone can do this business and we are here to help – it’s whether they choose to persist and push through to attain their goals.” With Ed and Lynette’s can-do spirit and relatability, we know they’ll keep pushing until they reach their goals and dreams.
In typical Bonvera fashion, we asked a few fun and personal questions to wrap up this one-on-one interview!
What’s your secret sauce that only the two of you have?
They laughed, “We’re still cooking here!” Ed stated, “Although we had some success from a corporate standpoint, we didn’t use that as an excuse to not learn new information and build the Bonvera business. We were great examples of people that looked somewhat successful to others from the outside, but we had additional dreams and aspirations on the inside. We have a lot of varied interests and have learned about many topics that allow us to relate to people from all walks of life. We love learning about people and from their varied experiences.”
What’s your favorite restaurant to frequent?
They responded, “Our daughter (Monique) lives in Chicago and actually manages a high-end restaurant, RPM Steak, so we love to go there whenever we are in town. She was recently transferred, so we are looking forward to visiting Monique and trying her new location, RPM Italian. More locally we enjoy many family holiday celebrations at a place our niece’s husband manages, The Brewery.”
What are some of your hobbies?
Lynette said, “We love to go scuba diving. That’s actually how we met. We also like to do a lot of projects around the house in construction or DIYing.” Ed added, “Beekeeping & hunting. I love to garden too. We also assist in the repair of our parents’ houses and cottage often. We enjoy doing house projects together.”
Do you have a mission statement that you live by?
Lynette emotionally stated, “ I have a bracelet I wear every day. It says, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world. -Ghandi’ I used to wear it facing outward for others to see, but now I face it inward to remind myself to read it and be the change every day. Some days I fail, but other days it is a reminder to be that person for others. It reminds me that there is a bigger picture.”
Ed responded, “My goal is to be more accepting of people where they are. It’s better to be interested than interesting. I continue to focus on that and ask questions and learn more about other people rather than being more dominant in conversation.”
Such an honor to have Ed & Lynette with the Bonvera community. They bring resilience, relatability, and credibility in whatever they do, whether it’s corporate America or owning your own business to developing relationships with others and weathering tough times. Thanks for taking the time to get to know Ed & Lynette Zentner. If you’re interested in learning more, we can get you connected to an entrepreneur in your area at firstname.lastname@example.org or (316) 260 – 2225.