What makes a leader? It depends on who you ask. But if you ask the Bonvera family, we’d say a leader is a person of character, integrity, wisdom, honesty, transparency, vision, and heart. In our series, Profiles in Leadership, we’ve been interviewing the incredible leaders behind the Bonvera mission, recently featuring Cody & Tara Newton, Tim and Brandy Jarvinen, and Joe and Laura Darkangelo. This week we want to introduce Jim and Kathy Paullin from Georgia.
Jim and Kathy are business owners, leaders, travelers, grandparents, and great grandparents. They are currently selling their home to move to their dream home on the lake. In the words of Jim, “Most people would have retired a couple of years ago [at our age], but we’re just getting started.” If that doesn’t sum up this awe-inspiring couple, we don’t know what does.
Jim and Kathy didn’t expect to be in this industry when they got started over 45 years ago. “I guess the short story is that Kathy and I had met in high school. We went to different universities, and after 2 ½ years at different schools, I got her to transfer to my school. We graduated one day and got married the next. Kathy had a degree in chemistry and worked for the CDC. I got a Master’s degree and got a great job, and Kathy thought she wouldn’t have to work” after they had children. With his degree, Jim became a business and finance manager at a big paper company, but he “didn’t like the limitations and control of it.” They didn’t have money to buy a franchise, and they were running short on money. He started teaching finance at a university in the area 3 nights a week, but he was still looking for an opportunity to have his own business. Jim said, “I got approached by a college friend of mine, a fraternity brother, and he said he had an opportunity that could help me get more time and have more money.” Kathy expressed, “I thought our security was in his corporate job, and I thought he might jeopardize that with this fly-by-night opportunity. I didn’t think we were the type of people that could do this. I didn’t have the confidence. Doing something brand new was scary to me, so I was not supportive at the beginning. He figured trying anything was better than working for a boss for 40 years. Thank goodness he was looking ahead for our family. I became a believer when I met the people and saw this really was something we could do together.”
Jim described, “We definitely had different backgrounds. Kathy was the bookworm, all A’s. I was always the people person. Two years after we started I was able to walk away from both of my jobs. That was at age 28. Ever since then, we’ve been able to enjoy the lifestyle that we created by helping other people achieve their goals and dreams. It’s a win-win opportunity that anybody can do if they want to. Everybody is on a volunteer basis — they don’t get hired or fired. They just have the opportunity to reach whatever goals they are willing to work for. Now, we’ve got 45 years of experience. I think we’re going to stick with it. We’ve really enjoyed the best part — the time we’ve had with our children and our grandchildren and great grandchildren. That’s probably the best part of it all.” Kathy wholeheartedly agreed, “Absolutely.”
With all of their experience in the industry, we had to ask what Jim and Kathy have learned over time. Jim and Kathy both highlighted the education and training they’ve received. Jim stated, “It improved every aspect of our lives, including relationships with family and friends and becoming a better person and learning how to set goals, achieve them, and dream build. I got promotions in my full-time employment just from the exposure to the training system.” Kathy said, “And we’re still learning, that’s the thing. That’s the beauty of this business. People are continually wanting to become better, so you’re in an atmosphere of growth.”
When they came on board with Bonvera, Kathy described, “We felt blessed to be invited because we knew all of the people that were coming together to form the company. We felt they were people of such high caliber: character, integrity, honesty, and principle, and to be a part of that team with Tim and Amy Marks would be a dream. We didn’t hesitate. We knew they were going to do something really great. And they are.” One of their favorite things about Bonvera is the community. Kathy said, “For me, it’s the community. Whenever we get together, it’s like family.” Jim said his favorite experience with Bonvera have been the trips they’ve gotten to take. Kathy agreed, “Yeah, I love the trips, and I love when we all get together at the NTEs. We get to see all the people from our teams in different parts of the country; people we’ve had relationships with for years. Get to be inspired by all the leaders. It’s just so much fun. It’s all about the people for me. It’s about the opportunity, the future, the people, and the hope.”
Jim offered, “One of the most gratifying things is that my son wants to do what we do. How many people have a job that their son would say that’s what he wants to do? That’s gratifying for sure. And to know that our family are all entrepreneurs.” Kathy said, “No one should have to feel like they are trapped in a financial status or job. There is always something that you can aspire to. You don’t have to be stagnant. You need to always have hope and move forward to something better.” Together, they agree “that’s probably the ultimate legacy that we can leave.”
And of course, we had to ask a few fun questions to these two!
If you were a cartoon character, what would you be?
Kathy replied, “O my gosh, I’m never good at these. The first thing that popped into my mind was Elastigirl. She can stretch and go everywhere. Maybe that’s who I would be because I don’t want situations to break me. I want to stretch to fill a need and then come back and be calm and okay.”
Jim responded, “I’ve never thought of myself being anybody else. I’ve always just been plain old me.” Kathy sweetly suggested he could be Superman.
What are some of your hobbies?
Kathy responded, “We love to travel.” Jim said, “We like boating. I really enjoy playing racquetball. What else, babe?” Kathy said, “We like working out together and need to do more of that. We like reading. You never got bored when you’re reading. We like going on the jet skis, and sitting on the dock or on the deck and looking over the lake and watching the geese. It’s just beautiful. We love sitting in the hot tub and listening to the crickets. It’s so romantic and peaceful. It’s just great.”
Jim and Kathy have been married for 52 years, and their experience together in this industry is a huge asset to fellow team members, leaders, entrepreneurs, and the community as a whole. They said they are so thankful to be a part of this business, but we’re even more thankful to have them with the Bonvera family. Thank you for getting to know Jim and Kathy Paullin. If you’re interested in learning more about this industry or home-based business opportunity, talk to your local Bonvera entrepreneur today. If you aren’t connected to one, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (316) 260 – 2225 to get connected.