This story was originally published on opportunityfund.org.
When starting her medical career, Shannen Enos Pousada wanted to be a coroner. But she quickly realized that was not her path. The hospital where she did her coroner training had a busy emergency room with lots of opportunities to learn, so she switched to emergency medicine and became an emergency room nurse.
As a nurse, federal law requires you to be certified in CPR. When your CPR certification expires, you can’t go back to work until you are recertified. In the medical industry there’s always a need for healthcare providers to find a nearby class to get recertified.
In 2007, Shannen found herself in that situation. She had signed up for a CPR recertification class at the hospital well in advance, but it canceled the class at the last minute. “I only had a few days to find an alternative. The hospital was no help. I ended up having to drive more than 100 miles and pay twice as much to get recertified.”
A career pivot
That frustration turned into an opportunity. Shannen got certified to teach CPR and launched Enos CPR Services. “I wanted to help my fellow nurses get recertified, but I quickly realized that there were many others looking for CPR training — police officers, teachers, new parents, etc.” Shannen shifted her business model to include training and, even without advertising, business exploded.
It seemed like a no-brainer to expand. She had been running a profitable business for more than seven years, staffed it using highly trained independent contractors, owned all her equipment, had no debt, paid her bills on time, and had an enviable client list that included major corporations. Shannen felt like a success. But, to her surprise, no one would give her a loan.
It was one of the organizations that turned her down that suggested Opportunity Fund. After so many negative responses, Shannen felt a bit defensive, pessimistic even, but Opportunity Fund’s loan consultant listened to her needs and approved Shannen for a loan. In fact, Shannen is the very first loan that Opportunity Fund approved in partnership with LendingClub.
The right match
Thanks to the support of Opportunity Fund and LendingClub, Shannen obtained the funds she needed to grow her business. “I never knew how difficult it might be to get funding. If someone knew about Opportunity Fund and could start with them, they would not have gone through what I did. I didn’t feel pushed aside. I remember having this whole conversation about me as a business owner.”
Today, Enos provides different types of CPR training — whether you are a medical professional or a new parent, they can provide the level and depth of training needed to make sure you can react quickly and confidently. They also provide first aid training, bloodborne pathogens training, OSHA training, and more. Shannen is positively impacting the lives of hundreds of people.