Many people ask me about my story, why I involve myself so deeply in the community and why I believe LifeMoves plays an important role serving the lives of our clients.
As we embark on our third year of business, I wanted to share my story and why it aligns with the mission and values of our company. It’s my hope that in sharing these words, I can extend hope to other women who are struggling to get by.
You see, I too am a survivor.
I remember very little about my childhood, much of it was filled with a mother who was angry, bitter and abusive. Left by my father when I was two, my mother had no way to support my sister and I. The same year my father abandoned us, my grandfather also passed away, leaving my mother and grandmother alone and in “survival mode”.
I’m sure it was difficult for her. She eventually remarried when I was six. My step-father worked two jobs to support our family. I had a step-brother who was killed when I was twelve. My siblings and I didn’t have the opportunity to attend college or get a formal education (my sister being the only exception, she obtained a two-year degree). In fact, I struggled even in elementary school.
With all the turmoil in my early childhood, it’s no wonder school was a challenge. Truthfully, I look back in wonder at how I ever graduated high school. I was later diagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD, and OCD, but in school, I was deemed developmentally delayed and simply a “slow learner.” Back then, the system wasn’t kind to children who were differently abled and displayed other learning styles.
Wanting to escape my life, I ended up pregnant at nineteen and embarked on a short marriage. After the divorce, I received no child support, and I worked third shift at a factory job as a single mother.
Knowing that hard work was the only way to improve my life, I slowly but surely dedicated myself to the details. I busted my behind with long hours and extra work as I painstakingly moved up the ladder. Eventually, after many years at the factory, I worked my way up to the role of Productivity Manager.
The first person in my life who I felt truly believed in me, wasn’t my mother, my first or my second husband, who I married at thirty-two. No, the first person who recognized my effort was the owner of the company I worked for. He was a kind person, who was always good to me. He saw something in me that I didn’t yet see within myself.
When I was thirty-seven that kind man made me a once in a lifetime offer.
He asked me if I was interested in purchasing the company. He lent my husband and I the money to purchase 60% of the company at 8.5% interest. This was a loan of 12.5 million dollars—a staggering, life-changing gift.
From that moment, I knew I was forever indebted to pay it forward.
And that is the philosophy behind LifeMoves. We pay our workers well, we give back to our home community through philanthropic work, donations, fundraising, and promotions. We believe in being part of the community, to provide a life-changing service not only for the clients we serve but the entire community-at-large.
Because I’ve lived a low-income life, experienced the pain of loss, and dealt with the challenges of having different “learning abilities;" I want to help others who’ve faced the same obstacles. For me, it took one person to see past all of that and help me realize my worth.
It’s this same empathy, work-ethic, and desire to give back, that drives us at LifeMoves.
I will admit, though, it took me another life-changing experience to bring everything full-circle.
I was running the manufacturing company and had earned enough to return the loan and continue to grow. I raised my two daughters. Life was going along, as it does—bumps in the road here and there, my mother disowned me (after our years of damaged communication), I struggled to balance my life with work, but I was coping. Eventually, we sold our shares in the company and earned more than enough to last a lifetime.
Then at age fifty-three, I nearly lost it all.
I stumbled upon the knowledge my husband was having, not only an affair but living an entire second life with a drug addict. I broke, nearly completely. I ended up spending time at Rogers Memorial Hospital being treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression and Panic Disorder.
But something within me kept fighting. My coping and survival skills kicked in. I fought my way out of the black hole of my diagnosis, driven by the knowledge I couldn’t give up. In my heart, I knew I owed it to my former employer to repay his gift of opportunity. Not in money, but by giving back to the community. I had to survive. I started walking every single day. I started planning how I was going to make a difference.
As I began to recover, I decided to do something positive with the money I’d earned from the company sale. I wanted to do something big—larger than simply serving myself or my family. I started a private foundation, the Peggy Ann Family Foundation, to help Milwaukee and Waukesha children and adults receive a better education. Because I had lived through the setback of having no formal education, and experienced the cycle of sorrow and abuse, I knew that the only way children could rise above their circumstances was through finding hope. For me, that hope came from someone who recognized my internal spark—a trait often discovered and fueled by education.
Our foundation’s mission is: “One Child, A Family, A Neighborhood, Our Community Through Education.”
Along with the foundation, I founded LifeMoves, born from a desire to help those in times of transition and change. Knowing how stressful and overwhelming a move can be, particularly during life’s challenges, I wanted to find a way to help others find peace and balance in a chaotic situation. With my project management background, the idea of a company to manage all the “moving pieces” of a move seemed like a clear fit. My goal is to help clients on their journey. To allow them to start fresh in their new home, without the stress that often goes along with times of change.
Much of LifeMoves’ profits go toward the foundation. I hold 4-5 fundraisers per year in my home and serve on boards and committees for non-profit partners. I speak, do volunteer work and training whenever possible. I’m heavily involved in the Make-A-Wish foundation as well, and they also receive a percentage of our earnings. Entwined with the business goals of LifeMoves, and at the very heart of our mission is the message of giving back.
At LifeMoves we work to help the overwhelmed client, but at the end of the day, we also help with so much more. LifeMoves is really all about life changes and moving forward to a better tomorrow.
We offer a stress-free move, but we also hire within and help the communities we serve.
We pay working mothers a livable wage and benefits, so they can afford to support their family. We give money to education. We help sick children. Our brand is giving back.
I wanted to share my story with you so that you could understand the values that shape LifeMoves. I wanted you to get to know me. I look forward to sharing more about our foundation and community work with you in the future. I also look forward to sharing my LifeMoves “on the job” stories with you, in the upcoming “Peggy’s Page” section of our website! These stories will give you a deeper insight into the philosophy behind LifeMoves and a better understanding of the all services we offer, with a little drama and humor along the way.
Remember, no matter your circumstances, no matter what changes, stigmas, and challenges life throws at you, we’re there to help. At LifeMoves we offer a judgment-free, stress-free transition because the last thing you need is more stress. We work to understand your individual situation and help you find calm during your storm.