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Cheryl Ecton

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Laura Eaton

Ecton’s spark for running her own company started at the front desk. Working as a receptionist, she’d hear from tenants in the building about how dissatisfied they were with the cleaning services. Ecton decided to roll up her sleeves and take on the building’s cleaning herself after her receptionist shift.

As positive feedback rolled in, she saw that it could be a full-fledged service for multiple companies. But at 19 years old and lacking experience, juggling work, family life and everything else was a challenge. “I didn’t have a clue how to run a business,” she says.

Nonetheless, Ecton took a chance and launched Elite Building Services in her early 20s. Today, the business offers facility services to companies in New England, the mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Southeast. Ecton learned that the biggest asset to running a company is surrounding yourself with good people, because doing it all yourself is impossible. She also learned that for women, the “corporate ladder” is more of a lattice.

She didn’t move up the ranks quickly, but she didn’t give up on her dreams and was able to achieve everything on her own terms. “There’s no time frame for doing that,” she says. In her speech at the Women in Business Luncheon, she says she won’t be focusing on how she built a cleaning company, hoping instead to inspire others to follow their dreams.

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