We come from unusual backgrounds and have very different personalities, yet we are fabulous partners in life and love…and in reinventing ourselves! Keep reading to learn more about our story.
Najia is the product of a Moroccan father and French mother. She grew up speaking French at home in New York, learned English in kindergarten, and some Arabic in Morocco during family visits. She earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and worked on Wall Street. When a colleague thought she’d make an excellent lawyer and dared her to take the entrance exam for law school, she did – with NO intention of becoming a lawyer.
To her surprise, she was awarded a full scholarship to law school – so how could she refuse? An unexpected reinvention ensued.
30 years in complex litigation practice and three children later, she met Colin and started a whole new life. Again.
Colin’s dad was a British Army officer who was stationed all over the world. As a result, whenever someone asks him where he is from, he often goes into a long litany of everywhere he lived while he was young (from England to Germany to Cyprus to Scotland to Thailand…). His first assignment as a British & Canadian CPA for Price Waterhouse Coopers was in the Channel Islands. He later took PWC’s offer to relocate to Montreal, where he learned French, then moved a decade later to Toronto.
After 25 years as a CPA in Canada, Colin semi-retired and moved to a tiny island in the British Virgin Islands where he continued working part-time as a CPA in hedge funds, volunteer in Virgin Islands Search And Rescue, as Treasurer for the local school, and fundraiser for the local animal shelter.
He had no children and NO intention to return to full-time work and NO desire to return to urban living.
12 years later, he met Najia. An unexpected reinvention ensued.
Colin married Najia and became a first-time parent to three stepsons, moved to Phoenix, AZ a city of 6 million, and went back to working full time.
Man (and woman) plan, the universe laughs.
5 years later, the youngest son was off to university, and we decided to create our next reinvention -finally a reinvention we DID intend! This time we both suffered career burn out and wanted to do something entirely different in semi-retired mode. We wanted to take on something fun and for only half the year so we could travel the other half of the year. We looked at what we like and our skill sets:
- We are both entrepreneurial spirits, so we knew we were going to build our own business(es).
- We have each founded successful professional firms, so we know what goes into establishing and running a business,
- We LOVE entertaining,
- Najia enjoys cooking,
- Colin likes to fix things around the house,
- Najia wanted to finally breathe life into a long-held dream of growing from passionate hobbyist to a professional glass and metal artist.
A seasonal bed and breakfast seemed like a perfect fit, so we did the opposite of what ‘normal’ people our age do in semi-retirement: we bought a house double the size of our last house and moved to a colder climate!
We chose Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada because it is the “Hawaii” of Canada. Kelowna is a hotbed of tourism because of the multitudes of wineries, art exhibitions and outdoor activities in a beautiful mountain and lake setting with a mild climate. It is the perfect venue for us to run Cheers B&B and for Najia to launch Vibrant and Sage Artworks.
Who knows what our next reinvention will be? Join us in the ride and share your reinvention stories!
Najia & Colin