Not many women use a painful breakup as inspiration to start a new business. But that’s exactly what Helen Troncoso did.
In 2009, the women’s health advocate was engaged to a man she’d been dating on and off for more than 10 years. Looking back, Troncoso says it was an unhealthy relationship, but she wasn’t able to see it. She was busy getting her doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
When she graduated in May of that year, she started to see the “cracks on the inside” and that she was tolerating “terrible treatment.” She was then 31, and says as a Latina she felt pressure from her family to settle down and get married.
But her mother, who has always inspired Troncoso with her tenacity—she learned to speak English after moving to New York from her native Puerto Rico—encouraged Troncoso to trust her instincts. Even though she was desperately afraid of starting over, Troncoso broke off the engagement, taking from her home just the clothes she was wearing and a small suitcase.
Three years later, she’s launched her own Manhattan-based company called Reinventing You, where she designs individualized health and wellness plans and helps her clients set realistic goals for themselves. She says the breakup was a turning point that helped her realize “even though you have failures, it’s a part of success”.
“I truly believe any woman can reinvent herself at any point of her life,” wrote Troncoso, now 34, in an email. “Starting all over again was so hard, and sometimes it still is, but I’m finally in charge of my life and my future. I want women to know they can do it too.”
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