Chuck Barletta is doing it. After 12 years, he has said goodbye to corporate America to start his own business.
Barletta spent 10 years at Northeastern University in Boston as executive director of conference and event catering. Two years ago, he headed west to Redmond, Wash., to work as director of dining services for Eurest Dining Services, which serves as caterer for Microsoft.
Although leaving the corporate world behind to work on his own is a big change, Barletta has experience as an entrepreneur to back him up. During his Northeastern days, he designed events on the side under the name BallyHoo Events. Today, he is turning BallyHoo into his full-time vocation.
Barletta is boosting his odds of success by forming partnerships. His new business is closely linked with Linens by Alice, a wholesale rental and sales company of high-end linens and tabletop decor headquartered in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston. His offices will be located in the company's warehouse. "Alice Synnott has a huge clientele in the Boston area, and I'll be representing the retail aspect of her company-designing events and incorporating her products," he explains.
Embracing change, such as moving cross-country two years ago, "gave me the courage to do what I'm doing now," Barletta says. "If I had not come to work at Microsoft, I couldn't have done this."