Suddenly You're the Boss

What happens when fate puts you in charge of the family business? These four women decided failure wasn’t an option

By Andrea Atkins
Despite having minimal business experience, Myer rescued her late husband’s company from near bankruptcy.
Photograph: Ian Allen

Since Hansen took over in 2003 (she quit her insurance job in 2004), she’s paid off all of AgVenture’s debt. It took three years of nearly 24/7 devotion to stabilize the business, but annual revenues have risen from $1.4 million to $4 million. Hansen donates at least 10 percent of her profits (and 10 percent of her personal wages) to local charities each year, leading the community to root for her success. “Some huge miracles have happened because I had to take over the business,” says Hansen. “That I had the tenacity to get through this is a miracle in itself.” 

Andrea Atkins, a frequent contributor to national magazines, lives in Rye, New York.

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