Culture 11 May 2017
To be a powerful female, chances are you were inspired by another powerful female: Your mom. In honor of Mother's Day, we chatted with a bunch of kick-ass lady bosses and asked them about what their own mom had taught them that ended up being the key to their success. You'll learn a lot from these amazing women!
1. Lisa Richards, co-founder of RPZL Hair Extensions and Blowout Bar
“Advice 1: I wanted to become a cheerleader when I was five and my mom said, "you don't cheer for others, they cheer for you!," and made me play competitive sports since then. That stuck with me, and is probably why I've always wanted to be part of the highly competitive entrepreneurial world. Advice 2: To never be financially dependent on a man. I was so determined to become successful professionally."
2. Liz Toombs, President and Founder, Polka Dots & Rosebuds Interiors
Liz is a cancer survivor and her mom passed away from cancer. Liz is also a very strong, Type-A personality, which matches the quote she gave. “I was a head strong child and my mom learned the best way to support and inspire me was to let me pursue my interests, even if it meant I would fall on my face. If I did fail at something, she was always there to pick me up and help me reflect on what didn't work. I am thankful for those experiences, as they are what inspired me to go after my entrepreneurial goals."
3. Tiffany Lerman, designer of Pattern LA bags
Tiffany's mother was the famous, best-selling Author Jackie Collins. Tiffany's mother Jackie used to tell her “Girls Can Do Anything" which how Tiffany started her career.
4. Cozy Friedman, Founder of SoCozy Hair Care For Kids
“'If you get up one hour earlier each day, that's the equivalent of adding one business day to your week.'- My mother was a single working mom, who played by her own rules. She began her career as a secretary in a used car office at a time when women were not in the car business. She worked her way up to become the #2 Rolls Royce salesperson in the world and I have learned so much from her!"
5. Annie Tevelin, Founder of SkinOwl
"My mother always said to me, "There are those who count and there are those who don't count. Make sure you stick with the people that bring out the best in you." In running a business, I have found it so important to spend my time with people who inspire me and motivate me to stay on the good side of history. I have my Mom to thank for instilling that in me.
6. Megan Driscoll, CEO of EvolveMKD
EvolveMKD Headshots and Atmosphere
“My mom has always said that if you trust your employees as if they were family, they will have your back just like your family does. I have found that to be true – especially since my mom quit her teaching career to become the office manager for our growing company. There are few people I would trust more to help me with all the day to day details of running EvolveMKD than my multi-talented mom."
7. Harriet Mills, CEO and Founder of Wine & Design
“You have one reputation and that is all." This is why I'm never quick to judge and respect everyone I encounter. My mom has taught me good reputation not only facilitates engagement, competitive advantage, resiliency to non-supporters, but it also creates opportunity for growth. And to me, self-growth is what ultimately fuels me to live a better and true life.
8. Dominique Schurman, CEO of PAPYRUS and her Mom, Margit Schurman, who founded Schurman Retail Group and PAPYRUS with her husband Marcel in 1950.
“My mother always encouraged me to be adventurous and to let culture color my life. When I was younger we would visit museums at every opportunity and my mother would say "just try to find one piece of art that touches you and it will stay with you forever."
9. Galit Strugano, Founder of Girlactik Makeup
"If you get out of line, you'll loose your turn and someone else will be closer to getting where they want to be. Love yourself and be proud of your accomplishment."
10. Debora Balardini, founder of Group .BR and co-founder of PUNTO Space and Nettles Artists Collective
"Work is work. It doesn't matter if you are cleaning a bathroom or running a company as the CEO. Work dignifies the spirit."
11. Annie Pace Scranton, of Pace PR
"As a woman you have to work ten times as hard to get the same rewards in business as man. But if you work hard, take care of yourself and get enough rest, there's no stopping what you can achieve."
12. Melinda Nicci, CEO and Founder of Baby2Body
“'Life is not a dress rehearsal' - I can still hear my late mother saying this to me and my siblings, urging us to make the most of opportunity we had, to live every day with purpose and pride. She encouraged me to make every moment count, whether it was at work or play. This advice is a still a huge part of how I approach the ups and downs of life and embrace the challenges and successes of my business."
13. Buffy Simoni, President of Paper Mart
“Most new things are a little bit exciting and a little bit scary." My mother was an adventurer, an avid hiker and traveler who encouraged me to challenge myself to overcome my more timid nature, and to accept fear as part of new experiences, not a barrier to them. Her words remind me to focus on the opportunity for positive outcomes in new endeavors, rather than just the risk.
14. Gina Stefani, Managing Partner, Stefani Restaurant Group
"My mom has always said to lead with confidence. If you're confident and determined in your actions and decisions nothing can stop you and you can rule the world. I've always kept that in mind in my personal and professional life and I think it's some of the best advice she's given me."
15. Maya Crothers, Founder of Circ Cell Skincare
Jacqueline (my mom who immigrated to the United States with my dad and older sister when I was six months old): "You can do whatever you put your mind to in America. If you fail, no problem, try again. Do that over and over. You will succeed."
16. Stephanie Horbaczewski, CEO and co-founder of StyleHaul, a global style network
"I told you to follow your passion to be successful! I always felt you were gifted in art and had a special talent for fashion. That combined with your aptitude for numbers were a great combination for a career as an entrepreneur." – Ann Horbaczewski
17. Founder Agathe Assouline-Lichten, the CEO of Red Velvet NYC
Her mom always said “Go get 'em". Sometimes she added “and give 'em hell". It's short and sweet but straight to the point.
18. Liz Eglinton, CEO of Snapper Rock
“As said by Aiki Flinthard, The Yu Dragon, Four things come not back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity." I live and breathe this quote, it's been something I knew of by heart as a little girl. When my sister died at age 30 from Ovarian Cancer, "the past life" words became real. I started Snapper Rock with this quote in mind, I wanted to make a difference, help save lives, and work for myself.
19. Natasha Case, CEO and Founder of Coolhaus
"There are no limitations to accomplishing your dreams." Not only did my mom immediately get me the tools and education to nurture something I expressed interest in and/or showed talent for but she also showed me by example that it was possible to do anything you set out to do. She has been an animator at Disney for 25 years and demonstrated that it is possible to have a thriving career while having lots of fun.
20. Tamara Arbib, Co-Founder of Rebel Kitchen
“Slow down and listen to your intuition and instincts even when the world and
people around you say otherwise." My mom has given me a tremendous understanding of why quality, not quantity of everything in life is important and that attaining material wealth doesn't lead to happiness. She taught me the importance of having strength of character, relentless determination and a positive outlook; of working hard and having fun whilst doing it. She showed me that what counts is family, love, home-made fresh food and cooking from scratch.
21. Jataon Whitley, Co-Owner of Milk & Cookies Kids Spa & Salon in NYC
Growing up her mother would say: “I have to work hard for everything I want in life." And "walk with my head held high and don't let anyone tell you... you can't because you can!"
22. Colene Elridge, executive coach
"Colene, you can change THE world, or you can change A world. Both are just
as important." -Claudia Elridge
23. DERMAFLASH Founder and CEO, Dara Levy
“There is absolutely nothing you cannot do if you put your mind to it!"
24. Megan McEwan, Co-Founder of Jane.com
Quote from mom: “Be kind no matter what, because you never know what someone else might be going through. Everyone is fighting their own battle"
Because my mom taught me kindness, compassion, and love, I have always tried to look at others differently, with more acceptance and understanding. Love is so powerful, and if we all gave each other a little more benefit-of-the-doubt and service, and a little less judgment, the world would be so much better!
25. Kat Eckles, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Clean Juice
“You are filled with strength, leadership, and willpower.. and you have the choice to use these qualities for good or evil." I've always had an extremely strong personality with low conformity and strong will. My mom said this to me constantly as her way to remind me early and often that these characteristics can be used in a variety of ways and it was only my choice to make. These words have stuck with me my entire life, guiding my development as an adult and being there as a gut check when the right decision wasn't the easiest one to make.
Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.
When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.
2016: What rules?
Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.
Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.
And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.
And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?
Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.
Digital policies for 2020 and beyond
While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.
Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy
Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:
- If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
- While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
- If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
- Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
- Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?
Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.
Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply
The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:
- Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
- Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
- Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
- Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
- Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
- Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
- Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
- Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.
Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles
Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.