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.
"Sh*t!" my daughter exclaimed as she dropped her iPad to the floor. A little bit of context; my daughter Victoria absolutely loves her iPad. And as I watched her bemoan the possible destruction of her favorite device, I thought to myself, "If I were in her position, I'd probably say the exact same thing."
In the Rastegar family, a word is only a bad word if used improperly. This is a concept that has almost become a family motto. Because in our household, we do things a little differently. To put it frankly, our practices are a little unconventional. Completely safe, one hundred percent responsible- but sure, a little unconventional.
And that's because my husband Ari and I have always felt akin in one major life philosophy; we want to live our lives our way. We have dedicated ourselves to a lifetime of questioning the world around us. And it's that philosophy that has led us to some unbelievable discoveries, especially when it comes to parenting.
Ari was an English major. And if there's one thing that can be said about English majors, it's that they can be big-time sticklers for the rules. But Ari also thinks outside of the box. And here's where these two characteristics meet. Ari was always allowed to curse as a child, but only if the word fit an appropriate and relevant context. This idea came from Ari's father (his mother would have never taken to this concept), and I think this strange practice really molded him into the person he is today.
But it wasn't long after we met that I discovered this fun piece of Ari Rastegar history, and I got to drop a pretty awesome truth bomb on Ari. My parents let me do the same exact thing…
Not only was I allowed to curse as a child, but I was also given a fair amount of freedom to do as I wanted. And the results of this may surprise you. You see, despite the lack of heavy regulating and disciplining from my parents, I was the model child. Straight A's, always came home for curfew, really never got into any significant trouble- that was me. Not trying to toot my own horn here, but it's important for the argument. And don't get the wrong impression, it's not like I walked around cursing like a sailor.
Perhaps I was allowed to curse whenever I wanted, but that didn't mean I did.
And this is where we get to the amazing power of this parenting philosophy. In my experience, by allowing my own children to curse, I have found that their ability to self-regulate has developed in an outstanding fashion. Over the past few years, Victoria and Kingston have built an unbelievable amount of discipline. And that's because our decision to allow them to curse does not come without significant ground rules. Cursing must occur under a precise and suitable context, it must be done around appropriate company, and the privilege cannot be overused. By following these guidelines, Victoria and Kingston are cultivating an understanding of moderation, and at a very early age are building a social awareness about when and where certain types of language are appropriate. And ultimately, Victoria and Kingston are displaying the same phenomenon present during my childhood. Their actual instances of cursing are extremely low.
And beneath this parenting strategy is a deeper philosophy. Ari and I first and foremost look at parenting as educators. It is not our job to dictate who our children will be, how they shall behave, and what their future should look like.
We are not dictators; we are not imposing our will on them. They are autonomous beings. Their future is in their hands, and theirs alone.
Rather, we view it as our mission to show our children what the many possibilities of the world are and prepare them for the litany of experiences and challenges they will face as they develop into adulthood. Now, when Victoria and Kingston come across any roadblocks, they have not only the tools but the confidence to handle these tensions with pride, independence, and knowledge.
And we have found that cursing is an amazing place to begin this relationship as educators. By allowing our children to curse, and gently guiding them towards the appropriate use of this privilege, we are setting a groundwork of communication that will eventually pay dividends as our children grow curious of less benign temptations; sex, drugs, alcohol. There is no fear, no need to slink behind our backs, but rather an open door where any and all communication is rewarded with gentle attention and helpful wisdom.
The home is a sacred place, and honesty and communication must be its foundation. Children often lack an ability to communicate their exact feelings. Whether out of discomfort, fear, or the emotional messiness of adolescence, children can often be less than transparent. Building a place of refuge where our children feel safe enough to disclose their innermost feelings and troubles is, therefore, an utmost priority in shepherding their future. Ari and I have come across instances where our children may have been less than truthful with a teacher, or authority figure simply because they did not feel comfortable disclosing what was really going on. But with us, they know that honesty is not only appreciated but rewarded and incentivized. This allows us to protect them at every turn, guard them against destructive situations, and help guide and problem solve, fully equipped with the facts of their situation.
And as crazy as it all sounds- I really believe in my heart that the catalogue of positive outcomes described above truly does stem from our decision to allow Victoria and Kingston to curse freely.
I know this won't sit well with every parent out there. And like so many things in life, I don't advocate this approach for all situations. In our context, this decision has more than paid itself off. In another, it may exacerbate pre-existing challenges and prove to be only a detriment to your own family's goals.
As the leader of your household, this is something that you and you alone must decide upon with intentionality and wisdom.
Ultimately, Ari and I want to be the kind of people our children genuinely want to be around. Were we not their parents, I would hope that Victoria and Kingston would organically find us interesting, warm, kind, funny, all the things we aspire to be for them each and every day.
We've let our children fly free, and fly they have. They are amazing people. One day, when they leave the confines of our home, they will become amazing adults. And hopefully, some of the little life lessons and eccentric parenting practices we imparted upon them will serve as a support for their future happiness and success.