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.
New parents re-entering the workforce are often juggling the tangible realities of daycare logistics, sleep deprivation, and a cascade of overwhelming work. No matter how parents build their family, they often struggle with the guilt of being split between home and work and not feeling exceptionally successful in either place.
Women building their families often face a set of challenges different from men. Those who have had children biologically may be navigating the world of pumping at work. Others might feel pulled in multiple directions when bringing a child into their home after adoption. Some women are trying to learn how to care for a newborn for the first time. New parents need all the help they can get with their transition.
Women returning to work after kids sometimes have to address comments such as:
"I didn't think you'd come back."
"You must feel so guilty."
"You missed a lot while you were out."
To counteract this difficult situation, women are finding mentors and making targeting connections. Parent mentors can help new moms address integrating their new life realities with work, finding resources within the organization and local community, and create connections with peers.
There's also an important role for parent mentors to play in discussing career trajectory. Traditionally, men who have families see more promotions compared to women with children. Knowing that having kids may represent a career setback for women, they may work with their mentors to create an action plan to "back on track" or to get recognized for their contributions as quickly as possible after returning to work.
Previously, in a bid to accommodate mothers transitioning back to work, corporate managers would make a show at lessoning the workload for newly returned mothers. This approach actually did more harm than good, as the mother's skills and ambitions were marginalized by these alleged "family friendly" policies, ultimately defining her for the workplace as a mother, rather than a person focused on career.
Today, this is changing. Some larger organizations, such as JP Morgan Chase, have structured mentorship programs that specifically target these issues and provide mentors for new parents. These programs match new parents navigating a transition back to work with volunteer mentors who are interested in helping and sponsoring moms. Mentors in the programs do not need to be moms, or even parents, themselves, but are passionate about making sure the opportunities are available.
It's just one other valuable way corporations are evolving when it comes to building quality relationships with their employees – and successfully retaining them, empowering women who face their own set of special barriers to career growth and leadership success.
Mentoring will always be a two way street. In ideal situations, both parties will benefit from the relationship. It's no different when women mentor working mothers getting back on track on the job. But there a few factors to consider when embracing this new form of mentorship
How to be a good Momtor?
Listen: For those mentoring a new parent, one of the best strategies to take is active listening. Be present and aware while the mentee shares their thoughts, repeat back what you hear in your own words, and acknowledge emotions. The returning mother is facing a range of emotions and potentially complicated situations, and the last thing she wants to hear is advice about how she should be feeling about the transition. Instead, be a sounding board for her feelings and issues with returning to work. Validate her concerns and provide a space where she can express herself without fear of retribution or bull-pen politics. This will allow the mentee a safe space to sort through her feelings and focus on her real challenges as a mother returning to work.
Share: Assure the mentee that they aren't alone, that other parents just like them are navigating the transition back to work. Provide a list of ways you've coped with the transition yourself, as well as your best parenting tips. Don't be afraid to discuss mothering skills as well as career skills. Work on creative solutions to the particular issues your mentee is facing in striking her new work/life balance.
Update Work Goals: A career-minded woman often faces a new reality once a new child enters the picture. Previous career goals may appear out of reach now that she has family responsibilities at home. Each mentee is affected by this differently, but good momtors help parents update her work goals and strategies for realizing them, explaining, where applicable, where the company is in a position to help them with their dreams either through continuing education support or specific training initiatives.
Being a role model for a working mother provides a support system, at work, that they can rely on just like the one they rely on at home with family and friends. Knowing they have someone in the office, who has knowledge about both being a mom and a career woman, will go a long way towards helping them make the transition successfully themselves.