Everything I learned about how to run my business I learned from my mother. She is brilliant at budgeting and coordinating complex processes, she is an amazing host beloved by everyone, humble, forgiving, disciplined, and above all, kind. These very attributes are the ones I work hard to espouse when leading my own team and company.
And the reason I even have a successful business at all is because of my mother. My mother isn’t a CEO or what would be considered nowadays a “thought leader.” Having fled Communism in Albania in the early 90s, she mostly worked modest and menial jobs despite being college educated and speaking multiple languages. She did what she had to do to raise a family in exile. And when the time came for me to have children of my own, my mom became the CEO of my household so that I could be a globe-trotting thought leader and CEO of my company. So, when people marvel at how I manage to “have it all” I point to my secret weapon, my mother. (My husband is also an amazing partner but he knows this column is not about him!)
At work, my business partner Kelly Ryan Bailey is another mother I admire. It’s not just that we have shared values and experiences as parents that make our work together so seamless. It’s that we are each other’s cheerleaders in a way only mothers can be. Frankly speaking—no disrespect to my other wonderful staff and teammates—I love working with mothers and parents in general. They have a special type of skillset that is not often recognized in the workplace that helps you navigate challenges in a different way. No crisis is insurmountable when a parent is tasked with the solution. Parents are just built that way. Which is why I despair when I hear that it is parenthood—and especially motherhood—and by proxy lack of childcare that sets some women back in the workplace.
Employers don’t always realize the unique skillset mothers bring to the workplace, (although some are starting to, and those that do have a huge advantage). When we hear of studies and research about how much childcare alone can contribute to the success of a business and society at large, I am perplexed at why it’s taken so long to recognize.
As our readers know, we dedicate a special edition to International Women’s Day each March 8. This year is no different and I am proud to present an edition completely authored by women from around the world—each one is someone I deeply admire. We tackle issues that are not just important to women but that are important to society. And so, I’d like to dedicate this special edition to our wonderful contributors and to my mom. Happy International Women’s Day!