Growing up, it was normal for me to spend evenings and weekends shuffled from one place to the next. For the most part I attended my mom’s activities, not my own as a very young child. Her lifestyle of leadership was all I knew. Literally, from the time I entered this world, I was swept up by the momentum of an ambitious, focused woman who was pregnant with me while she completed her PhD. I am not very familiar with the workings of obtaining a doctorate degree in Educational Policy, but I can safely assume that switching between writing your dissertation and nursing an infant (allbeit an extremely well behaved one) was challenging. I believe that even though I was an infant, I observed and subconsciously internalized that you could get a degree, any degree while being pregnant, because motherhood did not oppose educational advancement. So when you ask me, “How did I go to business school fulltime and have baby number 2?”, the answer is because my mom showed me I could.
This lifestyle was ingrained in me and an example for how adding to your plate only increases your capacity. Some people ask me if I never sleep, if I have extra energy stored in a secret place, but today I want to share with you the Original Superwoman. Did I mention she was working part-time teaching at Minneapolis Community College while she completed her dissertation? That sounds like an abbreviated maternity leave to me. I attended a private school with highly engaged families, and my mom was on the parent board for Breck. Oh, and later she taught diversity and inclusion training to my teachers.
Before and after I was born, my mom was President of the National Council of Negro Women, Dean of Pledges for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Chair of the Urban Leadership Foundation, AND volunteered for the Youth Ministry at church. She was unstoppable, and had drive, energy and time like no other. She was supported by an amazing husband and partner who encouraged her to see things through even when they were tough, and thus, I honestly don’t know how to live my life any different. Her activism, involvement and volunteerism became my normal. It’s no wonder where my love for ambition and business came from. My mom launched Girl Scout Troop #1587 at Breck and served on the advisory board for NFTE (The National Foundation of Teaching Entrepreneurship). Her appetite for initiative engulfed my early, formative years and mapped this trait onto my spunky, action-oriented go-getter personality.
In elementary school, my mom launched her first small business, a nanny service, which placed nannies with hundreds of families in the Twin City area. My mother became the Associate Dean of Students at Carleton College, and then an Associate Professor at Augsburg, and ultimately a Department Chair and subsequently full tenured professor and Metropolitan State University. And, along the way she Founded the Minneapolis Chapter of Tots ‘n’ Teens (similar to Jack n Jill). So when you ask me, “How do I have time to work, be a mother of three, be active in church, run with BGR, blog, and launch a nonprofit?”, the answer is: I’m just following in my mommy’s footsteps. Happy Birthday to the Original Superwoman who taught me how to be just as awesome.