#WomenCreatingCommerce

Celebrating Moms

What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

I remember love, I could see it in my Mom’s eyes every time she looked at me.  She always wanted what was best for all of her children, and never let any obstacle stand in her way.  One of my fondest childhood memories: My mom was an expert seamstress, and she shared her sewing talents in “dressing” me and my Barbie dolls.  She would get up around 5:00 am and sew clothes for me and Barbie before she went to work, and stay up late after we went to bed to finish.  I remember spending hours in fabric stores finding the perfect material for a dress we had seen in a store (sometimes we couldn’t afford to buy “ready-made”, so Mom would make it).  And, needless to say, my Barbie’s were on our neighborhood’s “best dressed list”.

My mom was a true Leave It to Beaver Mom, as well as a working Mom.  She cooked and washed dishes in her pearls and starched apron, always wore a hat and gloves to church, and even when we went shopping downtown.  She also ironed my Dad’s boxer shorts, (thank goodness I never inherited that trait).

How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business? And in life?

Because of my Mom, the word can’t is not in my vocabulary.  I have always found a way to do something that I believe in or want.  It might take going in several doors, but it can be done.

But most of all, she introduced me to the many rewards of giving back.

What word best describes your Mom?  Love, Unconditional Love.

Suzan Deison

CEO/President/Founder, Greater Houston Women's Chamber of Commerce

  1. What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

Cooking and Learning how to make pies, peach pies.

  1. What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom?

Perseverance

  1. How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business?

Her faith and work ethic has helped me excel in business and in life. She is very optimistic and believes in God. Nelson Mandela — ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’

  1. And in life?

Helping others. We were raised with a heart for serving others as children with compassion and kindness.

Rhonda Arnold

Chief Community Relations Officer, Houston Airport System

  1. What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

My best memories with my Mom were the times it was just her and I hanging out.  She was fun to be around as my Mom, but she somehow managed to be my best friend at the same time.  Some of my best memories about my Mom was her talent for making birthdays and holidays magical. We didn’t have a lot of money, but she always figured out a way to make those time special. For me, she was technicolor in a black and white world.

  1. What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom?

The strongest attribute I inherited from my Mom is my independence. My Dad’s job kept him on the road 5-6 days a week leaving my Mom to raise 4 drama queen daughters and run the house in addition to dealing with medical emergencies, tornados, ice storms and household repairs.  I learned from her that I am perfectly capable of handling my life on my own. 

  1. How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business? And in life? 

In business and in life, my Mom taught me to be a good problem solver and to be prepared.  She was intuitive and smart, so she knew how to view a problem from all sides, and could quickly analyze the options, probable outcomes and possible pitfalls.  With that information, she would decide on and execute Plan A, but she always had a Plan B as a backup.

  1. What word best describes your Mom?

The words that best describe my Mom are Steel Magnolia. She was beautiful with a sense of style, clever, funny and strong.  I can’t wait to see her again soon and even though I know she’ll say it, I hope I’m living my life in a way that makes her proud.  Anytime I don’t feel quite up to the challenge, I think about her and know that because of her, I can do anything.  Thanks, Mom!

Brenda James

Managing Director, Clayton Services

  1. What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

My mother would read to me every night before bed to help me fall asleep. Many times her eyes would close before mine…

 What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom?

Optimism

  1. How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business? And in life?

My mother influenced me to work and live with integrity and perseverance.

 What word best describes your Mom?

Joyful

I LOVE MY MOM!

I love that she is my biggest cheerleader.

I love that she is an eternal optimist.

I love that she is a dreamer.

I love that she is an artist of her world.

I love that she is my best friend.

I love that she made me the woman who I am today.

Melanie Herz Promecene

Vice President, Huitt Zollars

  1. What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

One of my fondest memory of my Mom is when I or any of my 4 siblings or her grandchildren came to visit.  Her greatest joy was having her children close by and okay. That joy was apparent in her face that glowed with happiness and in her voice that became almost singsong (even when we had just seen her the day before).  Her energy was amazing and she would run around feeding us (she was a fabulous cook) and making us each feel we were the most important people in the world.   She was especially close to me, her second daughter and fourth child out of five.  Together we traveled to foreign countries, picked fruit, rode bicycles, did yoga, watched romantic movies she loved (like Gone With the Wind), did art projects and had many shared adventures and lots of fun.  

  1. What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom?

My siblings tell me that I inherited her love of independence and her perseverance.  She was amazingly progressive considering that she came from a past generation in the Indian subcontinent. I find it amazing that she traveled by herself on a train in India at the age of 18 to go to an American college. I heard that she refused to wear a burka (a Moslem cover that her mother and sister wore) and used to hide it in the bushes when her mother wasn’t aware. As a young girl she loved riding horses and climbing trees with her brother.  She even became an Officer in the Women’s Naval Reserve.  I also find it amazing that she came half way around the world from Pakistan to New York with five children when my father got a job with the United Nations. There weren’t that many Indians and Pakistanis in New York at that time and she didn’t know anyone except one cousin. But she managed it well as she always did.

 How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business?

My mother always told me “every woman needs to be financially independent”. Her father died when she was 17 and she married my father soon after, so she did not get the opportunity to finish college and work, but she encouraged me to do both and also to learn to drive and try new things.  She was proud of my corporate career.   While she died before seeing my success as an entrepreneur, when she was alive, she encouraged me to start a company if that is what I wanted to do.  She often told me that I could do anything I put my mind to, and that helped me build my belief in myself.  As far back as I remember she worked with various charities and helped the poor. She taught me about kindness, empathy and giving.  I never heard her say anything bad or mean-spirited about anybody. That is a trait that I wish I had inherited that from her.

  1. What word best describes your Mom? 

Gosh- just one word to describe my Mom is hard.  I think of “strong”, “progressive”, “devoted”, “nurturing”, “charming”, “lover of life”, “kind”, “funny”, “spirited”, “giving” and very “cool”. 

Samina Farid

Entrepreneur

  1. What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

My Mom never missed any of my events AND she always stayed until the bitter end! She might have been actively involved by serving as a scorekeeper or on the Board or simply in the audience supporting us. She would sit through competitions that lasted hours and hours and never complain. Always had a smile on her face and a positive thing to say even if I bombed it!

  1. What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom?
    A positive attitude.
  2. How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business? And in life?She taught me the importance of the “behind the scenes” work. We don’t always have to be front and center to have the most positive and meaningful impact on an individual or an organization. Sometimes just doing the support work is what is most needed and appreciated!
  3. What word best describes your Mom? Resilient

 

Annette Monks

President , Carlton Staffing and Carltech

  1. What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

My mother has boundless energy, isn’t afraid of challenges, and most of all loves people. We moved from Istanbul Turkey and landed in Lafayette Louisiana in 1967.  She adapted quickly, learning to speak English, surrounding herself with amazing people and found ways to begin contributing in this small town.  When I was growing up I remember her working to raise money for the Catholic orphanage, baking cakes for the women’s shelter and taking on leadership roles in the Faculty Women’s Club (wives of the university where my father taught) as well as in other charities like the Heart Association where she worked diligently to make a difference. She was also an incredible host cooking fabulous meals for our family and friends.  Gatherings at our home were full of interesting people, lively conversations, and delicious Turkish food.  Doing things for others has always brought my mother joy.  At 90, she has been dubbed “The Force of Nature” by our son.  She’s an inspiration to me and the wind beneath my wings! 

  1. How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business? And in life?

Over my 35+ year career, I’ve put the lessons learned from Mom to work – 1) Do good work, 2) build strong trusted relationships, and 3) contribute to my community.

  1. What word best describes your Mom?

Resilient

Ayse McCracken

President, eNNOVATE Health Ventures

  1. What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

I can remember many Minnesota summers as a young child up in my mom’s computer/keyboarding classroom at the elementary school. While she worked to prepare her classroom for the upcoming school year, my sisters and I would feverishly practice our typing on the fancy new Macs. Mom would occasionally look over to make sure the construction paper covers were over our hands while our fingers typed on the plastic orange keypad covering that masked the keys and would say ever-so-kindly, “Girls, hands on the home row!” Little did I know while other kiddos were out playing kickball and four square on the playground, I was learning an invaluable skill that has paid tremendous dividends for me to this day in the business world – thank you for the talent, skill and foresight, mom!

  1. What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom?

My mother has a work ethic like no other. Both she and my father model loyalty, dedication, commitment and honor to the effort and work they put into everything as the foundation to success. She also has the ability to innately see things through to the finest detail and tell the most incredibly detailed, vibrant stories.

  1. How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business? And in life? My mother is the true epitome of what servant leadership is in this world. Her heart is incredible, as she is always placing the well-being, wants and needs of others far before herself.  Whether that be her grandchildren, family members, school friends, or someone she has just met, she truly lives out a life of service to others. It was an incredible honor to receive the 2018 FedEx Humanitarian Award and to have my mom there to present it to me with my son, sisters and father – that award is a symbol of a life of service that, at its core, is a representation of the love and humanity my mom and dad taught us all to exude every day in life. She has a heart of gold that is unmatched (except by dad!) and I’m so proud to call her my mom.
  1. What word best describes your Mom?

The two words that best describe my mom are determined and faithful – when she sets her mind to something, there is nothing that will stop her. Most importantly, my mom taught me to be faithful to God’s plan, even in the darkest of hours. She is the matriarch of our family and instilled the love of God as the cornerstone of our family, reminding us often that there is no place for fear if we have faith and trust that God is at work (we just sometimes need to get out of the way and let Him lead us!). I love you, mom!

Erika Tolar

Worldwide Executive – Private Equity Sales & Strategy, FedEx Services

My mom worked as a mathematician for Boeing in the 1950’s and was the only woman on her team of engineers. She told the men in the group she didn’t know how to type so they would stop asking her to type their reports.  This story has stayed with me and reminds me of how far we’ve come, how much we owe the trailblazing women who came before us, and how much better the workplace will be for our daughters.

Jan Sieving

Director, Communications and Corporate Affairs, Southwestern Energy

  1. What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

Watch her on television.  She was a professional model.

  1. What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom? 

Intelligence

  1. How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business?  

She got me my first job at her company.

  1. And in life?  

She set the example of kindness and unconditional love.

  1. What word best describes your Mom?

Beautiful

Beth Young

Senior Vice President, Collier's International

  1. What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

Mom helping my sister and me as small children to build a fort on our front porch to watch a lightning storm.  She was great at turning scary things into fun and fascinating things for us.

  1. What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom? 

Problem-solving!  The bigger the problem, the more we both dig-in to figure out a creative solution. As a kid, I was always amazed at how she could turn situations around just by looking at things from a different angle.  Now I practice that all the time!

  1. How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business? And in life? 

My mom was a teacher and dedicated her career to educating children.  That definitely included me! She instilled in me a love of learning and encouraged intellectual curiosity. Both my business and my family have benefitted from that feeling that there is always more to know and learn.   

 What word best describes your Mom? 

Caring. Mom still takes care of everyone in our family.  She still makes family dinner including all the grandkids every Sunday night. She is always thinking of ways to help everyone.  She sets a wonderful example.

Juliet Breeze, M.D.

Chief Executive Officer, Next Level Urgent Care

  1. What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhoodIn fourth grade, Mom allowed me to invite all of the girls in my class (there were only 7 at my country school!) to my birthday party. She made individual cakes and we each got to decorate our own cake. You’ve never seen so much glitter sugar and frosting in one place!
  2. What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom? 

A desire to change the world – or at least the part of the world that is within reach.

 How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business? And in life? 

Love and support make a person believe that they are capable of anything. Mom (and Dad) gave me that springboard to success in business and in life. All paths seem possible when you know that Mom and Dad will support your choices.

  1. What word best describes your Mom? Changemaker
Brenda Mainwaring

AVP Public Affairs, Union Pacific Railroad

  1. What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom?

I definitely feel that my mother’s thoughtfulness and organizational skills have helped me in life and in business. She taught me to remember everyone’s birthday and to make a list of things to do. She was an excellent entertainer and so my fondest memory is of her preparing parties.

Sue Burnett

President and Founder, Burnett Specialists

  1. What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

She played the piano in our church every Sunday Morning and she looked so happy.

  1. What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom? 

A Commitment to Excellence

  1. How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business? And in life?

She taught me great communications skills, which have been invaluable in my business, and she taught me persistence, which has been valuable throughout my life.

  1. What word best describes your Mom?

Ambitious

 

Dr. Mary Ann Reynolds-Wilkins

Vice President/Senior Business Development Officer, Stewart Title

 What is your fondest memory of your Mom when you look back at your childhood?

My mom would tell me stories about my birth every year a day or so before my birthday.  Even when I was in college, she would call and say, “Guess what? I am in labor!” It was the craziest thing, but I truly miss those birthday calls. I now do the same thing with my son.

  1. What is the strongest attribute that you inherited from your Mom?

The strongest attribute that I inherited from my mom was the value she placed on education.  She was a teacher and although her parents did not receive a college degree, her parents sent all 5 of their children to college on very meager incomes.  She believed, like her parents that have an education would allow you to have a better quality of life and more choices in life.

  1. How has your Mom’s influence helped you in business? And in life?

My mom’s influence has helped me pursue an MBA and to have successful career choices in the fields of energy, banking, and transportation.  She wanted to me to have choices and to not feel that I was limited in any way.  Because she stressed the importance of finding your own path and leaving yourself the opportunity to choose, I have been blessed to have longevity and experience, which enables me to help others on their journey.

  1. What word best describes your Mom?

“Fearless!”  My mom had a liver transplant at the age of 68, which was somewhat of an advanced age for a transplant.  She never once complained and was optimistic throughout the entire ordeal.  Mary Alice Marshall is my fearless SHERO!

Karen Marshall

Director, Ridership & Client Services, METRO

  1. What word best describes your Mom?

Remarkable

Loretta Cross

Managing Director, Dispute Consulting, STOUT

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