Tag Archives: mother

Ambitious Women; Let’s hear from Jackie

18 Jul

Name | Jackie Taiwo

Tell us a random fact about yourself | I taught myself to play the piano when I was 12 and was pretty good for a few years, but I haven’t touched a piano in over a decade now.

What is your current occupation? | I work full time building my new business, Melariche (www.melariche.com), an online makeup & skincare catering to women of colour. On any given day, I may be working on web design, marketing & sales strategy, brand curation, operations management, social media…the list goes on and on. We launch in August, so everything is super busy, but it’s so fulfilling to work on a project that you’re passionate about and believe in.

Melariche---ORIG---logo

Would you class yourself as an ambitious woman?| Most definitely. I’m always in pursuit of a goal I’ve set for myself whether that be in my personal life or career related. What’s interesting though is how I have been able to jump onto new opportunities without looking back. I studied engineering college, but decided to work in corporate finance after graduation. After working a few years, I then decided to pursue a joint law-business graduate degree (thinking I would move into business role within the entertainment industry), and by second year of grad school decided I just had to leave the country and was hired by an international law-firm willing to relocate me after graduation. I was able to transition at each stage because I did not believe my path was limited by my current experience at that time. And I think having ambition is being able to see a vision for yourself beyond what society or your environment says you should do.

Have you always been ambitious? If not what was the turning point for you? | I think my ambition was engrained in me early by mother, who passed away in 2002. My mother was born in the deep south in the height of Jim Crow (quite literally born on the land her grandparents were enslaved on), but she was not someone who let her circumstance limit her vision. At 19, single and pregnant, she moved to the New York by herself to give her family more opportunity. She worked hard, got married and was able to buy a home with ten years. Fast forward to 1981, five kids later, a single mother now, she decided to get her bachelor’s in nursing while pregnant with me and graduated with a degree from one of the best nursing programs in New York. I watched her step up in the community whenever it was needed. Our local HeadStart program needed a bus driver to take local kids (including myself) to the school. With six kids, a full-time job, she made to time to volunteer to drive that bus. I can name countless instances where she was first in line to help those in need. Like so many black women, she all did this without seeking recognition and was not incredibly vocal about her achievements. I doubt she would have even called herself ‘ambitious.’ She did what she thought was necessary to provide for herself, her family and her community. But her ability to see & create opportunity has had a big impact on me. She did not let her struggles define her and that’s a powerful mindset. In my toughest times, I think this type of ambition has been so powerful in motivating me to push on.

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What is your biggest achievement to date? | My 4-year-old daughter has to be my biggest achievement. She’s beautiful, super smart and headstrong. Outside of that, I would say quitting my job as a corporate lawyer after 5 years. Yes, quitting was a huge achievement for me. I was so unhappy and not living in my purpose but I was incredibly afraid to quit. Overcoming that fear was huge feat and I’m so proud that I was able to do it. Fear can really cloud your ambition, so letting that go was a major step for me and has allowed me to progress to where I am today – one month away from launching Melariche!

What is your long term vision for yourself? | My vision is massive. I want to grow Melariche into a ‘Sephora for women of colour’ and really shake up the beauty industry which has ignored women with darker skin for far too long. I want to eventually build Melariche stores all around world. Our tagline is ‘Celebrate Your Beauty’ because our brand represents beauty in all colours and sizes. Women are constantly told that they need to a look a certain way in order to be beautiful or to be successful. I want to challenge that notion by encouraging women to look however they want, wear whatever makeup they want, do their hair however they want, and that’s okay and beautiful because it’s YOU and you have been and will always be enough. Live life on your own terms and break the mould!

It’s also incredibly important to give back and I’d like to start a program that empowers vulnerable women to see possibility beyond their immediate struggle and pass on the mindset that my mother gave to me.

What have you sacrificed or willing to sacrifice to achieve your vision? | I’ve given up a lot of my time. I work on Melariche in every free moment because there is always something to do. The to-do list never ends. This unfortunately means I struggle to be present when I’m with my daughter and husband, and at times I’m afraid I won’t feel the effects of this until years later. But my husband is incredibly supportive and every day I block out time that is just for me and my daughter (working on putting the phone down!).

What advice can you give to other ambitious women that want to pursue their dreams but are afraid to do so? | Optimism. Remove the word “can’t” from your vocabulary. The power of being positive cannot be understated. Talk about your vision confidently – even if you don’t have the resources – focus on what you can accomplish and make a growth plan and believe in it.

Also, I think it’s important to pause and set aside a few days to literally write down your 3-year or 5-year plan, whether it’s for your business or career.  Write down what you want to achieve and be as detailed as possible about how you’re going to achieve it – force yourself to be realistic, take note on your strengths and include a plan to work on your weaknesses. Have someone you trust read it and to help determine if the plan you’ve set out will actually get you the results you seek. Also, write down contingencies for each stage, knowing that even if you execute your plan perfectly, sh*t happens beyond your control requiring you to pivot. But when that time comes you’ll be prepared because you know there’s a plan B.


 

Want to hear more from Jackie?

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Website: www.melariche.com

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Are you ambitious? business minded? or pursuing  your passion?

Want to be apart of this series? Express your interest by emailing quietlyambitious@hotmail.com or messaging here  


 

Reflections of a mum-to-be; Stay at home mum?

27 Apr

With only 3 months to go until the arrival of my baby girl I’m already considering what life will be like once she’s here. I’m trying to envision how much my life will change. I’ve spoken to other mothers about what it’s like to be a mum and most have said there’s no experience like it. One mother said her priorities and perspective on life completely changed. I do wonder what she actually meant. How did it change?

[I’m not expecting to understand this until it happens…but I do still wonder.]

But as an ambitious young woman with my whole life ahead of me, I’m left with a set of priorities to sort through. First up, the decision between being a full-time mother and pursuing a career seems to top the list. It’s a decision most mothers have to battle with. It’s an additional pressure that most men don’t even have to consider. I can understand that we as women struggle with this decision because we can see both options have value. But the difficulty arises when we’re forced to choose one option. But I always think is it necessary to choose one or the other? Can we not do it all?

I’ve been asking myself all these questions lately…

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At my midwife appointment

However, I feel that society doesn’t value the option of being a ‘stay at home’ mum. There always seems to be a negative connotation associated with it. It’s often seen as the less ambitious option and the dare I say ‘easier’ option. But I don’t believe that to be true. Being a full time mother is just as valuable as pursuing a career, except that you’re directly contributing to your children’s lives. It’s an investment for the future.

For me, contributing directly into my family’s lives is much more appealing and that’s why I’m leaning towards becoming a ‘stay at home’ mum (whatever that may turn out to mean). But I want to be at home with my daughter as much as I can. I want to teach her and educate her on the things school won’t. I just want to be there for her.

I decided a year ago that I didn’t want to go back into full time employment, (although I picked up part-time jobs along the way my focus was still to pursue business). Not much has changed, although now there is a baby in the mix, I still don’t feel the push to go back into full time employment. This is why I’m currently building a business that will ultimately provide residual income. Once this starts working for me (and it will) it will give me the freedom I need to be with my family.

So don’t worry I don’t plan to relinquish my ambitious nature but in fact I plan to incorporate it into motherhood. So to all the ‘stay at home’ mums, I salute you. I’ll be joining you soon!

“My why isn’t just about me anymore. It’s about her.”

Nat x

Check out the first post in this series

 

Reflections of a mum-to-be

6 Apr

The other day I was thinking back to the times where I would believe and follow everything my parents told me. I would willingly agree with everything they said…no questions asked. I remember my father once told me that putting petrol in a car makes it grow. I honestly believed that for a few years. I remember intently watching the other cars at the petrol station to see if they doubled in size. [They never did]. But that just shows that when we are young our parents had the power to say anything to us and in our naivety we would often accept.

But I can remember the times when I started challenging my parent’s views. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens. I guess my increased independence and growing intellect gave me the confidence to question them. I was never disrespectful but I was challenging. At times I felt rebellious and I was sometimes branded as a disobedient child. But in my defense I feel like I was just trying to develop as a person. I was exploring all the different views I had and because of my intuitive nature I couldn’t just take everything at face value.

But as I sit here this afternoon and reflect on my ‘rebellion’ I can see that there were some benefits to challenging my parents. I honestly believe that during those years I was creating the foundation for me to become a strong minded and ambitious woman. [I hope my parents can agree too]. I feel that through questioning my parents helped me to cement my beliefs even more. I learnt more. I explored my thoughts and ideas more and now I feel confident in the things I believe. 

So with this in mind and my impending motherhood I thought about the future dynamics of my relationship with my daughter. I want there to be freedom of expression between us. I want her to openly discuss things that concern her. I want her to challenge my views with logical and well formed arguments. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want her to be rebellious without reason, but nor do I want her to blindly accept everything I tell her. Quite frankly, I want to raise a woman that is strong minded, driven and confident!

But to achieve this, the practice must start at home and that’s why I cannot let my pride get in the way. I must learn to put aside my emotions in times when she’ll prove me wrong. This is where I envision the challenge will be. As a mother I can imagine you feel all knowledgeable and all powerful over your offspring. I guess you feel that because you carried them for 9 months you have the right to dictate every aspect of their life. But I think we forget that we are primarily human beings; with our own goals, dreams and purpose. That’s why I believe it is important as a parent to encourage your children to fulfill each of these.

I envision that the most precious moments of motherhood will be allowing my daughter to teach me in areas where I fall short. I don’t have all the answers and yes I may get things wrong but I can only hope and pray that God gives me the wisdom and strength to be the best mother that I can be.

Are there any mothers that can relate? How do you feel when your children challenge your views? And what do you think about this kind of parenting style?

Comment below

Nat x