My mother was, and continues to be, the greatest example of unbending work ethic and fortitude in forging one’s own path to success. She was a single mother of two in a small town with a struggling economy and still managed to always have a job. Whether it was waiting tables or working at the local community college as a Career Guidance Counselor, she always made it clear that no job was beneath her but not paying her bills was. Even without a husband or even child support, she got up and went to work every day without complaint. We never heard how hard she worked, we only saw it.
Before she got her undergraduate degree in Human Relations and Organizational Behavior from University of San Francisco she was an entrepreneur at the county fair, running a cantaloupe Sunday ice cream booth that was much anticipated year after year. She enlisted the help of my younger sister and me giving us our first taste of the work world and a blink into the life of an Entrepreneur.
Along with some friends, she was a founding member of a handcrafted leather moccasin company that still exists and is considered one of the finest makers of Artisan Moccasins today, Happy Feets. Additionally, she helped found a hat company all from the bedroom of a single, working mother. As she put herself through school she worked as a waitress from 6am-2pm in order to run the women's clothing consignment store that she owns to this day, 27 years later. I covered the morning shift at the store while she finished her waitressing shift which helped pay the bills until the business got on its feet.
My mother taught me a lot of things about life that have been invaluable not the least of which are generosity and gratitude. But in, addition, she mirrored a stellar work ethic that has become the example by which I conduct myself as a business woman and which I hope to pass down to
my son. My sister and I are both entrepreneurs as the direct result of our mother giving us the example that risk takes courage but comes with great rewards. For many, the idea of betting on themselves is too daunting and the guarantee of a weekly paycheck too necessary for self-employment. Thanks to my mom and her amazing example of courage, strength and self-belief, my sister and I wouldn’t have it any other way.