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April 21, 2020
In celebration of Mother’s Day, Ember partnered with La Colombe Coffee in support of their Aurora Light Roast. With each sale of Aurora, members of women owned coffee co-ops in South America and Africa receive technical training, exemplifying women as leaders and cornerstones for their communities.
Inspired by Aurora and Mother’s Day, we’re profiling six female entrepreneurs — all moms — and the difference they’re making. Read below to discover all that these women have created.
Founder of: BEL KAZAN
Mom to: Vem Bodhi (3 years)
Belinda Kazanci decided to uproot her life in Los Angeles 15+ years ago after a life-changing journey to Bali, Indonesia. Determined to make her vision of a socially and environmentally responsible apparel line come to life, she created BEL KAZAN. All products are handmade in Bali. Kazanci is committed to giving back to the culture and people that gave her a renewed sense of purpose. “Ethical business practices are at the core of everything we do and stand for. We carefully select sustainable materials and focus on creating a minimal amount of waste by upcycling fabric into other products and donating leftovers to local villages,” says Kazanci. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Kazanci understands how being a mom can influence creativity.
Becoming a mom made me more fearless creatively and opened up a part of me that I didn’t know existed...I became less concerned with what others would think of my designs and have allowed myself to step outside of my own boundaries.
Becoming a mom to Vem who she lovingly refers to as the center of her universe, “made me more fearless creatively and opened up a part of me that I didn’t know existed. I became less concerned with what others would think of my designs and have allowed myself to step outside of my own boundaries,” she says. In this photo Belinda is wearing the BEL KAZAN Farah Jumpsuit. Find all of her beautiful pieces at belkazan.com.
Founder of: Pink Lotus
Mom to: Justin, Sebastian, and Ethan (10 years)
Kristi Funk, M.D. is a board-certified breast cancer surgeon & physician, bestselling author, international keynote speaker and women’s health advocate. Dr. Funk opened the Pink Lotus Breast Center, in 2009, where she has helped thousands of women navigate breast issues, including well-known celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Sheryl Crow.
Being a mom intensifies my relationship with mothers who are recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I can readily verbalize what each of them fears most, coming from a place of compassion and understanding.
From the onset, the center’s mission was to fuse state-of-the-art imaging and surgical techniques with complementary and holistic care. “Every day while I’m at work, I am reminded of the fragility of life, but I also am inspired by the resilience and strength of the human spirit,” says Dr. Funk. Being an entrepreneur set in early in her medical career. After five months of working with another surgeon, she broke away to form her own practice. “I realized that I thrive best under my own rules, with my own vision, reaping my own rewards and failures,” she says. Opening Pink Lotus wasn’t easy. Dr. Funk faced financial downturn and had to start the business while being four months pregnant with triplets. But rather than abandon her dream, she persevered, and eventually expanded Pink Lotus to include a non-profit, an online community, and e-commerce platform. “Being a mom intensifies my relationship with mothers who are recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I can readily verbalize what each of them fears most, coming from a place of compassion and understanding," explains Dr. Funk. The Pink Lotus brand has expanded to include Dr. Funk’s Cancer-Kicking! PowWow podcast, the Cancer-Kicking! Kitchen, and the Breast Cancer 101 blog that provides instructional videos on breast health.
Founder of: Mission Mama
Mom to: Steele (5.5 years) and Sage (3 years)
During her second pregnancy, Porsha Ellis longed to connect with other mothers like herself. She eventually started her own blog, “Raising Wisdom,” where she chronicled her journey through motherhood. As Ellis became more involved in online communities, she noticed a lack of diversity which led her to create Mission Mama.
Mission Mama was really created out of a need. I joined a few mom communities after my first pregnancy but didn't really see myself in these groups...there was a representation gap when it came to moms of color, specifically black moms and I wanted to change that and create a space for us to thrive.
Mission Mama is a 360 platform (digital and experiential) that champions black motherhood by connecting, empowering, educating, and celebrating those who need it most. “There was a representation gap when it came to moms of color, specifically black moms, and I wanted to change that. I wanted to create a space for us to thrive. I wanted to create a community where we could shine a light on each other and lift each other up,” says Ellis. Her advice for balancing parenthood and work is empowering: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Surround yourself with people who uplift you and people that support you. Let go of your fears and insecurities, make a plan, be intentional, and commit!”
Creator of: NUFit
Mom to: Skyler Shea Pozatek (22 months)
Natalie is the creator of her own fitness method NUFit - a mix of dance, cardio, and toning exercises. Since becoming a mom, Uhling understands the female body even better. “I love working with moms! My personal training clients are all moms. It's my sweet spot,” Uhling says. While it can be difficult to run a business and be a mom, Uhling believes time management and being selective are key. “I love being with my daughter Sky, so if I commit to a job, etc it's because I really want to be there or believe in the mission,” she says.
The love you gain from your kids and the understanding of yourself is growth you can only get by being a mom. It changes you and I truly believe that's when more opportunities come.
For women who are concerned about balancing business and motherhood, Uhling encourages them not to wait, “You can do it and have both. I am so passionate about this topic and I want to tell women the truth.” She explains, “My road to motherhood has been very complicated. You have no idea what your road will look like so don’t wait, do it. The love you gain from your kids and the understanding of yourself is growth you can only get by being a mom. It changes you and I truly believe that's when more opportunities come.” Head to natalieuhlingfitness.com to learn more about NUFit and sign up for classes. She’s currently teaching donation-based Zoom classes every Monday and Wednesday at 1pm (MT).
Co-Founder of: Self Employed
Mom to: Mia (3.5 years) and Jude (1.5 years)
Self Employed is an experiential marketing agency that works with global brands to strategize and develop IRL and digital marketing plans, including CMO services for startups and brands looking to re-energize their executive hierarchy. Self Employed is the second agency Gatto has owned. “Starting your own company requires a new level of discipline. While we are in control of our schedules, we have to be our own boss and ensure we are paying attention to every moving part of our business, which doesn’t really turn off. It comes down to being ready to take the risk and feel confident in the work in front of you,” she says.
You can’t do it all, at the same time. Pressuring yourself to finish a proposal or write emails while your kids are waiting for dinner or bedtime routines doesn’t do any good for your work or your kids. I’m learning to divide my time versus overlap it.
With so much to juggle, the company culture of Self Employed has become focused on family and time management. “You can’t do it all, at the same time. Pressuring yourself to finish a proposal or write emails while your kids are waiting for dinner or bedtime routines doesn’t do any good for your work or your kids. I’m learning to divide my time versus overlap it,” explains Gatto. “I firmly believe you don’t have to work around the clock to achieve what you need to. Being forced to only focus on work during a daily set amount of hours not only delivers the best output but gives my brain time to recharge and be a devoted mom when I need to be.”
Co-Founder of: Self Employed
Mom to: Alex (2 years) and Rose (due in June)
Sarah Ivory took what she learned working at an NYC agency with clients like Facebook and Chase Bank to then start her own business at 22. “When I left my first job, I got a bunch of requests to represent clients on my own. So I just followed that path, and whenever I felt I was hitting a ceiling, I would go back in-house somewhere and learn more. I was full of fear and self-doubt, but kept having success. It took a good eight years of bouncing back and forth before I finally realized that I was truly an entrepreneur,” she says. For Ivory, being a mother has helped her focus on what really matters.
Being a mother created a sense of perspective around what really matters, what’s truly important...family and health are my 1 and 2 then comes the work I do to support 1 and 2.
“Family and health are my one and two, then comes the work I do to support one and two,” she explains. Prioritizing and time management are key to maintaining both focus and balance, which she says can’t always be measured on the daily. “Sometimes the balance is a total of how the month went because there are some days that require you to travel and give your full attention to the job. You need to have help from a partner, family member, or nanny in order to do both successfully,” she shares. “When you can’t be there to nurture your child, you need someone who can, until you return from that business trip or meet that deadline. It gives you the peace of mind you need to be able to be successful.” To learn more about Self Employed and get in touch with Sarah and Anita visit weareselfemployed.com.
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