Mom and Entrepreneurship

My mom and I on the day of my wedding. July 25, 2019 Normandy, France.

My mom and I on the day of my wedding. July 25, 2019 Normandy, France.

My mother is an entrepreneur.

I know what you’re thinking: Aha! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Maybe so. But if you’d asked me even in graduate school if I would start companies someday, I would have scoffed: No way. As a child, I planned to turn into a writer. In college, I thought academia lay ahead. After I tried academia, I went into publishing as an editor and freelance journalist.

Me? An entrepreneur? Not in the plans.

And then something happened. I saw a better way to do something. I saw a business opportunity. And then I started FrogDog.

That was 1997. I haven’t looked back.

At the time, a friend called me brave. It didn’t feel like bravery. It felt natural. Not easy, not simple, and a little scary—sure. Yet starting a business, knuckling down, making business happen—even with a background in academia and publishing—felt completely, well, normal.

Thanks, Mom.

Recently, my mother wrapped up her work as the CEO of her seventh company. The first company she started in my infancy. As I grew up, I spent time in conference rooms, corporate lobbies, and board meetings. I watched her give presentations. I saw her receive awards. I attended business dinners. I heard her talk with my dad over meals about business successes, challenges, conundrums.

I grew up watching an amazing woman build powerful businesses in a time when few women had careers—much less worked as CEOs. (Alas, few do even today. We need to change that.) She had few peers. She blazed a trail.

And I sure as hell benefited.