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. I’ve even started a second company and am assessing a third.
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.
Currently, my mother serves 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 benefitted.