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"Mom's Wisdom" Stories

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Frequently Asked Questions

"My mother taught me to be real - never to lose who I am in the work environment. It has served me well the past thirty-two years with IBM where, in the beginning, high heels were an unusual sight. My ability to be authentic has helped me create a career that is rewarding and challenging and suited perfectly to ME!"
                    - Nancy DeViney, Vice President of Values and Organizational Capacity, IBM


"My children taught me that sometimes everyone needs a nap and a snack! I try to remember that when I conduct long program meetings and begin to notice my staff's eyes start to glaze over...time to give them that nap (in the form of a break) and a snack!"
                    - Mary Wright Benner, Program Director, The Conference Board


"Both of my grandmothers taught in one-room schoolhouses in rural Pennsylvania for many years. I visited those schoolhouses with them in the '50s and '60s and was amazed at how self-sufficient they were. My mother started her own kindergarten - also in Pennsylvania in the '50s - and then taught in an elementary school for another 35 years. The lessons that I learned from them are those of perseverance and determination to finish the job in spite of all obstacles and hardships which you many encounter both at home and in the workplace.

In my own career in nursing, I was always impressed with those fellow nurses who constantly performed under stressful life and death situations. Having been exposed to a variety of such time sensitive situations where mnay diverse groups of individuals required immediate assistance, I learned the importance of correct and thorough intervention while being sensitive to their needs..."
                    - Kati Machtley, Women's Summit Director, Bryant University


"I learned confidence. Not just from my mother, but [from] my father as well. My mother did not work outside of the home for much of my life, but she was a certified teacher of Home Economics. She was good at her job, looking after us. If we had a problem at school, she took care of it. When I was denied the chance to take Shop Class, my mother went to the school to talk to the administrators. If my father was needed, they would go together on a second trip. I was a third child - second trips were not required. I took Shop.

She was a leader of our Girl Scout troop. Under her leadership, we went camping, backpacking and raised money for a buss trip from Virginia to Canada. The world was open to us because she did not take 'no' for an answer. She had confidence, so therefore did we."
                    - Cynthia Wood, FM&E, Pfizer


"Most everything I learned about work and work ethic, I learned from my father. The most important woman in my life was my grandmother. She taught me many, many things about gardens, animals and birds, and unconditional love - but not about work. On reflection, that probably was the best lesson to learn...work isn't everything."
                    - Chris Chrissos, Political Aide to CT State Representative Diana Urban


"My mother's mother, whom we called Grandma, always made people feel appreciated - whether it was the painter, the butcher or the meter reader. When I served as Executive Director of a non-profit organization for 10 years, I often heard from volunteers about how they felt appreciated in the organization. I wrote frequent thank you notes, celebrated volunteers with an annual potluck dinner, highlighted people's generosity (of time and money) in our newsletters and annual reports, and always made sure they knew how much their contributions meant to the organization. While I probably spent a good part of my time thanking people, in the long run, it supported a very loyal group of volunteers. Thank you, Grandma, for showing me the power of appreciating people.

My mom taught me to try new things and improvise. Mom's acts of daring tended to happen in the kitchen - she'd find a recipe for bouillabaisse that took five hours and she'd find a way to make it in 40 minutes. Or she'd take a fat-laden recipe for chicken and change a few ingredients to make a tasty, simpler and healthier version. She was never afraid to experiement. I'm not as daring as my mother in the kitchen, but I think her confidence shows up in my work as a book coach. I'm comfortable trying new things and applying them to my work for clients. Recently, I heard a great idea for writing a press release that reporters love and often gets people to take the step of going to the person's website. I applied the underlying concepts for a client, and she ended up on the front page of the Living Section in the Providence Journal twice with links to her website listed both times. I read about a new marketing strategy and figured out a way to make it more simple and quicker to apply. I credit my mom with that ability to take something new and tweak it for my own purposes."
                    - Lisa Tener, Book Coach


"[There is] one thing that stands out in my mind that Mom used to say to us years ago (and still would today given the chance...I find myself using this and passing it on to my kids all the time, too!). You know how you wake up on a cold winter day with a sore throat from the heat and a stuffy nose and just basically feeling rotten? Mom used to always say: "Get up and get moving, and you'll feel fine." I would never believe it at that moment because I was sure I was dying from the flu, but sure enough, I'd get up...and get in the shower and by the time I'm driving to work, I feel mostly fine.

Thanks to Mom's advice, I've made it to work more days than not and now I say to my kids all the time. I sometimes wonder if Mom hadn't said that to me so many years ago on such a regular basis, if as a working person today, would I just give in to my sore throat, call in sick and go back to sleep? My employer should call my mom and thank her! I have a few employees I'd like to give Mom's number to, too!!"
                    - Kathryn Gaddis, Assistant Recreation Director, Ocean City Park and Recreation


"...my mother taught me to be an effective communicator. She has the ability to gain trust from an initial meeting. My mother is the best at meeting someone and gaining their trust immediately. In a world where sales are everything, trust is the key factor to success, especially for a banker. It makes people take the extra step to doing business with you rather than your competition. [My mother] also has a unique skill of getting people to want to be around her, and [she] can make them smile...[People] are very open, honest and feel comfortable giving her information about their needs. In business, this translates to knowing enough information about a customer or prospect to figure out products and services to help them. If not for my mom, I would not be where I am today..."
                    - June Goguen, Vice President of the Commercial Lending Division, Eastern Bank


"My husband's grandmother, 'Nana Vi,' redecorated her apartment at age 92! Her sense of optimism was her greatest gift to me. With a book about to be published and an associated business plan in the works, optimism is what has helped me deal with the challenges along the way. Coming from a family of worriers, I had to learn to be optimistic, and Nana Vi's example was my guide.

What I've learned from my four kids - and from the experiences of moms I've interviewed for my book - is the importance of consistency in childrens' lives. This is especially true when it comes to a mom's job. Whether a mom works part-time or full-time or has been home since her children were born, it's the predictability of the arrangement that makes it work for the kids. Messing with that consistency can be tricky - which is why moving in and out of the workforce must be handled with great care."
                    - Carol Fishman Cohen, Co-Author of "Back on the Career Track"


"My grandmother was one of the friendliest people you've ever seen. She was curious about others and took and interest in everyone she met. She was well-liked by everyone she came across. She'd be in a long line for the ladies room when we'd go to the ballet, and she'd make a new best friend with the woman in line next to her, sharing some little treat from her 'pocketbook.' She also treated everyone the same whether it was a nurse changing a bedpan or the daughter-in-law of the owner of the Super Bowl Champions. In business, I've found that kindness, curiosity and just plain being nice goes a long way. Taking a genuine interest in the hardworking secretary is as important as being friendly to the boss. Sharing - whether it is a free giveaway that you bring back from a convention for that hard-working secretary or a helpful piece of information for a colleague - is just a good way to go through life. Some people may think it's not 'business-like' to act in that way, but actually, it goes a long way and is just plain good business to be well-liked."
                    - Marla Libraty, www.ExtendFertility.com


"The one line...I was struck by from a contemporary (friend) of my mom was: "When it all comes down to it, the only one who is going to take care of you is YOU, so build your strengths [and] knowledge, etc. with this in mind." Kind of harsh, but it has helped me with life's ups and downs!"
                    - Kimberly McCormick, Topher Morrison, Inc.


"I would have to say the woman I have learned the most from and has shaped how I work is not a professional colleague but a personal relationship - my mother. My mother's courage, strength, resourcefulness and unconditional love shaped my self-image which allowed me to pursue everything and anything I have ever wanted to achieve in my life. Her actions taught me to persevere even in adversity and to believe anything is possible for me. She is the most selfless person I know and her strength is so understated that she never gives herself credit for being the incredible woman that she is. The values that she taught me from the time i was a small child have been the foundation that I have built my entire life - personal and professional. She has class, integrity, honor and passion! Whatever she did, she gave of herself completely and did it with the utmost gusto! Her family is everything to her - she always puts us first but at the same time instilled us with the goods to become self-sufficient, independent, compassionate and successful adults!

Although she was not born in this country, she has amazed me with her ability to reinvent herself many times over! She has also survived several health issues and still struggles with many...her doctors even refer to her as the 'miracle lady.' Not only does she have spirit but it is all grounded with an incredible faith that she has also insitlled in me. My mother is my role model...she has led her life with the utmost grace and soul that I can only wish that my children will say the same thing about me in the years ahead! I have grown to become a resilient woman who has approached all of my work with passion and the belief in myself to achieve all of my goals. Because of the solid foundation she created for me, I don't hesitate to 'go for it' within my work every day. I'm not afraid to try new things, welcome challenges and have the confidence to plow right through them. I believe my leadership skills were molded by mother's strong example - she worked hard her whole life and never complained! I have taken on leadership roles in many different capacities by watching my mother. The strong work ethic I have, I earned from her - she found a way to create opportunities for herself, especially around matters most important to her. The high level of ethics and integrity I treasure in my work is all a product of what I've learned from my mother. My mother has shaped me as a woman - personally and professionally. I see examples every day and the difference is, now that I am in my late 40s, I truly understand and appreciate all that my mother has given me!

Motherhood has taught me to keep things in perspective. When my children were younger and I'd bein the middle of a work crisis, the moment I got home and held one of my children and saw the look in their eyes as they talked to me, the big crisis just became a situation that had to be dealt with rather than an all-consuming problem taking over every single ounce of my energy and thoguht. Now tha tmy children are older, they still teach me to keep everything in perspective. As they are making college choices, career decisions and major life transitions, we are all learning to grow. My children keep me grounded and balanced. That is a necessary skill in my work - as well as a necessary attitude to possess - always keep things in perspective. Being able to step back from a situation, accurately access it, weighing out pros and cons, obstacles, challenges and options prior to coming to a conclusion is critical. Having said that, I stills truggle with not reacting to the moment but being a mother has taught me to be more patient, open-minded, flexible and wise!!

The major revelation as a mom for me has been the power of self-confidence. I have tried very hard form the time they were little to instill positive self-image in my children because that is the ocre of success for everyone in their lives - personally and professionally! Without confidence, we cannot succeed in life. Sure there are times when it can waiver a bit but if, at the core, we like who we are and truly believe in ourselves and our value-add, we can achieve anything. Being a mom has crystallized that for me and it plays a bit role in my role as a coach and helping professional empower themselves."
                    - Rita Allen, Rita B. Allen Associates





“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt