#FierceFriday: Becoming a mother gives me courage
In honor of Mother’s Day this month, we’ve been exploring the incredible intersection of ambition and motherhood – first with this week’s webinar featuring author Liz O’Donnell and next week, our conversation with Fem2.0 Founder, Suzanne Turner on Workshop Wednesday.
Today I’m thrilled to interview an incredible Bossed Up Bootcamp alum who’s on the threshold of motherhood herself. She’s about to launch two very exciting new ventures… read on for yourself!
Emilie: Go ahead – introduce yourself to our community, Helen!
Helen: Hey, bosses! I am a first generation Korean-American. I am inspired every day by my parents, and the sacrifices they made so that I can lead a better life.
My dream since high school was to join the Peace Corps. Nine years later, as a volunteer in Georgia, I discovered my personal mission: to help vulnerable families so they can lead more sustainable, independent, and healthy lives. That mission continues to drive me in my current role on Capitol Hill, where I work for an inspiring Member of Congress and his stellar office.
E: That’s great, Helen. So what’s this grand new adventure you’re working on now?
H: Well there are two, really. My husband and I are just days away from becoming first-time parents, which is beyond thrilling. We’re also about to launch another “baby” of sorts, my very own specialty condiment – a spicy ketchup called “Ketchung!”
Six months ago, at Bossed Up Bootcamp, I mentioned this adventure in passing when talking through my goals for 2015. Six months, later, we are days away from making our first batch, and my face is about to be plastered on the bottle labels!
We’re halfway through our Kickstarter to raise the funds to bottle and ship Ketchung’s first batch – and we’re on pace to fully fund it! If any bosses want to add some kick to their cabinet, they can get in on the ground level by becoming a Kickstarter backer here. We couldn’t do it without them.
E: Hot damn, boss! That’s ambitious!
H: Yea. Three months ago, I wasn’t sure if this would be possible. We are not even halfway through 2015, but it’s already been one of the most physical and emotional roller coaster rides ever. I lost my father in February. In fact, his funeral was held on my birthday. At the same time, my pregnancy has had more than its fair share of unexpected twists and turns, with some of those surprises being quite scary. But despite all of this, my husband and I are about to set on this new business venture.
E: Why now?
H: I think the combination of all of these big life moments stoked the fire within to not hold back and to simply go for it. There are no guarantees, ever. So why not now?
I am not jaded about the challenges that lay ahead, but this has also been an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling adventure – designing our label, learning about the specialty foods market, and working closely with my incredibly supportive husband. He has been the biggest fan of my spicy ketchup – and wants to share it with the world.
Truthfully, I feel my father would be so proud and ecstatic of me being a new mom and an entrepreneur.
E: That’s beautiful, Helen. I remember when you voiced this ambitious goal at Bootcamp last year – all our attendees perked up at the unusual and exciting endeavor. Did Bootcamp help kick-start this process?
H: Totally. Bootcamp impacted me in 3 ways – awareness, assertiveness, and advocacy.
Heightened awareness of myself – across work, love, and wellness – made me realize that these are interconnected, and they are essential to nurture individually and holistically.
To be assertive and to own my own voice – I came to understand what and how I put myself out in the world. To actively listen to my vocal, social cues.
And it helped me advocate for myself – fight for my worth, my values. This was especially empowering for me, as I learned to negotiate in the workplace for my first time.
E: What advice do you have for other women navigating big inflection points in life like yours?
H: It’s your turn to boss them up! Find your voice, your personal mission or motto. Remember and respect your history – where you came from, your culture, language, life’s heroes. And of course, don’t forget to laugh and love.