I am honored to be sharing a woman who I have recently connected with (and you may recognize her if you've been here a while!) Crystalee Beck. She runs an incredible organization called The Mama Ladder and has so much passion for firing other women up! She is a mama of (almost!) three, writer, and fired-up entrepreneur. Here's her story.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career
After graduating with a degree in communication, my first job out of college was with an airline -- in my early 20s, all I wanted was to get paid to travel. I flew the friendly skies as a flight attendant for nearly four years, serving the likes of Robert Redford in first-class, and visiting more than a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states by age 25.
As much as I loved the freedom of flight, I found myself writing essays in the jumpseat after serving peanuts, pretzels, and cookies (oh my!) and dreaming of getting a graduate degree. I was ready to get a job that used my passion for the written word. A global marketing and sales company hired me as a marketing writer and I worked with brands like Microsoft, HP, and Sony writing email campaigns. Later my role transitioned into an internal communications role and I was the editor-in-chief of the company magazine for nearly 4,000 employees, which was really fun. During that time, I graduated top of my class in a master's program in professional communication.After having my first baby in 2014, I felt very torn. Despite my previous interest in climbing the corporate ladder, my little lady was my top priority. I just wanted more time with her. Thankfully, I was laid off while expecting my second baby. (That was the BEST thing that could have happened! At the time, though, it was a financial scare for our family.)
A year later, after soul searching and teaching communication as a university adjunct instructor, I decided I refused to miss my babies' childhoods. Instead, I "created my own ladder" that fit my family. I launched my own marketing company in early 2016. I grew a team and together we served world-class brands and brought in six-figure revenues in the first full calendar year in business. This surprising discovery -- that I could work far less, make great money, be happier and healthier, AND have time with my babies -- was the catalyst behind launching The Mama Ladder®, where we empower women at the intersection of mamahood and entrepreneurship.
I get my best ideas in movement on mountain trails and delight in daily adventures with my kids... I'm due with my third in a few weeks!
How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you?
Having a community is SO essential, especially for moms who also run a business. There's so much power in sharing our stories, learning from each other, and cheering on our efforts. I find community in my team, mentors, and working with other like-minded business owners who are out to share a mission with the world.
We have a Mamapreneur Mantra that goes: "Create and Collaborate; Don't Compete" and I really believe that it's best to put our time and energy into joyfully creating. I focus on serving my clients and know there is enough abundance/success/joy to go around for everyone. That's the heart of The Mama Ladder® -- we're truly here to support and love our community of mamapreneurs. We get to know each other best at #MamaSpringBreak Business & Adventure Retreat, which is our powerful three-day experience that attracts go-getter mamas from around the country (and even the UK and Canada!)
You often talk about how being a mom isn't a setback for entrepreneurial women, but rather an asset. Why?
We see motherhood as your greatest advantage as an entrepreneur, and running a business as powerful training for leading at home. Truly, my kids motivate me to climb after my dreams. Who better to show them what that looks like than their mom? And being a business owner teaches me serious lessons in bravery, humility, tenacity, faith, and creativity -- all things that benefit my children in how I raise them. In today's modern connected era, it's absolutely possible to live in BOTH worlds of motherhood and professional life. For me, it's pure JOY to do both at the same time. I don't see myself raising them any other way because there are so many beautiful benefits for our family. I teach moms there's no need for mom guilt when you work smart and set up systems that give you the time you want/need with your children.
What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations?
"I LOVE you! Thank you for all you're doing now to help ME enjoy your hard work." - Your future self
I'd probably also tell her that everything starts with truly, deeply loving yourself. Everything. When you figure that out, you can face challenges and others' opinions without being ruffled. You no longer need to please anyone. Because you have strength in knowing and loving who you are. It took me until my 30s to really figure that out, but it's the secret to creating any kind of positive legacy. Humans are drawn to love and we can sense the magnetic confidence when a woman truly accepts herself. The world needs more women who recognize their own power and potential for good.
What is your career-related mantra?
"Good things are going to happen." I keep that saying on my desk and it reminds me that no matter what challenges come (and they do!), to keep climbing. There will be something good ahead. It's easy to make it appear everything is easy on social media, but behind-the-scenes for EVERY entrepreneur is a series of failures mixed with sometimes-dashes of success. The trick is to see the mistakes and disappointments merely as lessons, and be committed to the vision. When you do that, you're unstoppable.