Career Women Share Stories Of Leadership

What I Learned from Mom: Career Women Share Lessons of Leadership

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Angel Livas learned attention to detail from her mother's lessons on meticulous homemaking to find success as a wife and businesswomen. (Photo: Livas)

Angel Livas, executive producer and director of Radio for AARP, oversees the production and distribution of four nationally syndicated radio programs credits her mother for building a strong work ethic and desire to take pride in what she owns.

Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, Livas’ mom stayed home to raise her and her two siblings. “My mom was always home when we got out of school, so we had to complete our daily chores, finish homework and help prepare dinner,” she says. She laughs remembering the days spent cleaning the baseboards and vacuuming “just to see lines in the carpet.” “As a child this drove me crazy, but, now as a homeowner I know it was just my mother taking pride in her property.”

As a youth, Livas says she felt her mom’s stay-at-home role initially made her resent the idea of marriage and children. “I felt as though my mother was losing a sense of herself because she was always catering to me, my siblings or our dad.” Today, after celebrating two years of marriage herself, Angel says she understands that her mom was fulfilled by taking care of her family.

Elaine Meryl Brown, founder and president, New World Image Group and co-author of The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women (One World/Ballantine; $20), remembers at age 12 learning the lesson ‘Nothing worth having comes easy’ from her mother after her attempts to bake a cake fell flat. “We decided to put Mamaisms at the end of each chapter because we wanted the laws of leadership to resonate with women and to remind them that the sayings we grew up with were actually the seeds of leadership that were planted in many of us by our mothers, stepmothers, aunties, god mothers, grandmothers, Big Mamas, NaNas and any other female guardian that might have helped raise us,” Brown says.

Tell us about the lessons you learned from your mother. What seeds has your mother or other female guardians/mentors placed in you that still resonate today?

Maria D. James has been a contributing writer for national and regional publications including UPSCALE Magazine and Richmond Magazine. She is also a public relations practitioner at Ogilvy Public Relations. Known as the “Go Get IT Girl,” she shares her personal drive for success and encourages other women to pursue their goals on her blog.