5 min read.
Ever wondered how mothers in business handle the demands of society and their work?
Women have long been taking up multiple roles in society, as carers, as wives, as homemakers, and as mothers. With the rise of women in leadership positions in business, it is not uncommon to see these remarkable ladies helm yet another demanding role of leading organisations and driving changes. As we gradually see more women dominate the entrepreneurial scene, we can’t help but be in awe of them as they graciously balance between being businesswomen and mothers.
Here are four heartwarming and inspiring stories of mothers who are also exceptional leaders in business.
Zhong Shanshan – Executive Director, Parkson Beauty
“I am a mother, an entrepreneur, and I am myself.” – Zhong Shanshan, Executive Director of Parkson China
Zhong Shanshan currently leads as the executive director of Parkson Beauty, China. This meant that Shanshan spends the majority of her time working in China while her husband and daughter reside in Singapore where her child is schooling. Being away from their child is no easy feat for any mother, especially throughout their precious growing years.
Before the pandemic, Shanshan makes sure to visit the country every month to spend time with her daughter; however, these monthly meetings have become an unattainable luxury. They now spend every morning and evening video calling, constantly reminding her daughter that mummy is with her every moment of the day even if she is across the ocean. To Shanshan, every moment in witnessing her daughter’s growth is immensely precious, be it her sleepy morning wash-ups, getting herself to school, or just the quiet moments laying in bed before heading to sleep.
As a mother, Shanshan remembers her mother’s nurturing and wishes to emulate the same encouragement and unconditional support for her daughter. She attributed her level of self-confidence throughout various aspects of her life to her mother’s willingness to support her regardless of what she chooses to do. It is clear that behind many successful and loving mothers, there is a wealth of warmth and nurture.
Marjorie Yang – Chairperson, Esquel Group
“I’m probably the only child in the world that goes around insisting that my mother is beyond amazing and the coolest person ever” as shared by Dee Poon about her mother, Marjorie Yang, in an interview with Prestige.
Marjorie Yang who manages Esquel’s international manufacturing business is no stranger to achievements and producing quality work. But to her, watching her little daughter grow into the endearing person that she is today is far more valuable than anything else. As shared during the interview with Prestige, she considers her relationship with her daughter Dee Poon to be “the most rewarding experience of her life”.
The unique dynamic of this mother-daughter duo who are also colleagues in their family business makes their relationship challenging but also extra special. Marjorie graciously guides her daughter in life and at work. She cites her daughter’s varied interests in humanities and science to the success of her professional work. Both of them regard each other’s ability to be independent critical thinkers as a quality that allowed them to work together. In the same interview with Prestige, Marjorie also emphasised that as a mother, she also taught Dee what she had learnt from her parents. And that is to “not be afraid of mistakes (as it is) an opportunity to improve”.
Jane Sun – CEO, Trip.com
In reference to China News Service’s article on Sohu, Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group, shared during a Mother’s Day Celebration that “mothers are children’s best role models.”
Trip.com Group is one of the world’s largest multinational online travel companies, and leading this giant in the travel industry as the CEO is Jane. In the article published by Chinese News Service on Sohu, Jane recalls a time when she fell ill and had to head home early from work. When asked if her daughters would like it if mummy returned home early every day to spend time with them, they responded a surprising no as they understood that mummy has her own career. This truly touched Jane’s heart. The struggles of being a busy working parent certainly do not go unnoticed. To spend more time with her precious daughters, Jane brings her work home so that she can attend to any remaining tasks after the girls turn in for the night. There are plenty of sacrifices that have to be made as a working mother and it can be tough without the support of your loved ones.
Jane also strongly believes in mothers being outstanding role models for their children. Her dedication towards recognising and improving work-life balance for working mothers is commendable. One example includes the maternity benefits of financial support for the costly process of egg freezing and additional paid leave for these female executives. While Jane encourages women to strive in their field of work, she also recognises the challenges for those who wish to start a family.
Nie Weiwei – Founder, Nainiumama
Nainiumama is a start-up aimed at improving postnatal care services for mothers.
Nie Weiwei founded her company, Nainiumama, after struggling to find good postpartum care in the months after the birth of her child. She believes that more has to be done to simplify the delivery and access to good quality services. Her dedication and vision were not neglected as she attracted venture capitalists and investors who see the value in Weiwei being a mother. It exemplified her dedication, responsibility, and personal belief in the cause that she is building. However, being a mother-entrepreneur is certainly not easy. She shared in an interview with CGTN that she has not taken a day of break in the first four years of starting her business. But to her, this is a price that she is willing to pay as a woman in business.
While we champion the hard work mothers in business do, let’s not forget to respect and show our love to strong female figures who have chosen not to pursue motherhood. Share this with the women in your life who inspire you. Let’s take a moment to thank the nurturing figures in our lives.