Amy Pocsik and Melissa Gilbo are CEOs and co-founders of the Women’s Business League (WBL) a national networking group with North Shore roots for women in business. In today’s world, being a woman in business – and a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and more on top of that – means female entrepreneurs are charting new courses, and reaching new heights, in everything they do.
In sitting down with Pocsik, you quickly come to realize that her energy, ideas, and enthusiasm for her work and her life are infectious. Supporting women, helping them believe that they can be leaders in their fields, and empowering them to view motherhood as something that enhances rather than takes away from a woman’s professional life are not exactly small tasks, and it is thanks to Pocsik and Gilbo that what might have easily stayed a dream was instead brought to life as the WBL.
One of the biggest takeaways from Pocsik and what she has created at the WBL is that connection and networking will take you far. There is a place for you and what you bring to the table, no matter what industry you’re in, and using some of your time and resources to forge relationships will not only help your own business but also provides an opportunity to help others, something mothers are innately skilled at.
With Mother’s Day fast approaching, we asked several local mothers and WBL members about how they find that ever-elusive life work-life balance, what they’d like to see happen in their respective professional fields, the example they hope they are setting for their own children and more.
Nicole Giulmartin, founder and CEO of Nicole Guilmartin Events, Boston
For me, flexibility is key. I have always said that I thrive on chaos – that is what I like so much about the event industry, so it works well to add in being a mom and the chaos of kids to that too!
I have found that having blocks of time to focus on my business and work and then blocks of time to be present with my kids works well for me. Trying to do both all the time is really stressful. Of course, as a business owner that doesn’t always happen and I might need to tend to an urgent matter while on the playground, but I try hard to limit that happening where I can. Creating boundaries has been really important as a mom.
I have learned so much by surrounding myself by other ambitious women, especially mothers. I would suggest finding your circle of women that are there to support you, cheer you on, and push you in the right ways. Within the Women’s Business League, I have found so many powerhouse women to be a part of my circle. I have always had a tough time finding the right fit when it came to networking groups – they often felt too forced. But with WBL it has felt so authentic.
I also encourage outsourcing when trying to balance being a mom and business owner. We need to stop feeling like we have to do it all. It’s not possible and it leads to burnout. On really busy weeks I outsource my laundry and use a service called Sudshare. I treat myself to a house cleaner every few weeks and a home organizer for special projects like a playroom clean-up. I love that the more successful I become, the more I can support and give my business to other moms.
Ana Martinez, financial planner and owner of Martinez Insurance & Financial Services, Methuen
My biggest motivation has always been my children. Being a young mom, I quickly learned that I had to do whatever it took to succeed because I needed to provide for my children and I only wanted the very best for them. Financial stability was always very important to me.
I have always been very passionate about budgeting, saving for future plans, and investing, so I wanted to help my community with doing the same. I also wanted to have flexibility to be a present mom, which was impossible working in the corporate world, so I decided to start my own business. The fact that I have the ability to choose what hours I work, although that may mean sacrificing nights or weekends if needed, has been life-changing for me and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
My advice is: Don’t let fear get in the way of achieving your goals and dreams. Just make sure to ask the right questions, especially what kind of support does the company provide to help women be successful in the field. Most importantly, network, network, network. Being a part of the Women’s Business League has helped me tremendously personally and professionally. WBL has been a great referral network for my business. I have also built amazing relationships and business partnerships. I strongly believe that when you surround yourself with an amazing group of women like the ones I’ve been lucky to meet, your business is bound to succeed.
Lindsay St. Pierre, business banking officer with Newburyport Bank
My career in banking started over 10 years ago, but it wasn’t until I became a mom that I realized how much of an impact I can have and what I can accomplish in one day’s work. When I decided that I wouldn’t be staying home with my kids, I made the conscious decision that every second I am away from them will be meaningful and worth it.
Banking in general is always evolving and my mission is to be the lender that is friendly, knowledgeable, and approachable for any business owner. My goal is to be their financial advocate and help them make smart decisions to move their business forward. A few years ago Newburyport Bank started a Business Banking division to help our small, local businesses succeed. We now have four women – all amazing moms, too – that are lending in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
My advice is to surround yourself with people who will always lift you up when you need it. Find others that will empower, elevate, and cheer you on when you need it the most – and don’t forget, that goes both ways. When someone tells you “no,” let that fuel your fire to prove them wrong. I found an amazing networking group within Women’s Business League, and I can honestly say that every member in my chapter would give the shirt off their backs to help me if I needed it. We are all like-minded, hard-working women, who want to see each other succeed personally and professionally. How refreshing is that?
At the end of the day, we know that every mom is a working mom and finding a group to support and encourage you is a resource everyone should benefit from. To find out more about the WBL, visit their website here.