CEO Mom Tara Cherniawski on Starting a Business and Motherhood
Executive coach Tara Cherniawski delves into her parenting experience of her two beautiful children, shares about how she inspires and strives to be inspired by both her family life and career, and reveals pointers on becoming a leading business woman in the UAE.
1. You recently became a mom for the second time. How was it different from the first time around?
I imagined the second time round with our little girl I would be super chilled and breeze the newborn stage, but actually she was so tiny and precious I was as in awe and tentative with her as with our son. Once she was a few days old though, all the knowledge and practical skills seemed to come back thankfully! Having a 3 year old and a newborn is simultaneously fun, challenging, heart-melting and infuriating at times!!
2. If you are breastfeeding, how is your experience as a mom who has her own company and has a toddler?
With both babies I have struggled to produce enough milk to breastfeed exclusively, however the Medula double swing pump was certainly my best friend in the early days so I could see what my baby was getting and supplement with formula.
3. What is your favorite part of being a mom?
My favourite part is living vicariously through the eyes of my son and daughter, experiencing their joy and elation everyday in a curious, excited way. Oh and the snuggles and kisses, am collecting as many of those as possible before they become too cool for all that!
4. Tell us what you find particularly unique about parenting in UAE.
That’s an interesting question, as both my babes were made and born in Dubai, so I don’t know any other way of being a parent. What I love is the friendliness of other mums, often we are away from our families and what would be key support networks so we look after each other. Also, many of us are in the privileged position to have maids or nanny help at home. I think though as our children get older, we will need to focus on ensuing they are grounded and self sufficient..
5. You are an entrepreneur in the executive coaching arena. How does your profession influence how you parent and vice versa? Are there any intersections? What exciting things are you working on right now?
Well as an exec coach, I focus on inspiring my clients to identify the goals that will massively impact their world and achieve positive change. Together we strive to achieve and exceed them. Whilst each coaching relationship is unique and about the client, not about me and my life, I believe it’s vital that I work as hard as I can to achieve my own goals. So, my profession encourages a kind of accountability that I strive to uphold! Some of my personal goals are around gaining and maintaining balance as a mum and wife, getting back my fitness and developing my business. All requiring continuous focus to get there! Because I work in the field of learning and personal growth, much of my education and training applies towards child development as well as adult, so my gorgeous two children are like fascinating little case studies! As I answer these questions, I am rocking my 8 week old in her chair with my foot and my 3 year old is sprawled out next to me on the sofa asleep, this is my life and I adore it.
At Inspirus Learning (www.inspiruslearning.com) we are currently developing an exciting new concept called Inspirus Lifestyle - which is a tailored approach to coaching designed to support women striving to do it all. The centre of the journey are a series of structured coaching sessions aimed to gain momentum, as well as sessions with relevant experts identified from each client’s chosen individual goals. So for example, a client may choose to focus on developing her personal brand or image and styling or change her eating habits for the long haul. I’m very excited to be launching Inspirus lifestyle as there are so many of us trying to juggle and balance everything and it’s stressful! I have had my own coach in the past and would most definitely recommend as a hugely stretching and encouraging approach to make positive changes in life.
6. Your husband is also an entrepreneur. Is there anything you learned from him and vice versa? What does Cherniawski household look like with two entrepreneurs and two kids?
Oh absolutely. My husband inspires me every day, he not only has such an amazing work ethic, but manages to live in the moment and enjoy every day. He’s very spontaneous and adaptable. He definitely has adapted to being more focused on the long term and planning ahead when needed which is my preference. Our household certainly never has a dull moment! It can be tough, we sometimes work weekends and evenings and sometimes tag team, he will get home to look after the little ones and I will dash out to meet a client or run a lecture or vice versa. But what works for us, is we are a team and are seriously there for each other - we try to plan our work focuses around what’s imperative right now, which could be a school orientation or a business trip or even a much needed workout class or night out!
7. How has it been to start and run your own business as a woman in the UAE? What were some of the challenges and things that surprised you in a good way?
I worked in the corporate world of Human Resources and Development for 7 years here in the UAE, so felt at that stage I had a sound understanding under my belt of how business worked and what opportunities there are in the market for coaching and learning and development. I was constantly looking for great providers and exec coaches that provided something a little bit different from the mainstream training consultancies. That was how Inspirus Learning was initiated, focusing on the gaps I had identified and working with a small network of clients.
That was two and a half years ago. I was definitely surprised how confident and ready I was to take the leap from the comparatively safe corporate world, however I’ve never looked back. I believe this is a region that truly supports women entrepreneurs and focuses more and more on championing women’s achievements. Sometimes my husband and I catch ourselves, look at each other and say we can’t believe we take such risks as both running our own businesses. But for us, the advantages definitely outweigh the risks. Business development still proves challenging with such a small company, however I’m surprised in the region how powerful word of mouth is and how much business we’ve won through that medium.
8. How did having children change your perspective in life in terms of your career, marriage and life in general?
I had no comprehension before becoming a mum of how almost a new piece of me would blossom and grow. I feel like I have so much more empathy and purpose for everything nowadays. My life was happy before our children, now I’m not sure of a word that blends that happiness nowadays with the emotions and love I experience. Within our marriage, some of the immediate excitement and spontaneity has definitely been impacted as we focus on and juggle our family needs and business focuses. We know though that once our little girl settles from the newborn phase, life starts to get a little bit more on track and we can plan some time for us again.
9. What advice do you have for moms who want to start their own businesses?
Research and research until you find that niche or gap in the market and go for it! Hire a coach who can support you attain those goals ;) If you can, see how your partner or family can help you out with balancing everything - especially during the start up phase of your business. Look to your network to pilot or gain honest feedback around your products or services.
10. Share your tips for juggling everything in your life - being a wife, daughter, friend, #momboss and a mom!
Actually, trying to do it all can often lead us to feel as if we haven’t achieved anything much, so focus on the top areas that will make the biggest difference or need the most attention and really work hard at those. The rest will follow. Don’t forget to look after you and part of that is quelling the mum guilt as much as possible and making time to do things that are good for you. (I still have guilt most of the time but have learnt to calm it / manage it mostly.) Have friends in your life that really make you laugh and put things in perspective when you need it. Do the same for them. Sift through all the advice and autobiographies people share and retain only what helps you and those precious around you. Be in the moment, get covered in paint / sand / glitter with your kids or run into the ocean with them, forget the selfies for a while and just be there.
Just for fun!
How many hours of sleep did you get last night?
Last night I slept for 5 hrs straight (it was a good night!).
What would you do if you had one more hour in your day?
If I had one more hour? in my day, I would watch a really great show like Scandal or Little Big Lies.
I don't leave home without....
I don’t leave home without my Gucci Mama sack of stuff - don’t ask me what’s in there, it is seriously the 21 century equivalent of Mary Poppins carpet bag!
People think I am ______ but I am really ________.
People think I am very organised but I am really forgetful and have to write everything down.
If I were not a life coach, I would be a fashion journalist or a travel writer.