Running A Brand While Parenting Is Hard. The Pandemic Made It Harder. Here’s How Beauty Entrepreneurs With Kids Are Handling It All Now.

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions relevant to indie beauty, we asked 27 beauty entrepreneurs and executives who are also parents: As another school year starts that’s impacted by the pandemic, how are you feeling about it and your business? What tactics are you pursuing to deal with the twin pressures of running a brand and caring for a family as the uncertainties of the pandemic persist?

Sweta Doshi Founder, Bubbsi

For me, there's an added complication, which is that I'm pregnant with my third child due this October! I have two school-aged children already and am the solo full-time employee of my brand. I believe that mental preparation is as important as physical prep at this point. I am fortunate to be able to hire additional help on both the personal and business front. I've staffed up with a part-time customer service associate and additional marketing help as well as a baby nurse for the first time.

From a pandemic perspective, I believe that mental preparation is the best we can do.  I am expecting that there will be periods of homeschooling, where I will have to be more disconnected from the business and rely on those freelancers that are available. We will have a newborn at home, so we're also planning to be semi-quarantined and extra cautious socially, and just knowing that ahead of time will hopefully prepare me for it emotionally. The one thing last year taught us is that you can never control for all situations, but what you can control is how you react to them. My biggest learning is to stay calm, remember that everything is a phase, and prioritize tasks to avoid burnout!

Melanie Hurley Founder, Piggy Paint and Sophi Nail Polish

I never imagined that this school year would still be affected by the pandemic on such a large scale. My girls are in high school and have had their share of missed opportunities like other kids around the world. But the pandemic has also given us more family time and an appreciation for the simple pleasures that we once took for granted.

Before 2020, I frequently attended trade shows across the U.S. and, at some point over the years, I lost the excitement for traveling that I once felt. Two weeks ago, I attended my first tradeshow in NY since February 2020. Instead of opening my laptop on the plane like I usually did, I opened my window and gazed at the beautiful sky. When I arrived at the show, I was overwhelmed with gratitude to still be in business, and loved being able to connect with our buyers and other entrepreneurs. As hard as the pandemic has been, it has taught me to treasure every second and appreciate all of God’s blessings.

As the pandemic persists, I intentionally choose to focus on the good. It is a daily struggle to adjust my perspective, but staying optimistic is so important for my family, employees and customers. Even in the midst of chaos, you can always find a positive or new learning if you’re actively seeking the good. These challenging times have brought a new sense of patience and compassion from everyone.

As a parent, I am a much better listener and more loving in my reactions. In business, there’s a lot more connecting with a simple, “How are you? How are things where you live?” There’s unity in experiencing the same trials, and we’re all in this together, no matter the city, state or country.

Janell Stephens Founder, Camille Rose

The impact of enduring this pandemic is very taxing on just about everyone's mental health. If you would have asked me this time last year if the world would still be dealing with COVID-19 and all of its uncertainties, I would have said no. As the wife of a physician, I am even more on edge about COVID and what it has done to so many people. I think that I am harder on myself and my family because of how much my husband is exposed to the virus.

I have made so many changes in my business to ensure the protection of my employees. A lot of us are vaccinated. However, we still work a lot from home. All of the protocols to stop the spread have been implemented on the warehouse side of my office. Overall, myself and my entire team have been keeping self-care first, which is one way to ease the increased anxieties of our new normal!

Jessica Penzari Co-Founder, Nakie Coquette 

I’m looking forward to my 3-year-old son starting pre-K as it will give him the opportunity for socialization and enrichment that he’s so obviously craving, while allowing me dedicated time to focus on growing our burgeoning brand. At the same time, the uncertainty of the pandemic and the Delta variant increasingly impacting young people is constantly top of mind. Ultimately, we’re just taking it day by day and focusing on making the best decisions for our family.

Niki Schwan Co-Founder, Nakie Coquette

My teenage daughter and I made the tough decision to continue with the independent study program implemented when the pandemic began. Rather than spending her last year of high school attending dances and ball games, she will instead be studying from home full-time. This means more pressure on me as a single mother managing our business full-time from home, while simultaneously overseeing this important chapter of my daughter's education. While I honor my daughter’s need for the flexibility that comes with independent study, I try to keep us on a bit of a schedule, especially when it comes to sharing meals together.

For me, exercise has become increasingly important to maintain my own sanity, although also harder to get in, partnered with a healthy diet, loads of water and plenty of sleep. Funny enough, the uncertainty of the pandemic has granted us the freedom to make new choices and, although the obvious challenges persist, I find gratitude in the opportunity to launch a new brand during this time as well as getting plenty of, albeit chaotic, time with my teenage daughter during this precious pre-adulthood/college moment in time.

Shiri Sarfati Founder, 23 Skin and Partner, Repêchage Skincare

Running a business and having kids learning at home last year was not easy to say the least, so it is a sigh of relief to see my kids going back to school in person. There are always butterflies at the start of a new school year, but this one is riddled with a bit more anxiety than most as there is uncertainty as to whether schools and business may close again.

I'm happy to be living in a state that was at the forefront of keeping school doors open for much of last year, and I saw not only my kids thriving by learning amongst their peers, but, also for me, being able to get back to business, have meetings with clients and new potential business partners, conduct in-person trainings at hotel spas, and cater to editors and influencers with in-spa treatments is truly irreplaceable. When my kids are happy and thriving, I am able to thrive alongside them. It truly goes hand-in-hand.

In addition, being an entrepreneur affords you more flexibility than a typical 9-to-5. During the pandemic, my kids became fascinated with what I was working on, my 9-year-old especially. He created his own Canva account, made merch for his YouTube channel, developed a website, and was generating QR codes for my brand by the end of the summer. That was the best part, seeing him take an interest in my business, and I was happy to nurture it.

The truth of the matter is we are in a wellness crisis. The wellness industry is more essential now than ever before, and I do believe the work we do with our spa partners, being able to educate them on proper hygiene and sanitation protocols as well as aesthetic skills trainings to provide the most superlative treatments to their customers, is essential. We do need to be out there to educate our clients on how to take care of themselves, and we are doing this in more innovative ways than ever. This year, we worked with a NYC-based holistic doctor to develop treatments in tandem with IV infusions. Talk about wellness and beauty from the inside out!

Keeping small businesses alive and well is also important. I am working with so many female-led entrepreneurs that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and, as a company, we worked and continue to work to keep them motivated, provide business support and continuing education as well as essential products, including hand sanitizer, protective face barriers for treatments and face coverings.

Amber Makupson Founder, Meraki

I am really excited about this school year. My daughter's teachers are choosing to get vaccinated, which makes me less nervous about sending my daughter into an in-person learning environment. I believe the mental health of our children is just as important as their physical health. My daughter is most excited to have the chance to interact with her friends again. I believe peer interaction is vital to maintaining a healthy, happy and thriving child.

I am focusing more on self-care to assure I am healthy, whole and balanced! Keeping my wellness at the forefront along with my family and my team is extremely important to me. This helps with the stress and pressure that come with running a business and maintaining a healthy, thriving business and family. I have systems in place to assist with managing inventory and raw materials. Unfortunately, we are still experiencing many major delays from the impact of the pandemic and the changes in the economy. I remain hopeful that this will improve!

Allison Moss Founder, Type:A Brands

I have two words to sum up the start of the school year and to our early-stage business: relief and anxiety. I'm a mom of two—2nd grade, kinder—and it's a relief to have them back into a daily routine and out of the house given my husband and I are all still working from home in this pandemic life. That said, while their school has strict COVID protocols (masks, testing, social distance), I'm anxious about the inevitable cases that will occur and disruption to our lives when one or the other has their class quarantined due to a case in that “pod.”

On the business front, we've had a strong first half of 2021 as we've opened 1,150 new retail doors and have seen the deodorant category rebound as more people are going out and returning to discovering new brands in stores. This is a relief and exciting! However, we are preparing for uncertainty in the next six to nine months. The pandemic is far from over, and we need to remain prepared to be flexible. I'm slightly anxious about that, less so than school closures though! It's helpful to be drawing on the learnings of 2020. I do feel more prepared to handle the uncertainty.

Aaron Burton CEO, Sciton

Cautious, but optimistic—and that’s generally how we always operate. Last year was one of the most challenging years we have ever faced, and our Sciton family did some fantastic work. I’ve been grateful for how everyone helped each other and made hard sacrifices that allowed us to keep our entire workforce employed and avoid furloughing anyone. Our headquarters are in Palo Alto, Calif., but our people reside all over the world. Many of our employees, as parents, are navigating back-to-school plans that are constantly changing. That’s not easy to deal with, and we get it.

As a leader at Sciton, my focus is always on our top priority, to help our people. Our culture is about family and taking care of our people, which is why we build the best medical and aesthetic devices on the planet. We trust and value our people. We will continue to be flexible with schedules, giving our people time to be at school or help their kids, and also work virtually when possible. We trust that they will make the best decisions possible to balance their family obligations at home and Sciton.

I have an amazing family at home. My wife of 24 years is awesome and runs a very tight ship. Our three kids are a bit older, ranging from the oldest, 24, to our youngest, 16. With the pandemic, we have our challenges, of course, but we work through them and always keep a positive view of things. You can easily watch the news or get on social media and get frustrated, but we limit a lot of the negative junk out there. We try to stop each other when the negative talk starts. It works for us.

As for my Sciton family, the pressures of running a company and power brands like BBL HERO, HALO, MOXI are more manageable when you build a great team of leaders you have confidence in. I know it sounds like the same old line you would read somewhere, but it’s the truth. We have a history of promoting from within, and most all of our leaders started at the ground level here, so they understand our culture and how we operate. Our leaders, at all levels, understand our mission, values and credo, and live them every day. When faced with challenges, like when the pandemic started and, still today, you need people around you that you trust and can make independent decisions. So, the short answer is that I married a great person, and I work with great people. That helps even out the pressures, so it’s not all on my shoulders.

Susan Wong Founder and CEO, HAN Skincare Cosmetics

I'm feeling much more optimistic, especially compared to last year, for a few reasons. First, schools have reopened, and my child is back on campus full-time, and I am physically back at the office full-time, so the intensity of juggling job, childcare and quasi homeschooling (during breaks) has decreased.

Second, the past year has taught, if not forced me, to adapt to pandemic-induced changes and, from that experience, I feel more prepared to juggle both work and mom life should we have another lockdown or my child needs to pivot back to digital learning in the event of a positive COVID case in his classroom. If that scenario plays out, we're in a much better position to deal with it with the rising vaccination rate in the U.S., which should largely be supportive of businesses and the economy.

Be flexible. It's OK if, some days, you spend more time on your family and, other days, more time on your business. Also, lean in with others who may be in a similar situation or can understand the challenges you face. Just talking about your experience with others can be cathartic. And I think, just as equally important, carve out time for yourself to unwind and relieve stress. This helps me be more productive at home and at the office.

Dimitra Davidson Principal, Indeed Laboratories

It’s an extremely stressful time for parents, especially those that must juggle the demands of their employer or, more specifically, if you are the employer. This year, we have added stress levels given our new reality with the pandemic. Like the many millions of entrepreneurs in the world, competing priorities of running your business and finding time for family continues to be top of mind. In this ever-changing world, there are new asks of us on a daily occurrence.

The idea of the back to school rush around consumerism, searching for the latest new pair of jeans, has been replaced with a greater sense of awareness around our physical and mental well-being. In this new world, my priorities are different than in previous years, and I am removing that pressure that back-to-school often creates. Instead of facing the chaos in retail, being at home and focusing on being present is more rewarding for my well-being.

Planning will continue to be important element of balancing work and family, but, as an entrepreneur, flexibility is in our DNA. It is about balancing out your physical, emotional and mental well-being—and, now more than ever, keeping your family, your staff and yourself safe as we continue navigating the new normal.

Neil Sadick Dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer, Stride

After over a year of virtual learning, I think it’s important for students to get back into in-person learning in a safe environment. We are all craving connections with people. While many spent much of quarantine isolated, it simultaneously led to many innovative ideas and projects for many, and Stride is an example of such an endeavor. Self-care has never been more relevant, and we are excited to emphasize TLC head to toe.

I actually just got married after being single for nearly two decades. It’s important to surround yourself with people who inspire you to be more creative and forward thinking. The combination of keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive in home and at work and bringing them together allows me to stay inspired and motivated even during the most unprecedented times.

Brenda Sandoval Zorkin Founder, Spice Beauty

I am feeling apprehensive because my kids don't have the vaccine, and just hope the other parents are doing the best they can to protect the kids and their families. I am happy the kids are happy to be back in school, which provides a much-needed outlet for kids so I can concentrate on my business without interruptions during the day, but school also comes with homework and after school extracurricular activities.

It’s crucial to stay organized. Keeping a calendar not only for my business, but also for them helps to keep everything in order. I also instill self-reliance so my kids learn which tasks they can do themselves and what they need help with.

Shelly Ann Winokur Founder, Kiss Kiss Goodnight

I know the best way to reach our ideal customers has been through face-to-face interaction, which has been difficult to do during a pandemic. In the last 18 months, however, I have learned new strategies to connect with our customers through virtual platforms. I will continue to optimize those strategies and hone my skills as much as possible. This includes making educational videos, blogging effectively with SEO, collaboration with partners with similar audiences, and nurturing and engaging our community.

Running a business with four children is difficult and, sometimes, it feels near impossible! I am learning to change my business expectations to match my affairs at home. All four of my kids will be starting in-person school this fall, and I will get to focus more of my time on my business. Although it is not ideal, I am also mentally prepared if we need to return to a virtual or homeschool program again. I'll just have to divide my time as best I can.

It is inevitable that my small business feel the weight of the pandemic, but I can't run my business based on the hope of the pandemic being over soon. I have to run it by optimizing the time and resources I have even when it changes day to day.

Julius Few Founder, Aforé By Dr Few

While we are still in the midst of the pandemic and, while we are digesting the latest news and safety protocols, we have turned the corner as the school year has begun. Many of our kids are well-acquainted with the new protocols which have become second nature. As we continue to reengage at school in life and at work, everyone wants to look and feel their most confident as they reemerge and navigate the new normal. Aforé By Dr Few represents decades of research and clinical expertise designed to safely and effectively help consumers accomplish healthy, clear complexions. Aforé By Dr Few delivers professional outcomes from the comfort of home.

Having a positive attitude and putting on a brave face goes a long way to supporting everyone around me. Truly listening and communicating are the best strategies to reduce stress levels amongst patients, Aforé By Dr Few consumers, colleagues and family. In addition, I enjoy practicing yoga and make sure carve out time to do so daily.

Brittney Ogike Founder and CEO, BeautyBeez

Honestly, I’m feeling a lot of anxiety right now. The pandemic has caused this never-ending cycle of the unknown. As a mom, I am confronted with questions and make decisions daily about the health and safety of my family. As a business owner, there is a constant worry about how to adapt to our new normal and how it will affect operations post-pandemic.

Safety is my No. 1 priority. At the same time, we want to make sure we stay committed to the values and mission of our brand by engaging with our consumers and offering the best products in inclusive beauty. I will always remain optimistic and hopeful about the future of our brand and the health and safety of my family.

Ranay Orton Founder, Glow by Daye

I'm actually feeling grateful that we have some technological solutions to slow the spread and help bring some sense of normalcy for both kids and parents as many return to their normal routines. I am also feeling hopeful that all of this will be a thing of the past soon with all of us working together. The biggest tactic for me in dealing with the brand and family during the pandemic uncertainties has been compartmentalizing my time and becoming disciplined with cut off times in between Glow by Daye work and family.

Since my two young boys recently returned to school after being home with us for a year, I want to make them feel secure navigating through new, different and, sometimes, even difficult territories. I have created a self-imposed, nonnegotiable time to spend time with my boys when they get home from school where no work is even brought up, which really helps me to step away from all the problem solving and/or pressures from the business and create a sense of work/life harmony in my life even in the midst of all the uncertainties that may come up.

Tracy Golbourne Founder, Fortifyd Naturals

Remote learning has had its challenges and benefits. Focusing on the benefits, I could always take my children to the office with me, and they could attend their classes there. This year, as the children return to school in person, I’ll have to really tighten up my schedule and work while they're on school, making sure I'm available to pick them up, feed them, etc., and, then, return to the office afterward. I'll definitely have to work on the weekends to stay caught up. At this point in business, I've gotten used to figuring it all out.

Kapua Browning Founder, Honua Hawaiian Skincare

As a mom of four and a brand owner, balancing the two is already a struggle. Add remote school to this mix and, suddenly, you're a teacher as well. My kids go to Hawaiian culture-based charter schools that have Malama 'Aina days: Days that they work outdoors, taking care of the land, learning about their environment. They usually do this in their school gardens and stream or at a Hawaiian farm or fishpond.

Since the spike in COVID numbers, they have had to scale back to part-time remote learning. So, I've had to push back quite a few deadlines, work tasks and Zoom meetings to take the kids outside to pull weeds, plant things, clean streams and bird watch. I have to say I prefer that to attempting math problems. I leave that to the teachers during screen time. Luckily, part of my job is also working with farms, so I am able to combine my worlds when timing works out, but it's not always the case. Best of luck to all the parents juggling this right now!

Gwen Jimmere Founder and CEO, Naturalicious

As both a full-time entrepreneur and a full-time mom with only two hands and 24 hours each day, I value quality of time with my family and my business over quantity of time these days. I am a firm believer in automating, delegating or eliminating, in that order. I have matured beyond the need to do "all the things."

And I also realize that just because I can do something doesn't mean I should. Yes, I can run all the departments of my business, I can attend all the PTA events, I can volunteer for all the organizations, I can be at every single meeting. But, doing all things makes me ineffective at most, if not all, of them, not to mention overwhelmed and grumpy.

So, I consider: What do I, and only I, absolutely have to do that no one else can do? That's what I spend my time on. Most of everything else gets delegated. If there is no one to delegate it to, I then consider if automating it is an option. Is there an app or a service that can do these tasks for me and make my life easier? If delegating and automating are both out of the question, it probably needs to be eliminated.

Jamila Powell Founder, Naturally Drenched

Starting another school year during the pandemic is extremely stressful. There is a definite fear that it is not safe to send your child to school, especially with all of the politics in play regarding children wearing masks while school is in session.

I am excited to push the business forward, but am also trying to put all the pieces in place for the upcoming holiday season while working on formulating new products. I'm currently looking to outsource some of the stress by looking for a 3PL and a social media manager. I'm hoping to free up some time and space in my house to focus on expansion and getting Rebalance in key retailers.

Lulu Pierre Founder, Boho Locs

I'm not going to lie. I did find the first lockdown very tough! It was very challenging to grow my business and take care of my 7-year-old, who was out of school, full-time. But this time, I think time management and delegation will be my best friend. Instead of trying to bite off more than I can chew, my plan will be to work closely with my team and delegate what I know I won't be able to fulfill.

In terms of the uncertainties, my view here is to try to create some stability around my routine with my daughter. I always make sure to pick her up from school and put her first My goal is to make sure I maintain that in and out of lockdown to provide stability for her.

Desiree Verdejo Founder, Hyper Skin

It's so unfortunate that we are still dealing with this pandemic, but I am feeling a lot less overwhelmed by the balance of family and business than I did at this time last year. Last year, there were so many new hurdles to figure out with growing a startup at such a unique time. For example, there were so many challenges to the supply chain, and the need to learn how to hire and work with a team remotely. The same difficulties from last fall exist this year, but at least they are a bit less foreign now.

The same is true with being the mom of two young children. My family mastered strict social podding last year, and I know that my kids can wear a mask for long periods of time without complaining. For the sake of my fellow local business owners, I hope to avoid any further lockdowns, but, otherwise, in business and in family, I'm ready. Disappointed that we're still here, but ready.

Evonna Kuehner Founder, Anové

I have three kids all aged 3 and under. They aren’t in school yet, but there are still uncertainties around childcare and learning for each of them. This has forced me to become even more structured with how I manage my time and be even more strategic about what I delegate. Sticking to a stricter schedule with how I work and passing some of my tasks to other team members allows me to more easily accommodate any unforeseen changes in childcare.

Psyche Terry Co-Founder and CEO, Urban Hydration

I think it’s important that Urban Hydration really connects with the problems and concerns of our community. Going back to school in today’s climate can be stressful, which can create a myriad of skin issues, such as acne, maskne, or even excess sweating and body odor. I’m excited to launch a new collection of products at Ulta this fall that treats these concerns, and restores the skin and mindset to a healthier state. Solving the problems of our children and parents before they walk out of the bathroom gives them one less thing to worry about.

As a mom of three elementary kiddos, a cheerleading coach, a Mrs. Texas America contestant and an owner of Urban Hydration—one of the fastest growing personal care brands in the natural space—I know a thing (or three) about pressure. Additionally, having my husband of 16 years as a co-founder can sometimes lead to business strategy “pillow talk” instead of the niceties of our relationship. My primary tactics in trying to juggle the responsibilities of wife, mom and CEO are to balance and compartmentalize my priorities.

To help build Urban Hydration and prepare for the company’s future growth, we invested our 2020 profits into better people, processes and systems. Cultivating a team of leaders that care like we care and creating systems that can calculate more quickly and accurately allows us to better withstand future business uncertainties. Now, we not only can sleep better, but also be better parents and business owners.

Bianca Edwards Founder, Beauty Done Right

Honestly, September 7th cannot come fast enough. I'm so ready that I've prepared lunch for the first month of school and thrown it in the freezer. All I need to do is defrost it the night before. My son, Baron, just turned 4, and his preschool only shut down for a month back in April 2020, shortly after the pandemic hit. Thankfully, we never missed a beat due to the continuation of in-class instruction.

We acclimated well to the change in protocols the school adapted, i.e., no parents entering the building, all children wearing a mask in school, mandatory outside shoes, and more. I will say those protocols caused a bit of heartbreak on my end as I was unable to walk him to his classroom on his first day or pop up with cupcakes and get a glimpse of him interacting with his classmates or teacher.

I believe this year will be more of the same as it relates to school, but the personal care industry has taken some devastating hits for services that require human contact, leaving a lot of uncertainty on the table as we trudge through year two. The pandemic arrived with an unwelcoming nudge that forced me to sharpen many underutilized skills like public speaking. Although I consider myself an avid reader and researcher of topics related to my industry, I'd always questioned, "Was I good enough? If I make a mistake while speaking, will people disregard my message or find a way to invalidate me?"

I realized that I was applying an intense amount of unrealistic expectations for perfection on myself and that the only way my business would survive through the pandemic would be by having several moments of honesty with me, even if it meant saying yes to every opportunity to speak to anyone that would listen. It made me very uncomfortable.

I became so unhinged as I prepared to speak on virtual panels that I started to stay up for days. I began to neglect responsibilities in my home. I spent hours preparing and over-preparing. I was such a mess that I would leave the house, park near the airport and record full Zoom sessions over and over and play them back. When I'd return home, it would be dawn and, at that point, I was too drained to make breakfast or take my son to school, adding more pressure to an already strained environment. I began to panic at the thought of COVID being this incessant interruption in life, and everything became a mess.

It wasn't until after being up for 36 hours and participating in my first panel, which went exceptionally well despite me stumbling over words, sweating throughout the presentation, and sleeping for a day and a half after that I realized I solve problems, help people grow their businesses, help them feed their families and, if they had all of the answers or knew all there was to know, they wouldn't be present for a virtual lecture in the middle of the day. That's when the breakthrough occurred.

I'd found my "why." The reason "why" I was invited to present and "why" people were willing to listen to me despite my fumbling of words was because my words have value. With just a few weeks away before I'm back to 5 a.m. workouts and school drop-offs by 8:30, I'm feeling optimistic about this new season of growth. I've learned how to recognize and manage stressors much better. I've packed my parachute bags in the case that I need to jump away from something that's pinning me down and causing an imbalance. I have learned that I can't wait until the weekend arrives to have a day of downtime. I have to take those moments as needed on a day-to-day basis.

Most importantly, I have to make sure that I'm spending time with my son in a healthy and engaging way for both of us daily like going to the beach or taking him to his favorite museum as opposed to him on his tablet near me while I'm working. My business has taken me away from home several times in the past year, so I value spending as much time with Baron as I can.

At this moment, I'm not labeling anything as "pressure" because that would require a force of energy to be continuous in my life, knowing how and when to pause and abort a mission gives me greater optimism with whatever challenges the pandemic brings my way.

Stephane Colleu President and CEO, Dr. Brandt

As many business leaders return from a summer that was far from normal, my one priority is to reenergize my team. This is especially important as we are working on many exciting projects, including revamping the entire portfolio of Dr. Brandt. My main focus is to always find a way to challenge the status quo, which has been in our DNA thanks to the Dr. Brandt philosophy, which allows us to focus on something new instead of waiting and expecting to see a better situation before moving forward.

We need to show we are strong and resilient, and we are continuing to take risks regardless of the economic situation. Those qualities that cannot be taken for granted. They need to be cultivated. As a leader, you need to show you are moving forward with your vision for the brand despite the uncertainty of the future.

I believe this same philosophy is one you need to bring into your home. Kids need to feel loved and secure. As a parent, I maintain the same philosophy and have found many ways to continue their extracurricular activities (i.e., sports). My main goal is to keep energizing my family despite all the downside that has stemmed from the pandemic, negative news, etc., making sure their daily routines were adjusted, but not stopped altogether.

Being located in Florida, we were so fortunate to be able to go outside as much as we wanted, which helped tremendously in maintaining a good balance with the family in terms of activities.

Moreover, I was fortunate enough to be with them more than ever, which allowed me to be part of many moments that I have not always been able to in the past. I have been able to experience so many precious moments with my kids, including my daughter who is now 19 months old, during this time. It has allowed me to think in a positive way, despite all the sad stories and constant negative news we are hearing, seeing or reading about every day.

To conclude, there are many ways to lead a company and a family. My takeaways from these past two years are as follows:

  • Focus on controlling those things that are under your control.
  • Challenge your need for certainty.
  • Learn to better tolerate, even embrace, the inevitable uncertainty of life.
  • Reduce your anxiety and stress levels as best you can.
  • Energize your team and your family every day, and strive to be a leader that allows them to look forward and focus on what's ahead.

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