Nine Pro Productivity Tricks These Entrepreneurial Mamas Swear By

Photo:  Natalie Crane

We previously introduced you to seven inspiring mom bosses who shared their top productivity hacks, and now we’re sharing another round of pro tips for getting it all done. Here, get to know nine Mamas Making It Summit VIP ticket-holders and read more about their career paths, their expert tricks to staying productive, and more, then see more inside our second annual #MamasMakingIt conference here and here.


Photo: Courtesy

Photo: Courtesy

NAME:

Ali Grace Marquart

CAREER:

Partner at Eisner, LLP, and Entrepreneur

BABES:

Wyatt, 2 years and Cody, 2 months

CAREER JOURNEY:

I started my career in the entertainment industry in LA but then spent a decade in NY, first as in-house counsel at Wilhelmina and then as the managing partner of my own firm, Marquart & Small LLP, which was acquired by Eisner LLP in 2017. I am a fierce advocate for my clients, which include influencers, musicians, actors, models, and other creative talent, and help them build and develop incredible brands. I also can't shake my entrepreneurial spirit, so am constantly working on a passion project (or two or three).

PRODUCTIVITY HACK:

Color-coded shared calendars

UPCOMING PROJECTS:

I am thrilled to be launching a marine-centric skincare line later this year that marries my love of clean beauty and the power of the ocean with my obsession with sustainability and waste reduction. I can't wait to share it with my fellow Fashion Mamas and welcome their feedback!

BEST MMIS MOMENT:

I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend a day with like-minded mamas; it was so refreshing and comforting to be in a room where everyone was nodding enthusiastically and supportively to so many stories shared on stage and realize everyone there "gets it."


Photo: Courtesy

Photo: Courtesy

NAME:

Corrie Sullivan

CAREER:

Founder, Corrie in Color

BABES:

Sienna, 10 years old; Scarlett, 8 years old; and Indigo, 3 years old

CAREER JOURNEY:

My husband and I initially left Ireland to spend a year exploring LA – 12 years later, we are still here. I have never not been creating. My love of texture and art has been within me from childhood, and led me to a degree in Textile Design and Art History, specializing in embroidery, from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland. When we moved to LA, I discovered a world of creative possibilities, and I spent time exploring and connecting to other artists. I worked as a freelancer creating textile and embroideries for interiors.

When I had my first daughter Sienna, I started a vintage kids clothes line called Homespun Vintage with my friend Kathlene. We traveled to design shows in NYC and sold our unique collections in boutiques in LA, and New York. After some time we both wanted to move on to something else creatively, and I started to create installations at my church and for friends weddings. That was the starting point for my business Corrie in Color, I now create art installations for events, brands, and interiors.

PRODUCTIVITY HACK:

I am a big fan of [writer and author] Laura Vanderkam and listen to her podcast, Before Breakfast. She gives so much great advice on productivity and making the most of your time. I have applied many of her tips to my everyday life! I also highly recommend her book, I Know How She Does It.

UPCOMING PROJECTS:

Oh! I’m working on various fun projects including a colorful tinsel backdrop for a film festival, a coffee-themed recycled art installation piece, and some other colorful pieces for various events!

BEST MMIS MOMENT:

I really enjoyed connecting with other creative mamas and hearing their stories. It was such an inspiring event!


Photo:  Katee Grace

NAME:

Faith Oftadeh

CAREER:

Director of Communications for The Office of Space Technology, NASA - Jet Propulsion Laboratory

BABES:

Yara Sophia, 6.5 months

CAREER JOURNEY:

After finishing my degree from UCLA, I enrolled in law school and decided after the first seven weeks it wasn't for me — or at least not at that moment in time. I somehow managed to enter the entertainment industry (starting at the very bottom) working in marketing and business development. After a few years and a better job title, I decided I wanted to try something else which involved turning my hobbies and talents into something lucrative.

I ended up applying to Art Center College of Design for their Media Design graduate program and after completing my first year, I did an internship doing photoshop comps for FX with Digital Kitchen. Thereafter, I applied to an open position with NASA-TV as a video producer which turned into a position as an academic-part time as designer at NASA-JPL.

I spent the remainder of my time finishing grad-school all while working at JPL. I did my thesis on building habitable infrastructure pertaining to inducing rituals and culture in regards to Mars Colonization which is currently published on lab. I was also part of the Mars-Sample-Return team where I had the opportunity to work on the design for the system which will collect the sample in 2024.

Upon graduation, I was offered a position as Creative Producer for the Engineering and Science Directorate and thereafter, a creative director working on our internal communication for mission development and knowledge capture.

After having Yara in December of 2018 and returning from maternity leave in April of this year, I was offered a position as the Director of Communications for The Office of Space Technology, which is part of the Office of the Associate Director for Strategic Integration and is the interface to NASA's Space Tech Mission Directorate. My office is tasked to formulate in-house technologies and identify out-of-house opportunities at at universities and start-ups all over the world which will be implemented on future or current space-flight missions.

PRODUCTIVITY HACK:

Hand written to-do lists in a small pocket book that I can keep in my back pocket. I LIVE OFF OF THIS.

UPCOMING PROJECTS:

I will be in the coast of Newport during the last few weeks in July testing the OWLS project which is the Ocean World Life Surveyor that will detect life under water. This device is meant to be used on the Europa mission to be taken under its icy surface to find life on this moon of Jupiter.

BEST MMIS MOMENT:

Clearly, being able to hear Heidi Zak from ThirdLove talk about shutting down Victoria's Secret!


Photo:  Katee Grace

NAME:

Glenna Whitaker

CAREER:

Founder and Co-Owner, Down Dog Coffee Roasters

BABES:

Kaylie, 11 years old and Keagan, 9 years old

CAREER JOURNEY:

I have always had a passion and felt pulled to causes that helped empower women. From starting as an event coordinator at Healthy is the New Skinny then becoming a booking agent for curve modeling agency Natural Models LA, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by beautiful women pursuing their purpose.

When my husband and I decided to start Down Dog Coffee Roasters, fate led me to Café Femenino, a gender-focused program to support social justice and empowerment for women coffee producers worldwide. This has allowed me to create a for purpose coffee company that doesn't just roast great coffee but is able to give back to women locally and globally.

PRODUCTIVITY HACK:

I live by my massively color coordinated google calendar. Every aspect of my life personal and business is on there. I would completely lose track without it!

UPCOMING PROJECTS:

We have just moved into our very own space after sharing a space with another coffee roastery for the past year. We are working on opening a tasting room to court clients and special events next!

BEST MMIS MOMENT:

To reach out relentlessly to other companies and business that have similar value and fall in line with our branding and mission. Collaboration is invaluable.


Photo: Courtesy

Photo: Courtesy

NAME:

Jessica Rosen

CAREER:

Owner, One Down Dog

BABES:

Max, 3.5 years old

CAREER JOURNEY:

I started out as a psychologist. It was during my MA program that I got into yoga: Minimal showers, all-nighters, and an over-all lack of self-care finally got me to my mat. I quickly fell in love in love with yoga and jumped into my first teacher training in the fall of 2006. Within that first year after training I began teaching yoga for addiction while working the desk at a yoga studio.

After about a year of that I moved out to LA - the first year was a major struggle. I worked a few odd jobs and eventually ended up managing a yoga studio. After a few years, I left to work with teens as a yoga teacher and addiction counselor at a local studio. Within a year I missed my yoga home and went on a hunt to find a new yoga community in my neighborhood of Silverlake/Los Feliz. When I couldn't find what I was looking for, I decided to create my own. Within a year I opened the first ever One Down Dog in a shared space.

Since then I have opened three studios with more to come. It's been a wild ride!

PRODUCTIVITY HACK:

I am really loving using asana. It also helps that asana is the Sanskrit work for posture (pose). I am also a big fan of keeping the calendar tab up in my Gmail and chunking out my time for the day — it keeps me on track.

UPCOMING PROJECTS:

There are so many in the works! Stay tuned for Make Awesome Happen 2020: the year of JOY! Within the studios we'll be adding a lot more in the way of family yoga offerings: prenatal, yoga for kids and teens, toddler and me, baby and me, family yoga workshops, family day at the studio, and playtime — where we hang with your kid(s) so you can get your yoga on.

BEST MMIS MOMENT:

I enjoyed the opportunity to hear from, and connect with other mamas that are kicking ass in their industries. It's inspiring to be reminded that I am not alone in this struggle of juggling motherhood and entrepreneurship.


Photo:  Katee Grace

NAME:

Jiemei Geng

CAREER:

Business Strategist

BABES:

Aliyah, 3 going on 4 years old and Cassia, 11 months

CAREER JOURNEY:

I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I just happened to be good at certain things and I went for what financially paid off. My priorities changed once I had kids and looking back, I would tell my younger self that in the end, you have to be you. I had quite a number of people tell me that I should not do X or do Y to get ahead, and honestly, my strengths and weaknesses make me who I am — diversity of perspective is how we evoke change.

After my second daughter, I had a pretty awful female boss (who ironically also has two young kids), she wasn’t very supportive or transparent and was more process vs. outcomes focused, so I quit my job as the environment was toxic for my family and for my mental health. Just started working again recently and my new female boss is amazing so it goes to show you that when one door closes there are always windows opening for the better!

PRODUCTIVITY HACK:

I wake up early to get my workout in or I just do it on the weekends because prioritizing myself is important given work, kids activities, etc. I used to feel guilty about asking my husband to babysit so I can go workout as he never asks for anything, but then I realized we are different people and our needs are different. After my workout, I always feel highly productive and everything else just happens.

UPCOMING PROJECTS:

None I can disclose right now!

BEST MMIS MOMENT:

I loved meeting the wide spectrum of mamas, and loved the freebies I got!


Photo: Courtesy

Photo: Courtesy

NAME:

Judith Andersson Asu

CAREER:

Creative Director & Founder, Askr & Embla

BABES:

Sigrid, 4 years old

CAREER JOURNEY:

Messy! I've always worked for myself in some shape or form so A&E is very much born out of my own transition into motherhood.

PRODUCTIVITY HACK:

Systems for everything and a good customer-managed relationship.

UPCOMING PROJECTS:

I am super excited that Sleepod will be on the shelves of my favourite kids stores across Europe.

BEST MMIS MOMENT:

[Learning that] you are not alone, sharing and connecting with others is what makes this community so special.


Photo: Courtesy

Photo: Courtesy

NAME:

Mandy Madden Kelley

CAREER:

Beauty/Lifestyle Blogger and Social Media Influencer

BABES:

Kaia Kelley, 1 year old

CAREER JOURNEY:

I am originally from New Zealand, where I studied law. Moving to LA, I realized I wanted to follow what I truly loved and believed in. My passion has always been in beauty and sharing healthy habits with everyone. I wanted to help others through something I loved and believed in.

PRODUCTIVITY HACK:

I have a very solid morning routine. I usually wake up, mediate, write my to do list for the day and then I answer all of my emails. That way I can efficiently manage my time throughout the day.

UPCOMING PROJECTS:

I am currently collaborating with a lot of cool brands I have always loved. Some new and some good classics. Stay tuned!

BEST MMIS MOMENT:

The best advice I received at the summit was to just go for it. To surround myself with good positive people that inspire me and do what you truly obsess about.


Photo: Courtesy

Photo: Courtesy

NAME:

Lizet Alvarez

CAREER:

Founder, Chiqui Social

BABES:

Lucas, 5 years old and Luna, 3 years old

CAREER JOURNEY:

I previously worked as an advertising and marketing executive creating partnerships, branded content, and events for fashion, gaming, beauty, and active Lifestyle brands. I was ready to put my creative energy into something that I was my own and served a bigger purpose for me personally.

This desire combined with my own need to enrich my children's lives with more Spanish language exposure led me to create Chiqui Social. A beautiful learning studio and event space for families interested in having cultural and Spanish be a part of their kid's everyday lives.

PRODUCTIVITY HACK:

I've been using Evernote. In a single note, I can add text, image, emails web pages and more. All my notes are then synced automatically across all my devices so I can access them anywhere. This helps me see the things that matter side-by-side, without having to switch between systems.

UPCOMING PROJECTS:

We are in full swing without Spanish Immersion Summer Camp and looking forward to announcing collaborations to our program this fall that allows us to bring bilingual education for a Maker's Lab, Robotics, and Culinary. We are also working on an expanding our custom birthday party packages and English language workshop series!

BEST MMIS MOMENT:

The idea that sometimes taking a step back in order to move your business forward in the right direction is the. I also really enjoyed "The Lightbulb Moment" panel. It was honest and helpful in understanding the decisions and paths business owners have to take along the way in order to navigate the growth and stability of their businesses.