7 women on the best (and worst) advice their mums gave them

7 women on the best (and worst) advice their mums gave them

Because we all know that mamas know best. Well, most of the time.

BY Business Chicks, 10 min READ

We all know that mothers know best, well… most of the time. We would quite literally not be here without them, so for Mother’s Day this year, we’re celebrating the influence our mothers have on our lives. We asked seven women from our community – CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners – for the best (or worst) piece of advice their mums gave them that has helped shape who they are today.


Diem Fuggersberger, Founder, Coco & Lucas

My mother is my GODDESS. I knew from a very young age I wanted to be like her. I just adore, respect and look up to her so much.

She barely has any formal education, but she is one of the most intelligent people I know. She can sense an opportunity, work out it’s potential and it’s niche gap. She does the calculations in her head and then just goes for it. She believes if you overanalyse things you will miss the opportunity. This is where I have inherited her genes. I take calculated risks and [for Coco & Lucas] I made sure I had a point of difference. She loves constant innovation and disruptions, but my mother has this calm about her too. She puts everyone first and herself last.

My mum said, ‘Diem as a woman you have two faces. In public, you have to be well presented. Whatever profession you choose make sure you put in 200% and do it so uniquely that they never forget you. At home, you are a daughter, wife, mum, aunty, and friend. These two things balance your life.’ She teaches me to respect and be thoughtful, as life is not just about us. It is also about the people who are close to our hearts. When she talks about uniqueness, she doesn’t mean how many awards or millions we make. She was referring to what legacy we are going to leave behind. As people will only remember us by how nice, kind, real, honest, authentic and trustworthy we were.

I love you Mum, Diem xxx

Emma Isaacs, Founder/Global CEO, Business Chicks

We had a tradition in our family growing up. Every year on our birthdays my mum would tell us the stories of me and my siblings’ births. They’d be dramatic renditions, full of angst and detail about the ‘amount of stitches’ and the ‘chronic pain’ endured. Of course we’d all laugh at the time, but as the years passed I started to get more and more fearful about childbirth, to the point of thinking ‘that’s it, I just won’t have children because I cannot see myself going through that.’

When I got married and fell pregnant I knew I had to change my mindset. Being a highly-driven alpha personality who sets goals and doesn’t waver until they’re achieved, I applied myself to the case of mastering childbirth. Since then, I’ve had four natural births at home in our living room with no stitches and no chronic pain (and am expecting my fifth baby this August!) – it’s safe to say I conquered my fears and achieved my goals because I changed my mindset. My mum has given me so much and is the most selfless, generous, kind person you’re likely to meet, but her advice on childbirth sucked!

I still love you Mum, happy Mother’s Day!

Naomi Simson, Founder RedBalloon

I’m also incredibly lucky to have a wonderful mother. In the 1960s my mum worked on one of the first computers in Australia at Monash University, so being a woman in the business world is every normal to me. I remember watching her head off to work in her suit every morning and thinking to myself, “Gee, that looks fabulous”. When I grow up I want to be just like her.

It never occurred to me that I couldn’t start my own business, and during tough times the thought of giving up never crossed my mind. I owe a lot of that to my mum and the incredible example she set. 

Nikki Parkinson, Styling You

I lost my mum in a drowning accident when I was 28 (and my first baby was 5 months old). Mother’s Day is bittersweet. I love being a mum to my kids (two adults and an 11YO) but like many who don’t have their mum with them, it can be tough.

The best piece of advice my mum gave me was not something she said, nor was it in the pioneering feminist role model she embodied. It was in the fact that she left us all too soon at the age of 51. Her legacy is her daily reminder to me is that life is indeed a privilege. What we do each day in that life should never been taken lightly – or for granted.

Kemi Nekvapil, coach, speaker, author.

With my childhood spent in foster care, I have many lessons from many mums.

My first foster mum taught me how to grow my own food, revel in nature and the value of sitting around the table with your family.

My second foster mum taught me that you can love complete strangers.

My third foster mum taught me to be positive by being extremely negative herself. She also taught me to never gossip, she always did.

My fourth taught me to never do anything just for the money. I learnt that if you do you will hurt yourself and possibly others; she fostered for the money.

My fifth taught me to value my gifts and to make a difference with them, she also gave me a social conscience.

My birth mum has taught me unconditional love and forgiveness. She gave six of her seven children to the care of others so that they could have better opportunities in life.

I am so incredibly grateful for all my mothers, they all raised me and they have hugely impacted how I mother. I feel confident in my mothering because I had a buffet of mothering styles to choose from.

Sally Obermeder and Maha Koreim, Co-Founders, SWIISH

Growing up, our mum always taught us to believe in ourselves. She taught us to be our own cheerleaders, and not wait for others to encourage us to pursue our dreams. She taught us that at the end of the day, it’s our job to do that for ourselves, and to make our lives what we want them to be.  That, and never leave the house without lipstick on! 

Olivia Ruello, CEO, Business Chicks

My mum is full of advice! Most of all she used to say to always be kind and inclusive. I have shaped my leadership and life around that advice. 

Although the thing that has been most impactful on my life was, mum always said to all of us four kids to spread our wings and leave the nest, fly away and explore, travel, study and so we all did. She wanted us to experience life outside of the safety of Perth. I left and studied at Sydney uni and it changed the course of my life. It pushed me out of my comfort zone. 

Finally she used to say to buy one nice thing and save and value it and love it. If you can afford one plate of the nicest crockery set, buy one plate and build on it over a year. Don’t buy lots of stuff. Value love and treasure everything. 

This article is brought to you by our annual partner, T2 Tea. Mum would probably love nothing more than a sleep-in and cup of tea in bed, so if you’re looking to spoil her this year, take a look at T2’s beautiful Mother’s Day Gift Guide here.


©2020 Business Chicks

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