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C-Suite Moms: “Motherhood has taught me incredible time management skills.” with Mina Lloyd and Jessica Abo

Moms are always busy. There are a million things to do, and, even though I’ve always been hyperorganized, motherhood has taught me incredible time manangement skills. Now I never waste a minute, which has made me a better worker and employee. As a part of my series about “C-Suite Moms” I had the pleasure to […]


Moms are always busy. There are a million things to do, and, even though I’ve always been hyperorganized, motherhood has taught me incredible time manangement skills. Now I never waste a minute, which has made me a better worker and employee.

As a part of my series about “C-Suite Moms” I had the pleasure to interview Mina Lloyd, the Chief Operating Officer at Guardian Band, a smart safety watch company that just launched the G|B Defender (www.gbdefender.com) live to over 200 million people on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. The G|B Defender is a game changer in the world of personal safety. At the touch of an SOS button it sends GPS location AND streaming video and audio to your Guardian Network. After a career in the sciences at NASA and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, Mina wanted to find a position that would allow her to continue to make a difference in the world. She joined Guardian Band in 2018.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” behind what brought you to this point in your career?

I am a biologist by training, but after the birth of my son in 2006 I wanted to stay home to be there for all the firsts in his life. As my son finished elementary school, I realized how much I missed working. When a friend approached me about a position at Guardian Band, I jumped at the opportunity. I quickly proved myself as a hard worker, willing to take on any task and was promoted to COO that November.

Can you share with us how many children you have?

I have one son who is 12. He is in sixth grade.

Where were you in your career when your child was born/became part of your family?

My husband and I had just moved for his career, and I was starting to look for a job in the sciences in my area. My husband really wanted a child, so I agreed to try. Before I could make any decisions regarding career options, I found out I was pregnant. My husband and I both liked the idea of one parent at home while our child was young and, since he had just started a new job, I offered to be the one to stay home.

Did you always want to be a mother? Can you explain?

Motherhood was never in my plans, but I can’t imagine life without my son now. He’s my everything, and I am grateful for all the time we have together.

Did motherhood happen when you thought it would or did it take longer? If it took longer, what advice would you have for another woman in your shoes?

My husband wanted to have a child, and, despite my hesitancy to bring a baby into this troubled world, I finally agreed. I was pregnant within the month.

Can you tell us a bit about what your day-to-day schedule looks like?

Guardian Band has a development team in China, so my schedule is a bit crazy trying to keep up with time differences. Since I work from home, I have more options. I generally go to bed between 8:30 and 9:00 pm so I can wake up around 1 am to work on the same schedule as China. I work until 5:30 am when I “get up” for the day. I do a half hour of yoga and meditation before waking my son up for school, making his breakfast, and putting together his snack. I drop him off at school at 7:30 am and come back to work. I then work until 2:30 pm when I go to pick him up from school. It is not unusual for me to have put in an 11 hour day before school pickup! I then work as much as I can during the afternoon while my son does activities, homework, and plays with friends. After I make dinner, I have more time with my son and husband before I spend 30 minutes on the treadmill, shower, and go to bed. It’s a rigorous schedule, but it allows me a lot of time with family while still achieving my work goals.

Has being a parent changed your career path? Can you explain?

Being a parent has changed everything! After staying home with my son for 11 years, it would have been difficult for me to find a job in the sciences again. Not being up on the latest information and technologies in the field was a real handicap. Trying something completely different appealed to me, but I only wanted to go back to work if I could still be there for my son and if what I was doing could really help people and make a difference in the world. I got lucky and found the perfect fit that met all my requirements.

Has being a mother made you better at your job? How so?

Moms are always busy. There are a million things to do, and, even though I’ve always been hyperorganized, motherhood has taught me incredible time manangement skills. Now I never waste a minute, which has made me a better worker and employee.

What are the biggest challenges you face being a working mom?

Although my time management skills are very good, there still just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve had to cut back on my involvement at my son’s school, as well as the volunteering I like to do. I remind myself that I’ll have time for other things when my son goes off to college, so my focus now is family first and work second. I still volunteer as a docent at our state art museum, but there isn’t time for much else.

Are there any stories you remember from the early days of parenthood that you want to share?

My son and I are very close. I will never forget when he was about 20 months old. My husband and I had taken him to run errands and, at one point, I left my boys at one store while I ran next door to another. When I returned to the store where they were, I saw them at the other end of a long aisle. My son spotted me and, even though we had only been separated for about ten minutes, his whole face lit up and he began running towards me. I ran too, and when we met in the middle I scooped him up, hugged him, and spun him in circles. Other shoppers were watching and actually clapped when we reached each other. It was a sweet mother-son moment, and I smile just thinking about it.

Are there any meaningful activities or traditions you’ve made up or implemented that have enhanced your time with your family? Can you share a story or example?

Since my husband gets home from work after my son has eaten dinner, we needed another bonding experience for our family every night. My son and I both love to read, so I read to him during meals. He’s obsessed with all things Tolkien, so we’ve bonded over that since I first read him The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings when he was in kindergarten. Over the years we’ve read hundreds of books together, and those shared experiences are very important to both of us. When my husband gets home from work, he goes for a walk with our son so they can get their bonding time. When we need family bonding time, it usually involves going for long walks on the weekends with a picnic lunch. I’ve learned that there is no one right way to have family time. Each family needs to find their own activities and traditions that work for him.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 3–5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

*Find your traditions and what is special to you. For my family, it is reading and traveling. Those things bring us together.

*Make a designated time each day for your child. For us, it’s meal times.

*Every night before bed have your child (and you!) list three things they are grateful for from that day. Developing an attitude of gratitude makes us appreciate what we have and allows us to realize what is truly important. It has helped me drop insignificant tasks from my to do list and given me more time to focus on what really matters.

*Taking my son to school and picking him up allows us to really connect about what is happening in his day. I like that I’m the last person he sees before school and the first person he sees after.

*Learn to say no. It’s been hard for me to not say yes anytime someone asks me to help them, but I’ve learned I have to pick and choose what I can realistically help with in my designated free time. More yeses mean less time with my son.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

I tell my son that you always have to try, even if it’s a long shot. If you don’t even try, failure is a guarantee. When he was in third grade, he had his cat run for president. He set up a website and sold campaign magnets to raise money for animal charities. When the election was over, he said he wasn’t ready for the campaign to end. He wanted to write a book from his cat’s point of view about the journey his cat had taken. His cat was born on the farm of an animal hoarder. When the cat was two years old the farm was raided, and he went to live in a no-kill shelter for five months before we adopted him. Working thirty minutes a day every day for nine months, my son emerged with a 51,000 word novel. He wanted to get it published, so I encouraged him to send it to literary agents. He’s had some interest, and he is waiting to hear back. In the meantime, it has inspired him to continue writing and have his cat run again in 2020. Go Russ Purrot! (www.russpurrot.com)

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I’ve read a lot of parenting books over the years, but I haven’t found many to be helpful. Each child is so unique that I think broad rules rarely apply. Mostly, when it comes to parenting, I go with my gut and see what’s right for my family. I often consult friends for advice, and then I pick and choose what applies for me.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you share or plan to share with your kids?

We love quotes in our house. Five of our favorites are:

“If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ’failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

-Mary Pickford

“Nothing is impossible; the word itself says, ‘I’m possible.’”

-Audrey Hepburn

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

-Nelson Mandela

“The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

-Gary Player

“Once you best a man, never gloat. Be generous and find something in his actions to praise. He won’t enjoy being bested, but he’ll make a good face of it. Show him you appreciate it. Praise can win you a friend. Gloating will only ever make enemies.”

-Halt from Ranger’s Apprentice book series by John Flanagan

If you could sit down with every new parent and offer life hacks, must-have products or simple advice, what would be on your list?

My best advice for parenting is simple. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Trust your gut and do what is right for you and your family.

Thank you so much for these insights! We really appreciate your time.

About the Author:

Jessica Abo believes no matter where we are in our careers, relationships or level of activism — we are all a work in progress. Her debut book, Unfiltered: How To Be As Happy As You Look On Social Media was released in August 2018 and sold out on its first day. Women’s Health Magazine named Unfiltered #1 on its list of self-love books and it was selected to be in the official GRAMMY Awards gift bag. To bring her book to life, Jessica launched a collection of statement tees and hoodies at New York Fashion Week. Jessica has spoken about her research and #liveunfiltered movement on The TODAY Show, Access Hollywood, ABC News, KTLA and in dozens of publications including Forbes, Fast Company and SHAPE.

A multi-award-winning television journalist, Jessica spent 15 years working as a television anchor and reporter. She started her own production company, JaboTV, in 2013, which profiles athletes, celebrities, CEOs, entrepreneurs and changemakers. Her videos appear weekly on Entrepreneur.com.

Jessica’s nationwide speaking tour has taken her to Facebook, Microsoft, Delta Airlines, Weight Watchers, TEDx, the United Nations and hundreds of conferences, nonprofits, universities and schools. In her spare time, Jessica is a passionate philanthropist, having raised more than a million dollars for several causes by organizing her own galas. Jessica sits on several boards and committees and contributes to their recruiting and fundraising efforts.

Jessica received both her bachelor and master degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. You may have spotted her, cast as herself, in several shows and movies including: House of Cards, Gossip Girl, Nurse Jackie, Girl Most Likely, Delivery Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

A New Yorker at heart, Jessica now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their daughter.

www.jessicaabo.com

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