Monday, January 29, 2007

The smart mommy network

When I first started down the start-up path, I had no idea that Julep would be such a huge beneficiary of “the smart mommy network.”

Take for example, Jeanne Riley, my friend who used to work at Accenture and Safeco, who left her full-time job when she had her second son. Instead of working complex technology strategies that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, she now advises on complex small business / retail software that costs much, much less. We often crouch over our laptops, sitting on my basement floor as we evaluate online scheduling and POS systems. She’s technology smart, but also a great person with whom to bounce around ideas.

Shari Heege used to work with me on the Starbucks Liqueurs team (Delicious! If you’re over 21, check it out at She’s my graphic designer (along with my brilliant logo designer friend Ron Nix, who is not a mom, but very smart nonetheless). We tend to meet at her house when her beautiful toddler is napping. In addition to graphic design, she provides HR support, emotional support and sanity with an edgy twist.

Then I have an anonymous friend who is a real estate lawyer, mom of a toddler, who’s helping me get through the lease process.

And Jeanne’s friend Deborah Yand has been tirelessly calling local schools to ask for auction procurement forms when she’s not tirelessly working on the Coe school auction.

Working with these amazing women is such a pleasure, and a secret (okay, maybe not so secret anymore) competitive advantage. If I get a call at 10pm on a Saturday night, I know it’s Shari, working on the menu layout (um, sorry Ben!). I often meet with Jeanne at our neighborhood Starbucks at 9pm, after we’ve both put our children to bed (um, sorry Rich!). We can also share the cute things our children have done this week and the joys and frustrations of our ever evolving roles.

It’s exciting to be around such talented, passionate women who care so much about doing things right.

I’d encourage any new entrepreneur, or established business owner, for that matter, to look around and search out the underutilized smart mommy who’s likely to be an absolute treasure waiting to be discovered.