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Seven Entrepreneurs Share What They Learnt From their Mothers They are our biggest influencers, teaching us every day about hardwork and determination

By Pooja Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


For many, the nurturing of the entrepreneurial mindset starts at an early age in the presence of influencers, such as parents.

These Australian entrepreneurs share what they learned from their mothers and how it helped them become better at work.

Carly Stebbing, founder of Resolution123

My mum is the hardworking daughter of an Italian immigrant and an Aussie battler. She taught me that hard work is the only thing that pays. Get up, work hard and be financially independent. There is nothing a man can do that a woman can't—don't sit around waiting for a man to rescue you, only you can do that. Don't ask people to do things you aren't prepared to do yourself. Be house proud, hospitable and generous in what you do for others.

Michelle Gallaher, CEO of ShareRoot

My mother started her own business when she was about 37 and I was 12. In our current language, she had done a career pivot and taken herself back to study to start the business she had always dreamt of. I used to admire her, sitting at the dining room table at night, books spread in layers, watching her beautiful cursive script filling pages and pages of notes, putting her lipstick on to attend night classes.

The business she started was a huge success. She was a florist and every Mother's Day and Valentine's Day it was "all hands on deck" and every kid, my dad and her friends were put to work in the shop serving customers, delivering flowers or making coffee and lunch for the workers. She would sleep at the shop the night before Mother's Day, preparing bouquets. My mother was happiest working for herself. She taught me persistence and to not be afraid to do your own thing. She also inspired in me a love for learning for life - something that I'm still doing. I have followed in my mother's footsteps and involved my family, particularly my children in my business.

Jonathan Jeffries, partner and director of startup growth and recruitment firm, Think & Grow

I was brought up by four influential women - my Gran, Grannie, Mother and Stepmother. With my mother studying as we grew up, it was my grandparents who brought us through Monday-Friday. I consider myself very lucky to have had two generations of women helping to shape me into the person I am today. With a gran who only ever talked about seeing the world, which allowed me to escape through adventures and creativity, to a grannie who always provided structure and stability with very traditional and structured meal times, meal rotations and seasonal food. They both lived through war but were opposites in so many ways. They were however similar in love, care, loyalty and family time.

My mother qualified as a primary school teacher and my stepmother worked in Human Resources at the BBC. Both provided me with perspectives on humanity and the world - they taught me to listen, step back from situations and ensure that my inner health is always strong.

Mia Plecic, founder and CEO of Her Organics Australia

Growing up in a small coastal town, my mum taught me freedom and security. She taught me strength, the value of self-belief, loyalty, compassion and the importance of standing up for what you believe in. My mum taught me that tough times don't last but tough people do, and if I put my mind to something, anything is truly possible. Growing up, my parents taught me the foundation of a happy life and that is love. I learnt that no family is perfect, but family is everything.

George McEncroe, founder and CEO,Shebah Rideshare

My mother worked full-time with five kids. That was a rare thing in the 70s and 80s. Mum had a strong work ethic and she took enormous pride in being a school teacher and then a Principal. I was surrounded by women on all sides of my family, including my mother in law, who cared deeply about other people and worked every day to make the lives of other people better. Courage, honesty and love of family are at the core of my business, and these are threads I can trace back to women who I've been close to since I was born.

Natalie Firth, co-founder and co-CEO of Think Talent

I grew up around a small family business and a full-time working mum, while dad was home unemployed for a large part of my childhood. The biggest thing I learnt watching my mum juggle working and raising a family is that nothing can replace hard work. So many people these days look for short-cuts and "quick wins", and while efficiencies are important, I know that working hard is still the best formula to get ahead. Mum also taught me that things will inevitably go wrong, and it is those who can pick themselves up, dust themselves off and learn and grow who will be successful. Building a business was not meant to be easy (otherwise everyone would do it), but it is meant to be fun.

Gemma Lloyd, co-founder and CEO, WORK180

I co-founded my business because of my experience working with organisations that fundamentally misaligned with my values. Growing up, my mum always supported me to stand up for what I believed in, and encouraged me to be true to myself. She taught me how important it was to always do what I thought was right. As a family, we also moved across countries and states, which taught me to be adaptable, embrace change and have resilience. I believe this combination fuelled me to start WORK180, to drive change, and set me up for success while dealing with the challenges of being an entrepreneur.

Pooja Singh

Former Features Editor, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific


A stickler for details, Pooja Singh likes telling people stories. She has previously worked with Mint-Hindustan Times, Down To Earth and Asian News International-Reuters. 

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