Mama Mentors is powered by Lincoln. Learn more about our partnership here. To us, our partnerships with brands are about so much more than business. We carve out relationships with brands whose values reflect our own and those of our members, and work together to thoughtfully tell stories and create experiences that speak to moms’ real lives and real interests.
Through projects like this one, HeyMama endeavors to enhance the professional success of our members by bridging the gap between those who have already arrived and the ones who are still on their way. We hope this journey will keep us all moving forward, just like Lincoln.
Rosie O’Meara — the Chief Risk Officer at GroundTruth, founder and owner of PRODUCE tees, and mom of three — got the idea for her entrepreneurial side hustle at a time when the mere thought of even one more thing on her proverbial plate was overwhelming: when she started her pregnancy. But unlike any other pregnancy-brain idea that can disappear as quickly as it arrives, the idea to stand up and grow her own business lingered until she simply couldn’t ignore it anymore.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about wanting to do it, and once I learned that feeling wasn’t going to go away, I had to give in and let myself go for it,” O’Meara recently told HeyMama. “Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, so I think it has always been ‘in there’ somewhere. It has created such a nice balance — to have something of my own alongside my corporate ‘day job.’”
In her “corporate day job,” O’Meara helps “contextualize and leverage mobile location data to help marketers understand their customers and drive business outcomes.” Her business, PRODUCE, which she founded in 2018, helps “moms-to-be celebrate every stage of pregnancy with beautifully designed, comfortable t-shirts” — an idea borne out of necessity when O’Meara was in the middle of her pregnancy with her second child, who is now 4 years old.
If caring for three children, working full-time, and owning a business in the midst of a pandemic sounds like a lot for one human being to handle, that’s because it is. But motherhood has provided O’Meara a perspective that gives her a sense of calm when things can be overwhelming at work and in business ownership.
“Big challenges at work still feel like ‘just work’ when I can remember the much bigger job of being a mom,” she said. “It makes almost anything feel doable and less scary. It has always given me more empathy which translates into how I lead my team and work to add value to our employees’ lives and careers.”
Leading with that empathy, O’Meara decided to add one more thing to her plate this year: mentorship. She decided to join HeyMama’s Mama Mentors program, powered by Lincoln, to help guide, support, and encourage another entrepreneurial mom looking for solidarity and inspiration during this unparalleled time in history.
“Moms are so often defined first as moms, when we were many things before, during, and will be after,” she explained. “It’s so nice to have a community where you can be taken seriously as a businessperson first, and not start every conversation talking about potty training. In this community, I’m a business person who happens to be a mom. I can have conversations about business and family in an environment where everyone ‘gets it’ and I’m not being judged for choosing career over motherhood. In a world where it’s so hard to retain your identity when you have children, it’s empowering and fulfilling.”
But mentorship also offered O’Meara something back in return: self-care. “It turned out to be an opportunity to carve out time for these sessions that completely filled my soul every time,” she explained. “I needed something like this during this year more than I knew.”
O’Meara’s own mentor, her mother — who was an entrepreneur for 40 years in the jewelry industry, and whose advice ‘everything changes’ has certainly come in handy for O’Meara now — arguably laid the foundation, along with O’Meara’s father, of entrepreneurship becoming a family tradition of sorts. Which is why O’Meara is proud of what she’s teaching her three children, who are watching her work the same way O’Meara watched her own mom when she was a child.
“[I want my children to learn that they’re] more capable than they know,” she said. “To show up and do it. Don’t say yes when you want to say no. But if you’re going to do it, do it well. And you can be nice to people and successful at the same time.”
But it’s the way O’Meara’s daughter sees her that gives this corporate and entrepreneurial mom the most pride. “When you ask my 6-year-old what my job is, she says ‘boss.’”