WE Rise
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WE Rise

Women Leaders — Being everything to everyone

How do women entrepreneurs balance work, life, and everything in between? We asked some of our WE Rise cohort members to share their secret sauce to success. Read on to discover how they ‘keep it all together’.

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

It is no secret that women leaders are expected to be everything to everyone. They are professional leaders at work who steer their business with the agility and resilience of a ninja. They are dedicated mothers who are your fiercest cheerleaders, and they’re also homemakers that ensure it is a warm, and safe sanctuary for the brood. Seems a bit much, no? So, how do they do it all? WE Rise cohort members, Maan Sicam (Co-founder, Happy Helpers), Mitzi Sabando (Co-founder, Tinker House), and Cherry Murillon (Founder, CAWIL.AI) share their remarkable personal experiences below.

Maan Sicam-Co-founder, Happy Helpers

I am a mom to four kids, a wife, a social entrepreneur, a farmer, and I also just finished my Master’s Degree in Social Entrepreneurship. People always ask me “how do I do it?” How am I able to manage everything and jungle it all at the same time.

To be honest, I really don’t know. Life as a woman, a mom, and an entrepreneur is hard. Your mind is ON all the time thinking about all these different aspects of your life. Good thing women are good at multitasking — but I always write things down on my planner to ensure I don’t forget anything. From as simple as doing the grocery, my daughter’s school exhibit, my son’s PTC to the meetings at work, analysis reports to be done, and the workshops that we need to do — I just write everything down.

I am the entrepreneur that I am now because of all things that I am. Balancing all my responsibilities is also possible because of my support group: From my home — a supportive husband, independent and helpful big sisters, and my kasambahays; and in our office — my business partner and all of our wonderful staff.

I have also learned that I cannot do everything on my own. That’s why I need all these people around me. I’ve learned to listen more, delegate, and let go of worries. By trusting others, it has freed me to do more and be more.

Watch the story of Happy Helpers here: https://youtu.be/hd1N51seNWQ

Mitzi Sabando — Co-founder, Tinker House

I often hear people describe motherhood or running a business as a roller coaster ride, and I definitely agree. This means being both a mother and an entrepreneur feels like you’re riding two different roller coasters — at the same time.

Through slow climbs, rapid descents, and unavoidable loops that turn your world upside down, being on both these rides will often make you want to scream, cry, and laugh all at the same time.

But as a mom to two teenage girls and two young boys, I’ve also found that I can rely on a similar set of skills to make the rides more enjoyable.

Since in both motherhood and entrepreneurship, there are no vacations, and there’s never enough time for everything you need to do — you have to learn how to be extremely good at planning, organizing, delegating, and accomplishing tasks as efficiently as possible. It’s like being constantly stuck in a game of “how can I do this better, but also — if possible — faster”.

Both also require you to be attuned to somebody else’s needs all the time. To grow and thrive, children and businesses both need a lot of love and attention, and because you’re only one person, you have to be good at finding other people who will help you love them as fiercely as you do.

In both roles, you’re responsible for managing complex systems and individuals. And most of the time, you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, disoriented and unable to tell which way is up or down. But your love and commitment for both will help you survive and, eventually, thrive.

On these two roller coaster rides, you often don’t know what’s coming next — you can only brace yourself and try to enjoy the experience as much as you can.

Watch the story of Tinker House here: https://youtu.be/0_qi0X45t60

Cherry Murillon — Founder, CAWIL AI

My work-life balance as a CEO of CAWIL AI, which is a tech startup company, is critical. I make it a point to feel human. Every day that I wake up is another opportunity for me to start again and pick up myself. I reach out to each member of my team and check on them if they had a good night’s sleep because most of them work late at night as they seem more productive. Then, I prepare my daily activities starting with my home chores before I start my work at 10am, usually. I also take a power nap in the afternoon usually 30 minutes so that I can think better. Then, catch up with work until 6pm. I usually do yoga and strength training 4 times a week from 6pm-7pm and then freshen up for dinner.

In this pandemic, I got a new pastime, which is enrolling in short online courses in Coursera, of which I have already finished 3 courses on project management and agile management. I make it a point to really take care of myself and fight cabin fever with meditation and exercise to outlive the pandemic. I’m a mother too, so usually, my 18 year old daughter and I have our own bonding time watching Netflix.

I see that there’s more workload when we started the “work-from-home” setup, however, what’s the use of working hard if we can’t enjoy the fruits of our labor? Stay calm and enjoy your little things is what “work-life balance” is for me.

Watch the story of CAWIL.AI here: https://youtu.be/_QrenXngCy4

To find out more about Happy Helpers, Tinker House, and CAWIL.AI, join us for WE Rise Impact Showcase on 25 & 26 Aug, 3:00–6:00 p.m. Manila (GMT+8).

Register here 👉 https://bit.ly/WERiseIS

WE Rise Impact Showcase is the culmination of our flagship accelerator program, WE Rise, a first of its kind accelerator designed exclusively for women entrepreneurs in the Philippines. The first WE Rise cohort is a dynamic mix of 20 fantastic Filipina entrepreneurs from sectors such as agriculture, retail, technology, personal care, services, and affordable housing. WE Rise Impact Showcase will celebrate the women founders, their companies, and their resilience despite the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic. In partnership with the European Union-funded WeEmpowerAsia programme of UN Women Philippines, WE Rise Impact Showcase will feature a host of discussions with eminent speakers from across the world, investors, market partners, and business leaders who will offer their take on issues faced by women entrepreneurs and how we can build a better ecosystem to help them flourish. We look forward to meaningful conversations, radical collaborations, and great opportunities for women entrepreneurs at the event.

WE Rise was exclusively developed by Villgro Philippines in partnership with Value for Women and supported by Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs’(ANDE) Advancing Women’s Empowerment Fund (AWEF).

For more information about WE Rise please visit https://villgrophilippines.org/werise or reach out to us at werise@villgrophilippines.org

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Towards creating a more equitable ecosystem for women entrepreneurs

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Villgro Philippines

Villgro Philippines

We take a chance on the heroes of tomorrow. We fund, mentor, and incubate early stage social impact entrepreneurs. www.villgrophilippines.org

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