Life Enrichment
Atlanta Moms Who Make the Future Brighter

Atlanta Moms Who Make the Future Brighter

Local Moms use their passion to help future generations

Like most working mothers today, juggling career and family is nothing new to these hard-working ladies. But the moms you’re about to meet have discovered the best of both worlds. They’ve taken their passions and turned them into successful business ventures, and they’ve done it without compromising what’s most important to them – their families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephanie-Green-BassStephanie Green-Bass

As founder of (Plā) Beauty, Stephanie Green-Bass is making a lasting impression, not just on women’s faces, but in the lives of many deserving children. Her environmentally-friendly cosmetic line allows women to customize their own makeup, while a portion of its proceeds goes to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

What was the inspiration behind your business?
After losing our first daughter, Bella, to an intestinal infection at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in June of 2004. Children’s helped me and my family through a very difficult time. With this life-changing experience, I wanted to honor Bella and show my second daughter, Ava, that a woman can do anything she puts her mind to.

What is your ultimate goal for your business?
To create a brand that is known as a respectable makeup line that makes a difference. (Plā) Beauty makes a difference not only on your face by offering paraben-free products, but also in the life of a child by donating a portion of all proceeds to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and other local children’s hospitals in areas where (Plā) Beauty is sold.

How has this endeavor impacted your family?
My family has jumped in with both feet to help me build my dream. Mark, whom I have been married to for nine years, is learning to live with a wife that wakes up at the break of dawn so that I can get my Facebook posts or tweets done before Ava, our 6-year-old, wakes up for school. From 7:20 a.m. on, I am in mommy mode until after carpool when I can put my game face on. Then at 3 or 4 p.m., I flip the switch back to mommy mode until she’s fast asleep and I finish the day and plan out the next one. Although Ava is young, I am proud she is learning to be part of a family business because it’s showing her that hard work and determination always pay off.

What personal and professional support have you received to help you be your best self?
My best self has taken a lifetime to build. All of my life experiences and the people that have crossed my path have made me the woman I am today. Being raised in Atlanta has given me a great sense of self. My mom and stepfather have been my biggest cheerleaders, allowing me to spread my wings and fly. It has also been amazing to have my line launched exclusively at Woo Skincare and Cosmetics. I have found a new home as well as a mentor in Linda Silber, co-owner of Woo Skincare and Cosmetics. She has given me direction when fear was my biggest enemy. Having a female entrepreneur in my life inspires me to keep moving forward and overcome the obstacles we encounter every day.

How do you balance your passion and your family life?
Since my passion involves my family, there is a fine line. I often have to check myself to make sure that I am creating the balance I originally intended. To be in the moment is the most precious gift I learned from losing Bella. And although it is not realistic to be present every second, it never hurts to have a goal and check yourself.

What famous mom do you relate to and why?
Donna Hyland, the CEO and President of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Years ago when I was volunteering at Children’s, before creating (Plā) Beauty, I was mesmerized by Donna’s success as a businesswoman and always curious about she did it. I would read articles and see magazine covers with her on it but never realized she was just like every other woman. She carried the weight of the world on her shoulders and was just trying to do her best to make a difference. One day out of the blue, I received an email from her, thanking me for lip gloss I had sent her. I took the opportunity to ask her to be my model for CBS 46 Better Mornings Atlanta with Tracye Hutchins for a “Positively Georgia” segment. She immediately said yes, and a week later, a woman I had once been too nervous to speak to was wearing my makeup and bringing her daughter to meet me. She is a woman who has faced adversity and come out stronger from it, which inspired my newest campaign, Pla2GiveBack.

What is your favorite “me” time activity?
My favorite “me” time activity is when I get up early in the morning before getting Ava ready for school and put a little makeup on my face. The power of makeup is pretty amazing.

Margaret-Natalie-KengMargaret and Natalie Keng

Chinese Southern Belle is the venture of mother-daughter team Margaret and Natalie Keng which they launched in 2009. Through cooking classes, cultural workshops and Asian market tours, they use food to connect people and culture. 
www.chinesesouthernbelle.com

What was the inspiration behind your business?
Natalie: I knew I wanted to start capturing my family’s history and live closer to my parents. Even though I had experience in multiple sectors including non-profit, government and corporate, everything seemed disconnected or disjointed. I’m a natural connector and envisioned creating an entity that would pull all of my interests - food, family, culture, travel, social awareness, health and sustainability - together.

Margaret: I didn’t get the idea at first, but then Natalie explained that food was a gateway, not the end goal. I thought it would be fun and different. After all, I loved teaching and had taught the area’s first Chinese cooking class back in the 80s.

What is your ultimate goal for your business?
Natalie and Margaret: To be ambassadors connecting two culturally rich traditions—the East and West - and find balance in between.  To build a multicultural, multimedia enterprise that features a TV program (Rachael Ray meets Oprah meets This American Life), a website or blog, how-to videos, specialty food products and kitchenware, books and more.

How has this endeavor impacted your family?
Margaret: When Natalie told me she was leaving her corporate job and coming back to Atlanta to live closer to me, I wasn’t sure whether to be elated or worried! Her dad joked that the business sounded like a non-profit. So far, it’s been fun and adventurous, but Natalie’s doing the start-up, day-to-day work. I’m just her sidekick!

What personal and professional support have you received to help you be your best self?
Natalie: My family has played a huge role in supporting and encouraging me to live out this dream. They are my business advisors, investors, sounding boards and cheerleaders. A few close friends are also there with moral support and professional advice.

Margaret:  Natalie and I complement each other well. I teach the meat dishes and she does the “greenhead” veggie dishes. My daughters and I are very close. Even though we’re not all in one place, we stay in touch.

How do you balance your passion and your 
family life?
Margaret: I am positive and self-entertaining on the personal front, try not to be a burden to my children, stay efficient on business tasks and set clear priorities around quality time with family.

Natalie: I spread myself thin, so maintaining balance is hard. I eat well, exercise and include “unplugged” social activities like potlucks and outings.

What famous mom do you relate to and why?
Margaret:  They weren’t famous, but they are stars in my eyes - my own mother and my host family when I first came to the United States.
What is your favorite “me” time activity?

Natalie: Playing sports and amusement park games with snack breaks.

Margaret: Going fishing and writing poetry.

Melinda-HicksMelinda Hicks

When Georgia mom Melinda Hicks couldn’t find a healthy kids’ drink for her daughter, Julia, she created Little Me Tea, (found in your local Whole Foods Market), a delicious caffeine-free tea flavored with fruit and vegetable juices. Today this nutrient-rich beverage has been coined “the healthiest kids’ drink on the planet.”  www.littlemetea.com

What was the inspiration behind Little Me Tea? 
My daughter Julia was the inspiration behind Little Me Tea. As she grew, I began looking for healthy beverages to give her, but everything was either loaded with sugar or lacked taste and real nourishment. So I turned to something that I drink every day - tea. I realized there weren’t many caffeine-free teas with health benefits, so I created a tea that is perfect for keeping kids hydrated and healthy.

What is your ultimate goal for your business?
I want to see Little Me Tea in the hands of every single child in America! This isn’t just about making money. It’s my passion. As parents, we need to be vigilant about what we feed our children, and we need to seek out products that are organic, offer real nourishment and are free of harmful ingredients.

How has this endeavor impacted your family?
It’s been life-changing, to say the least. I was a stay-at-home mom when I came up with the idea of Little Me Tea. Now I work day and night, and always struggle to balance the needs of my business with the needs of my family. But this is a family business, so we all pull together. We have even had Julia sign cartons of Little Me Tea at Whole Foods Markets during demonstrations.

What personal and professional support have you received to help you be your best self?
I have the best support person in the world: my husband. Beyond what he does to pitch in with raising our daughter and running our crazy household, he believes in what I’m doing and supports me 1000 percent. He is also the person I turn to most for professional support. His business experience has been invaluable in running our company. But I also have a strong support network of businesswomen who inspire and support me, and I could not have gotten this far without them.

How do you balance your passion and your family life?
I don’t see the two as separate entities. My passion for organics and good health has been an integral part of our family life and the raising of our daughter. Little Me Tea is simply an extension of that passion. I’m so pleased to see my own daughter drinking our product every day, and I know it is being shared with many children who enjoy the benefits as well.

What famous mom do you relate to and why?
There are many famous women who inspire me. Robyn O’Brien, founder of Allergy Kids Foundation and author of the book, “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It,” opened parents’ eyes to what is going on with our food supply. Nancy Massoto of Holistic Moms Network is a passionate mom who has created a national support network for many other mothers like myself.

What is your favorite “me” time activity?
A good book and a good hike. Anytime I can get lost in an activity, put all the daily tasks and demands of this business aside and just be in the moment, whether it’s lost in a fictional world or the beauty of the natural world, I’m happy.

Samantha-McCallSamantha McCall

Bellanonna Boutique is the vision of Samantha McCall, a busy mother of two who took her love of beauty products and created an in-home business. Her all natural, earth-friendly products run the gamut from body scrubs to aromatherapies to eye therapy pillows and more.  
www.bellanonnaboutique.com

What was the inspiration behind your business?  
My late grandmother, Sibyl Brewer, is the heart and soul of Bellanonna Boutique. The word “bellanonna” means “beautiful grandmother” in Italian. My grandmother was always coming up with her own skincare concoctions and had the most radiant, glowing skin. 

What is your ultimate goal for your business? 
My ultimate goal is to continue to grow and provide affordable, all 
natural products to consumers. Eventually I would love to have a 
small boutique storefront.

How has this endeavor impacted your family? 
When I am making products, my kids love to watch and ask questions about the exotic fruits and materials that I use. It is always a learning experience for them. We talk about what country the fruits, oils and butters come from, as well as how many centuries each one has existed. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with my children and continue to grow Bellanonna.

What personal and professional support have you received to help you be your best self? 
I have an amazing family, a supportive husband, friends, clients, a network of local business owners and a few celebrity contacts as well. I have also met so many other WAHMs (work at home moms) through networking. All of my supporters make Bellanonna stronger. I take all criticism, whether it is negative or positive, and use it to let my business thrive to its fullest!

How do you balance your passion and 
your family life? 
I always involve my family, whether it is teaching our children how important it is to use all natural products that are never tested on animals, or having my husband put labels on my jars. Every night we make sure to spend quality time as a family.  I think the key to having a good balance is making not only your business your passion, but your family as well!

What famous mom do you relate to and why? 
Tori Spelling! She never ceases to amaze me! She reminds me so much of myself. When I come up with an idea or dream, I make it my full time job to make it a reality. Aside from being a Hollywood celebrity, Tori is an amazing mother, wife and entrepreneur. Her love for animals is also one I can relate to. If we lived in an area where we could raise our own chickens, have a goat for milk and a piglet that stays inside, I would be in heaven. But for now we stay busy with two cats, a one-year-old bull terrier, a two-year-old Great Dane and a lion head bunny.

What is your favorite “me” time activity? 
My favorite “me” time is anything outside! I love hiking and taking our two dogs to the river to play.