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Archive of ‘Mompreneur Diaries’ category

LBS Mompreneur Diaries (Working Mom Edition): Asmau Ahmed

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I’ve partnered up with Capital One for another “Working Mom” edition of LBS Mompreneur Diaries, featuring women of color who are killing it at work and at home. Capital One is consistently recognized for its exceptional workplace culture and for supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives across the entire organization. That’s why I’m excited to present this series, because Capital One gets it. They’ve been ranked on Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work” and Working Mother Magazine’s “100 Best Companies” to name a few.

Hopefully you read and loved our last interview with Alicia Thompson. This week’s featured mom is Asmau Ahmed. As a mother of two and an engineer turned entrepreneur, Asmau Ahmed is the founder of tech startup Plum Perfect and now a leader in Digital Project Management at Capital One. Asmau founded a venture-funded tech start up whose groundbreaking visual search and recommendation engine she nurtured from an idea to a product embraced by top retailers, major brands, and consumers in over 150 countries. Asmau is one of only 12 black women to have raised more than $1million in VC funding. We talked about her transition from entrepreneur to intrapreneur at Capital One, how she achieves work/life balance, the importance of STEM education, and how she’s helping to close the tech gap for women of color.

 

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Why did you want to become an engineer?
I’ve loved the sciences for as long as I can remember. My dad was an aeronautical engineer so I’m sure that was part of my influence. My mom nurtured my love for science at an early age and supported me. She actually turned our laundry room into a chemistry lab for me.

As someone who has been an entrepreneur, what insights are you bringing to your role at Capital One?
Most entrepreneurs thrive on the concept of having an idea and being able to see that idea turn into a product or service that people eventually engage with. With Plum Perfect, I started out with an idea to build a visual search engine that would utilize social media to build commerce and advertising. It was just a concept. Part of why I joined Capital One is that I’m able to do that same thing here. I get to have an idea or concept, build it out, and then see it go to market. I didn’t want to be at an organization where that concept got lost. At Capital One, there really is a culture of innovation.

Can you share how you bring balance to your life, managing family and work?
That was huge for me when I was contemplating this role. It was critical for me to be able to maintain balance. Most people say you’re never able to create true balance but I wanted to feel like there was an end to “work” and a start to “home”. I wouldn’t have joined the Capital One team if I didn’t feel that balance was supported. That’s the culture we have here. There were times that I wasn’t able to achieve that as a full-time entrepreneur. I remember there was an entire week that went by and I would leave for work before my son woke up and get home after he went to bed. That’s when I realized that lifestyle was not sustainable long term.

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With that said, it is a busy home and work schedule and I have obligations outside of those areas as well, like Plum Perfect. Capital One encourages me to maintain my ideas and experiences outside of my role here. I have worked at many organizations before, and I don’t think I would have the same level of balance that I do now if it wasn’t for Capital One.

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Why is STEM education important, particularly for little girls of color?
When people say STEM careers, most people think of engineering. But it really affects everything we do today. Whether you’re a writer, or a doctor or a driver, STEM careers affect and touch everyone. Having a STEM foundation will be important in participating in this new technology wave. Tech is defining an evolution in so many areas, even medicine.

Particularly with girls of color, there is a tech gap today. The tech industry can be biased. We build technologies based on our personal experiences. So when you have mostly white men building these technologies, you’re going to find a huge gap between what applies to us (as women of color) and what applies to them. And that gap is widening daily. I spoke recently at digitalundivided’s 2017 BIG Demo Day sponsored by Capital One. And there were so many brilliant ideas presented, by women of color, that might have gone unheard if it weren’t for organizations like that. So, it is important for us to have people in the driver seat who can build and cater to our experiences.

[Capital One is also proud to continue to support Black Girls Code. If you aren’t already involved, visit http://www.blackgirlscode.com/ to volunteer, donate, and learn more.]

What advice would you give to an up & comer who wants a STEM career?
Just get started. If you don’t have an engineering background, it’s ok. You don’t have to know how to code. If you know how to logically think through the execution of your idea, start there. That’s what coding is. Refine your idea and hire talent to help you. Get educated and stop second guessing yourself.

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As someone who has filled both roles, do you have any advice for entrepreneurs turned intrapreneurs and vice versa?
Build a team around you that understands how to build your business. As women of color, we face unique challenges that are hard to navigate if you don’t have the right partners in place. Surround yourself with the right people. You need the right investors, clients, and colleagues. One of the reasons I joined Capital One is because there is a culture of diversity and inclusion here. They were looking for people like me. For entrepreneurs that are looking to exit, look for workplaces that have the right cultural fit and figure out how you can cater to their market and help them increase enterprise value.

Is she inspiring or what? Be sure to keep up with our LBS Mompreneur Diaries series to keep up with other inspiring mommies. Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this!

This post is sponsored by Capital One. All opinions expressed above are my own and not those of the company.

LBS Mompreneur Diaries (Working Mom Edition): Alicia Thompson

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I’m excited to partner with Capital One on the second post in our “Working Mom” edition of LBS Mompreneur Diaries, featuring women of color who are killing it at work and at home. Capital One is consistently recognized for its exceptional workplace culture and for supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives across the entire organization. That’s why I was so excited to work with them to offer this series, because they get it. They’ve been ranked on Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work” and Working Mother Magazine’s “100 Best Companies” to name a few.

Hopefully you read and loved our interview with working mom Kenya Paul. Our second featured working mom is Alicia Thompson, Manager of Supplier Diversity at Capital One. We talked about her role as a working mom to two beautiful children, what she hopes to teach them about diversity and inclusion, and advice that every mom should consider when picking a place to work.

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LBS Mompreneur Diaries (Working Mom Edition): Kenya Paul

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For those of you who have been following the LBS Mompreneur Diaries series here on LoveBrownSugar, you know I’ve been using it as a platform to share my personal tips and tricks for success balancing work and life as a full-time mompreneur. There are so many working moms out there, many of whom function as intrapreneurs, managing teams and taking on important management roles within an organization on top of managing small teams right at home! It requires the same balance and support to have a successful corporate career as it does when you run your own business.

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So I am proud to partner with Capital One for the very first “Working Mom” edition of Mompreneur Diaries to chat with some women of color who are killing it at work and at home. Capital One is consistently recognized for its exceptional workplace culture and for supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives across the entire organization. That’s why I was so excited to work with them to offer this series, because they get it. They’ve been ranked on Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work” and Working Mother Magazine’s “100 Best Companies” to name a few.

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LBS Mompreneur Diaries: #SmallButPowerful Moves That Make History

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I’ve dedicated much of my career as a digital influencer to smashing stereotypes and showing the world that women of color are powerful, productive and pretty while doing it. I’ve created platforms that inspire women of color to be great, allow them to know that they’re not alone and that challenge stereotypes. My most dedicated “follower” of all the thousands of you who follow me daily is actually my little princess Cadence. She’s not only seeing what I do online but she seems me in action each day as I work hard to provide for her and balance the responsibilities of motherhood and entrepreneurship.

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It is SO important for me to set an example for her but also to encourage her to live out her dreams, defy stereotypes, set new records and excel in everything she loves. So I am really honored to have partnered with Tide Pods on their #SmallButPowerful campaign featuring record-breaking powerhouse Simone Biles. As the most decorated American gymnast of all time and being a young black female, she has truly inspired so many young women who may have never thought they could do the impossible. Her dedication, hard work and perseverance are just the characteristics I hope to instill in Cadence. Check out Simone’s commercial with Tide here.

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On the same evening that Simone Biles and the Final Five took gold at the Olympics, Cadence and I had the opportunity to meet and take a class with Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes. Dominique partnered with Tide Pods in support of Simone Biles, to showcase the evolution of power. They were featured in the Tide Pods’ Evolution of Power commercial, showcasing the amazing transformations of history-making gymnasts over the years and comparing that to Tide’s progression from a powder detergent to now being available in its small but powerful liquid pod form.

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Dominique is the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics! I remember growing up and watching Dominique on TV and being so proud that she looked like me. So it was a really proud moment getting to introduce her to Cadence and getting to chat with her, as she’s also a new mom. Her daughter is just a month younger than Cady! I’m excited for Cadence because she had the opportunity to watch another young, black woman make history in gymnastics, the way I did with Dominique. After seeing gymnasts like Simone Biles excel at the Olympics, I decided to enroll Cadence in a toddler gymnastics class just to see if she would enjoy it. Turns out, she loves it! Check it out here:

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[VIDEO] LBS Mompreneur Diaries: #NoSickDays Tip

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As I type this, we’re just hours away from another bout of snowfall here in the Tri-State area. I’m currently pulling an all-nighter and I have about 3 hours until I have to drop my little one off to school then head into the city for a series of client meetings, photoshoots and interviews. I’ll be lucky if I have a chance to breathe, let alone eat, during that aggressive timeframe. For a mompreneur like myself, life doesn’t stop when you’re not feeling well. I have absolutely NO time for sick days, even though the scenario mentioned above is a breeding ground for sickness.

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