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Rearing an Entrepreneur: A Story of Adoption, Bees, and Empathy

I think I can honestly say that most, if not all, parents want to rear their children in the best way possible. This is across the board whether that parent can physically be around to rear that child, or felt the need to pass that baton to another. I know this story intimately. Not only was I one who was reared by adoptive parents who had that passed to them, but I have also been the recipient of that same baton several times over. Just as in a relay, every leg of that track determines how that race ends. The same can be said of all of our lives, regardless of the situation of our birth.

I am reminded of this today as it is my daughter’s anniversary week of her adoption day. It has been thirteen years since that little girl plopped down in my lap for the first time, not knowing what her life in a strange new country held. She was curious, inquisitive, and intelligent. I was a mother who worked hard creating new products for several companies. In fact, her first plane trip in America was accompanying me to a speaking engagement across the country. She watched me stay up late doing Powerpoints, crunching numbers, and stressing over project problems. For some, that might be considered a negligence of “mothering”, for me, it was the inspiration that gave my daughter the power to not only dream something, but to act on it.

Even at a young age, she asked me about my work all the time. Though I worked in telecommunications, she never found it boring. In fact, at nine years old she sat by me while I took post graduate on line courses in design thinking and statistical modeling. She listened to the lectures and took the first two quizzes, getting half the problems right. Also that year she picked the initial product line for a new online business offering dolls, tiaras, and tea sets. That company only lasted a year, but that did not damper her enthusiasm. She now uses the contracts we had from that business to donate tiaras for special needs proms each year. It was the start of a belief that there is nothing in this world that she could not act on.

Last summer, she had read about bees being killed in record numbers, and the detriment to our ecosystem. As a mother/daughter get away (she has five brothers), we rented a little house in a state park and brought a bucket full of beeswax, oils, and salts to experiment with. With her interest in cosmetics, she decided to try experimenting with lip gloss and balm. What came out of that weekend was a new company venture just two months later. At 14 years old and a freshman in high school, my daughter is now co-founder of her own company.

Beezerts.com was launched in April 2016. My daughter helped design the logo, marketing materials, and initial product offerings for launch. Beezerts is an all-natural cosmetics company that makes a large variety of dessert flavored lip balms and glosses. We launched at a women’s conference three weeks ago. The attendees loved it. My daughter did the pitch perfectly without me saying a word to coach her. Last week, she did her first farmers market, again revising her pitch and working with her customers. I recognize that as a crucial skill for every successful entrepreneur, having empathy.

She was not only learning how to find, start, and run a business, she was learning how to relate to customers, and by default, others. She was learning to take feedback and adjust her course. She was learning how to be a good listener by adjusting her will in the moment to make a situation better. It matters not to me whether she makes millions in her lifetime in lip gloss or if she decides to work sacrificially in public service. It matters to me that she, like many entrepreneurs, wants to make this world a better place. I find my greatest awe in the fact that she has learned in her short 14 years what many of us struggle for a lifetime to know, most anything imagined in this world is possible. I cannot think of a more apt way to pass that baton.

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