In her book Raising an Entrepreneur, Margot Machol Bisnow set out to investigate the earliest keys to success for some of the world’s most powerful entrepreneurs: their childhoods.
After dozens of interviews with people who’d reached stratospheric fame and fortune in professional sports, business, entertainment, and fashion, Bisnow found that almost every interviewee shared a common trait:
Every successful person had a parent who supported and believed in them.
And that parent was usually a mother.
So today, we’re celebrating the entrepreneurs whose moms paved the way for their groundbreaking success by teaching them the values, determination and work ethic they’d need to thrive.
1) Maye Musk, mother of Elon Musk, Founder CEO and CTO of SpaceX
A model and health entrepreneur, Maye Musk was the sole breadwinner for her three sons after her divorce from their father, and dedicated everything she did to improving the futures of her children.
Elon lauds his mother’s work ethic and example as a driving force for his success. He famously recalls her juggling multiple jobs while they lived in a small, rent-controlled apartment in Toronto, and accepting yet another job at the University of Toronto to provide him with a free education.
While Maye doesn’t claim credit for Elon or her other son, Venture Capitalist Kimbal Musk’s, enormous success, she was responsible for keeping their first software company, Zip2, up and running. A long-time business owner by that point, she oversaw the company’s business plan, interns, office expenses, and food and clothes, and more.
Around 1996, Maye donated all of her savings (around $10,000) to secure rental of their office space, and their business expenses — and claims to this day that it was her “best investment ever”.
2) Katica Herjavec, mother of Robert Herjavec, CEO of the Herjavec Group and Shark Tank judge
The late mother of the Shark Tank mogul is praised as a powerful spark for her son’s success, and also his attitude. Robert Herjavec is famous for his compassion and respect for Shark Tank participants, and he attributes that to his upbringing.
After fleeing Yugoslavia’s communist regime with his parents at the age of 8, Robert was never allowed to take his life for granted. His experience as an immigrant also colored his experience as an entrepreneur.
“We were immigrants, and when you don’t speak the language or have any money, kids make fun of you. I would say to my mom, “The world hates me. Nobody’s nice to me. I have no friends, and all these kids have better lives than me.”
In response, Katica wisely counseled him “Robbie, nobody in this world is better than you and you are no better than anyone else.”
“That inspired me to get out there and kick some butt and make something of myself, but not in a way that demeaned anybody, because I’ve always remembered what it’s like on the other side. I’ve thought about that a lot since I’ve been on Shark Tank.”
3) Shari Hoover, Ryan Hoover, Founder of Producthunt
Ryan Hoover is famous both for his curation of the coolest apps, services, and gadgets on the web on Product Hunt, and also his work ethic. He habitually gets up at 5:30 every day to scour the internet for the latest in groundbreaking tech and rising startups in order to keep his company on the cutting edge.
But his mother Shari, also an entrepreneur, helped him learn by building, and encouraged him to make, create, and find fun side projects all his life. A creator herself (constantly crafting everything from jewelry to scrapbooks), she encouraged Ryan to use his mind, his hands, and any resource he had to dabble in his greatest areas of interest.
Hoover attributes his mother’s passion for creation as the inspiration helping him build his now market-leading company.
4) Adele Sandberg, mother of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
Sandberg’s mother Adele was a muse for her famous book Lean In.
Adele dropped out of her PHD program upon discovering she was pregnant with her daughter, and Sandberg emphasizes that her mother’s presence made a huge impact on her life. She’s also an active supporter of her daughter’s work, appearing at every leg of her Lean In book tour, and encouraging her to always chase her dreams and thrive.
In this essay for Babble.com’s Mother’s Day projet, Sandberg shared her gratitude out loud: “So thank you, Mom, for inspiring me and encouraging me to lean in from my childhood until today. And thank you, Mom, for leaning in and making your children your life’s work.”
5) Eve Branson, other of Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
One of the most famous CEO mothers on the planet, Eve Branson’s adventurous life started early; when she disguised herself as a man to become a gliding pilot.
The entrepreneurial spirit clearly runs in the family, as Eve made cushions and wooden tissue boxes to sell at Harrod’s in the family garden shed to make ends meet after her husband failed the bar exam.
Her zest for life manifested in a number of different career paths, including being a military police officer, a probation officer and running a real-estate business — and her hustle inspired her son to create one of the most powerful brands on the planet.
“She did quite a lot of adventurous things herself,” Richard says, “And I think she sort of expected it of her sons, so I had a lot to live up to. I think I soon realized that if I were to satisfy her wishes for her son, I had to do some pretty extraordinary things in my life.”
So to mothers everywhere, raising the next generation to change our world, thank you!
This weekend we’re celebrating the moms who raised us, and the moms who work with us. We’re huge proponents of supporting mothers who choose to have a rewarding career while also raising a family, and inspire the next generations of entrepreneurs, professionals, and visionaries.
And so on this Mother Day it is with great joy that we celebrate the Worldwide101 mothers who, every day, juggle the care of their grateful clients and their families with equal patience, passion, and what every mum does best: love!
Wishing you a wonderful week, and a Happy Mother’s Day!