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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lipstick Leadership: "All I Am I Owe to My Mother": Denise Reed's Story!

"Everything I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." - Abraham Lincoln

"As Abraham Lincoln said, everything I am I owe to my mother. She taught me how to tie my shoes, how to match my clothes, and how to make decorative flowers out of Kleenex. She taught me manners, respect for myself and others, the value of a dollar, and the importance of an education. She gave me driving lessons without yelling, excitedly took me shopping for two prom dresses, and as a child, she even let me roller skate repeatedly in the air conditioned house when it was too hot to go outside. She taught me countless and invaluable lessons in life that have shaped me into the strong, confident woman I am today.

Throughout my life I have heard her recount bits and pieces of her childhood on the small island off of Japan called Okinawa. She ran through dirt-covered streets without shoes (not by choice but by lack of money) and went hungry more often than not. She had difficulty learning English when she arrived in the United States at the young age of 12, and she had an even more difficult time trying to fit in at school. After graduating from high school, she attended beauty school while working in the kitchen of a local hospital. She saved every penny to buy her own car and secured a position at a nearby beauty salon. She later met and married my dad, and they happily celebrated their 40th anniversary in April of this year. Their life together was built on a partnership, both in marriage and business.

Soon after my parents were married, they purchased a catering business and worked the business without employees for over 30 years. This required my mom to cook, clean, run a household and be the best mom a child could ever have. She managed all of these things like an Olympic skater on ice - gracefully.

My mom has worked harder than any woman I know and probably ever will. Her childhood was less than desirable, and she could have easily used that as a crutch to walk through life with an entirely different attitude. Instead, she worked all that much harder to provide me with a life than every child is entitled to. She showered me with love and affection, provided me with opportunities that allowed me to learn and grow, and she taught me that roller skating in the house is wonderful fun.

Thank you, Mom, for being the mother that I am striving to be to my son. I love you!"

- Denise Reed

For more of "Mom's Wisdom" to apply in your workplace for success, check out my new book "From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Mom's Wisdom on Leadership" available in local bookstores and online at BarnesAndNoble.com!

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