Note: This post is part of a series of blog posts related to Jebraweb's "This I Believe" statements. You can read about them in our first post, "Welcome to Jebraweb."
I took this picture last fall, around four o'clock in the afternoon, while waiting with my oldest daughter and two of her friends for their after-school drama class to start at a local theatre. If you were counting, that's three kids and one mom, so how on earth could we explain the fact that there are four ridiculous sets of wacky colored footwear on display?
Well, I may have a thing for fun socks, and I may have indoctrinated my daughter, too.
And it may be that all of the kids she likes have similar inclinations.
Allegedly, of course.
Now, what does this have to do with my business? Absolutely nothing. I'm telling you about it, and showing you this goofy photo, because I am not ashamed of being a human being. Human beings are more than their jobs, even we human beings who own our own companies. Sharing some personality -- along with the quirks, odd hobbies, interests, and some limited glimpses of family life -- is a big part of my style of consulting. While I am highly unlikely to design your web site with bright polka dots on one side and zebra stripes on the other, I am indeed capable of appreciating those things in another context.
So, here's a few choice tidbits of personal information about me which might help you understand who you're hiring beyond a skill set and a portfolio:
- I am married to and CRAZY in love with a great, non-inter-webbed guy who I met in college and who wears very sensible socks.
- I have two awesome rock star daughters, ages 11 and almost-8. During the school year, they get out of school at 3:35pm CST, which is when I become unavailable by phone. Coincidence? No. Text or email me after that time of day.
- I play old-time fiddle, sometimes in typical American style and sometimes in Quebecois style. I could go on for hours about this, but I won't. Sometimes I play for contra and square dances; let me know if you want to check it out one day.
- I read before bed every night.
- I like to cook and especially to bake. I make the best banana chocolate chip cake you'll ever have; ask the great non-inter-webbed guy from #1 above. In my last blog post, I promised to tell you about my casserole, which you'll see in that post with a photo of my grandmother when she was about my age. She died long before I was born, and in fact, when my dad (her son) was still a child. Somehow, the recipe for that casserole -- a lokshen kugel -- was found about ten years ago in the bottom of a drawer in the kitchen of a distant relative. The recipe was my grandmother's, written in her handwriting, lost for more than 50 years. It's a fantastic dish, and whenever I make it, I think of that grandmother, for whom I was named, and I smile.
Part of what has empowered me to admit my humanity -- casseroles and all -- publicly is an organization with which I became connected in 2012. It's called Founding Moms, and it was started by a serial entrepreneur named Jill Salzman who, tired of the somewhat stuffy, impersonal brand of networking that she had experienced in other settings, invented a whole new way for mothers with businesses to interact, learn, and grow their networks. At each meeting, women who are both business owners and mothers are invited to talk, listen to presentations from experts in their own fields, and ask for business advice and feedback. Rather than cover up the fact that we're humans with families, we are all encouraged to share all that is important to us: the work-life balance translated truly and exactly, distilled into our introductions that define us for who we really are. If you are a mom-founded business, or if you know someone who is a mom and business owner, it's definitely worth checking out. There are chapters all over the world. I attend the Founding Moms meeting in Evanston, IL, hosted by the fantastic Malik Turley of Hip Circle Studio, a local fitness studio for women and their children. Here's how I introduce myself:
"Hi! My name is Debi Lewis, and I own and run Jebraweb.com, a web development firm that focuses on non-profit organizations and small businesses. I have two daughters -- ages 11 and 7 -- in school here in Evanston, and I live just around the corner. Nice to meet you all!"