Moms are big influencers

Roses-beautiful-bouquet-cool-elegantly-flower-flowers-harmonyMoms influence their daughters (and sons) at every level.  My Mom,
Judy Solomon, had more than a handful of careers.  She started out as a
teacher because for her generation being a teacher or a nurse were top
on the list in regards to a career path.  After having me, her first
child, she stayed home to be a Mom.  I am pretty sure she never embraced
being home with the kids.  She was always looking to do something else
and the opportunities were not endless.  Once her kids were in school
full time she began on an entrepreneurial path of starting a variety of
businesses.  She had a head for business.  Growing up, her father owned a shoe store
in Bakersfield.  After he died her brother took
over the shop and within less than two years he had run it into the
ground.  We used to say that if she took over the shoe store it would
have become a chain. 

Her first venture was opening up a plant store in
Georgetown called The Green Scene.  It was the early 70's.  Geraniums, macrame plant hangers and house plants were big.  She always had a nose
for the future.  I am not so sure how the store did financially because
her location should have been about three blocks south of where it stood. No doubt that was based on the fear of a rent too high to meet.  She grew the business
from the back end working with home owners and businesses putting
plants in their spaces.  For a variety of reasons particularly because
her partner wanted out she had a couple of year run and then closed the store.

Her next business was working with a few crazy women
starting a magazine geared towards teens.  Again she was on to
something.  The articles were honest and dealt with the issues of the
time.  If only the Internet was around she could have built a large
content business. That was a short term business.

My parents got divorced and she knew that she
needed to bring in a real income.  She took a class at night getting
some type of masters.  After that she landed a job as the head of sales for a
trade magazine.  She loved what she did and she was really good at it
but hated the management.  She began to make a name for herself and was
offered an opportunity to work with a company that was from Japan
expanding their industry focused magazines into the US.  She was savvy. 
She got a contract with them insuring her job for a full year with a
golden parachute to kick in if they weren't able to get the company off
the ground.  Smartest thing she ever did.  She quit where she had been
working and two weeks into the new company they decided not to expand in
to the US which left her with a nice chunk of change to figure out what
she wanted to do next without the pressures of having to jump back into
the game quickly.

She liked the industry that she was in and had plenty of
contacts.  She decided to build a company that she called JSA (Judy
Solomon Associates) where she would represent a variety of industry
trade magazines selling their ads.  She built that into quite a
business.  By the time she retired she was financially well off which is
something that really drove her.  She wanted to live her life a
particular way and she knew it was up to her to make that happen…and
she did.

My Mom was multi-talented.  She was an artist (there was a
point where she painted), a great cook, she loved to read and do the NY Times crossword puzzle daily and stay on top of politics.  She loved
to work, be challenged and use her brain to think about voids in the
marketplace.  She had many careers while keeping balance in her life and challenging her intellectually.  There is no question that I learned from that.  I could use a variety of words to describe her but I think
she would have liked to be described as an entrepreneur. She probably
did not think of herself as one but trust me, she was.

Comments (Archived):

  1. fredwilson

    Yes she sure was. And she had a big influence on me too

    1. Ella Dyer

      Delightful post Joanne, thanks for sharing. Well said too Fred.

  2. CCjudy

    and you too are an awesome multi talented momremember thatJudy

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks judy.

  3. William Mougayar

    Nice tribute to your mom, Joanne. She is looking down on you from heaven.We keep hearing from AVC that you are a great Mom too, and I believe every word of it. Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. Gotham Gal


  4. JLM

    .The apple has apparently not fallen far from the tree.Everything you write about your Mom could be written about you, no?We often grow into our parents and that can be a very, very good thing.Happy Mother’s Day and have a nice day.JLM.

    1. Gotham Gal

      it can be a good thing and sometimes it isn’t.i believe that each generation is a new cycle trying to fix what the last generation did not do so well. i hope that i have done that but there is no doubt that there will be things that our children will want to fix when they have their own families. it is the cycle of life.

      1. JLM

        .Do we “fix” or do we “build upon”?Seems like every generation stands on the shoulders of prior generations.JLM.

  5. Sunchowder

    Beautiful words…we are missing our Moms today 🙂

  6. Marjan Ghara

    I think I read somewhere that a majority of small businesses are owned by women. I wonder what is the ratio between mom entrepreneurs and single women business owners.Becoming a mother has focused me and fuels my drive. Motherhood is a great motivator.Today I particularly miss my own mother … who gave me everything. Happy Mother’s Day to all.

  7. takingpitches

    She was an entrepreneur, most definitely.Beautiful tribute!

  8. Rohan

    Happy mother’s day Joanne! 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal


  9. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Hope you had a very happy Mother’s Day 🙂 Cheers!The mothers of our generation cleared a lot of brush for us. We should always remember that.

  10. John Revay

    Happy Mom’s day to you – Fred posted a great photo of you and your daughter.Re: The Green Scene…my mom and dad started a garden center in 1974 – here a photo of them.All the best to you.

  11. Sean Hull

    They sure are! My mom has encouraged me at every stage of my career. She keeps up with the internet and often provides a sounding board for me when asking how it all works. If she can’t understand me, I know I’m not speaking to a broad audience, and being too “techie”.