To celebrate Mother’s Day, we spoke to three inspiring women about motherhood, their careers and their top styling tips, of course.
Michelle Kennedy is a mother of two, Nuala (7 months) and Finlay (6) and the founder and CEO of Peanut, a social network created to connect like-minded women across fertility and motherhood.
Michelle, what does motherhood mean to you?
Selflessness – I never truly understood what that meant until I became a mother. It’s an all consuming kind of love where you experience their pain more sharply than your own.
It’s also a huge responsibility, not just from a practical point of view, but sharing lessons and teaching values. Trying to raise two little people who want to make the world a better place, who feel like they can change the world.
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
Don’t pluck your eyebrows! Which of course I ignored and now regret! That and the idea I could do anything. “There is nothing you can’t do”.
What’s the most important lesson you want your children to learn?
Your work ethic is everything! Both of my parents were incredibly hard working and it’s something I’ve always had too. I want them to understand that working hard is how you get that sense of achievement, how you build things and how you make changes.
Society puts a lot of pressure on mothers, and women, to ‘have it all’ as a mother and CEO? How do you manage this challenging idea?
There is no ‘all’. Sometimes I’m a brilliant CEO, sometimes I’m a brilliant mother, sometimes I’m the best wife. Rarely (read never) does that happen on the same day at the same time. And that’s OK! If I pretend to ‘have it all’ what message does that send to the women who work for me (and the men for that matter), to the women who use Peanut, to my son and daughter?
Tell us a bit about your career?
I started life as a corporate lawyer, moved into the dating industry (where I was Deputy CEO of Badoo, and founding member of female focused dating app Bumble), and then went on to found my own company, Peanut.
How have other women empowered you and helped you succeed in your career?
I was always taught that you pull another woman up the ladder once you get up, [I believe] it’s my job to pay it forward. From hiring to building products for women, I’ve always had that grounding and I believe it.
Pictured: Introducing the mothers behind our Hey Mama campaign. (Left to right) Katie Impey, Michelle Kennedy & Portia Prince and their children.
What career advice would you share with other women?
Use whatever your point of difference is to your advantage. Disarm people. Be exactly what they expect you not to be.
Why was it so important for you to create a meaningful community where women can unite?
For the longest time we haven’t had it! Simple as that. We need a safe space, to connect, to discuss issues which are deeply personal, private, without fear of targeted ads, or judgement.
Living an on-the-go life with kids, how do you refresh your outfits with accessories?
Accessories are the finishing touch that make an outfit, what is your top style advice to pass on to your kids?