CEOMOM Summer 2019

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Summer 2019








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CONTENTS 16 Fit Mom: Mary Massey, Personal Trainer and Life & Business Coach

36 Haute Momma: Jennifer Stagg, Interior and Product Designer

42 Meet Saskia Sorrosa, Founder of Fresh Bellies Baby Food

5 Letter from the Editor 6 Back to School Thrift Shopping with Savvy Thrifter Tiyunna Johnson 20 Sandra Oh Lin: Giving Kids Creative Confidence through KiwiCo 22 5 Tips for Working Moms to Survive the Back- to -School Hustle by Holly Caplan 24 Back to Work: Ashley Cash Is Helping Women Negotiate with Power 28 Back to School Savings Has A New Meaning by Lateisha Johnson 30 How to Maintain Your Self Worth in Motherhood by Abigail Kent 32 The Clean Medicine Movement & Children’s Health by Dr. Amy Shah 34 Editor's Pick: Stuff 'n Sit by Creative QT

10 MEET MINDY MCKNIGHT Mindy shares her tips for keeping kids safe online through her new book, "Viral Parenting."

35 CEOMOM Book Club: "THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF THE AWESOME AND AMAZING MARGAUX: Waggy Tail One: YAY Margaux!” by Scott and Laura Jordan 48 Jodi Silverman Introduces Us to Moms Who Dare® CEOMOM | 3


Editor-in-Chief: Vonna Matthews / Contributing Editor: Marcus Matthews / Photo Editor: Krystal Jackson / Contributing Designer: Taly Melo / Mindy McKnight Cover Photo: Jessy J / Contributing Photographer: Pipeline Angels / Contributing Photographer: Marjorie Raggo / Contributing Photographer: Davin Tes / Contributing Photographer: Teri Butcher W Photography / Contributing Writer: Holly Caplan / Contributing Writer: Lateisha Johnson / Contributing Writer: Abigail Kent

Little Elm, Texas +1-972-302-9150/


FROM THE EDITOR It is hard to believe, but summer is almost over. For most parents school has already begun. Although parents are eager for their kids to return to school, the hustle and bustle of school drop offs and pick ups, homework, extracurricular activities, and scheduling can be overwhelming. Moms appreciate any products and services that help to streamline their busy lives, especially when it comes to the stress of back to school. In our annual back to school issue, we are presenting tips related to family financial planning, choosing clean medicine for your kids, keeping your kids safe online and one of our picks for the CEOMOM Book Club (children's book edition). We're moms, too so we understand that transitioning back to a normal routine comes with its own challenges. We are providing working moms with five tips to survive the back to school hustle. Back to school for some moms also means back to work. Ashley Cash, interview and salary negotiation coach, is empowering women to get hired and get paid. She's taking the fear out of asking for what you want in corporate and business. Getting ready for back to school is not complete without shopping. From annual sales to tax free weekend, parents are looking to save time and money as they search for clothes, school supplies and more for their students. Tiyunna Johnson is helping parents save even more through thrift store shopping. Our cover mom, Mindy McKnight, is helping parents keep their kids safe online with no nonsense parenting tips . She's sharing her journey from doing hair tutorials to being YouTube's favorite mom. The summer vacation is coming to an end. Now let's get back to norm.


Vonna Matthews Vonna Matthews Editor-in-Chief



Tiyunna Johnson


Photo Credit: Brea Stills

THRIFTED & THRIVIN: A DIFFERENT KIND OF BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING Tiyunna Johnson is a fashionista that helps women discover their personal style without breaking the bank. For Johnson, it’s not just about saving money, but cultivating a frugal lifestyle that doesn’t compromise your individuality. This thrift-style maven and founder of Thrifted & Thrivin, a lifestyle brand for the budget conscious fashionista, hosts thrift store tours and workshops around the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex to create a shopping experience that is educational, fun, frugal and purposeful. CEOMOM chatted with Johnson about how she got started as a thrift store shopper and why it is a family affair. She also shared some practical tips for back to school shopping and saving.

Tell us about your brand Thrifted & Thrivin and your many events. I am now walking into the purposeful side of my brand and understanding what I am doing as a thrifter. I do a lot of thrifting, 95% of what I wear is from a second hand store. Some items are gifted. The core of what I do as a thrift store shopper is inspire women to buy second hand to explore their personal style. The thriving aspect is because you are not spending a lot of money as you discover your sense of style. I enjoy teaching women to thrive and live a full life. I do that through my thrift store clothing tours. I aim to teach women to keep their money in their pockets. I love being able to contribute to the community as a whole. How did your life journey lead you to become

a thrift store shopping expert? I have been thrift shopping most of my adult life, although it was not as popular as it is now. There was this big stigma about it. I was not confident enough to tell people I was getting my clothes from the thrift store. I was married and got divorced and was in a place where I was trying to find my self esteem and get back to the place I was before. Going to thrift stores became my outlet. It was a thing where it was unspoken to buy from a thrift store. From a financial standpoint, it was workable for my budget. I would look at magazines and try to recreate the outfits from thrift stores. I got a lot of compliments from that. I was coming out of the mindset of being ashamed. The minute I did, I realized I wasn't the only one to step out of the norm. Not being ashamed of wearing second hand style and discovering my own

personal style positioned me to help other women discover their personal style and uniqueness through thrifting. We absolutely love your style. Describe your process for finding looks to fit your style in thrift stores. I have a process in general when it comes to thrifting. With my personal style I am all over the place, but I often go for professional chic. Strategically, I create a list that has what I need and want. From there, I decide what store I will visit. I have a list of Dallas/Fort Worth thrift stores all the way from Dallas to Irving to Fort Worth. I also look for days to shop when there's a color tag sale like 50 percent off days. That is usually when I find what I am looking for. When it comes to my personal style I try on and see what works for me. I love dresses and skirts, particularly mini skirts. I like specific colors that look good on me. I focus on making sure that it looks good on certain parts of my body. Of course, I always want to keep a budget. I stay around $50 a month.

Not being ashamed of wearing second hand style and discovering my own personal style positioned me to help other women discover their personal style and uniqueness through thrifting.

What is the biggest misconception that people have related to thrifting? The narrative for thrifting has changed. It used to be about shopping at a store for homeless people, the smell of the thrift store or just buying something that was already used. It wasn’t the coolest thing to do. I guess now that I am an adult, it doesn’t matter. Thrifting does have a new meaning, it is now more accepted. Studies show that women are thrifting at a higher rate than they ever have. The stigma was buying old, used and smelly clothes. I would love for women who have never gone thrift shopping to come and experience it. I give new shoppers a broader sense of how thrift stores are not that different from retail stores. What advice do you have for a new thrift store shopper? Have an open mind about making that decision to walk into the store. If it is your first time, you may be overwhelmed. Just walk into the store and start to browse like you would a retail store. Go with a friend who has been thrifting before. Also, take your time. I think if a person walks into the store they can determine from that point if it is their thing. Every store is different on what type of quality clothes they have. Have an open heart and open mind. Be patient to prevent from being overwhelmed. Don’t be so quick to feel like you have to buy something. The first time you can just look around. To prepare new shoppers, I give them the background of what they are walking into. If they are a retail person and they shop retail a lot, I challenge them to look for something and see if they can find that brand in the thrift store. As parents do their back to school shopping, what are your top three tips for finding the best deals for back to school clothes and accessories? Tip 1: Find a thrifting sale day like a holiday such as Labor Day. Thrift stores always have a 50% off sale on a major holiday. Start shopping early.

Photo Credit: Teri Butcher, W Photography



Tip 2: Shop in areas where the cost of living is high. People who live in those areas are donating to the thrift stores close to them. Focus on the wealthy areas. How can people make thrifting a family affair? Take your kids with you. They will enjoy it. It is exciting to give your kids the opportunity to understand that they can buy a lot with little money. Encourage them to buy something they would like. It’s fun and you are teaching them how to get excited about finding great deals. They may find something that is brand new. It’s also a strategic move to help them understand how to have good money habits. I have done that with my son. I give him $5 and he has gotten excited about thrifting. He has developed an awesome habit of walking in with his $5. I help him find stuff in the toy section. I try to create ways to make what we’re doing exciting for him. Follow Tiyunna Johnson and Thrifted & Thrivin on Instagram @tiyunnaj.



What started out as hair tutorials for girls has evolved into a family business that includes six YouTube channels, the highly successful website, a book and a social media empire with over 23 million subscribers. Along with her husband, Shaun McKnight, McKnight launched in 2008 and the CuteGirlsHairstyles YouTube channel in 2009. With all of the attention her family has garnered since their first YouTube video, McKnight works to keep her daughters and son, including YouTube sensations Brooklyn and Bailey, grounded while living life in the spotlight. McKnight has taken her experience and expertise as one of the Top-25 Women on YouTube and turned them into a book to help parents manage and protect their kids’ online presence. Her new book, Viral Parenting: A Guide to Setting Boundaries, Building Trust, and Raising Responsible Kids in an Online World, has been called a must read for all parents raising kids in the digital age. CEOMOM Magazine caught up with McKnight to discuss her transition to being YouTube’s favorite mom and why there’s no such thing as digital privacy.

What inspired you to start a YouTube channel? Describe your early years as a YouTuber and how you ended up where you are now. The plan was never to create this massive YouTube channel. I was just doing the girls’ hair all the time and I decided to shoot some pictures for my kids to put online. We filmed a video and put it up on YouTube and it just went crazy. YouTube asked us to keep making videos and partner with them. You can tell we had no training with the camera. We didn't intend for this to be this big. I think it just resonated with a lot of moms. How did your family adjust to your new life in the spotlight? We have been doing this for ten years. Because of that, we’ve been given the opportunity to grow with YouTube. We were able to experience some of our mistakes when the price tag was smaller. It is such a massive platform now. We were on such a small scale back then that we got to learn how to manage a larger audience. What have been some of your greatest challenges as the mom of YouTube stars, Brooklyn and Bailey and now Kamri? How have you overcome those challenges? One of the biggest challenges is we work together. It's one of the


You have grown your own brand with a combined six million followers? What has been the key to you experiencing your own success separate from Brooklyn, Bailey and Kamri? That has been a little difficult. One year, there was this huge emphasis on Brooklyn and Bailey's growth. As a family we have focused on their growth. This year, it is my growth so as a family we had to regroup and refocus. We choose opportunities as they happen. How do you create content? Describe your production schedule. As a team, we sit down once a quarter and plan out a full quarter’s worth of video ideas. We can shift, but we try to lay out a quarter’s worth of content. The production team puts everything together for the videos. We create videos a month in advance to give our production team time for edits. We try to run with a couple of videos in the can. For example, the girls had their finals at Baylor so they took a break to study for finals. We plan for seasonal schedule changes.

Photo Credit: Jessy J

best and worst things about what we do. It is fun, but it's hard to split between mom mode and manager mode. We have to differentiate between I am talking to you as your mom, go clean your room, and I am talking to you as your boss. I have to work to keep that healthy balance. For example, as a mom if I can see that my kids are super stressed or need extra time for a test, I want them to perform well so I adjust our production schedule. As a manager, if I know they have a big deadline with a video, I have to be the manager. I’ve learned when I should push the gas and when I should pump the breaks. Photo Credit: Jessy J

What lessons have you taught your daughters related to being YouTube stars? I would never let them call themselves YouTube stars. Ultimately, we are doing what most people are. My kids have always attended public school. We work to keep them grounded and give them as many touch points as other kids. I teach them, never think you are above anybody else. You should treat everyone the same. If they meet someone who stops them and asks for pictures, they will take a picture and love on them. We recognize that we are where we are because of our audience.

You grew your single family YouTube channel into a social media empire with three channels and 13 million subscribers. What are your top three tips for moms who want to start a family YouTube channel? Tip 1: Have love for whatever you are going to talk about, because you are going to talk about it in nauseam. You will talk about it a lot, so you have to really love it and have a passion for it. If you don’t, you will get burned out very quickly. Tip 2: Figure out a schedule that is workable. You should have designated time for family and designated time for production.

Tip 3: Know who your audience is and engage with them regularly. Remember that they are the reason you are where you are so provide content that is helping them. Where do you see your media empire in five years? I would never have guessed that I would be at the place I am now. Life shifts so quickly. New opportunities are popping up all of the time. There are so many things I wish I could be doing so it is hard to say where we will be. To learn more about Mindy McKnight and get a copy of her book, visit

Photo Credit: Jordan Marshall


KNOW THEIR STORIES FIGHTING TO END MODERN DAY SLAVERY Help us raise funds and awareness to end human trafficking around the world BE A PART OF THE CHAIN REACTION

Mary Massey


FIT MOM: COACHING WOMEN TO PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND PROFESSIONAL HEALTH Two life altering events changed the way Mary Massey saw health and fitness. After losing both of her parents at a young age, Massey took the first step towards a healthier life by walking into a Zumba® dance class. Now this personal trainer, Zumba® dance instructor and business and life coach is helping other women reach optimal health physically, mentally and professionally.

How did your life journey lead you to become a nutrition expert and trainer? My real fitness journey began after my father passed away. I fell into a deep depression and was close to getting on medication. Losing my mom to breast cancer at a young age and then my dad to heart disease taught me the value of good health. If we don’t have our health we live short lives or cannot be there for our kids the way we would like. Several months after my dad’s passing I saw a flyer “My mission is to help clients implement the for a Latin-inspired dance class called habits that will help them achieve a strong Zumba®. This was back in 2007 when they blueprint for better health, fitness and if were just starting to pop up at gyms. I applicable, their business." stepped into the class and fell in love. Two years later, I obtained my Group Fitness CEOMOM Magazine talked to Massey Certification followed by my Zumba® about how the journey to a healthier life license. That dance class was my therapy and starts with the mind. Massey also shared it saved me. I never thought about where that tips to reduce the chaos of back to school. journey would lead and now ten years later, I

have the privilege of providing the same healthy outlet to others. Personal training, nutrition and now life coaching were the natural progression that followed. What is your philosophy on fitness, specifically as it relates to developing a fitness routine for a beginner? Having the group fitness background has provided me with insight on how women view their bodies. I’ve heard countless stories through the years which is why, for me, mental fitness must come before anything else. Developing a fitness routine for beginners is simple but getting them to commit to life-long change is the tricky part. Because of past failures, many of my clients found themselves lacking confidence. They had no problem telling me they couldn’t lose the weight and that eating healthy was extremely challenging. They gave up before trying. This is

why my first step is to work on the mindset. You train the mind and the body will follow. Describe your typical workout. My workouts vary depending on how I’m feeling and how many classes I’ve taught in a week. I love dance fitness but I love HIIT workouts just as much so I mix it up between Zumba®, HIIT, spin, yoga and boxing. Each one serves a purpose and it’s always best to give your body the variety it needs. Zumba® satisfies the dancing queen inside me, HIIT workouts allow the strong mother in me to get even stronger with every burpee and push up, spin allows me to go fast without getting pulled over, yoga is restorative and boxing is the perfect way to release whatever tension might be creeping in that week. Due to a drowning experience, I’m a terrible swimmer but my goal is to one day be able to swim a few laps and incorporate that into my workout. Back to school means both parents and kids will be busier. How can busy moms incorporate fitness and eating healthy into their daily activities? I tell my clients that putting themselves first is non-negotiable. In order to do this we have to plan ahead. As the saying goes: “if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” Tip 1: Meal Prep Even the busiest person can find two hours on the weekend for meal prepping. The ideal scenario is to plan your menu ahead, allowing one day for pizza night if that’s your thing and a couple nights for leftovers. Write down the shopping list and hit the grocery store on the way home from work or place your order online and then pick up the groceries after shuffling the kids around. Sticking to the grocery list will save you money and prevent you from buying unnecessary or unhealthy snacks. Use a crockpot or pressure cooker for faster meals. Take advantage of your oven and roast your veggies. I wrote a great article on meal prepping on my blog and the biggest takeaway for the readers was, roast your veggies in the oven, grill your meats and pack food in containers to then grab and go on your way to work. When my husband travels I have to make sure I’m on my A game so I pack the kids’ lunches the night before. In the morning, we just grab and put everything in our lunch bags and out the door we go. Tip 2: Quality over Quantity When it comes to fitness, quality is always better than quantity. A quick 20 minute HIIT workout before the kids get up will boost the mood and set you on the right track for an active day. If you don’t have the time in the morning, look for ways to incorporate some strength training a few minutes throughout the day. Bathroom breaks could mean 20 wall push ups and 20 squats. If you spend a lot of time at your desk, try sitting at the edge of your chair, lean back, engage your abs and lift, then lower the knees. Go until you feel the burn in your abs. I like to tell my ladies that when you feel the burn, it means the six pack is cooking! You won’t sweat, but you’ll gain strength and definition. For a little cardio, don’t park close to the entrance and take a few trips up and down the stairs. Pack some wipes if you’re concerned about sweating. If you have to walk the dog, make it a brisk walk around the block instead of just going to the curb. Plank while you help answer homework questions. You should be planking every day. Follow some great fitness trainers on Instagram and try the quick at home workouts. Every little bit counts. Studies now show that commutative exercises throughout the day can be just as effective as an hour long workout.

When it comes to fitness, quality is always better than quantity. A quick 20 minute HIIT workout before the kids get up will boost the mood and set you on the right track for an active day.


How do you balance maintaining health with being a mom? Being a healthy mom is the best gift I can give my kids. I often get asked about balance because there is a lot of overwhelm, guilt and feeling of “not doing enough” or “there’s not enough time.” This was me for a long time. I felt like a bad mom even though my husband would always say I wasn’t. I was working too much, neglecting myself and sometimes, my family. I had no balance, but I’ve learned how to get better at it and continue to learn. We give our attention to what matters most in our lives and as moms, our kids are what’s most important. But neglecting ourselves because of overcommitting is the worst thing we can do. My kids understand that it’s important for me to head to the gym on a day I don’t have to train a client or lead a class so they are used to me prioritizing my health and fitness. This allows me to come back to them and give them my full attention. It allows me to keep up with them, be strong and energetic for as long as I can and be someone they both look up to. I lost my mom when I was 11. My daughter is now 14 and my son is 7. They are healthy, happy and I never over-commit them or myself. I am thankful for continuing to improve and having a well balanced life.

That means no more late nights and healthy bed time routines along with setting up the menu for the week. Life is not perfect and my household is super laid back and relaxed. There are plenty of times when things don’t go according to plan or when we end up grabbing take out from our favorite local restaurant. Having routines is great for structure but being patient and allowing wiggle room can avoid frustrations. My best advice is to take the time to work on your mindset and personal growth and not over-committing nor excessive kid activities. Also, ask for help when you need a hand. Lastly, if you keep a calendar, set aside time for yourself to work out, meet a friend or just have some quiet time to clear your mind and regroup. Meditation should be a daily practice as well. Don’t forget who you were before the family and responsibilities came along because if your cup is empty, you will not be able to pour out to the ones who need you most. To learn more about Mary Massey, visit

How does your family get ready for back to school? What tips do you have for families who are working to get back to their normal routines? Back to school preparations have to be made ahead of time. Getting on a schedule the week before school is essential. CEOMOM | 18

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Sandra Oh Lin has been creating and designing since she was a child. With a background in technology and consumer products, Oh Lin founded KiwiCo to pass that same love for creativity and design to her kids. Through its innovative platform that combines STEM concepts with fun and art, KiwiCo is inspiring the next generation of innovators. These hands-on experiences are helping kids to develop creative confidence that will not only prevent the summer brain drain but will serve as the perfect supplement to their education from elementary to high school. CEOMOM Magazine spoke to Sandra Oh Lin about the vision behind KiwiCo and how it is equipping kids for back to school. What is KiwiCo. What are your products and services? Who do you serve? KiwiCo’s vision is to encourage kids to cultivate their creative confidence through hands-on projects designed specifically for them. These may include engineering, art or design projects. We want to get kids to exercise their creativity and to see themselves as makers and creators so they believe that they can proactively make a difference. CEOMOM | 20

What inspired you to start KiwiCo? KiwiCo was born out of a personal need. My background has been in consumer projects and technology, then I became a mom. When my oldest two kids were three and five I wanted them to do hands-on activities. I did a lot of making as a child and I thought it would be great for my kids as well. I started trying to come up with projects and get the materials. It was a very hard task. I would put together playdates with my family and friends for the projects. We would all have a great time. One of the moms said, “You should start a business doing this.” My first thought was, “this would be fun.” My second thought was, “Is this a viable business idea?” We have discovered that there are a lot of busy and well-intentioned parents who want fun and interactive activities for their kids. There is a need from the parents’ perspective and the kids really enjoy creating new things. The kids love getting a crate addressed to them. We are thrilled that we have been able to take KiwiCo and expand it to the larger market. Tell us about your professional background and how it prepared you to start the KiwiCo. My background has been in consumer products and technology, mainly eCommerce. I was a chemical engineer working at Procter & Gamble (P&G) designing and developing consumer products. I then moved on and worked at a couple of startups in Silicon Valley during the first dot com boom. After graduate school I went to the Bay Area where I worked with PayPal and launched PayPal mobile. From there I went to eBay as a general manager of eBay fashion. I have a lot of relevant experience thinking about customer experience. My time at P&G involved trying to understand the consumers and creating products that they would like. We incorporate a lot of that in what we do for our products at KiwiCo. Our products go through a


Photo Courtesy: KiwiCo

We have discovered that there are a lot of busy and well-intentioned parents who want fun and interactive activities for their kids. lot of testing for kids. We have four to eight testing sessions per week. Kids come through and test different products. How can KiwiCo kits be used to help kids prepare for back to school? I think one of parents’ fears related to going back to school is summer brain drain. KiwiCo kits provide a lot of amazing moments of discovery where the child is very active and learning. We make sure the concepts are acceptable for kids. We emphasize where the concepts come to life and show the scientific principle in terms of the engineering concepts. It is a really nice way that kids can put those concepts into practice as they get ready to go back to school. We have a variety of kits with over five hundred projects and seven product lines. Our summer tinker crate line is for late elementary to teenage years and consists of all STEM based projects. One project is a light up planetarium. It includes items to help create a planetarium. Each kit has a Tinkerzine (our magazine) with content that tells the kids about the projects. Once you

build the planetarium it looks like a night sky. It is nice to see the kids’ eyes light up. How have you seen the KiwiCo kits impact your own children’s development? It has been a real privilege to work on and build this company. My kids have been able to benefit in a lot of different ways. For example, as consumers they are willing to dive into all kinds of hands-on projects. From working on the projects, my kids have developed creative confidence that sometimes disappears in kids. My kids are the chief project testers. They are exposed to things that don’t work and things that do work. It is good for them to see the reiteration and the reaction if things don't work. You just learn to try again in the design process. There is a lot of redesigning and going back if something isn’t working. In addition to all that, my kids are able to see their mom as a CEO, which I think is a nice example and model for them. To learn more about Sandra Oh Lin and KiwiCo visit

5 TIPS FOR WORKING MOMS TO SURVIVE THE BACK TO SCHOOL HUSTLE By: Holly Caplan From the moment my daughter got out of school in May to the end of July, was a complete blur. It was a blur of summer camp, work, travel, deadlines, proposals and pool parties. The fact that she was going back to school in three weeks had not occurred to me. When it did, I panicked. Where did the time go? I frantically realized I had no idea what day school started and had to ask another mom. I got a brisk answer of “August 20th,” which I like to call the “working mom fail” response. The guilt of not knowing when my child starts 2nd grade and feeling completely overwhelmed set in. Where do I begin? I’ve got to sign her up for fall activities, get a new backpack, lunchbox, some new clothes and also manage my job, meetings, travel and various work expectations. As working moms I think we feel there is no easy way to do all of this and keep a clear head and stay on task, but I have found five great tips for surviving back to school as a working mom: 1. Order Online: Spare yourself the hustle of shopping. No need to throw everyone in the car in 100-degree heat to head to your favorite retail super store, fend off the kiddos requests for toys and candy while back-to-school shopping. It is not worth it. Modern technology allows us the ability to order online for backpacks, clothing and supplies. Think of the time and energy you will save by sitting on your couch and checking some boxes and swiping “check out”. This also applies to grocery shopping too, which is becoming more and more common. Download the app for Shipt or Amazon Prime and let them do the grocery shopping for you. Do it a day or two before school starts. The kids can make their requests so they get to put some creativity into their lunchbox choices. Other positives are that it isn’t expensive to shop online and it saves money because you avoid over-buying in a store. 2. Let the Laundry Lie: Where does your laundry lie? Mine sits on a bed in the guest room. Clean, yet unfolded. But clean. The point here is, let your laundry lie. It is okay to let some things slip during back -to -school time. You will have so much on your plate as it is, don’t let the mundane domestic stuff get to you. Not having every thing completed or accomplished around the house is okay. You will not get a ticket or a fine for letting some things in the household fall behind. Give yourself permission to know that it is okay if you don’t get everything done. It is completely normal, and you will eventually catch up. 3. Get Your Routine Back: In the summer our routines are typically off. As I mentioned, it can feel like a complete blur when so much is going on. Activities, camp and work will run you, instead of you running them. No shock there. Bringing structure and school back into your life can be a struggle, but welcome it because it brings the return of normalcy. Give yourself a cushion

returning to the routine by practicing earlier bedtimes and waking times week before school starts. This will get us parents and kids back on schedule. Also, create a family calendar with upcoming school activities and your work schedule to make sure that all planets are aligned, and if not, this gives you time to create a family management strategy. 4. Be Guilt Free: I think the hardest thing about being a working mom during back -to -school is missing school events. The hallmarks of the beginning of the school year like Fall Festival or Meet the Teacher are big events for the kids. Missing them can make you feel disconnected from their little lives and the guilt can take over. This is also difficult because you miss the chance to meet other parents and classmates at these events. You start to feel like a constant outsider because you are the mom who isn’t around enough. Don’t beat yourself up or hold yourself to an impossible standard. Know that you are doing everything that you can to accommodate both school and work and that you are still present in your kids' lives, even when you can’t physically be with them. 5. Connect with other working moms: I have a lot of wonderful friends who are stay- at -home moms. They tend to keep me grounded and I rely on them a lot for my sanity. Working mom friends can be super supportive too because they are most likely experiencing the same emotions and situations. For overall complaining, coping and time management ideas your working mom friends will happily listen and help you. In addition, their schedules will most likely parallel yours, so for all of those 2:30 play dates you have missed, you can now do play dates on schedules that accommodate the work day. The silver lining here is that you get to solidify strong relationships with other women who will stand by you when you need support. Managing back-to-school time will never be perfect or fool proof, but working outside of the home can bring on some added stress. It is a balancing act that can cause disruption as you get adjusted to the new school year and schedules. Know that you are not alone, and we are all muddling through it together. Holly Caplan is a mom, workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World. For more information, please visit, and connect with her on Twitter, @hollymcaplan.


Don’t beat yourself up or hold yourself to an impossible standard. Know that you are doing everything that you can to accommodate both school and work...

Photo Courtesy: Ashley Cash



Studies have shown that women tend to negotiate less often and with less assertion than men do. Some have argued that self-worth and the stigma that can be placed on a woman if she appears to be “too aggressive” are determining factors. Ashley Cash of ACash Coaching believes one of the reasons women opt to not ask for what they want when it comes to salary, company roles and corporate benefits is lack of nerve and know-how. Combine not knowing exactly what to say and being worried about how it will be received makes asking for more very difficult . According to Cash, a successful deal is one that makes you whole. Driven by purpose, Cash has made it her mission to help women negotiate their salaries for new and current positions, as well as land the job with superior interview skills. CEOMOM Magazine interviewed this career corporate girl, working mom, and interview and salary negotiation coach to learn more about the strategies and tips women need to get paid and get hired. Tell us about ACash Coaching. What do you do? Who do you serve? I help smart and professional women, whether they are entrepreneurs or corporate women, get hired, and get paid! I work with women who are looking to grow their careers. I coach and teach them how to nail the interview process and confidently navigate salary negotiations. I also have group coaching, My group coaching focuses on community. I host workshops and event panels and keynotes.


How did your journey lead you to career coaching? It is a combination of frustration and purpose. For the last 12 plus years I have been in the corporate setting hiring and managing teams for companies such as Coca Cola and Whirlpool. I have always had the desire and authority to hire more women. I became frustrated seeing women being afraid to speak up loud and proud about their accomplishments and later seeing that modesty cost them thousands of dollars in salary or sometimes the offer. Then seeing men coming in with an air of confidence and their list of expectations that were often met with ease. After being on the other side of the table for so long I knew exactly what the candidates (men & women) who got hired and got great offers did...they positioned themselves as an expert and as a solution and they owned their ask. I decided that I'd teach women how to do that in an interview and at the negotiation table so they could ask for the moon and get it too! If people knew the budgets, they would be fearless. Ask girl! I think about all of the things we are good at such as asking and advocating on behalf of our children and loved ones. We as women are so bold when it comes to others. A lot of my work includes showing women how to be bold for themselves. When accepting a new professional offer, what are some things you can negotiate other than salary and benefits? Think about what you need to feel whole. What do you need to get in order to feel good about the deal? One thing you can negotiate is a better job title. That is important, because that can help you pivot into other roles later. Determine what benefits and perks can help you leverage your career goals down the line. As a mom, consider flexible work hours. For example, you may need time to pick your kids up from school. If sitting at your desk until five or six at night won’t work for your family, negotiate that. Another thing you can negotiate is for the company to pay professional dues in an industry. You may also ask the company to pay for your travel to go to conferences including registration fees.

Photo Courtesy: Ashley Cash

When in a current position, what are some things you can negotiate other than a raise? You can negotiate the same things as you would in a new position. Take that same list and go to your boss. Say you work for a nonprofit organization that has a very small budget. Take your list and say these are the things that I need to feel whole and valued in my current position. Something to add would be a professional certification. A lot of people are going back to school for a master’s degree. Negotiate tuition reimbursement. You can also get a company to sponsor you for a professional certification. I have a client who negotiated for her company to pay for her Project Management Professional Certification Prep Course and the exam. As long as she passed the exam she wouldn’t have to pay the money back. Negotiating perks beyond your salary is good if the company won’t budge on the salary. Things like professional certifications stay with you. What role does self-worth play in negotiating? Self-worth plays a huge role in negotiating. A lot of the pre-work that I do is not just in strategy, it is exploring how you see yourself and your worth. Seeing yourself as worthy absolutely makes the difference. You won’t negotiate if you don’t understand that your time and talent have value. The time you are spending and what you are bringing to the table is valuable. You have to go to the negotiating table with that mindset.

What are some of the biggest mistakes women make when negotiating their salary? I think one of the first mistakes we make is giving up our leverage too early. We fall into common traps such as revealing our previous salary history and/or our expected salary range. The problem with revealing that is, it is your leverage point. The first number that is thrown out is the anchor. If you throw out a salary range that is less than the anchor, you have started out your anchor low. Having a good leverage point doesn’t give anyone the opportunity to low ball you. Don’t help your potential employer make the case for why they can pay you less. How do you reverse a bad negotiation? You can try, but sometimes when you have backed yourself into a corner, it is tough to come out of it. If you and the employer are happy, it is okay to go back to re-discuss compensation. Go to the table with results. Tell them what you’ve done or accomplished. The second piece is to show how your results have benefited the company. When you show indisputable evidence such as I have made the company x number of revenue dollars, you have leverage to revisit the compensation structure. Another strategy is to ask, “What is the path to get to the next level of compensation?” Allow your employer to give you a road map to get there. Sometimes you will have to think about moving on to the next opportunity. If CEOMOM | 25

you are happy in your current position don’t leave without trying to ask for what you feel is fair. How do the negotiation tactics you teach apply to entrepreneurship? Really it is all the same stuff. It still boils down to selfworth. Don’t be flattered that you were asked to do a project or a proposal you pitched was accepted. Everything is negotiable and remember, don’t negotiate against yourself. It’s understanding that your time is going to add value. If this person is going to bring your time and talent to their event, project or company, they need to compensate you accordingly. It’s a matter of asking for what you want and not feeling like the opportunity is bigger than you. It goes back to, what do I need to feel whole to make this a successful deal? Figure that out and then ask for those things. Let’s talk exposure. You can get exposure and be paid. It doesn’t have to be this either/or. How should working moms approach negotiating? Moms should approach negotiating the same way they would approach advocating for their kids and someone they love. Moms will get creative and gather all the facts. We have our wits about us. We are practical and pragmatic. We don’t feel like we need to ask for permission or apologize for what we want when we are advocating for others so don’t feel that way for yourself. If you are not sure, ask. Ask for help if you are not sure how to negotiate. Lean on your tribe. Let the company know that you have a family. You take your kids to school every morning so getting to work at eight in the morning won’t work for you. Eight thirty to four works better or working from home. We should speak up and talk about what we need. It’s not for us to pretend that we don’t have families at home. Let the company know and show them that you can do your job well with a little modification. Learn more about Ashley Cash and ACash Coaching at Photo Courtesy: Ashley Cash

Everything is negotiable and remember, don’t negotiate against yourself. It’s understanding that your time is going to add value. If this person is going to bring your time and talent to their event, project or company, they need to compensate you accordingly.


Discounts. Coupons. Deals. Every time you save money, make sure to add the savings to your educational savings account.

Back to School Savings Has A New Meaning By: Lateisha Johnson

Boy, how time flies! It seems like only yesterday that the kids were waving goodbye to their teachers and gearing up for summer camp. Teens across the nation took off their caps and gowns as they entered into the world of adulthood. Whatever case it may be - believe it or not - school days are upon us. You know what that means…supplies, uniforms, and SPENDING. With so many items on the list and so little time, how can you ensure that you don’t go over budget and save money? I have the perfect crack proof strategy. It is not the typical save a penny here, save a penny there on books and supplies idea. It is a sure way to build savings as you save on various school items. Before I give you the 4-1-1 on a suitable education savings plan you can use, here are some hypothetical questions to consider: 1. What if there was a way to not only save money on school supplies, but also grow that savings? 2. What if there was a way you could get tax benefits while saving for college? 3. What if there was a way to save for all levels of education – not just college? If these questions have you curious, then CEOMOM | 28

you’ll be happy to know that there are savings plans that will help you afford college, cover the cost of private school and more. Before we dive in, here are my three must dos when going back-to-school shopping.

store this information. Take out your receipts and add up how much was spent. Deduct expenses from your budget at the end of each week. This will avoid over spending. For example: if your budget is $500 and you spent $50 at the store, subtract the expenses and write down $450 in the notebook.

Prepare Yes, I know the "B” word can be a dirty word, but you must have a BUDGET. It doesn’t matter if you are shopping at the dollar store or at a department store; every mom needs to develop a budget and stick to it. You have to plan ahead. If not, you will realize rather quickly that there is just not enough to go around.It is unwise to plan for extracurricular activities and family functions, but not prepare a budget for back to school shopping. You’d be surprised how many moms fall into the habit of buying this and that, only to have spent more than she bargained for. Prepare!

Save Discounts. Coupons. Deals. Every time you save money, make sure to add the savings to your educational savings account (we’ll discuss below). Don’t just buy bulk just so you can save a couple of bucks to put back in your pocket; save with a purpose.

Track Most people in general – let alone mommies – don’t track their expenses. Although this can be tedious, it is necessary.Whether you save receipts or monitor your credit card statements, be sure to track your spending habits during this time of year. Mint is a great online money management/budget tracker. Keep receipts – get a notebook where you can

1. Coverdell Education Savings Account benefits a. Tax-free trust account for beneficiaries 18 years or younger b. Funds can be used for qualified education expenses at any level – not just college c. Not state-run; flexibility investment options

Back-to-School Savings with a Purpose Going back to our earlier conversation about a suitable savings plan, there are two educational savings programs that are my favorites. With constant changes in law, the benefits can vary from time to time. Here are some highlights of what each plan offers:

2. 529 a. Plan Grows tax-free; state-run (federal tax deduction or credit; possible state tax benefits) b. After January 2018, up to $10,000 of tax-free withdrawals can be used towards elementary and secondary school tuition c. Simple, low maintenance ‘set it, and forget it’ account – handled by an investment management company Once the best vehicle for you has been determined, it is imperative that you get started sooner than later. It isn’t only about how much you invest, but how consistent you are over time. Check out the example below from one of my partners, Franklin Templeton:

For more detail on which option may be best for you, contact your financial advisor or reach out to me if you are in need of a licensed financial professional. Lateisha Johnson ( is a Licensed Financial Coach, Author, and Host of the podcast: Wealth & Wellness Network Radio. She is on a mission to teach women how to have a better relationship with their money and equip others with the tools to build generational wealth. Check out her podcast and learn more about the Wealth & Wellness Network community at


How to Maintain Your Self Worth in Motherhood By: Abigail Kent The pressure of trying to be ‘Super Mom’ can be overwhelming. Motherhood consists of what feels like a ceaseless list of demands including everything from restless nights, diaper changes and supper making, to carpooling, homework-helping, and errand-running. Being a mother allows little time for YOU. It's easy to lose your identity which can impact your self- worth. Developing self-worth and a strong sense of identity are essential to your mental well-being. Your sense of identity has to do with who you think you are and how you see yourself. It's about how you characterize yourself. Self-worth is the means by which you value yourself. Both influence your psychological wellness, your conduct and how you identify with others. Why is it Important to Maintain Your Self-Worth in Motherhood? Research shows that, a woman's self-worth decreases during pregnancy. For a few, their self-worth never realizes an increase after pregnancy while some will see an increase following a half year of motherhood. Motherhood can feel overwhelming. You have a life that is depending on you and the realization of your imperfections can be scary. It is important for moms to focus on self-worth so they can be the best they can for their families and themselves. Why Mothers Lose Their Identity in Motherhood? Social media platforms such as Instagram often romanticize motherhood. Images are presented that portray motherhood as all rainbows and daisies. Let's face it, the media frequently paints moms as these fantasy like creatures.


The key is to not let the role of mothering keep you from being mindful of your identity. Mothers are human. Up until now, you've been responsible for your own life, realizing that the choices you make focus on you. When you become a mother, everything changes. You may worry about what kind of mother you'll be. Will your child be healthy? WILL SHE LIKE YOU?? This series of selfuncertainty can negatively affect your confidence. As time goes by you begin to only see yourself as a mother. You begin placing yourself last in every situation, believing it's what a mother should do. You beat yourself up for not fitting into this ideal of motherhood. We often compare ourselves to our own moms, overlooking that society will, in general, observe motherhood through rose-colored glasses. How to Rediscover Who you Are? Motherhood transforms you. It inspires you to be less egotistical, more giving and to make sacrifices for the benefit of other people. The key is to not let the role of mothering keep you from being mindful of your identity.

Find effective ways to connect with friends Instead of regular night outs or coffee dates, have play dates or month to month book clubs. Rather than cafes and movies, choose the parks or a local play area. Have a side interest Try to discover a side interest you used to love and schedule time to work on it. Whether it's something adventurous like rock climbing or something simple, fit it into your routine. You may believe time doesn't allow for a hobby or special interest, yet if you endeavor to get it going, it will! Get help Whether you have to hire somebody, join a date night club, beg family members, or simply go to playgroups with helpers… do what you need to do to get 'me' time. If you are an exhausted and overwhelmed mother, your impact will decrease.

town. Try not to eliminate the things that bring you joy. There is no doubt that motherhood transforms you. Rethink your identity in spite of the considerable number of obligations that accompany being a mother. Ensure that you prioritize your needs. You will give your children and your life partner a great gift—a woman who prioritizes her identity, which positions her to give her family her best. Abigail Kent is an enthusiastic writer who loves to write on lifestyle, fashion, money saving and travel blogs. She currently writes for Discount Codez. An online discount coupons and promo code site. She holds a bachelor's degree in computer science. She loves reading books and making new friends. Say hello to her on Twitter.

Love and pamper yourself Put the child or baby in the crib and take a bubble bath. If you enjoy dressing up, put on your favorite outfit for a night on the


Back to School Health

DR. AMY SHAH The Clean Medicine Movement & Children’s Health

As parents, we always strive to give our children the best possible care when they’re suffering from allergies or cold and flu symptoms. However, it’s possible that medicating your child with traditional over-the-counter (OTC) medications could cause more agitation than solution. According to a recent study published in Science Translational Medicine, about 75% of a pill or capsule of an oral medication is made up of inactive ingredients that may have hidden dangers. Inactive ingredients merely serve as binders, fillers or coloring. Ingredients like dyes, parabens, phthalates, talc and gluten can contain potentially toxic effects.

that medications they use to help their children might also be posing other potential health problems. In active ingredients in OTC medications can potentially present a bigger problem when it comes to children, as their bodies are smaller than an adult, and they could have unknown allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients. As our children head back to school and face an upcoming flu season, it’s important to recognize potentially toxic ingredients on a medication label, and what cleaner alternatives are available today.

This is concerning to me as both a physician and a parent who aims to provide a clean lifestyle for my children. Many parents do not realize

Parents should examine medication ingredient labels closely, so they are fully aware of what they are giving their children. More studies need to

What ingredients do I need to look out for?

prove this connection in the medical literature but I, myself, try to avoid these inactive ingredients as much as possible: • Dyes: Artificial food colors have been associated with worsened attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in children. • Parabens: Studies have linked parabens to breast cancer and tumor growth. Parabens have been shown to disrupt the endocrine system, which may affect hormone function in children and lead to early puberty in adolescents. • Phthalates: These chemicals have been linked to problems such as childhood obesity, damage of the reproductive system, heightened allergy and asthma symptoms, and altered behavior in toddlers. • Talc: This ingredient has been linked to thousands of cases of ovarian CEOMOM | 86

cancers. Some forms of talc have been shown to be contaminated with asbestos fibers, and even non-contaminated talc can be toxic and a carcinogenic. • Gluten: If your child has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, medications containing gluten could be making your child feel worse. If you are keeping your child’s diet free of gluten but noticing they are still having symptoms it may be due to gluten found in inactive ingredients. What is being done to make children’s medicine cleaner? Creating clean medications is not an easy task, which is why there were not any clean alternatives available until recently.The good news is there are innovative companies that are changing OTC medicines and making them cleaner for our children by removing some of these inactive ingredients mentioned above. One such company that I’ve been working with as a medical advisor, Genexa, was started by parents, like myself, who were concerned about potentially toxic inactive ingredients found in children’s medicines. Genexa’s children’s product line provides clean OTC medicines for some of parents’ topic concerns including colds and flu, allergies, sleep and stress, and I believe other companies will soon follow Genexa’s lead to create more OTC medicines made with USDA Certified Organic and non-GMO ingredients.

As our children head back to school and face an upcoming flu season, it’s important to recognize potentially toxic ingredients on a medication label, and what cleaner alternatives are available today.

Physicians and parents need to become more aware of the amount of toxins our children are consuming and being exposed to in food, medicines, cosmetics and the environment in order to safeguard their health and developing immune systems. I believe a clean–medicine lifestyle is just as important as a clean–food lifestyle for our children’s health, plus it gives parents one less thing to worry about. Dr. Amy Shah, MD, is a double board-certified medical doctor in internal medicine and allergy immunology who received her medical training from three of the top schools in the country: Cornell, Harvard and Columbia universities. Shah is a wellness and nutrition expert who utilizes her specialized skill-set in Eastern and Western medicines to focus on hormones, allergies and gut health to help the body heal from the inside out. Shah found her medical calling after a car accident led to her belief of a strong mind-body connection and her philosophy that life is short, so live it well – an insight she shares with all her patients. Shah operates a medical practice in Arizona where she sees more than 5,000 patients each year. She helps busy professionals implement diet and lifestyle plans that work around their schedules and acts as a coach to help keep them accountable for the healthy choices they are making.



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Stuff n' Sit - Fun and Functional Toy Storage We are in love with the Stuff n' Sit. Not only is it adorable, but it is functional. The Stuff n' Sit is a great storage space that can be used as decoration in a child's room. Choose from three color stripe designs including gray, green and pink. Designed by Creative QT , this soft bean bag can be used to store stuffed animals, towels, clothes and more. It comes in three sizes, standard 27", large and 33" and extra large 38". Order your Stuff n' Sit at



CEOMOM BOOK CLUB The Incredible Adventures of the Awesome and Amazing Margaux

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF THE AWESOME AND AMAZING MARGAUX: Waggy Tail One: YAY Margaux!” tells the story of Margaux the poodle, who becomes blind and deaf overnight after suffering from a rare illness. Despite her disabilities, Margaux faces every day with a smile. The husband and wife duo launched the new book to empower kids to always do their best and to do so with confidence and courage. The heroine, Margaux, is based on Laura and Scott’s real-life poodle who became extremely ill when she was eight years old. The mysterious symptoms caused her veterinarians to question whether she would make it to her ninth birthday. CEOMOM | 35

She battled numerous autoimmune diseases for almost five years, living to be almost 14 years old. She was blind and deaf for the last two years of her illnesses. Not only did she make it, Margaux thrived! Faced with challenges that would be the undoing of most people, Margaux met it all with her signature smile and can-do attitude. For five years, Margaux overcame new challenges and debilitating illnesses and smiled the whole way. She ultimately navigated the world without sight or sound. She gave Laura, Scott, her poodle sisters and her social media followers hope and happiness.

WHY WE LOVE MARGAUX How often do we get to read the story of a dog with special needs? We all know that dogs bring joy and love to families. Margaux's story is special, because she shows how to overcome obstacles and use different abilities to connect with others. What better way to teach kids that having disabilities doesn't have to hinder you from having fun and having loving and lasting relationships? Order your copy at

Photo Credit: Liz Williams


Jennifer Stag FROM THE NEWS TO INTERIOR DESIGN: HOME IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT “Home is what we make it.” Award winning interior designer, Jennifer Stagg, lives by this mantra. Her passion for interior design is as much about people as it is the space they call home. Stagg’s love for design started as a young girl and has evolved into an interior design brand that includes decor, textiles and an upcoming art collection. Along with her husband, Jon, this avid DIYer doesn’t allow herself to be limited by budgets. Stagg equips her clients to create a space they can be proud of, because they see themselves in the process from conception to execution, no matter their budget or style. In addition to being an interior designer and DIYer, Stagg is an Emmy award winning journalist, blogger, podcaster and mother to three little girls. CEOMOM Magazine caught up with this design powerhouse to learn more about the inspiration behind her interior design career, the importance of her girls seeing her as a mom boss and why she believes creating a space you love can change your life. Who is Jennifer Stagg? I’m a wife and mother of three little girls, an interior and product designer, fearless DIYer, on-camera storyteller/expert, savvy décor shopper, and lover of thrift stores. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah where I own a design firm, Stagg Design, and décor and textile company, Stagg Design Shop, with my husband, Jon. How did your career in interior and textile design begin? Design has always been a big part of my life. I was the kid constantly rearranging my bedroom and dollhouses. My mother has suffered with chronic and debilitating health problems my whole life so that left homemaking to my father, who didn’t have much of an eye for design. He was however,

always up for a DIY project and said yes to anything I could dream up. He taught me how to work hard and figure things out as I go. Fast forward to my newlywed life, I had just graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Brigham Young University and had my first job as a news anchor and reporter. My husband was starting law school and to support him, I moonlighted for a furniture company designing vignettes. We started renovating homes together and it became something we loved doing. After the birth of my first daughter, with multiple home remodels under our belts, I took a leap of faith and left news full time—a job I really loved—and dove head first into design. I started a design/DIY blog and within the first six months the editors from Better Homes & Gardens had selected it as their blog of the year and I knew I was on to something. I started getting inquiries from clients all over the world, and after getting licensed, Stagg Design the firm was born. While working on client projects, I started seeing some gaps in the market. Not everyone wants or can afford full service design, but they don’t know where to start. We launched Stagg Design Shop with those consumers in mind. Our products are designer quality, which you normally would have to buy through an interior designer and pay a markup, but they are accessible to the general public. I designed patterns and products that mix and match effortlessly, so if you love one pattern or color, you can put a whole room together with ease. We sell fabrics, pillows, wallpapers, home accessories, and are putting the finishing touches on our new Art Collection which goes perfectly with all of our existing products. I really want to simplify the design process and make it fun for the consumer. Most people have good taste, they just don’t know how to get that designer look, so

that’s our main goal. Our tagline is ‘home is what we make it,’ and we really believe that. We want to empower you to create a home you love. How would you describe your design style? I love to create spaces that are fresh and clean, peaceful, have a personal history of the people who live there, and mix old and new as well as high and low price points. A lot of designers won’t take clients who have budgets, but I think that’s just silly. I have a budget for my projects in my own home, why wouldn’t I want my clients to as well? You have to get creative and it may take some do-ityourself, but you’ll feel so proud of the finished product! What are your top three tips for maintaining your home in the summer? Tip 1: In addition to the outdoor maintenance, summer is the perfect time to touch up all the paint. Go around your home with blue tape and mark every scratch, ding, door that needs to be re-stained, and so on. Homes take some TLC to keep them looking fresh! Tip 2: Clean out your rain gutters. It’s a task no one wants to do, but if you don’t, you’ll be in trouble. They get clogged with all sorts of leaves and branches. Tip 3: Wash all the duvets and quilts on the beds. This often gets overlooked, but summer is a great time to do it. The kids are out of school so put them to work stripping the beds! What are your favorite items or pieces to work with for summer decor? Plants are number one! I love planting summer pots with flowers and herbs. Both indoors and out, I can’t get enough. CEOMOM | 37

I also have a thing for outdoor furniture and accessories. I firmly believe you increase your home’s square footage when you create livable outdoor spaces, so invest in some good furniture and a quality outdoor dining table. What tips do you have for finding hidden gems at thrift stores? Thrifting is such a passion of mine! I love old and vintage pieces—I think they give a home some soul. My top two tips are to get there early and go often. I try to be the first one in the door and move around quickly—you’ll be there with the thrifting sharks! Don’t wait to grab something because it will be gone if you turn around. Throw it in your cart and mull it over while you shop. Also if you’re looking for something specific, go multiple times a week. Thrifting takes some effort, but it’s worth it when you score an amazing piece on a dime! Tell us about the home makeover event you’re doing for a refugee family from Nepal. How did you get involved in this project? National Refugee Day was in the month of June and our firm is always looking for ways to give back. We know the impact a welldesigned home makes—one that is not only beautiful, but that suits your needs. One of our team members had the idea of making over the apartment of a refugee family and after looking at several deserving families, we found one that desperately needs our help. Their 6-year-old son has some severe special needs and their home just isn’t working for them. We’re going to be giving them some new furnishings, re-designing the layout, and creating some play areas for their children. We can’t wait to give them so much more function and beauty. I really think it will change their lives!

Photo Credit: Veronica Reeve

Thrifting is such a passion of mine! I love old and vintage pieces—I think they give a home some soul.


How do you manage the chaos of back to school with three beautiful girls and an award winning hectic career? I don’t think the chaos can be managed—you just have to embrace it! I’m in a very busy season of life. I had three babies in four years and they’re all under the age of seven. I try my best to be present with whatever moment I’m in, whether that’s mom mode or CCO mode. Nothing is served well by me being distracted. I’m so lucky to have a spouse that is all in with my goals and parents as much as I do. He’s my very best teammate. We have a nanny that comes for a few hours twice a week so I can work during normal business hours, but in reality I work a lot of late nights. I sacrifice sleep so that I can be at ballet practice and school pickups. I know when you’re little having your mom there is really important so I am that mom as much as I can be. If I have a business trip, I often take red-eyes home so I can be there when they wake up in the morning. I also have learned the value in a great team and I feel like our Stagg Design team is the best it’s ever been. We’ve hired some extremely talented and loyal people who are invested in our company’s growth and I can’t ask for anything more than that!

Photo Credit: Veronica Reeve

I don’t think the chaos can be managed-you just have to embrace it! I’m in a very busy season of life. I had three babies in four years and they’re all under the age of seven. Stagg Design is about family, and creating the perfect home for your world. What do you hope your children are learning from you as a mom boss? Sometimes my girls ask why I have to go to work and I explain I work because it provides for our family. I work because I believe I have talents and ambition and a great passion for what I do. I work to show them they can run head first after any goal they have and succeed, as I try to do. I believe whole-heartedly home is the most important place on the planet. When your home is not only

beautiful, but functional and a reflection of your family’s past, present, and future, it changes everything. When I can do that for someone else, I know I’ve literally changed their lives. Giving our daughters the example of strong ambitious, hard-working parents is a big priority of ours. We want them to know they can create whatever life they want for themselves. To learn more about Jennifer Stagg and Stagg Design, visit CEOMOM | 39




Join Be The Match® at the Lincoln Experience Center as we recognize Sickle Cell Awareness Month and share our vision for a future where all patients, regardless of ethnic background, have equal access to life-saving cellular therapy.

September 19, 2019 6:00 p.m. Lincoln Experience Center 3620 The Star Blvd. Suite 1205 Frisco, TX 75034

I plan my life around my pain. I have been in and out of the hospital growing up and had my first stroke at the age of 8.” —Genesis Jones

Born with sickle cell disease, speaker and college student Genesis Jones shares the story of her life-long battle with the disease and hope for a cure for herself and other patients.

To RSVP for the event visit: Be The Match operates the world’s largest and most diverse donor registry. We connect patients with blood cancers and other diseases, like sickle cell, with genetically matched blood stem cell donors. ©2019 National Marrow Donor Program. All Rights Reserved. | P00121; JUL 2019



HELPING BABIES DEVELOP HEALTHY PALATES When you think of baby food, garlic, thyme and bell peppers may not come to mind. Yet science shows that even though humans are born gravitating towards sweet foods, eating is a learned behavior and we begin to train our palates the very moment we take our first bite. Training palates is exactly what Saskia Sorrosa, founder of Fresh Bellies, aims to do with her line of savory baby food. Her goal is to introduce a baby’s palate to a variety of savory flavors to help shape nutritional preferences early on. Sorrosa has transformed her experience as the VP of Marketing for the NBA into a disruptive baby food startup that aims to fight childhood obesity while changing the way we feed our babies. CEOMOM Magazine spoke with Sorrosa about the challenges of being a Hispanic woman in the baby food industry, why she’s so passionate about disrupting the baby food space and how she learned to stop apologizing for being a working mom.

Photo Credit: Pipeline Angels

The genesis of the business was me becoming a mom... I didn't want sugar or sweet foods to be my daughter’s first experience with food. I wanted her to know what savory veg ies tasted like without sweet fruit masking the lavor. Tell us about Fresh Bellies. What are your products? I founded Fresh Bellies in 2015 to tackle a fundamental issue with a dated baby food industry that serves bland flavors with a disproportionate amount of fruit to vegetable ratio. These feeding tactics are considered, by experts, to have contributed to a high incidence of childhood obesity and a growing generation of picky eaters. New research reveals that 57% of children and teens will be obese by the age of 35! The key is to tackle the issue from the earliest age possible - a baby’s very first bite. Fresh Bellies is the first-tomarket with a focus on savory flavors and a pioneering philosophy to tackle childhood obesity based on the science of eating as a learned behavior. By never mixing vegetables with sweet fruit and seasoning with herbs/spices like garlic and thyme, Fresh Bellies trains baby palates to help shape nutritional preferences early on and encourage healthier choices later in life. What inspired you to start Fresh Bellies? The genesis of the business was me becoming a mom. I was working full time and after I had my first daughter and she grew into eating solids, I started looking down the aisle and every baby food product on the shelf was full of sugar. Even the vegetable flavors led with fruit everything had pear or apple listed on the nutrition label as the first ingredient! If it didn’t have fruit, then it was a sweet veggie like sweet potato or carrots. I didn't want sugar or sweet foods to be my daughter’s first experience with food. I wanted her to know what savory veggies tasted like without sweet fruit masking the flavor. I also noticed that none of the food on the shelves used herbs or spices to enhance flavor. I knew I wanted to train my daughter’s palate to be receptive to the flavors I ate growing up in Ecuador and to learn to appreciate the foods we would expect her to eat when she transitioned to table foods. When I had my second child I realized there was still nothing in the marketplace that focused on savory goodness. That’s when I started digging into the world of childhood obesity, talking to experts and trying to get to the root of the problem. The amount of sugar we introduce to babies early on plays a major role in the childhood obesity epidemic and is a contributing factor in many of the health issues we see in kids as they get older, like type II diabetes. I decided I wanted to not only make savory food for my own children but for children everywhere. I wanted to make a difference and play a role in changing our approach to infant nutrition by focusing on vegetables, herbs and spices as the headliners. So I embarked on this journey to help build healthier habits in children. How are you revolutionizing the baby food industry? We are the only baby food that never mixes its vegetables with sweet fruit and seasons its food with herbs and spices like garlic and thyme. This doesn’t mean we think fruit is unhealthy - in fact, fruits have important nutrients, too! What this means is that we believe that when kids are eating vegetables, they should taste vegetables, and when they’re eating fruit, they should taste fruit. This exposure to

Photo Credit: Pipeline Angels

savory - bitter, fragrant, earthy, tangy - foods is what trains little palates to become receptive to a variety of flavors beyond sweets. There is no else in the space that offers savory flavors free of fruit sugars for babies. We also use seasoning like garlic and thyme to enhance our flavors. The baby food industry sells products that are sweet because that is what we naturally gravitate to as humans. This does a big disservice to babies. Instead of training baby palates to eat healthy, serving them primarily sweet foods is setting their preferences for sugary foods later on. On a side note, there's a book called “First Bite” that explores decades of research on how we learn to eat, and it's a fascinating perspective about our human relationship with food and the science behind eating. How has being on Shark Tank impacted the Fresh Bellies brand? It’s been significant. Our Shopify and eCommerce sales grew by 562% in the first quarter. In the first two months of the year, our Amazon sales grew over 900%. Our conversion rates improved. Our customer base increased. Our retail store count more than tripled across the country. I don’t think we would’ve had this type of exposure and opportunity to reach this many people anywhere else. People really gravitated towards our story and mission, and I’m extremely grateful for all of it! Describe your transition from being the Vice-President of Marketing for the NBA to creating your own baby food company. What were your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them? There were definitely similarities in what I used to do and what I do now as an entrepreneur. My job at the NBA was very entrepreneurial. I led a team that created new programs and new activations. I had a lot of freedom in what we could do. We were creative, started programs from scratch, implemented strategies and went to market with targeted executions. All of those experiences creating gave me a glimpse of what entrepreneurship could be. But then at the NBA I had a budget, I received a paycheck every few weeks, I could leave the office and disconnect for the evening because, well, it would all be there the next day. CEOMOM | 43

Photo Courtesy: ABC

Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, is unpredictable and I‘m responsible for all of it! Money coming in, money going out, paying myself, paying employees, paying vendors. It’s a lot more stressful when you’re the one worrying about the nitty gritty, but building your dream from the ground up is also an incredibly rewarding experience!

I no longer feel bad about having both a family and a business that I dedicate my time to. KiwiCo It takes Photo Courtesy: a lot of soul searching and being comfortable in your own skin, but it’s also a great feeling to know and be proud of yourself.

I would say that another big challenge is being a female founder in the food industry. I came from the sports and entertainment world which I thought was the epitome of male domination. Boy was I wrong. I’ve sat in most of my meetings since I started this business as the only woman in the room. To top it off, I’m Latina and I’m talking to a room full of men about baby food. You can imagine what that scene looks like! It’s definitely been an adjustment but by working on my approach and perspective, I’ve become a lot stronger and more confident in who I am and what I bring to the table.

improvement. My mindset changed halfway through starting the business. That is when I realized, I am productive. I am efficient. I am a founder. I am a CEO. And I have been a mom this whole time! Why am I hiding it? I decided to stop hiding my mom self and let others embrace all of me. If someone else is uncomfortable with the fact that I need to take my daughter to the doctor, well, that’s on them. I no longer feel bad about having both a family and a business that I dedicate my time to. It takes a lot of soul searching and being comfortable in your own skin, but it’s also a great feeling to know and be proud of yourself.

You wrote an article for Medium called, “I’m a Mom. Sorry, Not Sorry” where you discuss mom guilt and “mompologizing.” What was the defining moment that made you stop apologizing for being a working mom? What advice do you have for moms who are dealing with the same feelings of guilt? I've gotten so much better, but it is still a work in progress. Mom guilt is so ingrained in us that it is a lifelong journey of

To learn more about about Saskia Sorrosa and Fresh Bellies, visit





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