Posted by Mindy Tulsi-Ingram on 1st Mar 2022
March 2022 Newsletter – International Women’s Day
My mother was a super smart lady.
When I reflect on how she ran her empire, I am in awe. She was brilliant, conscientious, tenacious, and a real trooper. She was a woman who lost her own mother at birth, did not know her birthdate, had minimal schooling and married at the age of 17 through an arranged marriage. To top it all off, she couldn’t even get a glimpse of the groom (my father) until the day after. Wow, talk about a story! I learned how to run an empire from a woman who against typical odds was able to prove that you can do anything you set your mind to.
She was born with 1 kidney and had 11 beautiful children whom she gave birth to naturally and lived a wonderful life full of adventures. Lucky for her, her match was made in heaven and her empire was a huge success.
Her leadership and management skills would be a great syllable/topic for an MBA program. She relied on her 6th sense, which was ruled by her philosophy of one should always govern oneself accordingly. I wanted to share with you some of her wonderful insights as I believe her advice is valuable to anyone in business.
Here are some key takeaways from my mother’s MBA program:
- Routine and Habits - The Thali. There were 2 shifts of kids, those in secondary and those in primary. Singapore school have 2 sessions, the morning and the afternoon. She would hand feed Thali every shift, usually, there would be 3 or 4 kids per session. That meant she had 1 dish to wash rather than 4 sets of dishes.
The Thali was filled with rice, curries, and veggies, and she would hand mix each bite for each kid accordingly (size and content of bite based on child's preference and size of mouth). I remember her grandkids saying that "Nanima's hand-fed food is more delicious”. Like clockwork, my mother would be up early, bathe, pray and organize breakfast for her battalion. Once the morning shift was out the door, the laundry machine was going and the rice cooker was on, off she went to the market for fresh meats and vegetables. She would prepare lunch for the afternoon shift, feed them, and out the door she went. Her routines and habits were seamless and like clockwork. Once the afternoon shift was out of her hair, her laundry was hung on the bamboo poles to dry in the hot sun. Afternoons were for folding laundry, afternoon tea, and then prepping for dinner. There were no complaints or bellyaching, she gave it her best every day.
- Network - Most of the ladies that lived in our housing estate were "sisters"; they were there for each other helping out. From Pyrex parties to Tupperware parties. They earned and helped with financing and running each of their empires. They had each other's back. They shared their wins and woes and grew as a group. A great reminder to keep those in your network close, you never know when you could need a helping hand.
- Financing & Budgeting - As in any business, financing played a key role - My mother and her friends created a trusted group of 10 women/10 households and invested in their version of Tontine. Each would contribute a dollar amount each month and would take turns collecting so that the full total goes around to each individual - this fund would help finance bigger projects, like refurbishing their homes, renovations, or even financing of a special event - marriage, milestone birthday, etc. This was built on trust and integrity. Oh and one thing, she always cut her coat according to her cloth. No wastage and green as green can be.
- Celebrating Milestones with Flair - All 7 of her daughters received a special gift on their 21st birthday -a gold chain. She explained her assigned budget for this milestone gift is always the same, however, the thickness, design, and weight of the gold chain depended on the price of gold that year. Mine was a short chain as gold prices were really high the year I turned 21. Regardless of what you do in business or work, celebrate your milestones.
- Explore the World - She traveled the world with my dad and once had a ticket around the world for her and my dad. She never stopped any of her children from doing the same; I have family members who live in Switzerland, Sweden, Canada and Thailand. The world is a beautiful large place, get outside your comfort zone and explore!
The one thing my mother said that in her next life, she will ensure that she learns how to drive, go to university, and continue to explore the world. Imagine a leader she would be ? She would be unstoppable.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, think about an important woman in your life that has impacted you. For me, it was my mother, but it could be a grandmother or sister, a boss, a friend, a co-worker, or anybody who has inspired you to become a better person. We celebrate International Women’s Day to commemorate the progress made by women everywhere. Only 100 years ago, women did not even have the right to vote. Here we are, a century later and we now have a woman as the Vice President of the United States of America.
There is a lot of progress to be made. There are countries where women cannot vote or go to school. Wage gaps are still impacting the majority of women even in our modern culture. We continue to celebrate winning the war, but not necessarily the battle. Small steps lead to big changes.
For the women in your life who is a role model, let them know. Let’s continue to celebrate the amazing women we have in our lives and fight for those who don’t have a voice.
All my very best,
Join Mindy at her next talk, “The Lost Art of Saying Thank You in Our Fragile World” at the Vancouver Executive Luncheon. Learn the importance of how sincere gratitude can make a difference in your professional and personal life.
Limited seating. Book your seat now.
Date: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022
Time: 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
Location: Terminal City Club