Issue No. 49
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Award-winning children’s author Andrea Davis Pinkney has turned stories into reality all of her life, whether it was about her career goals—wanting to be a journalist in New York City—or her personal life—having a family whose names were in alphabetical order. (That would be her husband, illustrator Brian Pinkney, and her two children college student Chloe, 18, and dancer Dobbin, 15.)
Davis Pinkney tells mater mea how one of the greatest stories of her life happened—changing the face of children’s literature one book at a time as a working mom.
Issue No. 48
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Very few women—let alone women of color—have made their way to the rarified top ranks of marketing and advertising. But Nadja Bellan-White is one of those few, thanks to her willingness to give 110% to her clients and her company, Ogilvy + Mather Worldwide. It’s the same kind of commitment she shows as head of another important team: her family. Recently named the CEO of Ogilvy Africa, the continent’s largest agency network, we chatted with Bellan-White about how she manages her work and family life before they moved to Nairobi, Kenya.
Issue No. 47
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
For as long as she can remember, Meridian Adams’ top priority was her career: She climbed her way up the ranks of Gap, Inc., going from part-time sales associate to global production manager in a little more than a decade. But after her son Jace was born, she made the difficult decision to leave the job she loved to dedicate all her time to her son.
Adams talks to mater mea about navigating this new chapter in her life and her hopes for her 9-month-old baby boy.
Issue No. 46
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Professor Mignon Moore has spent decades establishing herself as an innovative and insightful voice in the field of sociology; now she’s embarking on her latest journey: motherhood. After working for so long behind the hallowed walls of some of the country’s most prestigious institutions, Moore tells mater mea about the pleasures and difficulties of switching gears to jump on the parental track.
Issue No. 45
Running with the bulls in Spain, dancing in discotheques in Berlin… travel and excitement were Nicole Blake’s two biggest priorities as a young American expat living and loving abroad. But when she was suddenly struck with a strong desire to become a mother, it all came down to one: her daughter Arianna. The blogger behind the popular travel blog Nicole is the New Black shares how she’s raising her German-born daughter as an American abroad.
Issue No. 44
Nicole Lynn Lewis is a statistical anomaly, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her. Pregnant and virtually homeless at the age of 18, a life in poverty seemed like an unavoidable fate. But Lewis wanted more for herself and daughter, so she took on the task of raising a young child while going to school full-time. Now a wife and mother to two daughters, Lewis tells mater mea how she’s using her experience as a catalyst for change.
ISSUE NO. 43
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Endyia Kinney-Sterns has a C.V. that any entertainment professional—and let’s face it, most working adults—would envy: She’s clocked significant time and earned kudos for her work at some of the biggest names in the industry, including BET and now the Oprah Winfrey Network. But it took a major blow to her professional life to teach her what matters most. Kinney-Sterns chats about the misstep she didn’t see coming, but wouldn’t change for the world.
Issue no. 42
Most women hope to accomplish by 35 what Alexandra Elle has done by 24. Career-wise, Alexandra counts author, jewelry designer, motivational speaker, and social media maven among her many titles. These titles may come naturally to Alexandra now, but they were far from her reality in 2007, when she first found out she was pregnant. Alexandra chats with mater mea about the challenges she faced as a young, first-time mother and the resulting insights that guide her now and then.
Issue No. 41
Making the leap from being an unemployed journalist to a self-employed blogger wasn’t easy for Leila Noelliste, 28, but she successfully grew her website, Black Girl with Long Hair, into a leading hair care resource for women of color. After an unexpected pregnancy, the arrival of her son Noah (1) has taken her on another journey—this one to define success in her role as a mother while still maintaining her sense of self as an editor, writer, and businesswoman.
The first question we start every interview with never fails to get a surprised laugh. “How has becoming a mother changed your life?” “How has it not?” replied pretty much every woman we’ve spoken to over the course of mater mea’s two-year history.
The answers were just what we wanted the site to be: inspirational, moving, and most importantly, real. In honor of Mother’s Day and mater mea turning two, we look back at some of our favorite answers to that big question over the years.
Issue No. 40
NORTH BERGEN, NEW YORK
As the first-generation American daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, Nana Eyeson-Akiwowo was raised with a deep sense of responsibility toward her community, a tradition she and her husband want to pass on to their daughter, Omolara (1). When a family health scare demonstrated the need for basic health care and information in Africa, Eyeson-Akiwowo took action. Here she shares with mater mea how her passion to help her community led her to a life-changing career move.
Issue No. 39
At the age of 19, Agatha Achindu traveled to the United States from her native country of Cameroon to embark on the next chapter of her educational journey. Within a few years, she landed a six-figure job as a software executive with a growing tech firm. Yet in 2006 she decided to walk away from it all and pursue her passion for providing children healthy food. Achindu chats with mater mea about how she started her successful line of organic baby food that empowers mothers everywhere.
Issue No. 38
TENAFLY, NEW JERSEY
Most law school graduates who become lawyers accept the fact that they will have to deal with long hours and little personal time for years. But when Rachel Rodgers embarked on her career, she initially thought that a traditional path to law would provide the most security. Now Rodgers runs a virtual law practice that caters to entrepreneurs who hope to make an impact on their own terms. Rodgers tells mater mea how she became her own boss in a field that doesn’t allow for much flexibility.
Issue No. 37
As co-founder of beauty brand Oyin Handmade and mother of two children, Jamyla Bennu has mastered the art of the work-family shuffle. Her business philosophy transitions smoothly into her home, where she and her husband insist on raising their two sons on their own terms. Bennu speaks with mater mea about her journey toward authenticity in her family life and career, and reveals the key decisions that continue to bless her today.
Issue No. 36
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
There is a tremendous amount of movement in Makeda Thomas’ life, which is unsurprising since she has been dancing professionally for 15 years. Thomas, 35, has toured and showcased works with several big-name, Brooklyn-based companies, while somehow finding time to found her own self-named dance company in 2003. Thomas and her 3-year-old son, Shiloh, split their time between New York and Trinidad. Thomas speaks with mater mea about her two homes, and how each place keeps her grounded.