Mother on a Quest: Chandra Brooks

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Chandra Brooks, also known as The SocialPrenuer, is a wife and mother of four, born and raised in San Jose, CA. Passionate about community, civil rights, social justice, improving voter outcomes, and civic engagement within communities of color, she empowers women to live to their fullest potential.

Chandra is the former Vice President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Executive Director of Building Peaceful Families, Co-Founder of Women Get it Done Silicon Valley and graduate of Emerge California, a political training program for Democratic Women. She is also Vice Chair of Santa Clara County’s Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

In 2016, Chandra Brooks launched The SocialPrenuer, an online coaching business, as a Leadership Specialist coaching women in Community and Political Influence, How to Activate their Activism and How to Rise to the Top. Within this, Chandra also launched the Future is Female Podcast that highlights Women in Activism, Business, and Politics.

Chandra was named one of the Most Influential Women in Silicon Valley from the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Women of the Year in Advocacy from 100 Black Women of Silicon Valley, received The Latina with Vision Award from New York Life and in 2017, The Leadership Award from The League of United Latin American Citizens.

You can learn more at her website www.social-prenuer.com and Facebook Page at The SocialPrenuer.

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

I had a great childhood. Growing up, I thought we were middle class but later found out we were poor. Goes to show how my parents created an environment where we were rich in love. Instead of focusing on what we didn’t have, we focused on what we did have and that was love and family.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

I was a teen mom. When I had to tell my family I was pregnant, my uncle told me “Your life is over, you might as well prepare to be on welfare.” I was determined to prove him wrong. In 2015, I was inducted into The East Side High School District Hall of Fame, the same district that counted me out over 20 years ago.

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

My passion is to Ignite that Socially Conscious Human Inside and my purpose is to do this by spreading the message throughout the world.

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

48 Laws of Power. I also lead a private group called Fearlessly Ambitious Women and belong to two strong women groups that inspire me.

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

There are no gatekeepers to your journey.

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?

Clarity

What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

I’d like to challenge them to find what they are most passionate about and do very well…mesh those together and find a way to make money doing it.

What have you appreciated the most about Mother’s Quest?

Just learned about the podcast.

Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Click the link below to send us your story and be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series.

Ep 21: Doing More Together, A Father’s Day Special with Tony Brown

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Welcome to this very special Father’s Day edition of the Mother’s Quest Podcast!

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m so excited to bring you this conversation with a friend, former colleague, mindful father to two children, and a champion for underserved youth in Los Angeles –someone who I admire deeply– Tony Brown.

Tony Brown is the Executive Director of Heart of Los Angeles, also known as HOLA, where he has touched the lives of thousands of children, helping to break the cycle of poverty, and replacing it with opportunity.

We met when we were both just out of college, working together at HOLA, where we instantly became friends and felt we were part of a family. In a nurturing environment that really does feel like family, HOLA provides underserved youth near downtown LA with exceptional programs in academics, arts, and athletics, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education, and strengthen their communities.

Tony has served as the executive director at HOLA since 2007 and has spearheaded incredible growth in the number of youth served, new buildings to house the programs, and relationships with world-class partners.

HOLA collaborates with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to furnish instruments and music instruction, with performances at major venues across California and abroad. Leading museums link HOLA with professional artists and exhibit student works, Bard College graduate students provide academic and music support, and the Los Angeles Lakers partner in sports programs.

For this work, Tony has received tremendous recognition, including a $200,000 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Innovation Award, accolades from the Center for Non-Profit Management and in 2014, he was featured as a TEDx Speaker.

In this episode, Tony shares how growing up in the 70’s, in a community without other black families, shaped his character and helped him develop tremendous patience and understanding.

He tells us how his mother challenged him, pushed him to become independent at an early age, and to become his best. And how he feels he’s on a quest himself to make the world a better place than how he found it, not only through his work at HOLA, but through expanding the understanding and world-view of his two young children.

We also talk about how difficult it is to sustain oneself amid the emotional and challenging work as an Executive Director and youth developer. And, how he learned the importance of literally “jumping back in the pool” to start playing water polo again, to relieve stress and reconnect with an essential part of himself he had begun to lose.

It was so wonderful to get a Dad’s perspective on the podcast and to see how the same E.P.I.C. guideposts resonate for fathers as well.

I left our conversation inspired by how Tony brings a sense of patience, that he’s cultivated his whole life, to give young people at HOLA opportunities, the importance of “jumping back in the pool” to return to our true selves and the things that make us who we are, holding a big vision, and how we can do more together when we work in partnership.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Growing up in the 70’s as the only black family in a white neighborhood

  • Teaching his children philanthropy, being mindful of the environment, and to always think about how to make the world a better place not just for themselves but especially for others

  • How HOLA gives youth opportunities to find their best selves and find their passion and some E.P.I.C. snapshot moments with young people that have come full circle

  • Acknowledging that the work will always be there and the importance of giving yourself the time and outlets to turn it all off

  • Recognizing that as parents we should not be “orbiting” around our children, but guiding them and giving them responsibility and independence while they follow our lead.

  • How we can do so much more when we work toward our big visions together.

  • The power of partnerships and Tony’s challenge to us to reach into the community to create enriching after school opportunities for children who would otherwise not have access.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • Heart of Los Angeles – HOLA provides underserved youth with exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.

  • Tony’s TEDx Talk: Putting Back What We Stripped Out

  • Budget Philanthropist – The blog of 12 and 13 year old brothers Andrew and Jack Greff where they show that all that’s required is a love of humankind and a desire to improve the welfare of others to be a philanthropist.

  • Mother’s Quest Podcast Episode #08 – Empathy, Acts of Kindness and Climbing Mountains with Erika Greff

  • PACE Place – support for individuals and families as they reach their developmental potential.

Announcements

If you haven’t yet visited the website, head over to www.mothersquest.com to explore some of the ways you can get more connected. At the site, you can sign up for our email list (to get show notes delivered to your inbox and our new “Mothers on a Quest” features), click the link to join the Facebook group and press record to leave a voice message for me.

You can also explore the new coaching offerings, sign up for a complimentary discovery session, and download the FREE Live Your E.P.I.C. Life Planning and Reflection Sheets

Clarity Coaching (1.5 hr): E.P.I.C. Life Reflection and Strategy Session 

I’m particularly excited to invite you to participate in a signature clarity coaching offering called an E.P.I.C. Life Reflection and Strategy Session. If you’ve loved the interviews on the podcast and imagined what your own responses might be to my questions, this offering will give you that opportunity to go deep about the way in which the E.P.I.C. guideposts are showing up in your life, explore what you want more or less of in your life, and commit to key action steps.

We’ll record our conversation for you to listen to again and I’ll follow up by email to provide some accountability so you know you have a coach in your corner paying attention and cheering you on. Visit the work with me page at mothersquest.com to learn more and sign up.

Acknowledgements

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

  • Cristin Downs of the Notable Woman Podcast, who provided this week’s dedication

  • Erin Kendall of Fit Mom Go

  • Niko Osoteo

  • Erik Newton

  • Claire Fry

  • Divya Silbermann

  • Rachel Winter

  • Caren and Debbie Lieberman

  • Cameron Miranda

  • Fran and David Lieberman

  • Debbie and Alan Goore

  • Jenise and Marianne of the Sustainable Living Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Two of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution http://mothersquest.com/be-a-supporter/

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/

Subscribe to the Podcast! We are available in these channels:

    

Episode #5: Live your E.P.I.C. Life to Help Your Children Thrive

Mark Your Calendar

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Our Mother’s Quest Father’s Day Episode Coming Out Sunday

 

In honor of Father’s Day, our guest this week is an amazing father and a champion for under served youth – Tony Brown. His work has touched the lives of countless children, breaking the cycle of poverty, replacing it with possibilities, and a spirit of generosity.

Watch out for our very insightful conversation which will be released on Father’s Day.

xoxo,

Julie

Mother on a Quest: Amy Landers

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Amy is a mom, nature nerd, writer, and educator. She and her husband, Colby, founded GardensThatMatter.com because they believe many of the world’s problems can be solved in our gardens and backyards. With her husband and three young sons, she shares tutorials, tips, and lessons learned from successes (and messes) in her own garden. Amy loves to help other families grow beautiful, bountiful gardens together.

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

I grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina as the oldest of three kids. My mom and dad were both teachers, so we spent summers playing and exploring together. Mom taught science and always pointed out the names of trees and flowers as we explored the woods around our house. She was very involved in the community as a volunteer and a leader–she still is today! She and Dad both inspired me to be generous with my time and talents, knowing that I’m creating a stronger community for our kids.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

Life has been full of little delightful moments that signaled the path ahead, but I’ll tell you about the recent one that shaped our path in a very real way. I worked at a zoo, aquarium, and botanic garden as the marketing manager. I loved my job, sharing awesome stories and images about animals, plants, and conservation….walking the gardens during my lunch break…and working with amazing professionals who were literally saving endangered species (and caring for lots of other species, too!). But that changed when I found out the department was consolidating all the marketing roles to work from City Hall. I remember being angry and upset. Looking back, I think I was heartbroken.

It was time for a change, and with two young sons, I longed to move closer to family. I also missed the mountains and forests of North Carolina where I’d grown up. My husband, Colby, was up for the change. So with help from Mom and Dad and lots of friends, we made the cross-country move. Since we were starting fresh, we decided to start our own business. I could combine my love of nature and gardening with my experience in marketing and communication. Thus, Gardens That Matter was born!

Colby and I are both still working as freelancers while we build the business. (He’s a designer and craftsman; I create website and marketing materials for eco-entreprenuers). Gardens That Matter is growing steadily, we’re getting lots of families excited about gardening, and it’s exciting to think about what’s more and more possible each day.

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

My passion is to help families connect with each other and connect with nature in their own backyards and neighborhoods!

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

I’ve been listening to Essentialism (third time through!) and The One Thing. My focus lately has been on creating more simplicity…figuring out what’s trivial and letting it go, so I can focus on the vital!

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

This may sound a little funny, but I always use an affirmation as my password phrase. I pick letters, numbers or symbols to represent each word, and then I say the phrase mentally whenever I login to my password manager. So I’m saying it several times a day! A recent one that I loved was based on a poem from Rebecca Parker – the phrase was “What will you do with your gifts? Choose to bless the world!” It’s a good reminder that I have gifts (we all do!) and the choice to share them. (Full poem here: http://www.uucava.org/page/choose-to-bless-the-world-by)

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?

Calm (I realize as a mom of three boys now that “calm” isn’t actually possible…but I choose the word because it feels like what I want – clarity and contentedness amid the chaos. 🙂

What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

I would challenge and encourage moms to include nature in the times they are engaging with their kids. Going outside to dig or plant or just explore is a wonderful way to unplug and get present.

Since gardening can feel intimidating at first, I often talk about how gardens are safe places to practice trying and failing and trying again. Experimenting and learning are integral parts of the process, so gardening can be a great way to teach your kids (and self!) that kind of resilience. You can also access a free workshop on how to create a garden bustling with butterflies, bees and hummingbirds at https://www.gardensthatmatter.com/workshop.

How did you learn about Mother’s Quest?

Julie and I are connected on Facebook. Not sure how we originally connected, but I’ve enjoyed watching (and listening) as MQ has grown.

What have you appreciated the most about Mother’s Quest?

As you might guess, my favorite episode was Cultivating a Healthy Family with Michelle Ratcliffe–she’s doing inspiring work! In general, I love Julie’s focus on positive, inspiring stories and genuine interest in and connection with the people she interviews.

Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series by sending in your story here – http://mothersquest.com/mother-on-a-quest-application/

The Other Side of Resistance…Launching my Coaching Programs

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I just came out the other side of an internal battle and wanted to share it here and invite any thoughts from your own experience…

I’ve been dragging my feet on “launching” my coaching programs for Mother’s Quest after getting my LLC in September and a successful podcast launch in December.

At the end of the day, I think it’s fear, of success and failure, in equal measure.

So, when I went to write a post to invite mothers on a quest of their own for a coffee chat/discovery session, I still had some uncertainty.

At first, my post started “I’m getting ready to launch my coaching programs…”

Then, I caught myself and changed it to “I’m ready to launch…”

Even then, there was this distance in my language between the preparation for and the doing of. I could feel it. And I just got tired of it. The pain of staying in this stuck place just felt so much greater than the discomfort of diving in.

So, without hesitation, I changed the language to “I’m launching…” (like literally right this moment) and felt a wave of relief. An opening to new possibility and to the connection and impact I know are on the other side of this resistance I’ve been clinging to.

Even now, looking at the words, I’m certain there is another layer I could peel and I fully commit to shedding more.

What about you? Have you had a similar experience? Are you sitting in resistance right now? Where might you choose yourself and your gifts and cut through in this very moment?

Share in the comments. Would ❤️ to hear and learn…

And…if you are on the threshold of something important and need a coach and champion in your corner to support you, challenge you, and help hold you accountable to your aspirations, I’d love for you to be one of the five I’m holding space for a free discovery call with this week. Just email me and we’ll set up a time.

It’s time to bring my gifts, and all I’ve been learning from my journey and the Podcast, to others mothers on a quest, and ready to invest, in a truly E.P.I.C. life.

xoxo,

Julie

P.S. If you don’t need coaching, but know someone who might…I’d love if you hit forward and shared this invitation with a friend

Mother on a Quest: Erin Kendall

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Erin Kendall is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer with 2 little toddlers at home. While juggling a household, two kids, three pets and maintaining a little sense of self she strives to bring a ray of hope and sunshine to other busy moms through Fit Mom Go!

Fitness for Moms is more than a few minutes of “me time.” It’s a lifestyle that we pass onto our children and radiate in everything we do. Erin has been a personal trainer since 2009 and works with clients in person, online and maintains a community of other Fit Moms through a workout program!

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

My family grew up in the suburbs in Pennsylvania with two blue collar parents that worked three jobs between the two of them. It was a really classic, simple upbringing that one would expect from a small town. While we didn’t have any extras in life my Mom was always encouraging and did her best to provide opportunities to learn and grow in many ways.

It wasn’t until my parents divorced that a whole new level of courage rose up in my Mom. She became a more fierce, unstoppable, confident woman.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

Going back to that small town, very simple upbringing I had never been familiar with what an entrepreneur even was. I had little insight as to what I would do after High School so I up and moved across the country to be with my sister, and coincidentally my boyfriend, who ended up in the same city.

I was a very motivated hotelier because I had worked in hotels my entire high school career. The potential was there and I wanted to climb the ladder as quickly and confidently as possible. I landed a dream job when I was 21 managing group sales for a Luxury Hotel.

When the economy crashed in 2008 I knew the cut throat industry was no longer for me. Fitness had been a budding passion of mine for a couple of years and suddenly I realized that’s what I needed to do with my life. I didn’t know how, but that confidence that I saw in my Mom during times of transition must’ve played a part.

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

I’m passionate about so many things, but mostly living a healthy lifestyle that provides a high quality of life in return. My purpose on this planet is to raise my kids. I want to revel in all things Mom. I knew parenting wasn’t going to be a cake walk, but nothing was going to stop me from being a mother. Not even three miscarriages.

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

I’m so happy to be knee deep in podcasts. I listen while I take the kids to and from preschool. Mothers QuestThe Mom Inspired ShowBoss Mom and Being Boss. I’m slowly but surely reading “How to Talk so your Kids will Listen and Listen so your kids will Talk.”

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

The message that I’m constantly reminding myself of is that the choices in this life have to result in something worthy and enjoyable. Otherwise, the cost outweighs the benefit.

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?

Joy

What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

My love of fitness is serving Moms right now. I know how hard it can be. That’s why I developed a program that takes the least amount of time while delivering the most important results: Mood, Energy and Quality of Life! This is a Free 7 Day Fit Mom Kick Starter.

How did you learn about Mother’s Quest?

Through the Boss Mom Community

What have you appreciated the most about Mother’s Quest?

Podcasts and Mother’s Quest have opened my eyes that I’m truly not alone in this imperfectly wonderful Mothering Journey. The ups and downs are normal while we are still trying to truly appreciate and hone in on our core values that we’d like to pass on to our children.

I really was moved by the episode #18, YOLO. The open conversation with a teen and his Mom was like nothing I had ever experienced. I hope and dream to have mere moments of this candidness with my children.

 

Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series by sending in your story here – http://mothersquest.com/mother-on-a-quest-application/