[INTRO] Hi there. I'm Jen Blandos, the founder of Female Fusion Network. I've been an entrepreneur for over 20 years with experience in building seven figure businesses and working around the world. Originally, I'm from Canada, but I've been living in Dubai for the past 14 years. I've created this podcast to share my insights and expertise as a global entrepreneur and help other women start, build, grow, and scale their businesses. You'll also hear from some of the world's top experts and female entrepreneurs who will inspire and motivate you to achieve your business goals. So join me as we explore all that the world has to offer and build the business of your dreams. Let's get started.
I'm Jen Blandos and welcome to Women Who Rise by female fusion. This is where we help all female entrepreneurs start, build, grow and scale their businesses. I've been an entrepreneur for over 20 years and lived and worked around the world. I've had my businesses in London, Brussels, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I share my expertise as a global entrepreneur and bring to you the world's best experts and female entrepreneurs who are going to inspire and uplift you to build the business of your dreams.
Let's get started. Welcome to this week's episode of the Women on the Rise podcast. And this is the first episode where we have a guest. And for my first guest on the Women On The Rise podcast, I wanted to have somebody very special and to me, that very special person is my daughter, Eva. And the reason why I wanted to bring Eva on to the podcast is that I know that there are a number of women who are balancing running a business or even working and also being a mum. But even if you're not a mum, I find just being able to balance everything from having a business, having a family, having a life, trying to do it all can be quite challenging. And I wanted to bring Eva on just to have a chat about this. And I really see that girls like Eva are our future and I absolutely love talking to teenagers and hearing what they have to say. So I'd like to introduce you to my daughter, Eva.
Hi. My name is Eva. I'm 14 years old, I'm in year nine and I love to do sports and I like to sail and play football.
Jen Blandos 00:02:00
Yeah, you're a pretty cool girl, Eva. I wish that I was as cool as you when I was 14 and I know you're sitting there giggling in the podcast studio, but, you know, of course I'm Eva's mum, so I'm going to say, of course, she's so fabulous. But she is a pretty cool girl, very sporty and very principled and has lots of ideas about a lot of things. So I'm hope she's going to share some of those with us today. But Eva, I would love to hear from you. First of all, what's it like having a mum who is an entrepreneur and works a lot?
I wouldn't say you work a lot like you work as a normal person. Would you work a lot? Not so much. And it's nice because I still see you a lot, but it's nice that we have our space and I don't.
Jen Blandos 00:02:58
Really feel that smothered that's good, I guess, as well. Teenagers like to have a bit of space, right?
Yeah. But it's also nice because when I see you, because you're at work a lot night, so when I see you, it's more valued, so we have more fun together.
Jen Blandos 00:03:14
Yeah, we do like hanging out, but when you were little, so you've known nothing but me being an entrepreneur, right? Because yes, when you were born, I already had my business. I remember actually being on an airplane, traveling with you. I mean, you've come on business trips with me from the time you were in my belly, and we've traveled all over the world together, even before you were born. But you were born in London, and then you came to Dubai when you were tiny, tiny, tiny. So you've kind of known nothing but mum, working and having a business. Right. How did you find that when you were little? Do you have many memories about when you were a kid and I was doing my entrepreneur thing?
Not really. I'm kind of used to it. Like, it's not a big deal. I don't think of like I don't think of you worse that way. Like, it's what you do.
Jen Blandos 00:04:12
But do you know, I remember when you were little, I felt so guilty. I felt super guilty leaving you when I would go to work. When you were little, you had a nanny at home and then when you went to school. But it was really funny because you've always been really independent. And I remember the first day when I took you to school, and I think you were about three, and I dropped you off at school, and all these kids are bawling their eyes out and holding on to their mums, and they don't want their mums to go. And you walked in there and you looked at me and you're like, okay, mom, you can go now.
Sounds like me. Yeah.
Jen Blandos 00:04:53
Always very independent. But there were times, I think, especially in primary school, that it was hard, right? Because when you're in primary school, they like to have the mums about. They like to have parents come into school. And I wasn't always there.
No, I think it's I don't really remember lots of memories like that, but I think it's special having a mum that works and not one that's behind you, like, carrying all your bags so you, like, have time to do what you need to do and grow up.
Jen Blandos 00:05:26
What, you you didn't like it that I wouldn't carry your bags for you?
There's some moms that follow their kids around, waiting on them hand and foot. It's nice that you give me space.
Jen Blandos 00:05:40
To grow and have your independence, I guess. But I do remember. And you remember as well.
Jen Blandos 00:05:49
Yeah, you remember. Look, when you're an entrepreneur, when you're mum and you've got kids and you're doing all of these things, I've had a lot of fails. I mean, let's be honest, I've had a lot of epic fails, and I would say probably one of the good ones. And you know what's coming up, probably, and that is Egyptian Day. We know Egyptian Day because you went to a school. Oh, my gosh. That school killed me because it was like, every single week, there was, like, a different dress up day or a different, like, do this day or create this piece of art. And I was like, Are you creating this homework for the kids or the parents? Because I don't have time for this. And I remember I took you to school one day in your school uniform and all these kids were dressed in these beautiful Egyptian costumes. And they had either handmade them or gotten tailors to make them. Like, they weren't the cheap costumes from Amazon in the plastic bag. They were, like, full on costumes. And I just, like, dropped you at school. Felt bad. But I remember I had to go to Abu Dhabi. Actually So I had to be, like, 90 minutes away. So I dropped you, went to a meeting. And I get a phone call when I'm in Abu Dhabi from your teacher saying, why is Eva at school? And why does she not have her Egyptian costume? And she said to me, I need you to go home and go and get an Egyptian costume and bring it to school for Eva. And I said to her, she said, I'm an Abu Dhabi. I can't. I'm really sorry, but I just can't. And she said to me, all right, that's fine. We have a costume for her at school that we can put her in. Do you remember that? You were so angry with me.
I don't know why they made such a big deal out of a costume. It's just a costume. I can be in a uniform.
Jen Blandos 00:07:50
Yeah, you could have been in a uniform, but instead they stuck you in.
The lost and found.
Jen Blandos 00:07:54
The lost and found Egyptian day costume. Yeah, I think almost six years ago. Yeah, I was to make a point to me as well. And I thought that smelled so bad. And one of the things that I find interesting as well, even just being a mom and whether you're an entrepreneur or whether you have a job that you're working that some schools are not so supportive of moms trying to have it all. And I know that your primary school had a lot of things set up more for moms who weren't working. And that was really hard.
I think it was kind of selfish. You couldn't do a lot as they could.
Jen Blandos 00:08:47
Yeah. Look, I like to work. I love running a business. But I certainly had a lot of guilt when you were little about that as well. But the thing is, we do what we have to do. And I love having a business. I love being a mum. I love I love you and your brother, and that's really great. But it's also nice as well, to have the balance. But I've always worked. I've always had my own business. And if you look back at it now, do you wish that it was different? Like, do you wish that you had a mum that maybe stayed at home? No, I don't no teenager, you was like.
No, I think it was perfect the way it was. I think that you tried your hardest and that's as much as you could do. I don't look back and say there was anything wrong. I think it was a good childhood.
Jen Blandos 00:09:52
And you've turned out all right.
Jen Blandos 00:09:56
You've turned out amazing. Gosh, I wish I was like you when I was your age. You have a very active social life at school and you have lots of lovely friends. When you talk to your friends or anybody, what do you tell them that I do?
I tell them exactly what you do.
Jen Blandos 00:10:16
What do I do?
I hear it. I say you're in a business that helps women or female entrepreneurs with their businesses. It's called female fusion. I'm saying, like, you can go invite your parents, like it's a very good business.
Jen Blandos 00:10:32
Oh, recruiting, I like that I'm helping you. I'm going around spreading the news you're my daughter.
I think you raised me well.
Jen Blandos 00:10:40
I think I did raise you well. That's really good. And what do you think of female fusion? Like we talk about it a lot and I think it's pretty cool how aware you are of so many social issues and well, I think in general, kids today are really you teenagers. Honestly, I just think you are so cool that you are so aware of so many issues and you're really a generation that cares about people and helping people and helping animals, helping the environment, which I think is cool. But you know what we do in female fusion? Do you think when maybe when you're my age, do you think that we're going to need a business like female fusion?
Yes, I do, actually. I think it's a good business that you set up and I think it's going to go on for many generations and I think everyone's going to really like it.
Jen Blandos 00:11:41
But do you think as well in terms of because we do a lot of work, because you and I talk about this as well, that women don't get the same opportunities as guys do. And I remember learning about this a lot more when I was your age and thinking that it was kind of unfair. But then it went out of my head and I went and focused on everything that I did. But I know that this is something that you've talked to me about before as well. And you notice things, for example, when you play sports sometimes. And you notice that the concessions that they give to boys are different than girls were. If they have trophies or prizes, that they give different prizes to the boys that they do to the girls. Do you think that it's always going to be like that or do you.
Think that I think we're improving a lot. Yeah, like years and years ago we didn't have much rights and I think it's gotten much better now. So I think far in the future will be equal.
Jen Blandos 00:12:50
So maybe when you're my age, women might get paid the same as men. Hopefully women might get the same amount of funding for their business that guys might get.
Jen Blandos 00:13:03
We got to hope. I mean, that's kind of my dream as well. Is that in a way because female fusion I think you're right, that female fusion. It's so nice to be able to have a community and to connect with people that are like you, especially in business, because it can be lonely and we all like to have friends and connect with people. But I really hope that we're not going to have to be doing the pushing on things like why are you not giving contracts to women owned businesses? Or why are you not giving money to women owned businesses, which unfortunately we have to do a lot of at the moment. I want to talk to you about you and your vision for the future. So you're in year nine right now. You've got like another four years, a little bit more than four years left in school. I can't believe that you're my last born and with your God, I'm going to be all alone, empty Nestor. But I would, I would love to know from, from your perspective a little bit more about what, what you would like to do, what you see the future like for you. What's your favorite subject at school right now?
Jen Blandos 00:14:29
Yeah. You're super sports mad, are you?
Jen Blandos 00:14:35
And do you think for you in the future, do you want to do something more with sports?
Yeah, I want to be a personal trainer.
Jen Blandos 00:14:41
Oh, I love that. And then you're going to save me lots of money because I won't have to pay for one.
Jen Blandos 00:14:46
Or are you going to charge me?
I'll give you a discount.
Jen Blandos 00:14:49
A discount? Female fusion discount. Because of course you'll be in female fusion.
Obviously I'll run female fusion on the side.
Jen Blandos 00:14:57
Oh, you're going to, okay. You're going to be part of female fusion as well. I like that. The other thing that I wanted to talk to you about too, because I sometimes get phone calls from members where I run into them and they feel really guilty about running their own business, trying to be a mum. What would you say to those mums now that you're a little bit older and you've been one of those kids who's had the mum who's always been working, who's always been really busy? What would you say to those mums who are feeling that guilt about having a business, having a family?
I'd say don't overthink it that much. Your kids, if you have a job, they'll get used to it. You don't have to overthink it that much. Honestly, I think they understand once they get older and they'll be completely on your side.
Jen Blandos 00:16:06
I love the wisdom of 14 year olds learned it from you. Okay, I'll take credit for that, but.
I think enjoy the ego boost
Jen Blandos 00:16:20
And this is why you are my daughter, Eva. But I love Just. You saying, don't overthink it, because it is life is so short and we are meant to do enough time to.
Worry about all that, right?
Jen Blandos 00:16:36
Exactly. I can't believe how fast you've grown up. It seems like yesterday you were that kid in Foundation One telling me to leave because Just, I was cramping your style. You're still telling me to leave because I'm cramping your style half the time. That will always happen. Look, I mean, that's kind of one of the parts of being a kid, right?
When we're both old, I think I'll be like, mom, comes here, comes here with me.
Jen Blandos 00:17:06
Yeah, exactly. That's okay. That's cool, right? Nobody's parents are 100% cool. But I love hearing that because for so many years, I carried so much guilt. I really carried so much guilt where I was like, I have to work. I mean, you know, I had no choice. I had to work and I had to run a business, but I didn't.
Have any income for our house.
Jen Blandos 00:17:39
And that was it as well, that I had no choice because we had to live. But also as well, even if I was independently wealthy, I think I still would have a business, maybe do something slightly different. But it is very fulfilling for me to be able to work, but it's also very fulfilling to be able to have kids and hang out with my kids and see my kids grow up. But it makes me feel so good to see you as a young woman and to be like, it's cool, Mum, it's cool. It was okay. And there were times when you were little, like me not being able to be the parent on the school trip. Although I did come on one school trip one time
I don't remember that.
Jen Blandos 00:18:33
And you don't remember it? See, this is the thing, you don't even remember. And it was such a big thing. I remember I had to take a whole day out of the office and I hated that school trip. It was so awful. But I went, what did you expect?
It was a primary school trip.
Jen Blandos 00:18:50
Yeah, I had to ride on the school bus, but I couldn't talk to you. I had to sit separate from you. But I came on the trip because I wanted to be there. But you don't even remember, so I don't even get extra points for that.
You get extra points in my house.
Jen Blandos 00:19:06
But that's the thing, right? That I think sometimes we overthink it and we worry so much about it, and actually, it doesn't really matter. What's more important is to have that time to spend with your kids. And the one thing I would say that I think is cool about owning your own business is that I was always able to work remotely, so we were able to do things like I don't know if you remember all the holidays, but we would go to your grandparents house for the whole summers, sometimes in Canada. And when you were little, you really liked that. Spent summers in Greece, summers in Thailand, summers in Bali. You don't like the summer in Bali?
I hate the summer in Bali.
Jen Blandos 00:19:49
Why don't you like the summer in Bali, Eva?
Because I had to get 72 stitches.
Jen Blandos 00:19:55
Yeah, Eva. Eva kind of had an accident when we were there, which resulted in emergency surgery and a lot of stitches. So Eva has said to me, no matter what, she will never go back to Bali. So Bali is out.
It's just bad vibes. I don't want to have to get back there and have all the blood reminders. I remember they still gave us when we left. They still let's go to the front of the line at the ferry because they remembered me.
Jen Blandos 00:20:26
You will forever be remembered, Eva. That was quite epic, but I think that was quite cool that we've always been able to so you didn't get me so much during school time, but then over school holidays and I was still working and I was still doing things remotely, but then we would be able to go somewhere else. Do you have a favorite place that we went?
I think maybe Seychelles or Maldives. Yeah, I like those places where we had fun scuba diving.
Jen Blandos 00:21:01
You like the hot places, don't you?
I like cold places, actually. But we haven't been to Mini. All whistler was fun. Yeah, but you don't really like going to cold places.
Jen Blandos 00:21:11
No, and that's because I grew up in a cold country.
I grew up in a hot country, so I prefer cold country to have hot opposites, right?
Jen Blandos 00:21:21
I'd rather go to a cold country than a hot one.
Jen Blandos 00:21:23
Yeah. You're never going to get your mother to go to a cold country. I spent all of my childhood being forced to walk to school in the snow. Back in those days when my child.
Walks to school in the snow, I wish it snowed here, but it doesn't.
Jen Blandos 00:21:39
Well, I love hearing your perspective about having a mum who's an entrepreneur and who has a business. What would be. And I'm going to put you on the spot because you don't know that I'm going to ask this question. But if you were to tell yourself something in the future, if you were going to be a mom and you are going to maybe be an entrepreneur yourself one day, especially if you want to be a personal trainer and do something like that as a perspective of a child right now, what advice would you give to yourself in the future as a mom?
Let your kids know how hard you're trying to understand, and they know that you're doing your best and you're putting all your work in to be with your kids. But they understand what's happening and don't spare details. Like tell them what you're doing so they don't feel like it's all kind of secretive, but just kind of like if they're really young, dumb it down for them.
Jen Blandos 00:22:52
That's nice. And so I really like as well that you emphasize that you're doing the best that you can.
Jen Blandos 00:23:03
That you need to have time for yourself, that you need to be able.
To you'd have time for yourself, time for your family and just do what you want.
Jen Blandos 00:23:15
Do you know what? I really want to hold on to this because I hope for you in the future that you really follow that. Because sometimes for us as women, that we like to nurture people, we like to take care of people and we put everybody first before ourselves. And I've done that for so many years of my life. As well as that I think about everybody else before myself. And I love the fact that you're talking about how important that is and how you need to make that time for yourself, how you need to nurture yourself, how you need to talk to your kids about what you're doing and to also take it easy and to be kind to yourself. Right. Eva, you are amazing. For me to see that you and whole generation of Evas are the feature of this world is just so amazing. You are just such a remarkable girl and I know that you're already amazing. You're going to be stratospherically amazing in the future. And of course I'm saying that because you're mum, but you're so cool and you're so kind and all I hope for you is that you go through life and through your feature just being happy and doing what it is that you want to do. And thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and ideas with everybody today. It's really meaningful.
Thank you for having me.