Motherhood is a full-time job, and this mom is clearly working overtime to build her family empire. I had the honor of interviewing Nascar team owner Melissa Lebron. Melissa Harville-Lebron is the first African American NASCAR woman team owner.
LC: Who is Melissa Lebron?
ML: I am deeply rooted in the word, I am a proud single mom, I am a dedicated and loyal friend.
LC: Where does your strength come from as a mom?
ML: The constant need to nurture and protect my babies; I was raised to be a strong, independent and self-sufficient woman and to carry myself as a lady, always!
LC: How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
ML: I have seven children, three biological from my 16-year marriage. Ages: Eric (20) Enico (19) and Sìana (17) and four family members of which I have full custody (2) 11-year-olds, 7 and 11 months from my younger siblings. I could not allow my family to be put into the system, when I was willing and able to care for them. Someone needed to show them that they do matter!
LC: Do you believe it is equally important to nurture your child's education and their passions?
ML: I believe in order for your child to be better prepared for life a certain level of education is needed. We are a technology driven-society; everything is electronic. This is the strongest employment sector, outside of medical. I always encourage them to have a backup plan. Anything can happen. You must be able to care for yourself and a family. Teaching them to be humble is most important to me.
LC: Share a few strategies a mom can take in order to support her children's future and support herself in the process.
ML: Take time to listen to your children's fears and dreams. Understand what is important to them and why. Open the lines of communication with them trust and respect will be deepened for you as a parent overall. Assist them with setting a path of direction for their goals. Your support will reinforce their beliefs of achievement. Explain to them that a "no" or a failure is just as much a part of any success, because it creates tenacity. As a mother, you always want to protect your children and help them to avoid obvious pitfalls, but shielding them is a setup for failure. There are lessons to be learned from adversity and obstacles.
LC: What lessons did you learn personally that added value to you professionally?
ML: I learned patience and not to compromise my position of power. Eagerness can be viewed as a sign of weakness and desperation. Business and personal can be a difficult balance. Each of my team members represent a weakness that I feel I have. I'm honest about what I don't know, I think it created a baseline of trust and respect among the team. I remain dedicated to the vision and acquiring knowledge about my craft. I eat it, sleep it!
LC: What's next for you?
ML: To create a billion dollar team! Becoming the most influential woman in Motorsports. Open opportunities to other women, lectures of empowerment, give testimonials, pay my blessings forward at every opportunity and write a book. I want to use this platform I have to re establish the brilliance of our culture as a woman. I have a personal goal that is small but it will symbolize to me, my success. Create an asthma awareness that focuses on the triggers. I don't know what the future holds but I am ready for it, Let's see!
LC: Leave us with one last piece of advice on fighting fear and following our dreams.
ML: I encourage my children to find whatever makes them happy and go for it! Different is good, be proud to say "I am me!" I love to cook huge meals, create memories for my babies, bargain shop and being still!