Hopscotch Heroes - Juliana Mattar
5 minute read. Need some inspiration from women successfully working and balancing family life? Hopscotch Heroes is where we highlight and celebrate the hard working women that are out there juggling it all!
This month, we are excited to introduce you to Singapore's first Hopscotch Hero, Juliana Mattar. Juliana is the founder of Motion, a communications and creative agency and is the mother of to Jade, who can often be found exploring the office at a crawl while her parents are busy at work! We sat down with Juliana in Singapore to get the gist of how she manages it all:
Hopscotch: Tell us about what you do and what this looks like on a daily basis
Julianna: I am the founder of a communications and creative agency, motion.
I created motion 14 years ago and it has been my baby and my life for all these years until I gave birth to my baby, Jade, last year.
I ran 60 to 70-hour weeks running the business, being a mentor to my team, managing projects, problem-solving, account-servicing and playing creative at work.
It took me a long time to detach myself from motion and my team, who were like my children. I struggled to let go of the business to my husband. But I came to terms one day that I cannot be ‘ The Devil that wears Prada’. Going everywhere, doing everything to perfection, all the time. When that realisation manifested, I stopped struggling. And life began to flow for me. I have not turned back since.
Craig runs the operations of the business and my role shifted to one that is more of a strategic for the business – honing the culture, managing the talent in the business and cultivating new business.
There is never a routine to my day. I just can’t conform to one. I go from moment to moment depending on what Jade needs. And everything else gets slotted in between. She keeps me very present.
Jade comes with me to wherever I need to be. Meetings, errands, walks, marketing, coffee chats, production set-ups, anything, even events sometimes. She runs the day with me. And it’s fun.
I get time to plan, write emails or pen my thoughts mostly in the evenings when she is in bed.
H: What is your family situation and how has this influenced your life today?
J: Our father has always been a go-getter. Entrepreneurial man who made his money in running an insurance agency from the 70s to the early 2000s. He dives deep and goes all the way when he sets his mind on something.
Nothing should get in the way of success. It’s a single-minded approach to reaching ones’ goal.
My brother is a money maker. A derivatives trader. He is well-known in the market for practicing Zen in the art of trading.
My mother, has been in the nursing field all her life. And she now manages an Alzheimer’s Centre in the West of Singapore.
My father, brother and I are self-made. We work hard for what we want. And we work hard on ourselves. We put in a significant amount of time on getting to know ourselves and our purpose in life. We each strive on our own spiritual journeys. We love to challenge the status quo too. But our biggest challenge is ourselves. We didn’t come from money. But with discipline, sheer hard work and focus, we are our own makers, each of us.
H: How do you keep work and family life balanced? What are your ‘go to’ coping strategies?
J: We own the business together, my husband and me. As business partners, we spend whatever time we can get sparring on strategies, discussing issues, or to inspire each other on the business, often over dinner when Jade sleeps.
I try not to categorise the day too much. Life doesn’t fall under the categories of ‘work’, ‘life’, and ‘family’ to me. It’s a balance and it is all life to me. And I try to keep a day at a time. When I try to categorise my day, I sometimes feel miserable especially when I don’t tick my checkboxes, or finish what I strive to achieve at a given day. Then I become too attached to the outcome, and feel unaccomplished rather than being present and embracing each moment that I make.
On a practical level, we surround ourselves with people we trust in our lives at work and at home. And we are grateful for them. They are reliable sources of support for Craig and I. I reckon it’s important to surround ourselves with people who are reliable that we can trust especially for us as business and family life is often moulded in one.
What keeps you moving forward and what threatens to hold you back?
Waking up to Jade keeps me moving forward each and every day. The smile that she cracks when she opens her eyes to a brand-new day. Her joy for life and living. Her presence. A baby is so present. She is not about 2 seconds ago or 2 hours later. But only in the here and now.
The purpose to serve – this keeps me moving forward.
I am pretty grateful and contented with what life has presented for me.
What holds me back… time. Time holds me back.
The time that will fly by as Jade grows up.
I still do miss thriving fully in the business world, steering motion with my heels on. But when I experience the joy of watching Jade grow up, making literally little steps each day and becoming her own person, that’s when I know that this will be the bigger thing that I don’t want to be missing out on.
I trust that if this is the thing for me to do now, then work, business, life will unfold in ways to support me.
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