Meet another working mom: Interview with Assem Klammsteiner
Sitting in Asem´s lovely garden, we start talking about children growing up multilingual, women networking and business development while entertaining our kids.
One of the first questions I ask women becoming mothers is how much motherhood impacted their life, especially their personality?
Asem: I learned the ability to let go. Priorities change dramatically when you have a child. You are more family oriented and to some extent you let go more in business, because you can’t do everything. I think also my organizational skills improved.
Asem is an entrepreneur. Her business is growing, as is her family. She founded Simply Soup six years ago. I remember the first time I met her. She had just started her restaurant Simply Soup in Hallwylstrasse. A slim woman with strong character and big dreams.
Now Asem owns three restaurants, a catering service and a food truck under her brand Simply Soup. If you want to organize delicious events with healthy food in or around Zurich, Simply Soup is definitely a great choice.
Being an entrepreneur is not always easy. How has being a mum impacted her leadership style?
A: Before children I was doing everything myself, thinking that only I could do the job. I was very controlling. When I became mother, the business was growing fast and I had to learn to delegate more and be less controlling. I opened the third Simply Soup location when my daughter was seven months old. It would have been impossible without changing my mindset.
In the middle of this interesting conversation, my little man decided to make some pizza using the sand in the sand box. Inspired by our talk about restaurants, dishes and service, he wanted to contribute actively. Reality was that he spread sand all over the garden and the sofas. Assem´s little one decided to join the game. For 10 min we have to focus on the kids and try to convince them that the sand belongs in the sand box and that they can build sand castles in the sand box. Not satisfied with our explanation, they give up on sand and decide it is time to eat proper food. And while we fiddle with yogurts and fresh fruits we get back to the discussion about the future.
A: I have big plans for Simply Soup. I want to grow the business and I like working. I believe you can have both children and a career. Maybe we are better mums if we are also business women? I don’t know. That is definitely the case for me. I also feel that it is important my daughter goes to child care. She plays, she develops social skills. I don’t think she needs my 100% focus all the time but of course she is my first priority.
Kids are now quiet and decide to go explore the garden. We follow them.
I’m curious to know whether now that she is a mum herself, her wiliness to recruit a mum has changed.
A.: Oh, that’s a good question. I don’t know. Maybe yes. My kind of business is very time sensitive and I don’t have 300 employees who can easily cover for a leave. Before having my own children I was probably less keen to recruit a mother of small children. I think now I would be more likely to do it. Mothers are well-organized and I should not worry about unplanned leave.
I always had the feeling Asem was a calm and balanced person but she is telling me she is a stressed out business woman who wants to do it all by herself. How does she find her Zen?
.A:For me it is not so much about how to find your Zen but how to find time for you, your family and friends. You need to plan! Things will not just happen. If it is not in my calendar, it will not happen. I know it sounds boring, but if I want time with my husband, I have to plan it. Forget Ganz spontan!
Ahahah! She is so right! I love this Ganz Spontan expression in German. This expression does not exist in the Latin culture and languages, because spontaneous stuff just happens.
We continue to speak about the most important element in our live: our partners. Because we are both very aware that you cannot do it all alone, you need an understanding and supportive husband who believes in you and is ready to share all tasks at home.
We would like to continue our conversation, but the children are beginning to get restless, and it is time to go home and prepare dinner.
Asem hugs me with a big smile and a big belly*, her second is due soon. She encourages me to continue my blog project because she also believes that sharing our stories will help other women to find their way.
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By the publication of this article, Asem gave birth to a lovely little boy! Congrats!