There was never a place for her in the ranks of the terrible, slow army of the cautious.
She ran ahead, where there were no paths.
– Dorothy Parker, writing about Isadora Duncan
(and on a really weird side note, my Grandmother wanted to name me Isadora, maybe even back then she knew that trailblazing was going to be part of my path.)
A few years ago, I found myself at a crossroads…
At that time, I’ve spent 14 years in factual television working as a producer, and director and eventually working my way up to the title of Executive Producer for National Geographic. At that time, I could feel the pull to start doing something different so I left and started a new full-time job:
Team Size: 2
Learning Curve: Humungous
With my employees or bosses (depending on your view of things) turned 3 and 1 respectively, I decided that a job that consumed my every waking hour was too easy, so I decided to add a new title to my resume: Entrepreneur.
Now the transition is not an easy one (still ongoing in fact!). I never quite saw myself as a Founder or to use an old-school title, a Businesswoman. An unfortunate result of the generation I grew up with. We were still of the belief that you had one career and you had to decide this path in college and pursue it after. We were slaves of this thinking and that only certain people could do certain jobs – math people went into Management and Business, Creatives when into Advertising and Production, and the matching list goes on.
So when I found myself at a crossroads post-motherhood, I didn’t quite know what to do. Return to what I knew but was no longer challenging me or listen to a little voice inside me that was pushing me to try something new?
This is the part in the movie where a good soundtrack kicks in and a montage of me getting my makeover happens in 30 seconds. It, of course, didn’t happen that fast and that easily but there were a few key things that helped me move into this new direction.
- Attending an aptly named talk hosted by MeetMumz “Are you at a crossroads?”
- Learning that there were people who helped women who have taken “career breaks” (In quotes because there is nothing about being a mom that makes it a break)
- Getting a Back to Work Career Coach (Nerice Gietel)
- Listing to said Coach
- Breaking out of my comfort zone and joined the Founder Institute, a preseed accelerator program
- Started a company, Campfire Crates
All I really wanted to find out was if I had what it takes, and it turns out, I’m actually quite good at it. The biggest learning was that building and running a business is not that far off from running a production: you need creativity, team building, management and organization, presentation and communication skills. And as one of our mentors shared with us, “you have to love problems” and in the production world, that’s one of the key motivators that excites us, the unknown and the ability to face them head-on. As all production people know, the number one rule in production is to prepare for everything to go wrong.
Now there was still quite a large learning curve in building the business attending an accelerator program like the Founder Insititute program was a good fit for someone like me who had zero background in building and running companies. The best thing about the program though, was the people, meeting so many different people from different backgrounds who all shared my desire to make a difference.
Many people talk about burning desires. Mine has always been to work on something that mattered. I did a lot of that making documentaries and factual television. I had no idea that being an Entrepreneur would offer that opportunity as well.
So in 2019, I became one of the nine graduates (out of the original 32-member cohort). I have founded and am running a company called Campfire Crates, a multicultural content company for families raising their kids outside of their home countries.
In between that time and now, I have grown Campfire Crates into a profitable business that sells Activity Books worldwide on Amazon. We now have 5 titles and are happily making Filipino kids around the world happy.
I have grown so much in the experience of following my passion outside of the home and I feel so strongly for how I felt at that moment of crossroads, and how lucky I was that someone (Ekta!) had put that talk together that changed my life. And now, we hope that this new version of that talk, turned conference could help so many others out there asking the same questions as well…
It is, with no exaggeration, life-changing. And I am living proof of that. And I am truly grateful for the help I got to listen to my heart.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions and if this is something for you, get your tickets here.