Beijing Women’s Network has already been recognized in the community as a wonderful platform for entrepreneurs and professionals to collaborate and network. Their biweekly sisterhood dinners are cherished while their monthly, gender-neutral workshops have attracted speakers on a range of topics.
App-building? Yes, please!
In collaboration with Beijing Women’s Network, Mari Sharashidze started the Pregnant Mothers/ Married Women’s Network to build a professional community for family-oriented women in Beijing. Members are encouraged to share resources with one another, and the group will have a similar format to the popular Beijing Women’s Network. Note: the events are held separately from the Beijing Women’s Network biweekly dinners.
For their debut dinner, Chinese-Australian Sophie Su of Pingo Space will share her hard but rewarding experience of turning down Apple and starting up Pingo Space, all while pregnant. Pingo Space is intended to help locals and expats connect, whether single and happily childless or married with a home full of kids. We talked to Sophie about her journey.
Attendees have been promised a look into how motherhood parallels entrepreneurship. Would you give us a taste tester of your talk?
Everyone tells you there’s a plan for a business. You need to set up everything, all services needed to be planned out, but really a startup is like a baby. You can read all of these “child manuals” about how to have and raise a baby, but when you have your child, you find each child is different. Startups are similar. They require nurturing intentions. There’s no manual, and we’re in a new field, so there’s no one else we can really relate to. Like mothers, we need to continue to adapt to new situations and to continue to learn.
You gave up a store management opportunity at Apple to start Pingo when you found out you were pregnant. Now you’re working on Pingo while mothering your son. What’s been the hardest decision to make out of these scenarios?
Leaving my son every day and not feeling like I have enough time with him is the hardest thing to do. I make a priority to come home on the weeknight 3 times a week, and to have a full day with him on the weekends, but at the moment, that’s all I’m able to do. My husband also works with me, so if he’s not able to be there, I am there, and so on. That’s for the company and for our baby.
So how do you feel about your current work and life balance? Do you feel like there’s room for improvement?
Definitely. My mother came here to help care for our son since the rest of my family is all based in Sydney. We have family meetings and talk about what we’re going to do concerning education of my son. My mom is very open-minded about how to approach different issues. We’ll read books together and share recommendations then talk about different points.
I also applied my management skills to childrearing, and I wrote a four page SOP for his schedule [we laugh together]. We have a nanny, and sometimes my husband’s parents come help out. They’re older than my mom, but they do try to come at least once a week. They’re able to just look at the schedule and say, “Ok, this is what we should do next.” So there’s no confusion about what to do.
Meet with Sophie Su at the PMM Community Dinner, details listed below.
PMM Community Dinner: Parallels of Entrepreneurship and Motherhood, Apr 26
Adults. In addition to talking about parallels, Sophie will talk about how she believes mothers can make greater, unique societal contributions within the startup community. Free. 7.30-9pm. Sanlitun area, location dependent on attendee numbers. (wechat: mariamski)
Photos: Pixabay, courtesy of Sophie Su