When Yenny Saw, owner and country manager of Global Art Philippines, became pregnant with her second daughter, she decided to open her own company because she wanted to get away from the daily rigors of going to the office so she can have more time for the children.
“My job and career now have to take second place as I see it as a treat to myself to still be able to work even after being a mom. So I shouldn’t be selfish,” Saw says, a business administration and operational management graduate of Seattle University in Washington in an e-mail interview with the BusinessMirror.
After a long search, she stumbled upon Global Art, an international art-enrichment program that teaches children from 3 years old to adult how to think creatively using visual art as a vehicle. When she was working as principal at an International School in Surabaya, Indonesia, she was already familiar with Global Art as a quality education center for parents with small children. She started establishing communications with the head office in Malaysia. Previously, she also worked as an operational and finance officer in PT. Ecco Indonesia from 2000 to 2001. She also operated and managed Dino’s Den Children’s Bookstore in Surabaya, Indonesia from 2002 to 2006.
“Aside from preparing for the financial needs to acquire the master franchise license for the Philippines, I also had to secure a solid and strong support system at home; finding the right caretakers for my daughters was another requirement before I allow myself to work again. That was a big challenge too,” Saw points out.
To help Saw decide if she will pursue or not the business, her husband joined the trip to have a weeklong meeting with the Global Art founder and officials in Malaysia to get to know what it takes to make the business successful. After spending a few days in Malaysia, she was convinced that that Global Art is worth running because they share the same vision and goals. Before flying back to Manila, she signed the agreement for a franchise.
Saw admits being a “mom-preneur” is tough. Her regular routine consisted of waking up early to nurse her baby, play with the other child and ensure she has healthy and good breakfast to be able to produce enough milk to be stored for the baby for the whole day. Despite a hard day’s work in the office, Saw is happy and fulfilled when comes home. “I just have to make sure that my family feels as happy and fulfilled as I am,” she says.
Being a control freak helps Saw manage her busy schedule. “Having a list of what to do at work and at home helps me a lot to get things done in a timely manner,” Saw says.
Empowering the staff is another way to lessen Saw’s workload. “And I also have to be able to delegate and trust other people, something that is quite a challenge for a control freak as I am,” Saw says. As a mother-entrepreneur, she says “me time” is gone. “I practically, ate, slept and scheduled my activities around and for my children and the company,” Saw says.
At the end of the day, Saw is aware that it’s hard to juggle career and parenting; and communication will play a vital role in determining their sentiments. “Being in touch with my daughters and staff and customers/clients will keep me in the balance. There is no perfect formula. I just have to be sensitive of their needs,” Saw says. “When I hear my daughters complaining about me spending too much time at work, I would slow down a bit and find ways to fill their emotional tanks. When I see that my staff or franchisees need my help and guidance, I would try to be with them even when they did not ask me to.”