Amri Kibbler knows all about the challenges working mothers face, and the community it needs to engage, support and empower them. In 2014, Amri, the Chief Community Officer of HeyMama, and her cofounder Katya Libin, set out to create what was missing in their own lives as new moms, a social network where women could celebrate both motherhood and their careers.
Today, HeyMama, a subscription-based platform and online community, provides opportunities and resources for entrepreneurial mothers across the US by bringing them together to share their wealth of experience and knowledge, insight and guidance.
Amri is the perfect example of an Akris woman who is committed to improve the lives of other women and to live a life with purpose.
You founded HeyMama together with your friend Katya Libin. What inspired you to create a community for working moms?
6 years ago Katya and I were both working in corporate jobs and feeling alone in our motherhood journey. I belonged to several mommy groups but never found a place where I felt I could show up as an ambitious woman who happens to have kids.
Why is it especially important for working moms to build up a community?
Community is important for everyone, especially right now and after a year of lockdowns and isolation. But often reaching out or finding a community might not be intuitive when you’re a new parent and busier than arguably ever before. But in truth, the busier you are, the more you have on your plate, the more you actually need community. And right now, moms’ plates are overflowing. The workload being placed on the shoulders of moms has grown so much that nearly 2.5 million U.S. women were pushed out of the workforce in 2020. Emotionally, knowing that you are connected to other parents who are facing the similar challenges you are is everything. Feeling seen and heard is so important, but also logistically, working moms don’t have time to look for all the answers in a million places. Having a community you can trust to turn to for advice and support can make all the difference.
You created the phrase “Strong like a Mama”. Can you describe the meaning to us?
I'm referring to the inner strength that mothers have. The strength to create and raise life, to take time and energy to go after what you are passionate about while maintaining a family and caring for others. And the strength to carve out time to take care of yourself. If your cup isn’t full you can’t fill someone else’s.
Running a business and raising two girls is busy to say the least. What do you do to unplug and steal time for yourself?
You can’t steal time. It’s all yours and you get to choose how you spend it. If you give yourself 30 minutes to get ready in the morning, to be present and mindful during that time instead of thinking about what you need to accomplish that day, you can make that time restorative. It helps to ease the anxiety and overwhelm that can come from juggling so much. I intentionally say to myself “I'm choosing to do this right now because it's important to me.”
Any advice you would like to share with other mom entrepreneurs?
Set realistic goals for yourself and your business. Build out your network. Hire out for your weaknesses. Keep in touch with your customers. Don’t be too precious about having to make a change.