How My Mom Inspired Me to Be My Own Boss
by Kelly Perkins
2019 Year-End Letter From Our Founder
I lost my mom this year. There, I said it. I haven’t told many people that. It’s not that it is a secret, it is just that in my head, the less I have to say it out loud, the less true it is. But, it is true. Elizabeth L. McCoy left this world and for the rest of my time on this planet, October 4th will remain the saddest of days for me.
She was 85 years old, and one of the most badass women I have ever encountered. She raised 6 kids while running her own word processing business, and after we were all in school, she went back to school herself and got a degree in business. She then went to work for the Department of Justice as a Budget Analyst, and was truly a woman working in a man’s world, and she thrived in it.
When I started thinking about what I was thankful for this year, I knew the only thing this letter could be about, is her.
Those of us who loved her, knew her as fearless, kind, generous, funny, supportive, loving, and a crazy, strong, smart - part Irish, part German Frau. She was a force to be reckoned with, and I could not have been luckier to have her as my mom and my role model. She instilled in all of us her strength and drive, and I am now in the throes of trying to figure out how to navigate the world without her. Please forgive me if I stumble.
When I started thinking about what I was thankful for this year, I knew the only thing this letter could be about, is her. She is the reason I had the guts to quit my day job and go all in with Spinster Sisters. For years we had conversation after conversation about “what I want to be when I grow up”, and her answer was always “start your own business, be your own boss”.
Well, here I am – and I could not be happier. There is something so amazing about waking up each day, and deciding for yourself how your day will go, and what you will make of it. Running a business is not for the faint of heart though. There are days where it is too much, and you just want to throw in the towel, and have a good cry, and a magnum of wine with a straw in it. On those days, I always, always think “what would mom do?” and that guides me. Then I go have a good cry, and a magnum of wine with a straw in it.
On November 18th this year, we received our Women’s Business Enterprise certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBENC). I can tell you with 100% certainty, that wherever her spirit currently resides, she has never been prouder of me. WBENC is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the US, and a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs.
We talked many times about how important this certification is to women business owners, and all the doors it can open. I am thrilled to now be a part of the elite group of female entrepreneurs, and cannot wait to see where it takes me. According to Catalyst, just 5.2% of CEO’s and 21.2% of board members from companies in the S&P 500 are women. I fully expect those statistics to change, judging by all the amazing women-owned companies I know, and I can tell you S&P 500 – watch out, we are coming for you.
I am so beyond grateful for you mom, and I miss you every day. You were the best of people. I love you, and the world is a little less bright without you in it. And to my family and friends, this amazing group of women entrepreneurs I am now a part of, and the strong, independent, and motivated women and men that have chosen to forge onward with me as a part of the Spinster Sisters team, I say thank you to you, for waking up each day and deciding to help steer the path forward for me, and this wonderful business of mine.
May 2020 be your best year yet.
P.S. If you want to know my mom a bit better, one of my favorite memories as a little girl was a clear, beautiful day in Boulder. There was one small cloud kind of hanging, floating in front of one of the Flatirons, and I asked mom what clouds feel like when you touch them. Her response – “I don’t know, let’s go find out”. She ran inside, grabbed her keys, and up the mountain we went.
I don’t really know what happened when we got up to the top, but I do remember this and every day, what it felt like to be truly loved. Little acts of whimsy and kindness were what made my childhood the best I could ever ask for.
P.S.S. I am also beyond grateful for the hospice team that took care of her in her final days. I know there are so many horrible diseases out there that can take our loved ones away from us. They are all deserving of our financial support, as well as volunteer hours.
For me, I would like to ask that if you ever have the resources available, the Alzheimer’s Association is a very worthy cause. They provide amazing resources and support groups for families struggling with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, as well as funding the search for a cure. Please help if you can.
In Loving Memory of Elizabeth L. McCoy