Romy McGahan Daniel

1. What is your morning motivation to do great things?

I have a hard time waking up on weekday mornings, but being a calm and cheerful mama to my girls (who also have a hard time waking up!), is a good motivation to get out of bed with a positive attitude. I also think about others who have it much harder than I do – those who parent on their own and/or also work long hours outside the home, or the refugees fleeing Syria, or the many other people in the world whose lives are not as easy as mine. This perspective, and great gratitude for what I have, really gets my day started off on a good note. My morning motivations are: my kids/husband, gratitude, and perspective.

2. What is one thing you do to work towards a work/life balance?

I try to stay mindful of what my family needs from me, and what feels good to me. So when I have skewed too far into the work realm, I try to reset, or shift over to present-mama-mode, which always feels best to me, and is most rewarding for me and my kids. I am super fortunate to have a flexible work schedule and an incredible support network, so that helps so much in being able to switch from one realm to another quickly.

3. Name one person who has inspired you in your career.

I consider my most important career to be the raising of my children. I also have chosen to advocate for the rights and comfort of breastfeeding moms in my photography, and in my work at our local fair trade store, I support and work with artisans who are able to balance their families with their work, while staying true to their culture and earning a fair wage. All of these things are so important to me, and the person who embodies them all – and inspires me – is my mom. My two sisters are also great inspiration for how they work in their communities to make lives better for others, and for how well they manage to balance their family lives with work.

4. Tell us about your business or profession and how you chose your path.

I have wanted children since I was a toddler just about (so when my sister was born, I was excited to start practicing early). Having children has been the hardest and most rewarding job I could possibly have, and the one I consider most important. It is a big crazy job to help guide little humans to grow to be kind and compassionate adults.

My other career avenues have centered around art and working with people, while staying flexible so that my family life is not sacrificed. Seeing my parents make a life around a family business inspired me to mix work with family life.

5. What is one technological device or app you use that you could not live without?

I suppose I couldn’t live without an internet device very easily – so much of my communication is done via internet, whether it is with women who want to participate in my photography project, or with my daughters’ teachers at school, or with fair trade wholesalers across the country. The internet and its various devices: another area of my life to keep in balance. 🙂

6. What is your greatest strength as a leader?

I hope, and want to think, that my greatest strengths are accessibility and empathy. I want to be able to help people, and influence them positively, and the best way I know how is without judgement, and with care for other perspectives. One of my great hopes is to reach out to people of all different backgrounds without alienation, and with acceptance.

7. What has been your biggest failure and how have you overcome it?

I don’t think of a specific event when I summon up my failures, but would cite the presence of fear as the reason for any failure. Any time I’ve said no to an opportunity out of fear, I would consider that a failure on my part – a failure to use that opportunity to grow and learn, even if I’m afraid. I think it is an ongoing challenge, so to overcome it, I remind myself that I don’t want to have regrets, and that, as much as I can, I want to say “yes.”

8. What is success?

Success is kindness. Success is being able to influence people because they respect you for your kind, happy and generous heart, rather than for being wealthy or intimidating. Regardless of how much money you make, it all comes down to being kind.

9. Name one person who is a successful leader.

I’m lucky to know several great leaders personally in my life: my husband, my parents, my siblings. I also see leadership coming out in my children and hope that it continues to manifest successfully. 🙂
The reason I see all these people as leading successfully is because they value people, and kind treatment of people, above all else.

10. What is the one thing you do over and over and recommend to others?
I try to give empathy and compassion to those around me whenever possible. It is one of the most difficult things to summon genuinely in every situation, but something that I try to do over and over again. It gets easier with practice, but it is probably like yoga: you just keep practicing, and never quite master it. The pleasure is in the practice. It goes hand in hand with non-judgement, so I use it with my children, and with other adults in my life, including my husband – which is where I can always use extra practice! 🙂 I recommend it to others because it feels so nice to have someone see you and recognize you without judgement or advice, and I think this is something universal that we all want. It is the answer to many communication struggles we all face in various parts of life – family, professional, social, etc. So I just try to keep practicing.