Name: Rose Kaur
City and State: Dallas, TX
Your journey looks a bit different than you thought it would 20 years ago. Please tell us how you went from working in Mumbai with Bollywood celebrities to being a stay-at-home mom in Tucson.
Life has a funny way of teaching us glorious lessons when we least expect it. I was a 20 something ambitious and successful advertising gal in Mumbai, India with no plans to move anywhere. But then I fell in love, got married, and agreed to come to the US for a few years with my husband. The plan was for me to go to business school, for him to get some work experience, and then go back home. In the middle of my business school application process I found out that I was pregnant. In my fourth month I found out that I was pregnant with twins. In two years of our marriage we went from being two to four in a foreign country, with no family, no friends, and pretty much no idea of how to be parents. We were overwhelmed. I put my school plans on hold to take care of the babies. I missed my family, friends, and familiar surroundings. After months of crying and not understanding what to do I had a serious chat with myself. And decided to embrace the role of being a mom 100% and it has been a wild ride ever since.
What was the conversation you had with yourself when your twins were little?
The conversations ranged from "this is the end of all my dreams and ambitions" to "I am blessed to have this double blessing" but mostly it was the former. My husband and I had a plan when we got married. Go to school, work for a few years, save money, buy a house, and then start a family and ALL THAT WENT OUT THE DOOR. The good thing about being in your 20’s is that you have a lot of energy and you think you have a lot of time, so being young helped. Quite honestly, we were so busy taking care of our babies that it left little time to brood. We started traveling with them and began dreaming about our new future as a family so that kept us happy. I also learned that fully aligning with what life IS gives you power and healing.
How did you come to the decision that you wanted to get your MBA? And what did you want to do after you finished school?
I knew after working for a few years in advertising that I wanted to switch to marketing, so the plan was to get an MBA. But those plans were put on a hold when I became a mom. In 2002 my husband’s job got us to Dallas and I applied and got accepted to all the business schools in DFW. I chose SMU, but going in I also knew that Cox School of Business at SMU was not known for marketing. And the kind of companies I wanted to work for never came to campus. To complicate matters further I was a stay-at- home mom with work experience only from India. I knew it would be challenging to convince future employers that I was the best candidate for the job. All that didn’t intimidate me but motivated me to work harder. In my second year I found out about MBA conferences for minority students and I decided to attend them, and soon I was getting invited to interview for the top marketing jobs in the country. I ended up accepting an offer from Frito Lay and became the first full-time MBA student from SMU to join the company.
You were at the top of your game, working for a dream company in Frito Lay. What happened when you got pregnant? And how did people react when you told them what your plans were?
When I got pregnant the second time, I was working for Frito Lay. I decided I was going to be a "working mom". But pretty soon I realized two things. First, I had way too much on my plate with three kids, a demanding full-time job and not much help because my husband traveled for work. Second, I realized that my body was shutting down on me. I could feel myself getting more tired more often. I could sense something wasn’t right, so I decided on impulse to quit my job one fine morning - against the guidance of my parents, my friends, and many well-meaning colleagues. I finally had this dream job, so why was I risking yet another break in my career? But it felt like the right decision to me and I had the support of my awesome husband. I found out that I was actually unwell and in those years at home I went on a wellness journey, traveled with my family, and realized that NO ONE can decide what’s right for you but you. And life is too short to die with regrets. That was empowering.
During your second round of being a stay-at-home mom, you said your body was giving you signs that you were unwell. How did you react to this? And what did you do with this time, this gift as you have called it?
My first reaction when I found out I was unwell was to take full responsibility. I was in my 30’s, potentially headed towards a coma and still going on with my life as if everything were okay. I was so focused on being successful per a standard definition that I had forgotten that the most important thing in life is your health and happiness. After a few weeks of being in full panic, sadness, anger, and frustration mode I decide to tackle the situation head on. I am a firm believer that all things happen for a reason and this was the universe teaching me to slow down and maybe take a different path. It's not easy because you don’t know what lies ahead and you see others succeeding, going past you merrily and you question your choices constantly. But the only way out is to dig deep and find your own truth and anchor. The answers are not outside but inside and that is the journey you have to commit to for life.
You have said that no one can define what success looks like for you, or what you can achieve. Now that you are a business owner, how are you defining success? How are you living out the idea that you can have personal growth as well as company growth?
The advantage of starting a company after working in corporate America for over a decade is that you know what you want and don’t want. My business partner is also a woman who is whip smart, but we are very different. Our partnership works because we have different strength, similar values, and immense respect for each other. Before we signed our partnership papers, we undertook an important exercise. We wrote down our personal and professional goals independent of each other and then worked with a consultant to bring it together. We are committed to building our company AND ourselves together and not at the cost of each other. There is temptation to grow too fast, but we have seen too many entrepreneurs burn out and we don’t want that. We say no to business that we don’t want, we take time out to decompress and we invest in ourselves. The most important thing is that we hold each other accountable. Interestingly this has not slowed our business, but turbo charged it. When we take the time to pause and recharge, we are able to achieve more with less. That is the secret to lasting success.
What advice would you give to other women who want to both excel at their career, AND also want to be an incredible mom? How have you "made it work"?
Work hard, dream big, embrace your mistakes, don't be in a rush to achieve everything at once, respect the pace of life, take care of yourself and don’t let anyone define what success looks like for you. Allow yourself to be loved and taken care of. You need it just as much as others do. And if you have the time meditate regularly. I’ve "made it work" by honoring the unfolding of my life journey with an incredible life partner.
A question we ask everyone...what do you want to be known for?
As someone who lived by her own rules.
(Editor's note...this is exactly why we built Bold Women Society! We want every woman to echo Rose!)
My favorite quote is...
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” -Helen Keller
You can connect with Rose on LinkedIn.