Episode 10: Ethics, Generosity + Raising Me with My Mom

August 9, 2021


I’ve never been more honored to sit across from someone in an interview and I’ve never had a more full circle moment of gratitude than I had in conducting this conversation. Today I got to interview my mama, Nadema Gemmell.

Before you think that this is some random interview, let me paint a picture for you of the business mogul that my mother is – she’s a CPA and owner of a tax and consulting practice, she’s Chairman of the Board of the Salem Cooperative Bank; during her 43 years in business, she served as a board member for The New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits as well as the President of the New Hampshire Society of CPAs.

So, this is the perfect episode for all entrepreneurs on business ethics, integrity, humility and generosity. This is the wisdom episode!


[5:54] The Importance of Work Ethic 

So much of what I’ve learned in business (and in life) over the years has been thanks to my mum. She got her first business lessons from her father, back when she was 8 or 9 years old. Watching him over the years, she grew to create her own work ethic. After graduating from Bentley, she worked as an accountant at different firms. She soon realized that ethics were the most important thing in business and decided to start a business on her own. 

[7:32] Jiddo 

My mom describes her father (who I always called Jiddo) as someone who was extremely bright and prepared for any situation. This, combined with his quick mind and his logic, were his claim to fame. As one of the most successful lawyers in town, Jiddo was always all about people. He always put his clients ahead of his own benefits, and this created a sense of ethics for his seven children. Led by their example, I was able to learn how to take ethics, integrity, humility, and generosity and couple it with modern business strategies to help people be able to serve others first, but still gain freedom in their own lives and for their own families.

[18:57] Advice for Entrepreneurs on How to Stay in Alignment 

If the work you have been doing feels out of alignment, get back to your roots. Listen to your consciousness, stay true to yourself and do business in a smart way. Jiddo used to say: Keep your eye on the prize, but in order to do that, you need to know what the prize is. Is the prize making money, is the prize making money and affecting people along the way, is the prize touching as many lives as you can?

[20:54] Lessons from Nana 

Speaking of the prize, Jiddo’s prize was family and the pinnacle of that family was his wife Nana, who had a massive role in the way things played out in Jiddo’s business and in their world. Nana was a great listener, she knew how to make anyone feel like the most important person in the world while they were talking to her. My mom describes her as a driving force in Jiddo’s life and his moral compass. She was very much a person that always put sacrifice ahead of comfort, and taught us how to put our hand out for somebody else. 

[24:56] Raising Kids in a Business 

When it comes to raising your kids while running a business at the same time, I reference my mom a lot, because she was kind of a freak (in the best possible way). She would, and still does, go above and beyond for her clients. But, that never stood in the way of her being a present parent. Her prize was being present, taking care of her family, and raising her kids. 

[31:19] Putting People First

One of the things that my mom’s and my grandpa’s business have in common is putting the people first. My mom treats her employees as family. This means that she trusts them to get the work done on their own schedule, without keeping track. This allows her employees to live their best life outside of the office and enjoy their time with their families. 

[36:58] What’s It Been Like Raising Me, Mom?

My brother and I are very different and we always have been, but one thing that we always shared was absorbing our family’s core values. My mom shares that watching us grow up and having kids of our own is the most gratifying and beautiful thing in the world. But, I do want to add that watching my children create a special bond with my parents has been truly amazing.  

[41:36] What Our Society Is Missing in Raising Kids

Aside from the obvious things like technology being out of control, my mom shares some of the fundamental things that she sees missing in today’s society that is not allowing kids to be raised up right. The main things she sees missing are core values and time. There is no replacement for spending time investing in our children. That’s why it is such a big part of our company and our mission to help ourselves and others raise up luminaries and leaders.

[42:52] Is College for Everybody?

Growing up, I never thought of a different path. I was definitely going to college and all roads lead there. But, it wasn’t what I paid for. You go to college thinking you’re going to come out with some magic sheet of paper that is going to get you the career of your dreams when in reality, it’s going to be pretty null and irrelevant as time goes on, if it keeps going in the direction it’s going. And that’s a big piece of the direction of The Luminary Leadership Company – we want to have opportunities for people who are choosing something other than college, with passion.


  • Connect with me on Instagram and let me know what you think about this interview with my mom!

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