Episode 159: Meet My Mom: Mogul on Servant Leadership, Business Wisdom, + Raising Crazy ‘Ol Me

February 20, 2023

Welcome to one of the most intimate conversations I will ever share! 

This conversation is with one of THE most important people in my life. She is the person I credit for so much of who I am today and the one I am becoming. She is the one I turn to about everything from parenthood to marriage to business and everything in between because this episode is with the woman who raised me. Now my mom isn’t just the average mom. If she were willing to share her résumé (which I try to drag out of her!), you would see that she is also a business mogul who has the most incredible credentials from being on the board and having been president of a bank to being a CPA running her own practice and having been an entrepreneur for over 40 years now, she is brilliant in business.

So today’s conversation is really about servant leadership because she epitomizes what it means to be a servant leader and how that naturally magnetizes the right people into your life and into your business. How it yields so much fruit and beauty and joy in the process of becoming a business leader and how it creates a ripple effect that really transcends us, that becomes a piece of our legacy. She talks a lot about the ethics of business and how to really stand a part and not in the ways we are often taught in the industry. This conversation will serve you in business beyond probably anything I’ve ever put out here. 

I am so excited to introduce you to my mom, to my mogul mom, to the incredible Nadema Gemmell!

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 mom. 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. 

Servant Leadership

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 servant leadership, 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.

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?

Importance of Family and Sacrifice

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 his 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. 

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. 

Business Ethics and Core Values

One of the things that my mom’s and my grandpa’s business have in common is putting 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. 

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.  

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 leaders who can also have time for their families.

Growing up, I never thought of a different path other than college. 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.

If you gained some wisdom from meeting my mom, Nadema, please share this conversation with others!


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