|Lupe Echevarria - My grandmother with my Mom and Aunt|
A Matriarch is a woman who rules or dominates a family, group, or state. La Doña or matriarch in my family was my grandmother (mi Abuela). She was sought out by family and friends for counsel. She was fiscally astute, owning several buildings acquired with her husband (the house I grew up in was my Grandmother's home). She was very involved with unions (she was a seamstress and union leader) and she was definitely the moral authority growing up. Family was everything to her. Her great grandchildren know her name and what she did for us.
Google defines ma·tri·arch as
- A woman who is the head of a family or tribe.
- An older woman who is powerful within a family or organization.
Wikipedia writes "Matriarchs are females, especially mothers, who have the central roles of political leadership, moral authority, and fiances/or control of property."
- I made a choice when I got married that I would be a strong, powerful, loving wife.
- I made a choice when my children were born that I would be a strong, powerful, loving mom.
- I made a choice when I opened my business that I would be a strong, powerful entrepreneur.
- I made a choice when I volunteered to serve on committees I would be a strong, powerful advocate representing the organizations I support.
- I made a choice when my daughter got married that I would be a Matriarch.
Being a matriarch is a choice. It is a leadership role I choose. As I was doing research on Matriarchs and the choices they made I found interesting blog posts that made me think.
Kristan Wojnar, shared a question used by a financial adviser she knows “Would you like your great-great grandchildren to know your name, what you stood for and what was most important to you in life?”
Elisabeth Boehm, Aspiring Future Matriarch wrote a blog about being the matriarch. While I didn't agree with many of her points. I embraced her list of matriarch roles which I wholeheartedly agreed with (after a little modification).
Apply them to your leadership roles at work and in your family. I know I will.
- "Create, share in, and pass along the family & organizational culture.
- Provide a stable home and/or work environment (even when there is change).
- Understand and support the decided wealth building strategy.
- Support the family & business objectives in social contexts (entertaining customers, clients; learning foreign languages; managing contacts with friends, relatives, and business associates).
- Master complex tax and trust issues (not to mention subtle investment issues).
- Be emotionally mature and confident and have the depth to avoid getting distracted."
Being a matriarch is not easy. It is not for the fainthearted. It requires diligence, tenacity, sacrifice, education and determination. However, choosing to be a matriarch is worth it for yourself, for your family and for your organization.
My vision is that one day my great-great grandchildren will ask their parents or grandparents "Tell me a story" and they will hear a story about the family Matriarch, Pegine, and how she loved her family and business in such a way that they (her great-great grandchildren) benefited from her choice made long, long, long ago."