My life growing up with a powerful CEO as a mom

Jackie Amendola/Staff

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This International Women’s Day, it’s important to reflect on all the strong women who have made us into the people we are today. While numerous women have influenced me in a myriad of ways, my mom has always stood out as one of the strongest and most powerful women out there. She started her own company at a young age and has become one of the most well-regarded people in her industry.

As CEO and co-founder of Amendola Communications, my mom wears many hats. Amendola Communications is a full-service national public relations and marketing agency that specializes in health care and information technology, and she is in charge of it all. She built the company from the ground up with my dad, and it has only grown and expanded since. Even from when I was a little girl, I remember the mix of stress and excitement my parents went through when starting the company; seeing how much work they have put into it as I grew up has been a lesson that has continuously stuck with me. But her self-sufficiency did not start with Amendola Communications. Even in college, she was an entrepreneur and started her own storage company. She always had a knack for running things smoothly and managing people efficiently. Today, those skills have helped my mom win numerous awards in her industry.

While she has always amazed me, growing up with such a busy mom was hard at times. Not understanding why she was always working was difficult as a child when a lot of my friends’ moms were home more often. But as I grew older, it only impressed me even more that she could single-handedly run not only her own company so successfully, but also her family. I’ve learned so much from having such a strong and hardworking mom. While I sometimes struggle to voice my opinions, my mom tells it like it is and doesn’t take anything from anyone.

The greatest lesson she has taught me is to believe in myself, even if no one else does. Her mantra is, “think you can, think you can’t, you’re right either way.” And while my dad and I make fun of her every time she says it, it really is true — if you believe in yourself, anything is possible. If you don’t, you’ll have no chance of achieving whatever it is you want. Being at UC Berkeley now, I see how important this lesson really is. I’m often filled with thoughts like “you could never major in that,” or “you can’t do well in that class, are you crazy?” But then, I remind myself of her mantra and her strength, and I continue on with my day.

Another huge lesson I’ve learned is the art of patience. Whether it’s dealing with her employees, clients or even our family, she seems to always know how to prioritize any problem. While many would freak out under pressure, my mom has always helped me learn to keep calm and keep things in perspective — nothing is really as bad as it may seem in the moment.

Growing up in the presence of such a powerful woman has completely molded who I am today. Having a role model who proves every day that anything is achievable with hard work instilled that same mindset in me. After years of being so proud of everything my mom has accomplished and continues to accomplish, nothing makes me happier than reversing the roles and making my mom proud. The most important lesson I have learned, though, is that it’s not the fact that she is a CEO that makes her a strong woman — she is an incredible woman and person with or without her title, just like every other woman. No matter who they are or what they do, women are strong, and that is something to celebrate this International Women’s Day! 

Contact Jackie Amendola at [email protected].