With two schooling teenagers, Sofie Mahmood's day begins before she even steps foot into the office by seeing that her children are ready for school and out of the door by 6.30am.
Mothers Who Inspire: Sofie Mahmood, CEO and founder of Aemos Sdn Bhd and First On The Block
May is the dedicated month for us to thank our mothers for their sacrifices, love and hard work in nurturing us to become the person we are today. In our second feature of our ‘Mothers Who Inspire’ series, we speak to Sufineh Mahmood, otherwise fondly known as simply Sofie, about what life is like being the mother to two teenagers and the CEO and founder of two established companies at the same time.
Sufineh Mahmood, more fondly known as simply Sofie
Out the door by 6.30am
The day begins as early as 5am on a regular working day for the bubbly and stylish mother. With two schooling teenagers, her job begins before she even steps foot into the office by seeing to it that her children Osama Kyle Murison, 15, and Jessenia Rianne Murison, 10, are ready for school and out of the door latest by 6.30am.
As the founder and CEO of Aemos Sdn Bhd, an oil and gas company, as well as the founder of First On The Block Sdn Bhd, a luxury accessories company, Sofie is no stranger to multi-tasking and juggling different shoes to fill throughout the day. A typical morning in her schedule exemplifies just how well she has accustomed her lifestyle around having to be at two, sometimes more, places at once.
“I use the morning time in the car to coach my kids for the day ahead with some reminders what they need to do,” Sofie shares with us on how she maximises her 24 hours in a day. “Sometimes I schedule breakfast meetings with clients before heading to the office. In the oil and gas industry, our day starts as early as 7am with morning meeting calls from the rig,” she adds, expertly demonstrating how effortlessly she switches between her roles as mother and businesswoman.
One would think having to pay attention to so many different things at once would be tiring for even the most experienced individual, but for Sofie, both being a businesswoman and a mother has proven to be only beneficial. She has learned to pick the best skill from each area and apply it to the other for the smoothest and most hitchless ride.
The best of both worlds
Running a business has certainly taught her how to deal with two growing teenagers.
“As they grow up, their time and requests get demanding so I have had to resort to some business skills,” admits Sofie with a laugh when asked about how she handles her two children. “Handling kids is very much like handling clients and employees – I set targets, give incentives and find a common goal for all of us that will make everyone happy.”
Likewise, being a mum has also taught her better ways to maneuver through the business wilderness.
“Being a mother has taught me a lot about time management, especially in dealing with crisis and having patience. This includes the tone you carry in certain conversations as well as being a patient listener,” she says.
“It’s crucial to streamline and simplify pretty much every imaginable area of life,” she adds. “In a business environment, make things effective and simple. Like with children, it is best to have clear instructions and prioritising certain tasks.”
Sofie with her children, Jessenia Rianne Murison, 10, and Osama Kyle Murison, 15
Time for the kids vs time for yourself
While her main priorities are her children and her two companies, she still makes sure to always set time aside for herself. She is a firm believer in taking care of oneself before taking care of others. She sees to it that she gets her own personal ‘me’ time by being as disciplined as possible throughout the week so she’ll have some down time to herself after everything has been seen to.
“I have a list of nail spas, massage places in Klang Valley!” she shares her secret with a cheeky smile. “If the kids are doing their after school activities, I will schedule an appointment nearby.”
While she clearly has had to sacrifice a lot to ensure her children get the most out of their childhood whether it be in school, at home or simply idle time spent with her, Sofie shares with eyes that reflected nothing but love that she is blessed to be the mother of two wonderful children. She has always wanted to be a mother and having become one has seen only her truest joys come true.
“It’s a bit of a cliché,” she says, “but seeing their happiness and being able to be there for them when they need you makes for the most rewarding parts of being a mum.”
When asked of what she thinks is the secret to being a mum and a successful entrepreneur at once, Sofie only has one thing to depart.
“Have the confidence and faith that you did your best under the given circumstances though a mother will always feel she didn't do enough,” she says with voice that turned tender upon recalling her tumultuous early years. “Enjoy what you do and in being empowered from it, you’ll automatically be happy both at home as a mum and at work as a businesswoman.”
"I will do it all over again"
From the way she speaks of her role as a mum throughout the interview, she leaves no space for any doubt that she was in her element juggling motherhood and business. It would not escape anyone that she speaks of her children with nothing short of glowing pride tinged with only the purest love.
Our interview was kept short and sweet as Sofie had a date with none other than her children to keep to right after our session together. She had gotten Osama and Jessenia tickets for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a treat that she had wanted to surprise them with after a long week of school and extracurricular activities. Here was a mother who cannot find more joy than being just that -- a mum to her children.
Right before we parted ways, she had one last thing to share. “Being a mum is demanding yet fulfilling, unconditional yet rewarding and a day is never the same but I will do it all over again,” she says.