Last year I was invited to attend a media event for Carsmetics, a company that takes the hassle out of car repairs. I was impressed that they were specifically marketing towards women and make it easy for people to get their car repaired without the aggravation. You know how it can be when you get a fender bender and it takes 5 calls just to get a decent quote? I met Helen Lao Baxter at this event as her company, ClearPath Solutions, is working with Carsmetics. I was very impressed with Helen’s go-to attitude and business acumen. You can tell she is a lady that goes after what she wants and manages to run a business and be a mom to four (adorable) kids. Plus she is very active in her community and volunteers her time with a great organization, Women Helping Women, that helps prepare women to go out into the workforce. Read what she has to say about starting her company and how she balances her home and work life. I think you’ll be as impressed with Helen as we are over at dandelion moms!
Tell us what was the inspiration behind creating ClearPath Solutions.
I had been working in HR for over 15 years in various corporate and field roles and experienced “success.” I had always experienced progressive growth in my career and been recognized with the next promotion or the next annual pay increase and before I knew it 15 years had flown by. The difference was that I had 3 young kids with a 4th on the way. I realized with a young family, my definition of success was no longer the same as when I was 21 years old.
I had always enjoyed the recruiting aspect of my HR roles and finding the right talent for the various companies that I had worked with. I knew that the field was very competitive but was committed to creating a brand with points of differentiation in what we would offer.
I started with no clients – zero. I underestimated the difficulty in starting up a business from scratch. I stayed up late and woke up early for months. I started mapping out a plan for how I would approach the industries I was most familiar with – Restaurant and Retail.
I then thought about all the talented women out there who left the workforce and made a choice to step out of the day to day race to care for their families. I reached out to Moms that I knew were talented, intelligent and passionate. Some wanted to contribute to the family in some way financially and others just wanted to have some adult conversation. My idea was received well and 5 years later – my first two recruiters are still on our team today.
We are WBNEC Certified. (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council)
What advice would you give someone looking to start their own business? What steps did you take to make your dream a reality?
It’s certainly not easy but with planning, passion and purpose – “Anything is Possible.”
How do you balance work life and raising four children? What are some tips you could provide other busy moms!
I think the hardest part about being a working mom is the constant struggle of balance and the feeling of guilt. I know that I’ve personally struggled with the guilt throughout my career as a working mom. The constant feeling of “am I doing enough, giving enough, being enough” for my four children.
Don’t subscribe to societal expectations, family pressures, and all the friendly “advice” of what you should be doing as a “good mom.” I have finally taken my own advice which is, “do what works for you, your children and your own family.” There is no one “right way” when it comes to raising children and being a supermom. Just be the best parent you can be.
I read about Women Helping Women, tell us how you got involved in this group and how might others could provide some help as well.
Women Helping Women is a remarkable non-profit organization. I remember hearing a woman at one of their events state, “Women Helping Women is not a hand out but a hand up.” That really resonated with me and I’m proud to be a board member that provides the resources to the unemployed and underemployed. I remember what made me choose this organization that I found so amazing was just how small the actual Women Helping Women team was and that a big part of their success was the number of volunteers that donated their time and service.
Since 1993, WHW has successfully served over 70,000 job seekers at no charge.
Any news you want to share with our lovely dandelion moms?
Not news but I want to take the opportunity to say that I LOVE Dandelion Mom’s message to women. It’s an inspiration. Celebrate each and every day, enjoy what matters most to you.
I’m living my dream and my message is to every Mom is to pursue your passion and protect what you love.
Thank you Helen for demonstrating the importance of going after one’s dreams and giving back!
You can read more about Helen and her company, Clear Path Solutions here.