top of page

From Entrepreneur to Mompreneur with Michaela Jeffrey-Morison, Founder of Ascend Global Media

Updated: Apr 20

In 2015, at the age of just 25, Michaela Jeffrey-Morrison founded Ascend Global Media, the world’s first events company designed specifically for women working in tech. Along with her two co-founders, Michaela had big ambitions to change the status quo. She wanted to build a company that would give women the tools not only to progress professionally but to take control of their futures and grow personally. And she aimed to found a different kind of professional network for women – one that would provide them with the information and skill-sharing opportunities lacking in the sector, and empower them to supercharge their own careers.

From the first days of Ascend Global Media, Michaela has worked tirelessly to lay solid foundations while creating an inclusive environment that gives all women, regardless of background or lived experience, a wide range of opportunities and systems of support. Her success in her mission to boost equality and give women the tools to take control of their careers has been reflected in Ascend Global Media’s rapid growth.

Today, the company is a partner of Google, Meta and Microsoft, among a number of leading global tech companies. Ascend Global Media’s guest speakers have included trailblazers and icons, from the CEOs of global banks to Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States, and their events attract attendees from all over the world.

In this article, Michaela shares her tips on how she juggles her multiple hats as both mom and CEO and gives her advice on how you can do the same.

Michaela Jeffrey-Morrison

Some say that having a business is like having a baby. Now that you’ve experienced both, can you confirm for us whether that rings true?

I would say it is not the same. I think I get the sentiment – ‘It’s my baby’ is a phrase that I have definitely used myself – but no, having a business is not like having a baby. There are similarities: a baby can keep you up at night, as can worrying about your business; you feel entirely and utterly responsible for your business, just like you do a baby; you can feel incredibly overwhelmed and lonely having a baby, as you can having a business. But though having a business is important, having a baby, in my humble opinion, is a completely different thing. It’s a matter of the heart.

How did your daily routine change after having kids?

I am no longer in control of my evenings and mornings! When my daughter was born, if I had had a rough night where I’d gotten only three hours of sleep, that would affect how my day went. It would always start with coffee, which would give me a bit of a boost, but beyond that… Now, however, I have a routine. I do not have to worry about time necessarily, but I do have a routine and a way of doing things. Now, my daughter goes to nursery, we’ll set an alarm, and there will be a goal. How we get there can be different, but there will be consistency to how we do things.

As for work, it hasn’t changed what I do, but it has changed how I arrange my day. It can’t be helped, I think. When you have a family, you have to be mindful of lunchtimes and the end of day. Before, I could sit at my desk and eat lunch (I still do on the days my daughter has nursery!) and I could work much later into the evening. Now I have to stop and do bath and bedtime.

What does balance mean to you?

To be honest, it doesn't mean much to me. I get what I need to get done in the time that I have. When there is an opportunity to do something else, I take it; I do not put any pressure on myself, on my child, or on others. I think it is unrealistic to impose a need for ‘balance' on a mum, a first-time mum, an entrepreneur mum, a ‘working mum’, or a stay-at-home mum.

CEO Women in Tech

What tips do you have for balancing home life with your responsibilities as an entrepreneur?

It’s not about balance for me. It’s about managing your time and your own expectations. My tips for how I manage home life and my business are:

  • Focus. Identify what is important to you. For example, it is important for me to have a tidy and clean house. I prioritize that.

  • Consistency. I keep everything in the same order. For my daughter it is the process of having breakfast, brushing her teeth, then getting her ready.

  • Social pressure. I try to avoid the pressures that other people put on me or mums in general. I ignore the mindless comments I get from anyone who wants to give me advice about being a mum when they are not in my position, and especially when they are not a parent.

  • Create your own happiness. When I first had my daughter, I was almost asking permission to go and have a shower or to leave her at any point, even if it was with her dad. I stopped thinking about myself and left my happiness right at the bottom of the list. I still sort of do – it is just how things are for me! But now I prioritise certain parts of my life that do make me happy, and I make sure I never sacrifice that.

  • Slow down. At work I used to rush. I am so busy (I hate that term but that’s the only word I can think of). But now, I take my time. I concentrate and bring my whole self to work as much as possible, so I know that I have given 110%. Then, even if others doubt me, I know I have done my best. If I make mistakes, I learn from them.

What do you wish you'd known before embracing your new life as a mompreneur?

I wish I’d known that I would find my own way and only had to go with the flow and trust that process. I wish I’d known that it would be overwhelming and lonely at times, but that there would be moments of pure joy, and that you had to hold on to those and keep moving forward.

How can we do a better job of supporting new moms?

Offer flexibility as an employer. As leaders, be understanding of the fact that a new mum may not have slept, that their child might be ill, and that they will have other stresses and commitments. Be kind, be thoughtful, and reserve judgment.

Any final words of wisdom?

You can’t manage everything in one day, but you also have nothing to prove to anyone. You need to prioritize and focus on what is important to you and your family.