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Bree Kunzel and KC Cole

Featured Article

Women with Purpose Empowering the Community

A conversation with Potomac area moms and entrepreneurs who “do it all”

Article by Christy Matino

Photography by Erica Land

Originally published in Potomac Lifestyle

It can be hard to “do it all,” but these eight Potomac region superwomen balance being moms and business owners, all while maintaining their mental health. It’s a difficult task these days– so, how do they do it?

What inspired your partnership?

We are united by a shared vision and approach championing personal growth and success as the cornerstone of our endeavors. Our business models are aligned by a profound passion to uplift and empower our community, driving us to collaborate and cultivate Potomac Lifestyle Magazine into a beacon of positivity, advocacy, and impactful collaborations. This concerted effort has propelled us to reach over 100,000 monthly readers in the Potomac Metropolitan area, expanding our influence and inspiring others to get on board with our mission— “Work Hard, Have Fun, Leave a Legacy!"

How do you recharge after a stressful week of constant deadlines?

We both left our stressful 9 to 5 corporate careers in finance and construction to pursue a new path. At times it’s equally as stressful, but so much more rewarding! We truly value and respect time spent with family and loved ones as well as time for physical and mental self care. 

KC Cole: "I’m 100% headed to the golf course to crush a few swings or a full 18 holes on the rolling greens. I also love hitting the gym each morning to keep my mind sharp and endorphins high, and being an all-around "fun and present mom!"

Bree Kunzel: "I like to spoil myself with a weekend getaway to explore new coffee shops, indulge in morning pastries, and squeeze in a massage at the local day spa. Yes, please!"

What inspired you to start your own business? 

Stephanie Weiss: Erica and I created The N.E.W. Group for entrepreneurial women to gather together monthly to connect, collaborate, and empower each other.

Erica Land: I have learned that people like to do business with people they know, like and trust, and the idea of forming a networking group with women owned businesses seemed ideal so that like-minded women could support each other. We initially selected people who we knew valued the services we provide. 

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or those looking to start their own business? 

Stephanie Weiss: Go for it! Plan ahead and have all your ducks in a row, but don’t wait. Do it! It’s okay to be hyper-focused on making your dream a reality…you need to be. Imagine your day, the triumphs and the tough spots…imagine it all. You’ll be better prepared.

Erica Land: Do what you love, but make sure you know how to run a business first and foremost. The saying, “If you build it, it will come” only gets you so far. Networking is one step in pushing your business from a hobby to an actual business.

What is the best leadership advice you have ever received? 

Mary Beth Olson:  Trust your intuition! I have relied on my instincts to steer my decision-making process, a practice that has consistently served me well. In terms of leadership, I strive to lead with passion, positivity, and unwavering faith in my team. I firmly believe in fostering a collaborative environment where individuals work with me as opposed to for me.

Elizabeth Nguyen: I believe in the servant leadership approach, which is the understanding that the first and most important choice a leader makes is the choice to serve – without which one's capacity to lead is severely limited. 

How do you "do it all" and be as successful as you are?

Mary Beth Olson: The simple truth is that I can’t be an all-star at work and at motherhood one hundred percent of the time. It’s impossible. I am incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful husband, so we truly partner when it comes to our kids. When I hit the pillow, I reflect on how I did that day as a mother, daughter, sister, friend and worker. I try to do better the next day.

Elizabeth Nguyen: It is very challenging. As a single mom and a mother to a child with autism, I “do it aIl” by relying greatly on my excellent circle of support – siblings, family members, team members, and friends.

How do you stay focused and productive in the face of distractions and competing priorities?

Julie Bullit: I use a to-do list. I often set up specific goals with specific rewards at the end. For instance, if I don’t feel like going to the gym, I will go, and then get coffee afterwards as a reward. It may sound trivial, but learning to reward yourself with small things is very important.

Jennifer Gularson: I was a Division I swimmer in college, which trained me to be disciplined, almost to a fault. It’s very easy to get distracted and focus on all the things you are not doing. I also have learned what’s important and what can wait. What is a must have and what would be nice-to-have is an important difference.  

How do you prioritize your mental health?

Julie Bullit: As a mental health provider, mental health is key. First, self-care and self-compassion. If you have this, you can then be the best version of yourself.

Jennifer Gularson: I’ve had a therapist since I was in college and honestly, my mom was my therapist in high school! I think having someone to bounce ideas off of, investigate feelings, call you out and hold you accountable to yourself is very important. I also fully endorse massage, acupuncture, and anything that makes you stop, take a break, and reflect.

  • KC Cole and Bree Kunzel
  • Mary Beth Olson - Founder & President, MBO MEDIA
  • Elizabeth Ucheya - Founder & CEO, Renoxx Caregivers
  • Julie Bullit - Founder, Live Sane
  • Bree Kunzel and KC Cole
  • Stephanie Weiss - Personal Clothing Consultant, Sitting Pretty
  • Erica Land - Photographer, Erica Land Photography
  • Networking Entrepreneurial Women Group
  • Jennifer Gularson - PA, Osteopathic Center for Healing

Businesses featured in this article