Dr. Marika Lindholm: Founder, ESME

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Bio:

Marika Lindholm, Ph.D., taught at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University for over a decade. She is currently the founder of ESME.com (Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere) a website that provides resources, support and connection to mothers who parent on their own.

What do I do best?

(Tell us what you think you do better than anything else - personal or business related)

When I want to learn something or accomplish something, I dig in and stay motivated. My ability to push through challenges has helped me as a tennis player, parent, scholar and now entrepreneur. Instead of being overwhelmed by setbacks and failures, they motivate me to work even harder.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I’m driven by a sense of empathy and a desire to have a positive impact on the world. I became a sociologist because I was attracted to understanding and reducing social injustice. As a professor and now as founder of ESME, empathy drives me to work toward making the world a better place for those who struggle. My current focus on single moms is a natural extension of my deeply held belief that we all deserve respect and opportunity regardless of identity.

What are my aspirations?

My personal plan is to help my children acquire the skills for a happy and fulfilling life while making sure we carve out time for the whole family to connect and enjoy each other. Easier said than done! Professionally I’d like to expand ESME’s platform so that we can increasingly help more Solo Moms. This includes our forthcoming App and local meetups. I love ESME’s mission and hope to have the privilege to keep working on behalf of Solo Moms for a long time.

My Biggest Success?

I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to create out a life that is both personally and professionally fulfilling. Raising five children while starting a business fueled by passion is easily my greatest accomplishment.

My Most Challenging Moment?

I made the decision to get a divorce when my children were two and four years old. Despite having a steady job and a supportive family it was very painful. Besieged with guilt, I felt lonely and sad as I pieced together a new life for a family of three. This challenging transition not only made me stronger but is also the inspiration for starting ESME. I wanted to make sure that other moms in similar situations could find a place of support and connection.

My Motto?

My motto is a mash up between Do Your Homework and Fake It Until You Make It. Prepare to the best of your ability but also recognize that new situations require a leap of faith. We can’t all be experts or confident from the start. By throwing yourself wholeheartedly into a new challenge, you will surprise yourself that one day you’ve actually become what you were hoping to be.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

I’m a huge fan of J.K. Rowling. She’s an inspiration to all Solo Moms. Writing her way off public assistance to become one of the world’s wealthiest women is extraordinary. But even more amazing is that Rowling has made it a point to give back generously to organizations that focus on poverty, children’s welfare and literacy among others. At ESME, we often share quotes by Rowling that are encouraging and inspirational. I admire her intelligence and willingness to stand up for what she believes. Her tweets are often hilarious and spot on.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

I love the Stockholm Archipelago in the summer. My fondest memories in Sweden are taking a boat to one of the many small islands near Stockholm. Dotted with red and white cottages, these islands offer a natural beauty that is relaxing and restorative. In the summer, the sun barely sets so there is an expansive quality to each day that is familiar and comforting.

My Favorite Products?

My tennis racket, a Wilson Ultra, is my new favorite tool. It helps me blow off steam, stay strong and meet people all around the world.  I also love my Google Play because I don’t have to hunt for music to fit my mood – I simple announce what I feel like hearing - and even time travel as I request music from significant times in my life.

My Current Passions?

Although I like tennis and Pilates, I’m obsessed with making ESME.com the best it can be.  I’m always thinking about how to improve the platform and trying to generate new ideas to help Solo Moms. I LOVE my work!

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