Cherie Stewart

Corporate Communications

Location: Alameda, CA

"...I know that I am not alone in motherhood, just as I’m not alone in my career. I have my community and my circles that help me thrive as a parent, as a friend, as a partner and as a boss."

My biggest Lean In moment came when I decided to become a single mom at 42. I always knew I wanted to have children—but the right moment, the right partner and the right time seemed to elude me as I focused on my career in communications. I worked really hard, I jumped at some “lucky” opportunities and I took risks. The pay-off was getting a seat at the table with some amazing brands during big seminal moments— from IPOs to market entry to big sexy launches. And the years ticked away.

I channeled my maternal, mama-bear instincts into mentoring junior team members. I watched them grow and blossom in their careers—and as they became wives and mothers. I became a step-parent to a pre-teen, which fueled my desire to have a child even more. However, my long-term partner ultimately could not take that baby-journey with me. So I had to make the decision to walk away from my relationship and lean in to single motherhood.

I had no idea if I was going to be able to continue on my career path and be a single mom too—but I was willing to take that risk. Amazingly, I was able to get pregnant fairly quickly and had my breathtaking and amazing daughter. While I kept my work in a lower gear for two years with consulting, it became apparent very quickly that I missed the fast lane. So I leaned in and took a job opening a San Francisco office for a global PR agency. The job is as big and all-consuming as I imagined it, but I haven’t regretted it for a second. I’m truly blessed to be fulfilled at home and work. And I know that I am not alone in motherhood, just as I’m not alone in my career. I have my community and my circles that help me thrive as a parent, as a friend, as a partner and as a boss. A virtuous cycle indeed!