Friday, 3 May 2013

Nirasha Jaganath aka “Mommy Niri”

I love Mommy Niri! The first time I met her in person was at the 2012 Blog Better Boston Conferencewhere she spoke about branding. She was very honest, practical and spoke to “us” in a no nonsense manner. After her session ended, I, together with some Boston bloggers went up to her and asked other questions and she took her time to respond to us. Right before we parted, she did something that I thought was what every human being should be doing: a hug. Instead of shaking our hands, she said, “can I give you a hug instead?” And so, she did.
That simple act of “warmth” and kindness had a remarkable impact on me! (which makes me want to follow her lead…hug everyone instead of shaking hands)
But, prior to me meeting her in person I have been reading about her most visited parent/mom blog in the New England area. I follow her tips, enjoy her toy and other kid gadget features and I also delight in her involvements with many charitable organizations. She promotes social media with a cause and a huge mission to fulfill, besides she is Mommy Niri. Thus, “whatever Mommy Niri does, others will follow.”
Just yesterday, I was able to attend Chef Ming Tsai’s cooking demo at the Macy’s Boston in Downtown Crossing because of Mommy Niri. The culinary event was superb with celebrity chefMing Tsai’s wok-stirred vegetables and rice noodle salad (pansit to Filipinos) and summer rolls (lumpia to Filipinos) interactive demo and book signing! Chef Ming Tsai, was himself a success story – which I hope to also interview – but without Mommy Niri’s invitation I would not be able to see such an amazing event.
Yet today, I would like to share with you the interview I had with Mommy Niri which we had done a few weeks ago. I want you to know what makes her successful and read her definition of success carefully.
This is her story:

AMS:  Tell us about yourself. Your education, training and where you are currently involved in.
Mommy Niri: I grew up in South Africa and moved to USA twelve years ago. I was an engineer for twelve years before I decided to focus on my kids.  I currently focus on social media but have also been using my voice to power causes.
AMS:  Tell us about how you became “Mommy Niri” and how you got to where you are now?
Mommy Niri: I started a blog on a bet with my hubby but used it more like a diary. Somewhere along the line people started reading it and it has been a roller coaster ride since. In the past four years I have learned so much and realize that this is what I want to be doing.
AMS:  With “Mommy Niri” website, what is the mission of it all?
Mommy Niri: A mixed dose actually. A diary in some ways, but also bringing readers news, scoops and reviews. I would love to be the go-to girl who is in the know about everything.
AMS:  You are lucky to be able to do what you want to do and still stay with your kids. Can you tell us how do you balance your time with the family and your responsibility to the web community?
Mommy Niri: Luck has less to do with it but more of making compromises and adjustments. To be in social media you have to live and breathe it all the time so it is part of my life. I work on deadlines for campaigns and for the rest they fit in between priorities with my kids. Trying to combine work events with things that are family friendly helps too.

AMS:  In choosing the brands and products you endorse, how do you involve your kids? Is it a family project whenever a new product asks for your endorsement?
Mommy Niri: Depends on the product, I may or may not involve the kids. For kiddie movies I watch for their reactions. A reviewed product is not really an endorsement, it is basically my opinion of it. For ambassadorships I am much more selective.
AMS:  You are an engineer by profession, do you miss being at the office and be an engineer? Would you trade back your old profession to what you are doing now?
Mommy Niri: Not at all. I love the freedom blogging gives me and I like that get to learn and create constantly. The social media field is new and exciting.
AMS:  There are a lot of Mom-inspired blogs everywhere, how does Mommy Niri manage to stand out of the crowd and remains to be a go-to website for Moms.
Mommy Niri: I wish I had a hard defined answer for that. I would hope that good content and being supportive to your community helps. Remembering that it is important to always act professionally since, as much as it is a lot of fun, this is a career too. Building a reputation takes time, but it is worth it.
AMS:  Are you doing something special for Mother’s Day?
Mommy Niri: Just being around my family. I travel so much that I am glad to just hang out with them. I guess we will figure out tomorrow.
AMS:  How do you see the roles of Moms in this generation?
Mommy Niri: I can’t speak for all moms but I personally see myself as someone who molds a child with the values and kindness I want her to possess. I don’t own my children but I am responsible for the views of the world  they have.
AMS:  Going back to your success as a blogger, who or what inspired you to be who you are?
Mommy Niri: I honestly have just kept the same work ethic as an engineer. I have also dealt with many life experiences which gave me a good insight as to what is important in life. Several people have molded my life but my (late) mom would be my biggest influence.
AMS:  What are some of the greatest achievement, aside from being a Mom and your site?
Mommy Niri: Always remembering that there are other people that need our help. Even as an engineer I volunteered part time for everything from working to seniors, soup kitchens, abused kids, troubled teens etc. Now that I have online influence I launched a site called Mommy Niri Cares – where I focus on Social Media for Social Good
AMS:  Who are/were your motivators to keep on going?
Mommy Niri: It is a fabulous ride and I don’t want to get off. Part of being in this field means I get to stay on the latest news and gadgets which I would not otherwise have access to. Social Media feels natural to me and I really love what I do.
AMS:  If you were to tell us what are the most important skills that you need in order to be successful (in general) in life- what are they?
Mommy Niri: Be empathetic, be kind and be bold.
AMS:  What are your next goals for yourself?
Mommy Niri: To do more in the social good place – whether philanthropically or in causes I care about (health and education)
AMS:  Lastly,  what is your definition of success?
Mommy Niri: If you smile when you think of what you do, you have achieved it (personally or professionally).

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