IMA Moments

W-Moms: From “Working Mom” to “Winning Mom”

By Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE
September 21, 2017

Many great leaders, mentors, and other inspirational professionals work in business, and the qualities that make them so great vary widely. In my opinion, W-Moms are the greatest, most inspirational leaders in business and possess the qualities to be successful. Some people may say that “W-Moms” stands for “working moms,” but to me it stands for “winning moms.”





I never liked the term “working moms.” My mom, whom I cherish to this day, didn’t work in a traditional office. Her office was our home, and you can be darn sure she worked—nurturing and caring for her children, managing the household budget and “supply chain,” and much more.


Today, of course, many more moms work in a professional office, and I respect them all. Here are a few qualities winning moms possess that make them inspirational leaders in business.




Returning to the workplace after having a child takes courage—and perseverance—to make up for “lost” time in a competitive environment often dominated by “stay-at-work” men. In many cases, it’s the W-Mom who needs to respond to child emergencies while also dealing with a business emergency. That sometimes means making hard choices, often simultaneously, and exploring options to make sure her child is safe and business issues are addressed in due course.


Making tough choices and balancing sometimes-conflicting options and outcomes is a characteristic that should enable W-Moms to assume senior leadership roles requiring advanced experiential skill sets.




These also are crucial qualities for business leaders, especially in the ever-changing environment in which we operate. At home, moms have to adapt to a child’s changing and growing interests, such as food, television, and toys. This is the same quality W-Moms use at work to deal head on with competition, globalization, and disruptive technologies.

W-Moms adapt their style and approach from child to child; in business, this adaptability may be from one strategic situation to another, one geographic market to another, or one acquisition to another. W-Moms are great at leveraging their key “assets” for efficiency and effectiveness.




When a child has a tantrum, W-Moms must keep a level head to act quickly and appropriately for the child’s well-being. The same can be said for moms in the workplace when there’s a business crisis or a “screaming” CEO. A great business leader acts with urgency but doesn’t lose sight of the end goal. They aren’t complacent, but they also don’t panic and are always on top of priority situations proactively. Thank you, W-Moms!




Moms know their kids need love to grow, just like in business where we often use the term “servant leadership.” You can always count on W-Moms to put their heart into their work, and passionate leaders are one factor that allows for sustained business growth.


Helen Brand, CEO of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), is one of the finest business executives I know who is direct and embraces a culture of challenge in a competitive environment that’s, frankly, dominated by males. I was struck, with a tear in my eye (I know, there’s no crying in accounting), when she shared with me how she tries to instill kindness into the upbringing of her daughters and also the on-boarding new members to her team.


Of course, there are W-Dads too, but to me, a mom and her child have always had a special and unique bond. We could all learn so much from W-Moms. I surely have from my mom and the many wonderful moms with whom I engage every day at IMA and around the world.

Who are your inspirational business leaders? What qualities make them a great leader?


Related content:

Set Your Leadership Style” – Strategic Finance

Women in Accounting: Making Progress?Strategic Finance

Leadership Academy Webinars – IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)


Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE, is IMA president and CEO. He also is a member of IMA’s Bergen-Rockland-Meadowlands Chapter. You can reach Jeff at or follow him on Twitter: @IMA_JeffThomson.
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