Loud and Clear

One podcast founder on using her voice to foster community among determined mothers // Photographs by Rosa Maria Zamarron

podcast On the first episode of Mother Honestly Podcast, released in October 2018, host Blessing Adesiyan thoughtfully discusses work-life alignment with Taharah Saad, an engineer at Ford Motor Co., vice president of the Arab American Women’s Business Council, and a mother and step mother of three. In another episode, she speaks with Erinn Moss, operating partner of Dry Bar Birmingham and mother to three boys, on how to start a business before you’re ready. And, on a more recent episode, Adesiyan talks mental health and motherhood with some of the women behind Honey, a Ferndale-based clubhouse where mothers can find parenting, lifestyle, and childcare support.  “Listening to their stories has given me courage in my own journey,” says Adesiyan, 32, a full-time senior supply chain sales and operations leader at BASF, a chemical company with local offices in Southfield. Adesiyan launched Mother Honestly, the more than 100-member collective, to support mothers in their professional lives in June 2018. “We knew we wanted to have a podcast, but we didn’t know that we were going to be spreading this message of resilience, and empowering women, and elevating our potential.”

After moving to the United States from Nigeria in 2006, Adesiyan graduated with a chemical engineering degree from the University of Florida and worked at DuPont and PepsiCo. She later married and, in 2009, gave birth to her daughter. Despite her professional success, by the time she welcomed her son last summer, she felt as though she lacked the tools to effectively balance the endless obligations of motherhood with her professional ambitions. “There was just so much,” she says. “My dreams and my career needed a different kind of attention.”

Blessing Adesiyan, pictured with her son at Motor City Woman Studios where she records Honestly Podcast.

Now, as a mother of two, she says the sense of community she’s been able to cultivate since starting the Mother Honestly empire — in addition to the podcast, the collective encompasses a blog, an annual summit for mothers featuring panel discussions and networking opportunities, a range of online self-improvement classes, and a pitch competition for entrepreneurial mothers — is something that was missing while she was on maternity leave with her then newborn son.

A natural problem solver, Adesiyan sought out other like-minded women to help her build the infrastructure of Mother Honestly. Her goal was to meet ambitious mothers where they already were. “When we become moms, we don’t have time,” Adesiyan says. In part, that’s why when Robin Kinnie, the owner of the Southfield-based Motor City Woman podcast studio, reached out about having her launch a Mother Honestly show and offered to assist with the technical side of recording, Adesiyan jumped at the opportunity.

“The podcast — you don’t need to leave your home to listen to,” Adesiyan says, adding that she’s been able to learn from others such as superstar entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso’s Girl Boss Radio, WorkParty by Create and Cultivate, and NPR’s How I Built This episodes while commuting to work, dropping off kids, or picking up around the house. “You have so many amazing powerhouse people giving their thoughts and processes away for free.”

So far, Mother Honestly Podcast, which boasts a five-star rating on iTunes and attracts over 24,000 worldwide listeners, has featured several metro Detroit-based members of the collective. Moving forward, Adesiyan hopes to speak with mothers outside of Michigan, as well, especially as the show’s reach and Mother Honestly’s impact continues to expand into more cities. “We’re powered by women,” she says. “This is just the beginning.”

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