244: Maaden Eshete Jones – Healing Through Hospitality
March is Women’s History month. During this celebration, the media usually focuses on Oprah, Michelle Obama or other famous women in history. But today’s guest should also be one of the many women to be honoured this Women’s History Month
In this episode of Chasing Dreams, we get to speak with Maaden Eshete Jones, the founder of Love, Maaden. Maaden is a wellness advocate, story teller, and lover of celebrations. She believes that community begets fearlessness, and that gathering around the table with others to share in real and vulnerable conversation is an act of self love.
Madi, as she is known to her friends, holds a Master of Public Health with a focus in Social and Behavioural Health. The driving idea behind her company -- Love, Maaden -- is to provide women, particularly mothers, with the tools needed to understand and heal from life's inevitable challenges.
She launched Love, Maaden as a means to encourage others to intentionally unplug and meet their people around a table. Madi is waging a war against fear, and encouraging a generation to overcome isolation and self-doubt in favour of community, joy, and gratitude.
While she wears many hats, she identifies with family first. A wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister and Friend; she currently resides in Maryland with her husband, Louis, and their young daughter.
Young Madi, like most kids, thought she would be a doctor or a talk show host. When asked what she wanted to be when she grows up, whatever profession she would answer, the one thing that she would add at the end of her answer is that she wanted to be a Mom.
Oftentimes, we see our Moms as super women - juggling professional life, personal life, and so many other things in between. As women, we recognize that being a Mom is a job. Young Maaden always saw her mom as an influence in her life and someone she looked up to and wanted to be like. This is where her journey began.
MAADEN’S CAREER JOURNEY
Always a lover of science and healthcare, Maaden knew she wanted to be a scientist in the health industry. She knew she wanted to work in the health sector and help others with their health and overall well-being. However, in her student days, hard sciences were what was encouraged. The public health sector wasn’t something encouraged to young students.
So how did Madi land on the path she is on now?
At six years old, she remembered her sister being born prematurely. She accounts going back and forth to the hospital visiting her mom and her younger sister. This was the spark where she wanted to help moms and saw herself being a mom as well. She was always concerned with babies, moms, and families and this common thread continued on until her college days.
Being fascinated with health and wellness, she took up and graduated with a Masters in Public Health. Her masteral thesis was around Maternal and Child Health. Once she got married, she experienced recurrent pregnancy loss. Putting these circumstances and events together, throughout her life, there was always this thread of being concerned with the issues that women faced and particularly for moms.
As she worked her day job, she always had something on the side helping women and moms, including launching a women’s health non-profit that turned to a one-year project for holistic health. Helping other women and promoting women’s health and well-being was her calling and passion.
A few years after working, Maaden took a break and had a successful pregnancy. She then came back with new and uplifted spirits, and that’s when she launched Love, Maaden.
HOW LOVE, MAADEN CAME TO BE
According to Madi, Love, Maaden is a marriage of social aspects of life, the science and the spiritual. It’s about getting together around the table, helping one another health, showing each other love and showing ourselves love.
Love, Maaden is a culmination of all of the things that she learned in her professional and personal life that brought her to where she is today. One huge factor of this endeavour were the women in her life. She valued the women in her life who were her support system during her hardships and losses. She recalled gathering around the table with the women in her life to help her during the difficult times in her life and she would do the same for them.
Madi saw this thread in her life. She knew what lit her up since she was a young girl, which was promoting and advocating for women’s health and well-being. In creating Love, Maaden, she was able to put into reality what she loved doing, which was communicating with other women, sharing experiences and helping others throughout their journey.
“The number one issue that women needed help with was their mental and emotional health.” @lovemaaden #chasingdreams
STARTING A BUSINESS AS A WOMAN
They say that you can only be what you see, and Maaden saw powerful and strong women in health and business, whether in her circle or in social media. Her journey as a business woman all started as a Twitter conversation and seeing other women in that space. But the lightbulb moment she had was that she wanted to marry her two lives - public and social. She brought together her public life of serving in the health sector and her social life of coming together with friends and family to share deep conversations.
Creating one event after another in clubs, fitness boot camps, and churches, she eventually niched down from her broad non-profit work. She niched down to the mental and emotional health and well-being of women. This gave birth to Love, Maaden.
“They say that you can only be what you see.. And so I saw it.” @lovemaaden #chasingdreams
THE MISSION OF LOVE, MAADEN
The mission of Love, Maaden is healing through hospitality.
When you think about the word hospitality, you think about serving others. But the root word of hospitality - hospital, is not only about serving others but is also a space to heal in. So that’s the main pillar of Love, Maaden - hospitality - coming together, breaking bread, communicating, connecting with God and one another.
Generationally and cross-culturally, people have been doing this for many years - getting together over food, talking and sharing their safe spaces to heal and explore. Maaden wanted others to experience this powerful safe space which propelled her to put together a “gathering guide.”
These gathering guides are for introverts as well as men and women who are looking for safe spaces to share their journey. It’s a way to simplify gatherings and prompt the people in the gathering to really go deeper and have more meaningful conversations rather than just having chit chat and small talk. Maaden’s gathering guides help people first work on themselves and then bless and be there for others (even if they can’t be sitting at a literal table with one another due to the pandemic).
One of the important habits that Love, Maaden’s gathering guides promotes is to have meaningful conversations by being present. One of the practices she encourages is putting your phone down during the gathering, which is something we should all be practicing.
“People have been doing this for generations - getting together over food, talking and sharing, and creating what we now call safe spaces to heal and explore.” @lovemaaden #chasingdreams
FIGURE OUT THE PROBLEM AND FIND OUT YOUR WHY
This doesn’t just relate to entrepreneurship or business but to life in general - when faced with a problem, figure out the cause and find out the solution by first looking for the symptoms.
So many of us have used the pandemic to pivot and expand our professional and personal lives. Maaden did the same thing. When she started her podcast pre-pandemic, she saw a dip in the listeners during the pandemic. Because of this, she was ruminating if she should put the podcast on hold or just cancel it all together.
Instead of giving up, she pivoted and used the pandemic as an opportunity. She looked for the problem and found solutions. In order to pivot her podcast, she started covering topics that people needed to hear during challenging times - mental health, living in traumatic times, and needing a break. She was then able to use her podcast to serve so many more people.
FIND OUT YOUR OWN ANSWER AND YOUR OWN SOLUTION
We all have our own ways to cope with and handle the stress that the pandemic brought us. But we must remember that what we do during this time to cope and survive is not a competition.
Remember that we all have our own path, but none of us are going to come out of this situation unchanged. It’s important to take the time to process because we have this shared traumatic experience. It’s important to think about what I can take away from this that can be beneficial and what are the challenges we need to heal from.
Having self love and self-compassion is so important. It adds an element of grace. As you are processing, remember to be gentle with yourself.
“COVID 19 forced me to try to think about what people’s needs were in this new unprecedented time we were in.” @lovemaaden #chasingdreams
SELF-LOVE IS NEVER SELFISH
You can be a Mom, a Daughter, a Wife, a Husband, a Son, a Friend. But before you were all of these or any of these, you were you. So self-love must come before you can serve others.
Maaden’s advice to people is to first love God, then love yourself, then love others. But a