It’ll be February soon, and by now many of us have gone off track when it comes to our New Years Resolutions. It’s common for us to revert back to our old habits and dismiss the plans we made for…
I have been featured in Alice Hildkova MadeinFuture Series: ‘The Lovely Green Elephants in the Room’ story.
Have you ever heard of the “elephant in the room?” The English-language metaphorical idiom describes an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss. The risk of women on a board causes many uncomfortable discussions and because of the discomfort, I would like to expose the hurdles, opportunities and impact some of these women took to get that seat.
Here are the green — yes, for a social impact angle — elephants that became friends with risk, turning the problem of women with no seat into an opportunity to be the first or second. And thrive.
The Israeli Shepherd.
Michal Mael, President and CEO of Michal & Company, has recently shifted gears. “I am the board of my own company,” she told me as she boarded her flight for Israel with her set of twins. “I have been a sole entrepreneur since the age of 19,” she said. Her mother, an entrepreneur who owned a small eclectic store in Boston, gave her $1,000 to start her own wholesale bead business selling nationally at trade shows to designers. “I grew up in the store and wanted to sell her gems and glass beads at trade shows, “ says Mael, “but my mom told me to do it for myself.” After a short stint of college and cleaning homes in Israel (the only job she qualified for), Mael invested $700 of savings into what would become her transition point of her life becoming one of the largest top three importers and wholesalers of gems and minerals in the United States. From living stoneology and business to teaching the principles of what she calls “Rock Our World,” Mael continues to shift energy in order to reinvent herself as the first single woman who has entered the field of rocks and minerals.
I first spoke to Mael on the phone while she was managing the logistics of a dozen seasonal employees she hired to assist at the Tucson Gem and Mineral show, the largest in the world. “We had 10 semi-loads of gems,” says Mael who gets most of her geodes from Brazil. When Mael first went to Brazil purchase amethyst, the buyer had never done business with a woman. “What should I do?,” he asked the interpreter and vendor. “Treat her like a man,” he replied. The deal was done, they made money, and twenty years later, “we are like family.” Kharma is at the heart of her Brazilian experience. “When my vendor grew to a big company that I helped him grow, he kicked me out and worked with the bigger fish, the Chinese,” she says. “He had no more merchandise for me and now that the Chinese marker is down, he is asking me to come back. Sorry!” The business lessons: “It is not about destroying the vendor or getting the best deal or the win-win. One always conforms, giving something up. Honor people, help them grow and be careful who you fry! Remember that not all countries have the same sovereignty.” In Morocco, the personal lesson of integrity helped her not only get her price but also make friends with perceived enemies. The “Jewish girl in a small town,” inside Arab neighborhoods, observed the wives “working like slaves, and the children had no books or toys. Dogs got the better treatment.” Rocks were found in villages, not in big cities. “One time I had five sets of eyes at me,” said Mael, who was accused of killing Palestinians. “We are cousins, in history. Religion is what separates us” she said, advising not to “hurt or hate your cousin.” She closed the deal with another request: “hold up your fingers, and read between the lines.” The vendor agreed, taking her side. “A Moroccan Arab on the side of the Jewish woman??! Unheard of!” In any corner, men feared her. “Men like to hang out with strong women and for the challenge to get them to bed. Nothing more than that,” she told me, with a laugh.
Mael shared with me the wonderful mentors in her life. CEO Space Founder Bernie Dorman who used his “big thinker” mentality to help with hers, looked at her as a “corporate woman.” Another mentor, Ray Speth, helped her see different avenues for collaboration deals. “We are healers, lone stars,” says the self-labeled “spiritual entrepreneur.” Being available is key, to guide others on their spiritual path. “I am a death doula, helping people pass over,” she says. Beyond advising entrepreneurs, especially women to get out into the world, she travels for speaking engagements to share her spiritual philosophies. “My number one is God, then my twins, me and then my business,” says Mael. On taking care of three babies (company plus twins), it is a “double whammy!” Determination, with knowing your right, is everything. “Stick to your gut feeling,” she advises. “Learn to flow and be in flow. Ideas are not yours; they are gifted to you.” Expect to pay yourself last. “For years, I just paid for rent and food, with no money left for cable TV.” Self-exploration is the key to entrepreneurship, and giving oneself permission to grow. “Purpose changes,” she says, confused why people search for their “soul purpose.” Mael adds: “We are in the act of dying, and processing letting go. Let go of the bad stuff, and take care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. It is your job on this earth to explore, learn, and create.”
I thank Alive for including me in such a fascinating group of women, empowering social change.
– The Rock Lady
About Michal Mael:
Michal’s worldly background made her the perfect ambassador for nature’s gems. She was born in Israel to parents of Iraqi, Yemenite, and European origins moved to America at a young age and grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts. As a pre-teenager, she mastered sales in her mom’s retail store, and by the age of 19, Michal opened “Jewels of the Nile,” a traveling business selling beads, statues, antiques, and crystals.
Through decades of traveling the world to handpick and sell gems, Michal became a leading expert on rocks and minerals. Transforming any environment with Nature’s Art Decor™ is her specialty. Michal believes that each crystal has a specific purpose and place in life, business, and the home. Tranquility and abundance can be achieved through the right placement of Nature’s Art.
From international businessmen and women to Beverly Hills celebrities, and everyone in between, Michal uses her expertise to place the exact crystals needed, giving clients the alignment they desire in both home and work environments. She has developed her own technique and system of Energy Positioning Placement™ and teaches audiences about stones and energy all over the world.
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