Can Moms “Have it All?”

I had the amazing opportunity this week to interview Joan Barnes, the creator of Gymboree. When I think Gymboree, I think giggling toddlers, primary-colored parachutes and precious mommy & me moments.

gymboreeBut for Joan, balancing the needs of a multi-million dollar business with her own needs and those of her family was not so sweet. When managing Gymboree stopped being fun (or even healthy), Joan walked away and began a journey to find inner peace and happiness.

In her book, Play It Forward: From Gymboree to the Yoga Mat and Beyond, Joan tells her story with sheer transparency, chronicling the difficult road she took from groundbreaking entrepreneur to grounded entrepreneur. Joan will be in San Diego to share her story and what she has learned about being a mom and trying to “have it all.”

Join me in welcoming Joan, and don’t miss the opportunity to benefit from her insights into the balancing act we all participate in as moms.  You can meet Joan at Warwick’s Book Store on Wednesday, May 18th at 7:30 p.m. and again on Thursday, May 19th at the Poway Gymboree from 2:30 – 4 p.m. (children under 5 are welcome to play during the event and parents should bring their socks 🙂 )

gymboree meetup

It’s much easier to be a mom if you are surrounded by friends going through the same thing at the same time. Gymboree was created, in part, to bring moms together. You can try classes for free!

More about Joan Barnes . . . 

Forty years ago, Joan founded a play center in a church basement with $3,000 that eventually became Gymboree. Determined to enable women to achieve personal and entrepreneurial success, Joan grew Gymboree into a trailblazing leader, which became a global billion dollar brand and included an innovative franchise program that allowed women to operate a business while raising a family. She, too, was raising a family when it was hardly fashionable to combine both.

It wasn’t, however, all rainbows and fairy tales; her journey is a cautionary tale and story of redemption. When Gymboree had an historical IPO, Joan was nowhere near Wall Street, as she had earlier stepped down as CEO to battle a debilitating eating disorder that threatened to destroy her and everything she built.

She overcame her demons, charting a new path with an enduring sense of worth and hope. She resumed her business career on healthier terms with a line of yoga studios she eventually sold to Yoga Works, a stirring example of how mid-career women can triumph through reinvention.

“Joan Barnes’ story is an inspiration for any woman who’d rather “build her own table’’ than wait for a seat in the corporate boardroom. Her unflinching honesty about the lows and highs of her journey make this a must-read for anyone seeking sustainable success.”

Peggy Northrop, co-founder of, former editor-in-chief of More Magazine and former global editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest.

One thought on “Can Moms “Have it All?”

  1. I used to be a Gymboree Play and Music teacher. I love what they are about. She sounds like an incredibly resilient woman!

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