I feel more confident than ever before

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Name: Danielle Gabbard

Degree/Institution: 

  • Bachelors degree, Pre-Law at American University 
  • MBA, Entrepreneurship at Quinlan School of Business, Loyola University Chicago

Workplace/Business: Globe Midwest Adjusters International and Dani L Designs 

Favorite app/website/blog: Anything food or health related! I love researching new recipes to make for my husband and me. Skinnytaste.com is one of my favs or even foodnetwork.com.

Go-to outfit:  If I’m not at work I am usually wearing some form of athleisure- Usually leggings, a black t-shirt and sneakers. I love my camo leggings

Go-to power anthem: I have a different one everyday. At my office I like to post a daily motivational quote on our large screen to get my team motivated. One of my favorites is “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?” – Brian Tracy

Your Website/Blog/Social Media handle: @danildesigns 

1. Introductions: Name, Business, what you do, how you started Dani L Designs

Danielle Gabbard, I am a jewelry designer at Dani L Designs. I also work full time at Globe Midwest Adjusters International. My dad started the business over 50 years ago and I am proud to be a licensed public adjuster and senior manager of claims. 

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2. Walk us through your morning routine before heading out

Most days, my son Henry wakes up around 6:30am (although we are currently in a sleep regression phase and he is waking up between 4:30-5:00am!) Henry and I let our dog, Bruno, out and then we snuggle on the couch and I feed Henry his bottle. Henry comes into my bathroom with me so I can get dressed for work and we dance to Disney music. Our little man is now eating purees so I give him a few bites of whatever jars we have in the house and then I hand him off to my husband. I take Bruno for a quick walk, feed him his breakfast and then I’m off to the office by 8am. Henry's babysitter usually arrives about 40 minutes after I leave. 

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3. Now that you are a mom, what does your typical work day look like?

I am at the office by 8:30am. As a claims manager, my job is to meet with different members of my team and try to focus in on how I can help make each member more successful. It’s a difficult task, but I absolutely love it. I usually have lunch at my desk so I can get some web surfing time in and update myself on what is going on in the world. I leave work by 4:00 and I run home to be with my baby! I’ll feed, bath and put Henry to bed by 7:00. Then my husband and I will eat dinner– he often helps with the cooking which is amazing! Finally, I will sit on the couch and if I have the energy I will pull my beading table out and bead while we watch TV on the couch together.

4.  How are you navigating childcare, any tips for moms returning to work?

I am very thankful that my job allows me to work from home on Fridays. We have a nanny at our house 3 days a week and my mother in law takes Henry to her house once a week. Returning to work is HARD! Even now that Henry is 6 months old, I still find myself getting really sad on Mondays when I have to leave him with the babysitter. However, I do like having a set schedule every week. It’s hard to explain, but having a schedule that I have to stick to makes motherhood a lot easier. 

5. How has being a woman or mother affected your professional experience?

I feel more confident than ever before. If I can be a mom AND go to work with my shirt on the right way and my hair brushed then I’m doing something right. When I’ve worked a full day at the office and come home in time to feed my son and put him to sleep I feel like I have accomplished so much and I am so grateful. 

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6. Now, switching to your lovely business Dani L Designs, what made you start this side-hustle?

Designing and creating jewelry has been a hobby of mine since childhood. I started Dani L Designs when I was in Grad school and I have social media to thank for the confidence to actually start my own company. Originally, I was just making bracelets for myself. One day I decided to post a photo of my designs on facebook to see if I would get any input on color, design, anything. To my surprise I had 5 orders within an hour and I realized this was something I really wanted to pursue further. So, in 2009 Dani L Designs was formed. Throughout the past 9 years there have been times when I haven’t had the time or energy to bead, but something always brings me back to Dani L Designs. There is something I absolutely love about making jewelry for other people – seeing how happy it makes them when they purchase it and then noticing them wear It around town makes me really happy 

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7. Do you find that balancing motherhood, family, work and your business to be a challenge? If so, what support system do you have in place to manage that.

Absolutely! I am so lucky that I have such an incredible support system. My husband is a wonderful dad and with his flexible work schedule he is able to spend a lot of time with Henry. We are also lucky to have both of our parents in town to lean on whenever we need help. The best advice I have for new moms- whether you go back to work or not- is to create some sort of schedule. Whether its having help every Tuesday or going to the same baby class every week, it will help give you a sense of organization in a crazy new world!

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8. How do you spend your free time? Do you incorporate self-care into your weekly to-dos?

Yes absolutely. I have a husband who is incredibly caring and encourages me to take time for myself. He is always willing to help with Henry any time I need to take a workout class or just go to dinner with my girl friends. I try to workout 2-3 times a week and I usually have dinner with my girl friends 2-3 times a month. Spending time with girl friends is something that my friends and I take very seriously – we all need each other! 

9. Which woman inspires you and why?

I can’t pick just one woman. The truth is that I am inspired every day by a group of girls that I am lucky enough to call my best friends. Some are stay at home moms and others work full time, but each and every day I am inspired by these women. In a group text, we announce our accomplishments, complain about disappointments, ask questions we wouldn’t dare ask anyone else for fear of sounding silly, and we share updates about our daily lives. We are each other’s cheerleading squad – there for each other whenever and however we are needed. I absolutely would not be the person I am today without these women by my side. As a new mom, I encourage everyone to lean on their friends DAILY to help get through this crazy, complicated, exciting, ever changing world that we live in. 

10.  What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you get there?

The definition of success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” My current purpose in life is to be a good mom and wife when I’m home and to be a hard worker when I’m in the office or selling jewelry at a trunk show. Trying to determine if or when I will find ultimate success is too overwhelming for me. Instead, I try to break it down into small, daily success to help me feel more of a sense of accomplishment - such as getting Henry to bed at the perfect time so he doesn’t cry when I lay him down, or helping someone at work solve a problem that they just couldn’t figure out on their own.

All photography by Diana Liang photography for Mother Honestly

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