He´s Got Your Back: Successful Women Talk About Their Supportive Spouses

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October 4, 2012 ‐ By Ann Brown

Spike and Tonya Lewis Lee at this years Toronto Film Festival. Image: Dominic Chan/ WENN.com

She can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, never let her husband forget he’s a man.  This might have been from a 1982 TV commercial, but it still rings true for today’s entrepreneurial woman. The difference now, however, is that many successful women have supportive spouses. This is the case for these high-profile businesswomen.

The Key Is Teamwork
Ola Jackson,  founder and CEO of  OWN: Onyx Woman Network, like any successful businesswoman, realizes that a  company runs smoothly when everyone is working together. She also knows that marriages, too, depend on cooperation.

“You must be respectful of the fact that you and your husband are a team even if he is not directly involved in your business. You have to realize that if the business fails, your husband hopefully will be behind you. You also have to realize that if the business is successful your husband will be beside you,” says Jackson, who is developing the Onyx Woman radio show, creating more online television programming that will showcase women of color, and publishing the Onyx Woman magazine.  She is also writing Homegirl, CEO, to be published next year.

“My husband is my number one fan. He thinks very highly of my capabilities and is very motivating,” adds Jackson, who has been married to Daryl Jackson, a disabilities advocate, for 27 years — after 7 years of dating.  “I had a crush on my husband when I first saw him when I was 12 years old. We didn’t meet officially until high school,” she recalls.

Mutual Respect Is A Must
“Being an ambitious, hardworking woman, married to an ambitious, hardworking man means that we both understand when the other is focused on work and can respect that,” says former corporate attorney turned  best-selling author and producer Tonya Lewis Lee, wife of film director Spike Lee.  They celebrated 18 years of marriage on October 2nd.

“Spike has always been very supportive of anything I’ve wanted to do,” she adds. Lee just launched a film production company, ToniK Productions.  One of the first properties she and partner Nikki Silver are developing is the young adult novel Monster by Walter Dean Myers. Lee also runs an online women’s health community, HealthyYouNow.com.

Honesty Rules
Former record company executive Vivian Scott Chew struck out on her own in 1998 to found TimeZone International, an international marketing and promotion company that specializes in marketing urban music overseas. Her husband, Ray Chew, is a musician, arranger and has been the music  director for American Idol since 2010.

“Ray and I are really honest with each other. Sometimes our honesty may hurt, but we’ve found that we can get over the initial disagreement with rationality and openness, and maintain an even stronger relationship bond. Agreeing to disagree really works for us,” Chew says. “My husband is my partner, in all respects; we share our lives, we share our accomplishments, successes and failures. He was the first one to believe in me as an entrepreneur and 15 years later, is still my biggest fan.”

Chew and her husband are also partnering to create a 501C3 foundation, Power to Inspire, whose mission will be to act as a catalyst to insure that there are skilled, trained, knowledgeable musicians and music business executives in the future.

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