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Meet The Team: Get To Know Your Sassy Mamas

meet the Sassy Mama team
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We take you behind the scenes to get to know the Sassy Mama crew!

One of the best things about working for Sassy Mama is the amazing, diverse, inspirational women that make up our team. Sassy Media Group is 100% a community (that you, our wonderful readers, are part of), so we’d like you to get to know us a little better. We’ve shared our childhood aspirations, embarrassing moments, proudest achievements, outfit essentials and everything in between.

whats on meet team sassy mama Maura

Maura Thompson – Founder

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was little my dream was to be a newscaster. I vividly remember being in my room and putting a blank cassette tape into my radio so I could record myself saying the neighbourhood news and local traffic reports. Now when I have a microphone in my hand speaking at Sassy/Sassy Mama events or panels I am often brought back to those early days when I would use my hairbrush as a microphone. I find it comforting to hold a microphone and I think it’s because it helps me to channel that little girl in her bedroom (that had all the confidence in the world when she was doing her pretend news reports)!

What is your proudest accomplishment?
The accomplishment I like to look back on is from my running days. I ran Cross Country and Track in university but to be honest I was never a big fan of running long distance. In my early university days, I used Cross Country to just get in shape for Track season which is where historically I did the best. I still had to run the races though and at one meet at Princeton University I legit came in last place.

Fast forward one year later. It was the same exact cross country meet. Same time of year. Same distance. Same weather conditions. Pretty similar competition. But there was one thing that was not the same. I came in first place! I won the race and no one was more surprised than me. But you know what, I shouldn’t have been surprised because that summer I put in the work. I took the training more seriously and I had more confidence. I deserved to be competing in that race and I learned that I actually wasn’t bad at running cross country. The coach from Princeton remembered me finishing last the year before and started to use my “last to first” story as an inspirational speech to his athletes. I am now a firm believer that a lot of hard work, determination and confidence can lead to really great things.

Most listened to song? 
As a mom, there are a few songs that are high in my rotation and have nothing in common! At the moment the theme song from Blaze and the Monster Machine is high up there (because of Jack, age 3) and If Only from Descendants is a top request too (because of Eve, age 5.5). For me, I love coming back to The Gambler by Fun. There is just something about that song that just gets to me. It’s a beautiful song and it makes me remember the important things in life. I love the part when they say “And even though she moved away, we always get calls from our daughter”, because it reminds me of my regular calls for the past 11 years to my parents in the US.

whats on meet team sassy mama

Vicky Huffey – Managing Director

What is your proudest accomplishment?
Representing my country as part of TeamGB at the Dragonboating World Championships in China and our ladies team winning a bronze medal.

What is the best holiday you’ve ever been on?
Trekking in Nepal – the people, landscape and culture are simply incredible!

Your most embarrassing moment? 
Far too many to mention haha. Thankfully as you get older, you learn to laugh at yourself and move on (but still inwardly cringe!).

whats on meet team sassy mama Caroline

Caroline Jones – Managing Editor

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a florist and have my own flower shop. I think I was inspired by a little pink trinket box I had in my bedroom. On the outside of the tin, there was a cartoon image depicting the front of a flower shop and when you opened it up, the image was of the inside of the shop (complete with a mouse in a dress behind the counter!). My Grandma instilled a love of flowers in me from a young age so I think she must have bought me the tin. She would always let me help her when she was making posies and arrangements.

Your most embarrassing moment? 
I have many! But I think the one that stands out is when I managed to get an entire group lost on a cycle tour in Berlin. I was on holiday with one of my best school friends in 2010 and we decided to sign up for a bike tour around the city. At one point, we had to travel in single file on a very busy main road, and I was several people behind the tour guide. It was all going well until I momentarily lost concentration to look at something and realised I could no longer see anyone in front of me.

I thought that if I just kept pedalling faster, we would eventually find the others. But after 10 minutes of cycling, I realised we were well and truly lost, and the worst part was I had the majority of the group blindly following me. I pulled over and admitted to the others that I had no idea where we were, or where our guide had gone. At this point, my friend was laughing hysterically because she knows how bad my sense of direction is.

The others in the group didn’t see the funny side (particularly one irate father who had been separated from his teenage son). Eventually, the tour guide turned up looking slightly frazzled and very out of breath, saying he had been halfway around the city trying to locate us. He was highly unamused, leaving me even more red-faced. He led us back to join the others (constantly looking over his shoulder to check we were following) and we carried on with the tour. My friend got the giggles so badly, I’m amazed she didn’t fall off the bike. I still cringe when I think about it!

Most listened to song?
I have an am-dram background so my go-to songs are all from musicals (you can imagine how much my husband despairs when I’m in charge of the playlist!). I’d say for my most listened to song it’s a close tie between “Defying Gravity” from Wicked or “Seasons of Love” from Rent. But if I’m in need of some motivation “You Can’t Stop The Beat” from Hairspray is always up there too.

whats on meet team sassy mama Alex

Alex Purcell Garcia – Editor

What’s one new thing you’re trying this year? 
My sister and I are the eldest of 11 grandchildren, my Mama was a childminder for many years (so there was always babies and children in our house) and I was also a kindergarten teacher for several years – so I’m no stranger to babies and toddlers. All of which is a good job, as this year I’ll be growing my own little human and becoming a Mama! I just need to teach the husband how to change a nappy now.

A movie you could watch on repeat? 
It’s an oldie and, in my opinion, a goodie! Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves – the 90’s version. I can recite pretty much the whole movie by heart and can probably tell you the first line of every character – perfect for random quiz nights if it should ever come up (I still love Kevin Costner)!

What is your favourite book to read?
To Kill A Mockingbird. It was such a forward-thinking novel for its time and I love that Harper Lee was brave enough to tackle tricky topics. Plus, it cracks me up when Scout is running in the “ham” costume!

whats on meet team sassy mama Anita

Anita Balagopalan – Editor

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A zookeeper. The problem is I really wanted to “keep the zoo”! I’m happiest with animals and I could happily live with all sorts of creatures.

A movie you could watch on repeat? 
Mamma Mia. I know it sounds silly and my husband must be rolling his eyes as he reads this, but I love musicals and love stories. And it sort of reminds me of my own story with my husband! I watch this regularly and cry with happiness when they get together!

A hidden talent? 
I’m a good mimic but I’m also painfully shy when it comes to any sort of performance. You’d have to catch me with my guard down or sufficiently drunk to witness this!

whats on meet team sassy mama Jess

Jess Mizzi – Editor

What is the best holiday you’ve ever been on?
I am so fortunate to have travelled, a lot! My first life changing adventure (although not really a holiday as such) was a semester abroad. I studied at a university in Ecuador, volunteered at a sea turtle sanctuary and backpacked my way through Central and South America. This trip transformed me and instilled a lifelong love of travel which I now get to share with my pilot husband (definitely married him for the travel perks – love you honey x) and one-year-old son, Max. Since moving to Hong Kong, travel has definitely got a whole lot easier and some stand out destinations have been Myanmar, Sri Lanka and a month-long Southern Africa adventure.

Your dream destination?
Antarctica! I long ago decided I was going to travel to all seven continents by the time I was 30 (I made it to the other six!). Unfortunately life slightly got in the way, with a move to Hong Kong and a wedding to pay for, causing slight obstacles. I am determined to get there one day though!

Where would we find you on a Saturday night?
Honestly, I’m all for the day time socialising and early nights these days (kids will do that to you!). So let’s go for my ideal Saturdays – I’d kick off the day with a session at the gym (I may be slightly addicted to F45), mostly so I can then kick on to brunch with my Hong Kong besties with slightly less guilt about all the bubbles that will get consumed! Then I can be home early enough to spend time with my energetic toddler before bedtime.

whats on meet team sassy mama Mansha

Mansha Channa – Partnerships Manager

Your go-to outfit? 
A pair of high-waisted jeans, a patterned shirt and a bright pink lipstick will always do the trick!

Your dream destination?
More like continent for me – South America! I would love to spend two months travelling all around the different countries, trying the delicious food, exploring their wondrous sights whilst submerging myself in the local culture.

What would your last meal be? 
Dhal and rice, this traditional Indian dish is my comfort food and brings back all the precious memories of my grandfather. It reminds me of home and the warmth of being with family.

whats on meet team sassy mama Jordanne

Jordanne Grey – Partnerships Manager

Favourite book to read?
It’s so hard to pick just one! I could read The Book Thief over and over again, and I always have a copy of Pride and Prejudice nearby.

Which three people would you invite to a dinner party?
Another tough one to narrow down. I think Sir David Attenborough, Ricky Gervais, and J.K Rowling would be a great mix (I obviously have a thing for Brits)! Can I have a separate dinner party to invite my three favourite cricket players too?

Go-to outfit: 
Jeans, always, and my cherished vintage Soundgarden tee, jazzed up with some gold jewellery and bright lippy.

whats on meet team sassy mama Elle

Elle Noble – Partnerships Manager

What’s one new thing you’re trying this year? 
I just came back from Siargao in the Philippines where I was learning to surf. I’ve got a long way to go but am already planning the next trip so I can catch some more waves!

What is the best holiday you’ve ever been on?
Before moving to Hong Kong I took a year out with my boyfriend to travel around the world, visiting South America, Australia, South East Asia and China. We were on a tight budget and really tried to get off the beaten track. That meant we definitely had some interesting adventures including long ferry journeys with all the locals, chickens, pigs, you name it! Or squeezing on top of jam-packed jeepneys riding through the countryside and visiting remote areas, often staying in homestays. We had such an incredible trip experiencing so many different cultures and meeting such kind, friendly people along the way.

Your dream destination? 
Next on the bucket list is Africa, I’d love to do a safari and also climb Kilimanjaro!

whats on meet team sassy mama Sam

Sam Book – Marketing Manager

What is your favourite thing about your career?
I’ve been super lucky to have spent most of my career so far working for brands and things that I really care about (books and publishing!) so that is a real plus point, but the real favourite is how many amazing people I’ve met in these roles. I feel so happy that I can say I’ve made lifelong friends at every company I’ve worked at, despite the fact that now many of us are living in different places all over the world!

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My love of animals meant I started off wanting to be a vet until I quickly realised that I didn’t have the steely nature, or the stomach, for it. I was always the child with their nose in a book, who spent weekends folding up A4 sheets of paper and “writing” my own books and magazines, so I guess working in media was meant to be!

A movie you could watch on repeat? 
I have different movies that I watch on repeat for different moods (I think everyone does, right?). If I want something easy and that makes me instantly happy, it’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. If it’s raining and so a movie day is obligatory, it’s either The Lion King or Aristocats, and if I need to laugh it’s Shrek. My younger brother and I were obsessed with this film growing up and still send each other various donkey memes on a weekly basis.

whats on meet team sassy mama Daisy

Daisy Dudley – Art Director

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be “an inventor”, of what I wasn’t sure but I spent a lot of time hunched over my Dr. Dreadful edible science kit and making elaborate pully-systems for my Sylvanian families to go up and down stairs in their shoebox house.

What would your last meal be? 
Masala dosa with a gin and tonic.

Your most embarrassing moment?
There are too many to mention, but one of my most recent episodes involved not realising I was sitting on a mini Green & Black’s chocolate bar for the entirety of a long haul flight. Both myself and the airline cleaning staff had to suffer the consequences when I stood up to get off.

whats on meet team sassy mama Elly

Elly Liu – Office Manager

What is your proudest accomplishment?
I completed a half marathon – 21.1km! When I signed up I had no idea if I’d even be able to finish. I love to run but had never tried such a long distance before. It challenged me to run farther and faster than I ever had before, even on the days I didn’t feel like lacing up my running shoes. Crossing that finish line was a celebration of all the work it took to get there and it was totally worth all the training!

What is the best holiday you’ve ever been on?
It must be the trip I took with my husband to Bali. We had our wedding photos taken there and enjoyed a really relaxing holiday. It was nothing but lying on the beach and enjoying drinking the chilled coconut water!

Where would we find you on a Saturday night?
Saturday night is BBQ night for me! I always have Korean BBQ after a long nap on a Saturday afternoon. Pork belly and ribs are my favourites.

All images property of Sassy Media Group, except image 2 which is courtesy of Moomin.

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