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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.

Read more: Sassy Mama’s Favourite Date Night Spots In Hong Kong

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 mum, 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 4) and My Once Upon A time from Descendants 3 is a top request too (because of Eve, age 6). 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 12 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 Alex

Alex Purcell Garcia – Editor

A movie you could watch on repeat? 
It’s an oldie and, in my opinion, a goodie! Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves – the 90s 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)!

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
I guess this might also come under a hidden talent, but I always wanted to be a singer when I was younger. My dad is a musician, and both my parents love good music, so I grew up listening to legendary sounds as there was always music in our house (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Cat Stevens, Joan Armatrading to name just a few). From a young age, I was always on the stage singing with my guitar, performing with the dance company that I joined, or acting (I studied Performing Arts at A-Level), and when I left school I actually had the opportunity to sing with a couple of record labels in London. Alas, homesickness kicked in at the time and so I chose a different path thank goodness – otherwise, I might not have met my husband, travelled the world or had our awesome daughter! I still sing at home sometimes though for my cute little audience of one.

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 2-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 wonderous 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.

SMHK Meet the team Emily

Emily Chu – Partnerships Manager

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I really wanted to be a chef. I had one of those cooking playsets and was always asking my parents and brother for their order and then pretended to wash and chop the veggies and cook the meat. I would get really sad and annoyed if they didn’t make mmm noises when eating my imaginary food.

What has been your best holiday?
I’ve been so lucky to have been on so many amazing trips it’s so hard to choose! From visiting Japan during sakura season and seeing the glorious Mount Fuji (all whilst gorging on the freshest sushi and tastiest ramen), to a crazy 24 hours in Victoria Falls where I managed to fit in a morning safari (rhinos, elephants, zebras check!), a helicopter ride over the falls, zip-lining across the gorge and evening dance show!

But if I had to pick my “best” holiday, it would be my trip to Yogyakarta and East Java, Indonesia.  It was full of so many “first experiences”.  First time being lowered 60 meters by a harness into the most spectacular cave, first time releasing baby sea turtles at Sukamade beach, first time waking up before dawn to hike Ijen crater and see the electric blue flames and sulfur lakes. And of course, nothing can quite describe the beauty of Mount Bromo at sunrise.

What would your last meal be?
It would have to be something with potatoes. Either mash potatoes, roast potatoes or potatoes dauphinoise. Actually, I would want a big platter of all three of those along with a big jug of gravy, one whole confit garlic and maybe a Yorkshire pudding too.

whats on meet team sassy mama Elle

Elle Noble – Partnerships Manager

What’s one new thing you’re trying this year? 
I visited Siargao in the Philippines last year, 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 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 pulley-systems for my Sylvanian families to go up and down the 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.

Read more: Sassy Mama’s Top Picks: 8 Great Parenting Books For Baby And Up

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

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