Meet Carolyn Mara :: Working Moms Spotlight Series


Meet Carolyn Mara

The Working Moms Spotlight Series is a collection of interviews in collaboration with our friends at Just Ask Boo. Each month we introduce a Miami area working mom who has overcome obstacles and is making a difference, all while balancing the demands and joys of motherhood. 

Creativity is a gift and skill that manifests itself in many ways. I am a firm believer that every mom has the gift of creativity. Next time you doubt it – just look at that child you grew inside of you! There are a thousand ways that our individual creativity can be expressed. Some women use their creativity to lead Fortune 500 companies while others exercise creativity to prepare a home-cooked meal for their family. 

Creativity is, by definition, “involving the imagination, especially in the production of an artistic work.” For the month of November, we are excited to introduce you to a mom who has learned to use her creativity to not only self-express but to encourage others. We are eager to introduce you to Creative Artist and Mom of 3: Carolyn Mara.  Without further ado…

Working Moms Spotlight Series Carolyn Mara @carolyn_mara Miami Moms Blog

Carolyn, we are delighted to feature you as a Spotlight mom! Please describe the nature of your work:

I describe myself as an artist, photographer, and creative spirit guide.

What inspired you to start your business or enter your profession?

I always had a love of artistic expression growing up and received my first camera as a gift from my mother in my early teens. As my schooling went on I kept pursuing it on the side and after college moved to New York where I worked in a gallery. I went on to receive my Masters in photo, video and related media from The School of Visual Arts in NYC and then married and moved to South Florida just a year later.  

My focus shifted for a few years to motherhood and somewhere along the way life got messy. Dealing with my husband’s clinical depression and my own struggles of infertility I felt paralyzed and began turning to photography as a means of self-expression. The process of creating set me free and in turn, my work began to speak to others. I started supporting women and through mentoring and classes have been able to guide others in finding their own creative voice, while continuing to develop my own body of work as an artist.

Working Moms Spotlight Series Carolyn Mara @carolyn_mara Miami Moms Blog

Where do you draw inspiration? Where do you get ideas?

I am constantly scanning the world around me, I can find inspiration anywhere!  Old movies, music, or an old-fashioned brain dump. I love to write down phrases describing how I am feeling in a particular moment and then find a way to visually represent it.

What’s the most creative thing you’ve ever done?

Wow. This is a loaded question for me. I live my life creating and while some things are super well received and loved, there are others that might hold way more meaning for me. I have conceptualized and created many photography projects and gone to great lengths for a single image, I have painted a huge painting in 5 minutes and spent a few hours arm knitting a blanket.  I have created from my heart and soul and waited months before sharing because it felt too vulnerable. The truth is, art has its own circle of life. It is through the interaction with others that it gains meaning. So, what might feel like my most creative endeavor may not line up with my most celebrated piece of work.

Working Moms Spotlight Series Carolyn Mara @carolyn_mara Miami Moms BlogWhat is your message or advice to women who are a few years behind you, professionally?

Keep moving forward. Let your own evolution happen.

What is an obstacle you’ve overcome and how did you overcome it?

I find that often my biggest obstacle is myself and my own views. Am I doing my best? Could I be doing more? Is this enough? I do not have a traditional 9 to 5 job but the nature of work has changed in the last 20 years and now working from home or a remote location is much more mainstream.  Being highly productive has nothing to do with time and everything to do with output. I have created a body of work I am proud of in the last decade and more importantly grown leaps and bounds as an artist, creator, mentor and honestly, as a human.

Working Moms Spotlight Series Carolyn Mara @carolyn_mara Miami Moms BlogHow has being a mother influenced your role in business?

I believe whole-heartedly that the best way to teach my children is by example.  If I want them to follow their dreams then I need to follow mine. My children motivated me to push myself merely by my intense love for them!

What are the challenges and rewards you have encountered as a working mom?

Finding balance is my greatest challenge as a working mother. Wanting to be the best mother, artist, mentor and take care of myself at the same time.  I learned that if I don’t take care of my own needs then I can’t be the best version of myself for everyone else. Finding time to cultivate my inner artist helps fulfill that part of me.

What advice would you give a mom who is considering stepping back into the workforce or to the mom who dreams of starting her own business?

My father always told me that if you find a profession you love you will wake up excited to go to work, at least most days! So if you have a dream to start something you are passionate about then do it!

Working Moms Spotlight Series Carolyn Mara @carolyn_mara Miami Moms BlogWhat’s your favorite go-to spot for “me” time in Miami?

I love a day at the Soho Beach House!

What words of wisdom do you live by?

Keep moving forward. Done is better than perfect. Smile, you’ll feel better.

Name 3 things that make you smile, life’s simple joys:

Listening to my children laugh, executing an image the way I envisioned it, and watching anything by Wes Anderson!

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

Oh, I love New York City in the fall, or eating with my cousins at a tiny restaurant in Milano, or snuggled on my bed watching a movie with my husband and three children! Truthfully I love to travel and if I could be anywhere for the day it would most likely be a city I have never been to so that I can explore and draw new inspiration from my surroundings!

What resources do you recommend for women in business?

Other women! There are blogs and books and podcasts that help motivate and excite me when I am feeling down! I loved the book Girl, Wash Your Face, and author Rachel Hollis has an awesome podcast, too. Jenna Kutcher’s podcast, Goal Digger, is another I love, as well as, Sara Tasker’s, and even Goop!

Working Moms Spotlight Series Carolyn Mara @carolyn_mara Miami Moms Blog

See more of Carolyn’s creativity at work by following her on Instagram @carolyn_mara

*All photos courtesy of Carolyn Mara. 


Want to catch up on previous Spotlights? Click the links below to read more.

September Spotlight:  Melissa Medina

October Spotlight: Camila Canabal

Sign up for the Just Ask Boo Newsletter and Miami Moms Blog
to be notified about our December Working Moms Spotlight. 



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Cierra is the Owner & Founder of Miami Mom Collective. A Southern girl with Alabama roots, she has lived in California, Israel, China, Texas and Florida. Cierra quickly fell in love with the beauty and diversity of South Florida when she first visited Key Biscayne after reconnecting with (and later marrying!) her high school sweetheart. Before having children of her own, she oversaw more than 100 as the Director of Key Biscayne Presbyterian School. In 2017 she launched into her latest and greatest adventure: motherhood! Cierra is Mama to a joyful 5 year girl, an energetic 3 year old boy, snuggly 1 year old boy, and a smiley baby girl! Her hands and heart are FULL to say the least! Cierra is passionate about leading and developing women to use their unique gifts to serve and encourage others. She founded Miami Mom Collective to encourage, equip, and empower Moms with relevant resources and a meaningful community. Follow her on Instagram to stay connected.