What better way to launch the Avid Cider Co. Blog, than to celebrate our CEO and Co-Founder, Sam Roberts! Sam started Avid (formerly Atlas Cider) ten years ago, inspired by the cider culture in England. Along with being an entrepreneur and business owner, Sam is a mother of three and former teacher!
International Women’s Day is a worldwide initiative celebrated on March 8 as a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.
Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
“I think it is so important to celebrate International Women’s Day because there are so many women around the world doing incredible things. There always has been but we never heard about it because women weren’t the ones writing the history books! It’s important to share these stories and journeys so the next generations sees what is possible regardless of their gender.”
Have you faced any obstacles in your careers- as a teacher and in the cider industry- due to being a woman? If so- how did you overcome them?
“I think the obstacle in any career or field is trying to balance work and family life. If a woman decides to become a mother it is seen differently in the workplace than when a man becomes a father. I’ve had people ask, “Are you sure you will be able to do this? You have three kids and are married.” I don’t think men typically hear those types of questions. It makes me feel like I need to work harder to prove myself, but that is something I need to get over. I think I put more pressure on myself than others are putting on me. Working moms feel guilt about not spending enough time with their kids and guilt about not working at their paid jobs around the clock. There is no real balance but it is important to remind that voice in my head that I am doing enough.”
Have you had a female mentor or role model who made a difference in your success?
“I haven’t had one specific female mentor or role model who made a difference, but I do have a strong group of boss babe friends that are also mothers. We relate on a different level and those women inspire me every day. They are doing amazing things in all different fields of work…it feels like we are in it together and can bounce ideas and thoughts off each other. We also laugh a lot which helps.”
What powerful women inspire you? “
“Gosh there are so many powerful women who inspire me. Lately it has been female (and male) activists fighting for women’s rights in this countly. Women who are fighting for their rights all around the world right now are so brave and powerful. It feels like we are being threatened at every level, maybe a backlash to rights we have gained and the advances we have made. It makes me so angry but also I say watch out because we aren’t stopping. Our daughters can’t have less rights that we do…we can’t let that happen.”
What does it mean to be a “powerful woman,” and have you ever felt that these two concepts were difficult for others to grasp as one idea?
“A powerful woman is a woman who feels confident in herself and lives in her authenticity. A woman who makes decisions for herself and doesn’t apologize for them, regardless of her career, or non-career, size, shape, interests, reproductive choices, etc. When we take back our power we become powerful women. I do feel like the idea of “powerful” and “woman” is difficult for many to grasp. It’s like, if you want to be more powerful you need to act like or be treated more like a man. I don’t think that should be true. The idea of power doesn’t need to be a male or female trait, it should be more of an authentic energy. Just like “equality” doesn’t mean “the same for everyone.”
How can we encourage other women to be entrepreneurs, business leaders, and pursue leadership roles?
“There are many ways we can encourage and support women to become leaders, entrepreneurs, etc. The first one that comes to mind is childcare. Central Oregon, and the country as a whole, has a severe child care deficit that worsened during and after the pandemic. Many women were forced to leave the workforce because there were no childcare options or the ones available cost more than a person’s salary. Women can rise to higher levels in their careers and can take more risks with starting a business if they have societal support systems and family structures/partners who share in all responsibilities.”
What would you tell young women who are thinking about their future careers?
“The first thing I would tell young women thinking about their future career is to follow their passions. There are so many opportunities now to start businesses that are freelance, flexible, running your own show, working from home or while traveling. You’re going to need to bust your ass to get it off the ground and make it successful but once you do the flexibility offers some freedom. Find mentors, read books on the subject, ask lots of questions, and join business groups to network.”
How do you use your role as CEO of Avid Cider to promote and support women in the workplace?
“Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of women in the craft beverage industry. I’d like to contribute to changing that by actively seeking out women for a variety of different positions at Avid. I also truly enjoy supporting women who are working at Avid at a certain stage in their life but are passionate about something else. We have had many employees over the past 10 years who are in grad school for something completely different, working at Avid as a side hustle, saving up to travel the world, etc. It’s honestly one of my greatest joys when I see those people finally meet their goal and move to their next phase in life. I love being part of that and supporting them where I can.”
What are you most proud of? “What am I most proud of?
“I wish that wasn’t such a hard question. I think I feel most proud when I’m out and about with my kids and they are polite to strangers, respectful, smiling and having fun, working hard. It makes me really proud to be their mom…and lucky too.”