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St. Jude Mom Boss Summit celebrates strength and community amid challenges of motherhood, work, wellness

Memphis, Tennessee, May 12, 2022

Hundreds of influencers, business leaders, entrepreneurs and supporters of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® convened in a virtual gathering on Thursday, May 5, for the annual St. Jude Mom Boss Summit. The panel discussion focused on the challenges and joys of career success, motherhood, business ownership, health and wellness, and philanthropy commitments.

“What a gift it was to hear and learn from this group of amazing women who showed that mom bosses are strongest when they work as a community and lift others up. No matter what challenges we face, support from friends, family and mentors keeps us strong – much like the way St. Jude kids and their families draw on their community when faced with the most difficult challenges of their lives,” said Annette Green, chief people officer for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “A mom boss leads but also knows when to lean on others. Today and every day, we celebrate the challenges that we overcome to succeed as mom bosses and the small but significant wins that make us a little greater than we were yesterday.” 

Khadeen Ellis, Eboni Funderburk, Carmeon Hamilton, Janice Gaines, Jackie Kennedy and Gwen Sung at the 2022 Mom Boss event in Memphis.

Guest speakers included:

  • Khadeen Ellis, actress, TV Host and co-founder of the Youtube channel The Ellises, who participated in the 2019 Mom Boss Summit and shared how she used her social influence to make a difference in this 2019 St. Jude Inspire column
  • Eboni Funderburk, award-winning gospel promoter and founder of EFG Promotions & Consulting, LLC
  • Carmeon Hamilton, Memphis-based interior designer, lifestyle blogger and HGTV Star
  • Janice Gaines, Stellar and Dove Award-nominated recording artist and speaker
  • Jackie Kennedy, vice president of marketing and communications at Varsity Spirit (Memphis-based)
  • Gwen Sung, creative director at CNN and founder of Culture Tatertots
Khadeen Ellis speaking at the 2022 Mom Boss event in Memphis.

The summit also included an interview with the family of St. Jude patient Ashtyn who was diagnosed with a brain tumor after feeling dizzy during cheer practice. After her first brain surgery, she was referred to St. Jude where she underwent a second brain surgery, as well as proton therapy and chemotherapy. Now that Ashtyn is finished with treatment and is doing well, her family explains that the experience was a roller coaster of emotions – fear, hope, confusion, sorrow, gratitude, joy – sometimes all in the same day.

St. Jude Mom Boss merchandise is available including shirts for the whole family, tote bags and a tumbler. This spring, shoppers can support St. Jude while purchasing the perfect gifts for Mother's Day and Father's Day through the St. Jude Gift Shop or with a participating retail partner. Supporters can also celebrate moms and dads by sending a virtual card to a St. Jude family for Mother's Day or Father's Day that will appear on screens throughout the hospital. To learn more about St. Jude and how to get involved, visit stjude.org/family or stjude.org/momboss.

Panelists in discussion during the 2022 Mom Boss event in Memphis.

To cite some of the influencers who participated in the event, see verbatim comments from several influencers below.

  • Khadeen Ellis on being present in the moment: “I want to encourage all people to live in the moments a little bit more. Mom Bosses are those who are trying to do all the things but know when to relinquish some of that power so they can fix their crown.”
  • Eboni Funderburk on establishing a village and leaning on laughter for support: “What I realized was that I couldn’t do it without a village. You really have to take time to center yourself.  If I’m not healthy, my kids aren’t healthy. If I’m not centered, my kids aren’t centered. And during the pandemic, I was focused on giving people an opportunity to laugh because mental health was such a point to overcome.”
  • Carmeon Hamilton on finding a village through kindness: “You can find a village by being a good human and putting that into the world and hopefully getting it back. As you get it back, you start to collect those wonderful personalities that you just want to be around. You give and give everything that you are hoping to get back one day and that village starts to grow from there.”
  • Janice Gaines on creating a village: “Finding a village has been about paying attention to people we’ve met in different places, who care about our family and our kids. We lean on those connections and learn that they mean everything. Showing up to be a village for someone else is a great way to start an entire village.”
  • Jackie Kennedy on supporting a charitable cause like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: “The hope and the optimism of St. Jude is incredible. We are so lucky to have a place like this that treats kids from all over the world. And as a mom we can see all of these kids in our own kids, so supporting St. Jude is so important.”
  • Gwen Sung on starting a new business venture: “During the pandemic, I spent a lot of time with immediate family and it made me realize how much I wanted to pass down our cultural traditions. It’s part of your roots and your identity. Knowing more about yourself really empowers you for the future. I started my business to help other parents in the same position.”

About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won't stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

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