Meet the Kiwi mums who are (mostly) happy working alongside their kids

Get the inside scoop on Jyotsana and Neha, mother and daughter leading the FxMed business!

Neha Stokes, 31, and Jyotsana Karl, 57.

“As a child, Mum would say to me, your mother should be your best friend.” says Neha Stokes.

Which is exactly how it turned out for Stokes and her mother Jyotsana Karl who both work in the family business, FxMed, a functional and integrative medicine company that was founded by Karl’s husband and his brother in 2000.

Stokes is the GM of the retail and online platform of the company, while her chartered accountant mother is the financial controller,

But that’s not the only family on the 50-strong payroll: there’s also an uncle, cousin and Stokes’ husband, Mitch Stokes. The couple’s son, 9-month-old Aadi, often comes to work too.

“People say, how can you spend all your time with family but I can’t imagine working any other way,” says Stokes. “In Indian culture, family is number one so working in the family business feels natural to me.”

She wasn’t always so convinced. “I moved to Australia to study and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I just knew I wanted to prove myself.”

“I told her, whatever path you follow, you have to be happy,” adds Karl who came to NZ in 1990 following an arranged marriage.

“Mum helped me change my thinking and showed me the bigger picture – that I could still prove myself but also support my family.”

Today the duo work out of separate offices in Auckland’s Greenlane but have lunch together most days and Stokes is a regular visitor to her parents’ dinner table.

That harmonious approach extends to their working lives.

“We don’t really have any conflict at work,” admits Jyotsana.

“We’re very different people – I’m more chilled whereas Neha is a perfectionist who puts a lot of pressure on herself. I’m always telling her, don’t worry, things will work out. But I’m so proud of Neha, she has a great management style and her team loves her ” For her part, Stokes is thankful to her mother for instilling in her and her brother Sohum, 18, “the Indian values of hard work. resilience and strength”

“Mum is my biggest supporter who guides, challenges and inspires me every day. She’s so nurturing not only to me but also to our international staff, many of who don’t have family in New Zealand. Mum cares for them too, it’s who she is.”

Featured in Dominion (Wellington), The Press (Christchurch) and Waikato Times.