Claire Lomas MBE

Claire’s life turned upside down on 6th May 2007 when she became paralysed from the chest down in a horse riding accident. Claire fractured her neck, dislocated her back, fractured ribs, punctured a lung and got pneumonia. Luckily the neck fracture didn’t damage the spinal cord but the dislocation to the vertebra T4 left her paralysed from the chest down.

Claire was a Chiropractor and top level event rider when this freak accident left her unable to do the things she loved. Although Claire was determined from the start to make the best out of the situation there were plenty of days Claire struggled to even get the motivation to get out of bed. She discharged herself from hospital after only 8 weeks, did a lot of rehab (and still does) and over time she found strength and courage to rebuild her life by finding new interests and work as well as raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for research.

A year after her accident Claire met and later married Dan, they had a baby girl – Maisie. She found some new sports (skiing, hand-cycling, motorbikes), set up a business and fundraised to help get a cure for paralysis. Claire always says she feels so lucky to have the use of her arms, and seeing so many of the patients in the hospital unable to move at all gave her the drive to fundraise as much as possible.

In 2012 Claire became headline news worldwide. She was the first (and only) paralysed person to walk the London Marathon, she did it in a pioneering robotic suit. It took 17 days and raised £210,000 for Spinal Research.  She was then invited to light the Paralympic cauldron in Trafalgar Square.

School For Mothers: Who are the members of your family?

Maisie (7)
Chloe (1)

What was life before your accident like and what was most important to you then?

I was a Chiropractor and event rider – very ambitious so reaching the top level in my sport was my dream.

What are your strongest memories from the split second accident that changed your life?

I remember the sinking feeling of what had happened -I knew my life had been turned upside down.

Your boyfriend at the time of your injury (some months later) ended the relationship, how did you reinvent yourself as a dating woman and meet your husband Dan?

I ended the relationship as it wasn’t the same. A spinal injury has s huge impact on everyone around you . I met Dan on a dating website and although I was nervous about being rejected because of being paralysed and my confidence was low I just thought when has being worried ever stopped me before!

What was the turning point when you stopped thinking of everything you could no longer do, and instead to the many things you can still do?

Just gradually by taking opportunities then good days outweighed bad days .. Meeting Dan, part time job and new sports.

When did you realise you could be happy and paralysed?

Again it didn’t suddenly happen. It gradually happens by rebuilding my life.

What would you say have been the most awkward moments for you since your injury?

The early days as I felt embarrassed about being in a wheelchair – I often felt awkward. I don’t now – in fact I am more confident than before my accident.

Soon after the accident you were told you’d now make new friends and these would be people in wheelchairs, how did you respond to this advice?

I wanted to keep the friends I had and have done that – I didn’t need to be surrounded by people with injuries and liked talking about things I would have done regardless of my accident.

What do you do to lift your mood?

I love exercise and make sure I do plenty – also I love getting on the track on my motorbike aim to get my race licence soon.

How does your self ‘pep talk’ begin?

Just tell my myself to just get in with it and try not to over think!

How much support do you have in your daily life?

I am independent but enjoy the company of family and friends – I do get support but I also give support.

You’ve mastered handcycling, skiing, marathons and now motorcycling, what, if anything, is next for you?

Getting my race licence – attempting to walk the Great South Run – 10 miles in one attempt so through the night . 24 hours is my target. Most importantly bringing up my two girls as well as I possibly can.

What was it like completing The Great Northern Run at 16 weeks pregnant?

A relief as it was a struggle. I had morning sickness and low blood pressure – it was hilly and tested be to the max. My energy levels were not like they are usually!

Your fundraising total has shot above the half-a-million milestone and is not set to stop there, tell us more about the Nicholls Spinal Injury charity and how much money is needed?

They are doing incredible work to cure paralysis . After success with one patient they are treating another two . It isn’t just about walking again but regaining sensation , bowl and bladder etc They need funds to keep up they great research.

How would you describe your personality and what’s the enduring theme throughout your life?

I am fairly positive and like to achieve and be out my comfort zone sometimes. That is why I started as a motivational speaker – I always thought I couldn’t and when asked I like the challenge . I am pleased  I did as that is now my career and I love it. So my theme is to take opportunities and make your own luck.

If there’s a ‘best medicine in life’ what would you say it is?

Laughing. Even in the darkest days – if I found things to laugh at it works better than medicine along with exercise.

And finally, what is the one common denominator between mothers? (beyond children)

The fact you can’t be selfish – they (children) come first . No love like it . Also, we can multitask!!

Click the links below to connect with Claire on social media:

Meryl Lynn

Meryl has been a visual and performance artist, designer, entrepreneur, and women’s rights activist all her life. She spoke up as a 9-year-old for the ratification of the ERA in 1972. Her heart and soul has been steeped in the work of feminism from the time she could pick up a pencil and make her first protest sign.

After graduating with honors from the School of Visual Arts in 1984, she began her illustrious career in fashion as a sportswear designer. She has been an instructor at Parsons, FIT, and Kent State University’s Fashion School.

As an artist, Meryl worked with Eve Ensler and Sally Fisher on the first V-Day in Madison Square Garden in 2001.  She has had one woman gallery shows in NYC, created well received feminist performance pieces, and has acted as co-curator in the group shows she participated in. Meryl is now working on several multi-disciplinary projects that meld her art, fashion, and activism, including a large scale multi media event, her heroine’s journey–Laughing Pussies Tarot Deck, as well as a line of creative message tees with proceeds going to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and Southern Poverty Law Center.

School For Mothers: Who are the members of your family? 

Meryl 55, Paul 48, Logan 11

How do you describe what you do in the world?

I am a leader, artist, activist/activator and member of the Resistance, designer, feminist, sensualist, and empath.

I feel like I give freedom, and create a safe space for people to be authentic and transparent in my presence and then out in the world. I am also a risk taker, and I open-up spaces.

What kind of career woman were you before you became a mother and what did you focus on professionally?

I was a fashion designer, consulting with fashion brands as well as helping new brands with launches. At the same time, I created, curated, and showed art.

What was the journey like to you becoming a ‘surprise’ mother in your 40’s?

It was wonderful, scary, exciting, unexpected, and hard. I went from nursing to peri-menopause in a few short years. I’m a researcher who dives deep into whatever I am interested in or need to know. I read everything about pregnancy, giving birth, motherhood, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, that I could get my hands on.  I may have gone over-board, and made myself a bit nuts.

I think the lack of sleep is harder if you are an older mom. On the plus side, I am so much more patient and smarter than I was in my 20’s and 30’s so, having a kid later was a good thing for me.

What are the benefits of having one child and a man to share this experience with?

I grew up with a single mom, and I know many single moms. It’s not easy. Having a partner for me, is raising our child as a team. I get to share this experience/the ride with my best friend. Sometimes we are in it together, other times we tag team. But, we always have each other’s back. It’s also sweet for me to model a great relationship for our son. Neither Paul nor I had that as kids.

How do you see ‘doing it right’ as a mother of a young son?

I don’t think there is such a thing. Many of the decisions I made when Logan was very young came out of fear of doing it wrong. I’ve gotten smarter. I finally had to accept that he’s a separate human being, lol. No matter what we do, he’s going to have his own set of problems and experiences. I’ve learned that I’ve got to grow with him.

What is it about being a mother that brings you a new understanding of love?

From my experience, loving my kid is the best feeling in the world. Telling him how much I love him makes my heart sing. There is no longing or clinging to his love the way I did with many men I had relationships with. I am happy to say that my marriage is the same. The love I have for the guys in my home is what makes it a home, and I know, it’s such a cliché.

In what ways does motherhood give your world more clarity?

I’m so much happier and more empathetic since I’ve become a mother. It is not what I expected, but I grow as a human every day because of the experiences I have with my son. I have gotten better at admitting when I am wrong or acting from my ego. Logan calls me on it, and if I stand my ground I am teaching him to be self-centered and selfish. I have stimulating conversations with him that open my eyes to other ways of viewing the world. I laugh a lot more.

To what extent do you see children inflicting pain, especially on mothers as the epicenter of receiving this pain?

My son has not done this with intention, he’s only eleven, but I remember doing it to my mom when I was angry at her. It was much easier to direct my rage at her than at my dad.

That, being said, I spend more time with him than my husband does, and I get the brunt of his upset directed at me when he has no other way of expressing it. That–ain’t easy!

How do you navigate space for yourself as you home-school?

The hardest thing about our lifestyle is also the thing that makes it work. Since Paul works nights, I have free time during the day to do what I need/want to do. But, I miss having my man around at night, and we also have-to find ways that he gets time for himself as well.

As Logan has gotten older it gets easier. He can be quite independent so I can get large chunks of time for me, some days more than others. We are in the same space for hours at a time doing our own thing at times.

What do you want your young son to understand about the world?

Wow, that’s a big one. I want him to know that he can go for whatever he wants in the life, and at the same time I want him to understand that has innate privilege and advantage. I want him to see the beauty in nature and in people, and to be aware of the diversity and differences. Since we homeschool, at-this-time we are in control of his understanding of history and current events. To the best of our ability, both Paul and I are teaching him a broad view, not the revisionist history most of us learned.

What do you stand for?

I stand for living life as an evolution and a revolution. I get excited about new things all the time. Sometimes I move slowly and others I plow ahead like a bulldozer.

I stand for justice, freedom, and love. Since I was a kid I wanted to right wrongs in the world.  As a woman in my 50’s I’ve come to realize there is so much I have not understood about the institutions that hold up the way we’ve lived. I cannot tolerate doing nothing. I create art, I speak, I march, I organize, I continue to learn and grow.

What drew you to Harlem to live and how has it changed over time?

When we were looking to buy an apartment in 2010 I had a strong desire to have a duplex. I think there was a part of me that want to recreate my childhood home. Living in NYC, space is a premium, so that was a daunting task, especially when you have a budget. We were open to many areas in Manhattan, and when I saw our place, I knew it was our home. We liked the fact that it was a building where the neighbors knew each other.

In the time, we’ve lived here we’ve seen the same gentrification that takes place in many areas in NYC, and other cities. It wasn’t until we lived here and got to know people in our neighborhood, and make friends did I realize the impact we had as a white family by moving in. People who’ve lived here their whole lives are getting priced out. Now that we are entrenched, we must be respectful of the history and people of Harlem.

What’s the importance of sisterhood in your life?

Sisterhood means so much to me. There are things that we can only share with those who can understand the experiences we are going through. I have reached out to them, and they have reached out to me when we are at our highest and our lowest. My best business connections, and some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life is with the people in my sisterhood.

White women are often unconscious to black mother’s need to protect their children from death, what part do you play in bringing consciousness of privilege into raising your son?

I mentioned this in an earlier comment—It is so important that Logan understands the responsibility of the privilege he has being a white male, now, more than ever. We don’t want to scare the crap out of him, so we reveal things, and explain that are age appropriate. I bring him to marches and rallies when I think it is ok for him to be there. We went to a vigil for Syria. He listened to every word the speakers said with tears streaming down his face. I didn’t realize it would be that heavy when I took him, but I’m glad I did, and his empathy was beautiful.

If you didn’t feel you needed to ‘tone yourself down’ what impact would you have?

That’s an interesting question, you know I don’t tone myself down too much, except for the way I communicate certain things. I spent a lot of my life trying to make things peaceful for the people around me. In truth, it was conflict avoidance coming from a childhood being around parents who fought hard before they divorced.

I know I would have gone further in most of the businesses I’ve been in if I wasn’t so damn nice!

How do you see men needing to show up differently in the world?

Most men have been complicit in small and sometimes large ways in misogyny and the sexist practices that have women out of the halls of power globally. In the Western paradigm, it’s been assumed by many men that we are in a post-feminist world. In some cultures, women are denied basic human rights. Men are missing out on so much. I think there is so much fear that when we are free to unleash our power we will destroy them. Maybe some women will, but I believe we will take them for a helluva ride and make their lives better. This also applies to much of what we see where white men are terrified of sharing power with anyone.

Men who are ready to make a difference must stand up for injustice large and small while being aware that it might have short term negative effects for them in our current culture.

The President is often seen as a symbol of fatherhood, how does this land with you?

The whole idea of this disgusts me, especially with our current president. We have idolized the role of the father of our country. The dude in the White House right now is an abusive dad. A lot of people in the USA have some serious daddy issues to work out. That’s a whole book…   

As an artist of provocative works, how do you discuss what you do with your child?

Logan has been around my artwork his whole life. Because the subject is the human body and about sensuality it could be kind of “chargey”. Paul and I have taken a straight forward tact about the human body and sexuality. We answer his questions without aggrandizement. To him, it’s all as natural as anything else we talk about. As he gets older this may change. When he’s a teen he might get shy about his body or feel awkward around these conversations, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

What’s next for you professionally?

All the professional work I’ve done has been designed around the feminine, fashion, my art The Laughing Pussies Tarot and other products around the deck are tools for divinity and pleasure.

I am working on a new project that I am really excited about but don’t want to announce yet. I’ll just say this, it is around women, money, and class. This is going to be a game changer for me. I am also working on a collaboration with a group of powerhouse people around intersectional feminism.

And finally, what is the one common denominator between mothers? (beyond children)

One common denominator I see with mother’s is the constant attempt at what I now call, “non-existent balance.” Once I realized it wasn’t going to happen, that the scale tips back and forth I told every mama I knew.

Click the links below to connect with Meryl on social media :





Corina Goetz

With over 16 years experience in hospitality sales, Corina has held prominent positions within well-known global luxury hotel brands from Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, Dorchester Collection and her last role as Head of Middle Eastern and Diplomatic Sales for Corinthia Hotel London.

Now her own company focuses on hotel representation for the Middle Eastern market as well as training the staff on how to look after these special VIP clients.

Throughout the years and her roles, Corina has fostered very strong relationships with Royalty and VIP clients who now call her for their requests.

Who are the members of your family? 

Husband and son (6)

What you do and who are your clients?

I own my own company, Star-Cat, which represents hotels in the Middle Eastern market. I also do training for companies how to look after clients from the Middle East. My clients are mainly from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Morocco and Lebanon.

What was it about hotels that fascinated you as a youngster?

That no day is the same. There is always something exciting happening.

How did you become a Middle Eastern expert?

I felt from all the guests I dealt with at the hotels in my early career, I had the most connection with the clients from the Middle East. I found them very family oriented, very warm and welcoming.

Who has been your most significant mentor in your career and what did you learn from this person?

One of my early Managers knew everyone from the Middle East and he became my mentor, I always asked him, who is connected to whom and how the family dynamics worked. I learnt so much from him. I also enjoyed reading about business people from there and having conversations with clients about the who is who.

What’s the nature and typical pattern of your client work?

It is very unpredictable as a lot of the requests come very last minute and I have to make the impossible, possible. I really enjoy this though, nothing is more thrilling than sorting out a problem with little time. I have booked Heads of State into hotels whilst being on the playground with my son!

How do you juggle clients and their last minute plans especially with being mother?

I have a great support system and to be honest without my husband a lot of this wouldn’t be possible. He understands that I have to take calls late at night, go and meet VIPs at 5 in the morning. It’s part of the job.

Snapchat has become a crucial part for you in engaging with your royal and non-royal clients, tell us about this.

A lot has evolved with the social media and it’s a way to connect much more with your clients. They love the personal relationship. It also gives me so much more insight in their life and what they like and dislike. It’s much easier to engage with them even if they are miles away. You still feel connected. Everything is about pictures and videos.

What client engagement trends do you see emerging in the next couple of years?

I think email won’t be as important, it is already used less and less with the clients from the Middle East. Whatsapp is much more popular as it is instant and much faster.

How do you balance social media time with being present with your son?

I try and consciously take time out over the weekend and also in the evenings or when we play. It’s hard and takes a lot of discipline.

How do you get deeper engagement with your son and what tips can you share on this?

Mornings are usually not as crazy as afternoons for me, so I like to talk to him on our way to nursery. I also always make time to read bedtime stories and talk to him then. If I have to take calls I will explain him why and who the person was.

You say, “small unexpected gestures make all the difference”, can you tell us what you mean by this and give some examples of the impact of these?

It is very important to remember small things about clients. They really appreciate it a lot. Sending notes for their important holidays, like Ramadan and Eid as well as Middle Eastern Mothers Day make all the difference.

What are the benefits of being a woman in your line of work?

I can deal with both male and female clients. You can see them at their houses. I also like to think that women have a different way of solving and diffusing difficult situations.

What is the most surprising request you’ve received from a client to date?

To be honest, there is very little that surprises me now. Anything is possible, whether someone wants a teacher flown to the Middle East or needs a special doctor for a last minute appointment.

What typical stereotyped views on Middle Eastern culture do you see debunked through your work?

That people from the Middle East are not familiar with western culture and don’t respect them. They are so educated, a lot of them have studied in England or the US, they have come to Europe since they were little so they are very familiar and respecting of our culture. They sometimes know more about our countries than we do.

What protocols do you follow when you visit Middle Eastern countries and what have you learned by these?

You have to ensure you are modestly dressed and adhere to the customs. It’s normal that you can’t confirm appointments in advance. It’s normal that a lot of meetings just happen when you get there. Some of the best meetings are arranged on the day.

Which female Middle Eastern entrepreneurs do you most admire, and why?

Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned 

Rania Al-Abdullah 

I absolutely love Sheikha Moza, she is such an inspiration and a lot of people don’t know how much she does in her quest to educate children.

I also think Queen Rania is such an inspiration for people trying to bring more attention to things like the refuge crisis and conditions there.

Both are working mothers who continue to inspire the Middle Eastern region but also mothers everywhere.

And finally, what is the one common denominator between mothers? (beyond children)

We are all hardworking, whether you work or are a stay at home mother. We are all trying to do the best for our families and raise our children so they become great people.

Click the links below to connect with Corina on social media