(From the April 2014 issue of The National Notary magazine) Nearly three quarters of U.S. Notaries are women, and many of them are mothers. Whether they work as independent signing agents or earn a regular salary from a corporate employer, they all have one thing in common: they serve the public to protect them from fraud. Over the years, the National Notary Association has encountered more than a few Notary moms who share their unique careers with one or more of their offspring, and we wanted to celebrate them as we approach Mother’s Day next month. So we reached out to our Notary community to hear their stories of teamwork and companionship. Always Have Each Other’s Backs Working with family not only means built-in back up when busy, but it can often offer a lot of opportunity for Notaries and signing agents to extend client reach and grow their family businesses. “I couldn’t have found a better partner,” says Idaho Notary Elsa Freeman of her daughter Tamara Scott, with whom she’s been working side by side for seven years. For Tamara, working with mom was a good way to earn extra income while she gets her ballet studio established. For Elsa, working with Tamara means she has someone she trusts to take on assignments when the workload gets heavy. Elsa and Tamara live 20 minutes from one another, which allows both of them a larger coverage area for their business. “We are a successful team because of our willingness to work hard, brainstorm together, laugh together, and always have each other’s backs,” says Elsa. Florida Notaries Maryellen Waskiewicz and daughter Nikki have also found the team dynamic rewarding, and have been working together ever since Nikki turned 18 and received her Notary commission five years ago. “If we are assigned a loan signing as a team, then either of one of us can do it,” says Maryellen. “We also can double check each other’s work.” Learning from One Another For many mother-daughter or mother-son teams, the most rewarding aspect of the working partnership is being able to learn from one another, build on each other’s strengths, and strengthen each other’s weaknesses. “My mom and I have a lot to teach each other, and we are constantly giving each other advice on different situations,” says Louisiana Notary Jennifer Kleyle, who followed in her mother Connie Arbour’s footsteps to become a Notary in 2011. While Connie has been a Notary since 2002, she never dealt with small assignments, such as handling small succession affidavits and property transfers, says Jennifer. “Since I became a Notary we have learned how to do the documents together. Our favorite part about being a team is that we are able to work together while learning and growing our businesses.” Mom and daughter frequently travel together to attend conferences and continuing education classes, says Jennifer, who attributes the success of their partnership to the fact that they communicate on a regular basis and continue to find new ways to build on their skillsets. Virginia Notary Alverta Elliott knew she wanted to start a business with her son when he received his commission last year, as both were highly motivated to work for themselves — and being Notaries offered them just the opportunity to do so. Despite their different learning styles, Alverta was happy to train her son so they could work side by side, supporting and learning from one another. All In the Family Some Notary moms have made their business a family affair. Alabama Notary Barbara Shelby Brewer is one of them. “I am still a nurse, but being a Notary is easier on my knees,” jokes Barbara who has been a Notary for over three decades. One daughter is an RN and does Notary work part-time, another daughter balances both a Notary and real estate career, and her son is in the process of finishing his business administration schooling while taking on mobile Notary assignments. With three out of six her children commissioned as Notaries, Barbara always has someone available to take on a client if she needs back-up support, and her kids have the opportunity to supplement their incomes. Debby Thorpe, a 30-year mortgage industry veteran and California Notary for eight years who works with husband Greg, recruited their daughter, Heather, to join the family business because “working as a Notary would be a great way for her to work part time while in school. “All of us are working as Notaries in the same area, giving our customers an almost guaranteed chance of at least one of us being available at any given time,” says Debby. “We consider ourselves very lucky to have the opportunity to work closely as a family in a job we love.” Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.