Episode 36 - Margaret Abe Koga - Parenting, Politics, & Providing Perspective

Margaret Abe Koga (00:00):
Don't sweat, the small stuff like as parents, we really have to put ourselves aside and really focus on the kids. It doesn't matter. As long as you find that passion and you pursue it. I think, you know, that's what is the key to your happiness? And also then you can really, you know, make a difference?

Young Han (00:25):
Hey guys, I'm young, a full-time dad and a full-time professional with the goal to become the best parent possible. The girl dad show is my journey interviewing fellow working parents aspiring to be both good at work and parenting. I'm gonna do this by gathering and sharing unfiltered practice for my guest to join me as I research parenthood one interview at a time. Hi Margaret, thank you so much for joining me on my show today.

Margaret Abe Koga (00:50):
Well, thank you for having me. It's great to see you. It's been a long time.

Young Han (00:54):
It really has been a really long time. And I feel like there's so much that has happened since we've last talked and I can't wait to catch up. But since I already, you know, you, but no one else does why don't you start by sharing with everybody, what you do for a living?

Margaret Abe Koga (01:07):
Sure. so I am currently a city council member with the city of mountain view. We are located, I like to say we're the soul of Silicon valley, but we're located in the heart of Silicon valley. We're about 80 people in population of quite diverse actually. But we all, so we're a midsize city in size, but we have big city issues. We are the hometown of Google and the west, I guess, outside of Washington headquarters to Microsoft, LinkedIn. We also now have Facebook in our city, so we really are the high tech hub.

Young Han (01:55):
Yeah, no, there's the density of high tech is, is astronomical inside of mountain view. It is a very, very unique city very, very unique city. It's so fun. I remember living there for a few years and that was just an incredible experience. I think very fondly of my time in Mountain View.

Margaret Abe Koga (02:14):
Mountain view thinks very fondly of you too. Certainly we miss you. We really do

Young Han (02:19):
That's kind of you to say, yeah, I definitely miss it too, but now I don't know if you know, but I'm a Texan now. So I moved to Texas as part of the, part of the great migration is like to call it like all these Californians moving to Texas, you know? 

Margaret Abe Koga (02:32):
Well I've heard that. Yes. And, and yes, I, I, we miss you here, but sounds like you're doing great and enjoying the great state of Texas, so yeah.

Young Han (02:46):
Yeah. It's really fun. It's definitely really nice to be here and it's definitely very different than mountain view. That's for sure. But there's no word, there's nowhere, that's like mountain view. And I think that it's really fun to talk about how you just explained it, like, you know, like the density of high tech, you know, cuz you really can't go anywhere without someone, you know, being very, very cerebral, very cosmic, you know, very, very intelligent inside of technology and, and like in mountain view. Right. And it's just like so funny to think about how long ago that was for me, because it just seems like yesterday, but there is such a stark difference between communities when you think about like even going out to dinner and like just the, just the density of like people inside of like high tech in mountain view. It's really, really it's really interesting to think about now that I'm out of it. Yeah, things are a lot slower outside of mountain view. I'll tell you it's not necessarily a bad thing, but so what big projects are you working on as a city council member?

Margaret Abe Koga (03:38):
Well, as we've all been experiencing COVID and this is year three now, I guess. I just a little bit more background. This is my 14th year on the, the Mountain View city council. We have seven members, we rotate the mayorship. So I served as mayor my first time, time back in 2009 which was the great recession. So that was quite a effort to get help lead the city out of that. We actually did end up doing pretty well, ended up with a little surplus and, and then soon after that the city just, you know, started booming with the high tech that's right. And we've been really enjoying that economic upswing for quite a while. And then COVID hit and I was may, I was mayor in 2020. My second time hoping that this time around would be more fun.

Margaret Abe Koga (04:41):
You know, we spend little money doing some big projects. Yeah. And then two months later COVID hit or sheltering in place happened. That's right. And so that was really the, you know, quite an effort probably harder than my first run as mayor. And it was really about trying to respond to of the the need trying to help folks, you know, getting relief out to folks as quickly as we could. So that's you know, that was just really the whole year. And then what was hoping then 21 things would change and definitely last year was a little, you know, a little better. That's right. It come out filtering. The, the big challenges is, you know, everyone else is facing was our small businesses had been suffering cause they had to close down. So we had to try to readjusted and we, if you remember Castro street, our main drag, we closed down that street to traffic. And so that the restaurants could have seating outdoors on the street and people really enjoy that. So you probably remember,

Young Han (05:53):
Wait a minute, you shut down the Castro street, Oh, wow. That's amazing. Oh wow. That's very clever, but also very drastic. I love that. I love that you guys swung for the fences on that. That's really cool.

Margaret Abe Koga (06:09):
It was really the only way that, you know, the restaurants downtown could survive was to allow for outdoor dining. And so you know, it was something that our residents had been asking for a long time. They wanted a, you know, they wanted an auto free downtown, you know, mall walking, pedestrian mall. And so this is really the opportunity to try it out. You know, you may recall businesses, weren excited about the idea for a long time. But you know, this became a necessity, so they were fine with it. And now we actually just recently in December voted to make it permanent from the 3, or so three blocks worth towards the train track.

Young Han (06:56):
I think that, they've proven it in other like cities and other municipalities that these like auto free zones actually work better for small businesses. Like it actually increases the traffic and the density layers of, of communities and, and, and gatherings. I mean, I feel like they've proven it multiple times and other countries and other municipalities.

Margaret Abe Koga (07:19):
I think so. I mean, there definitely are some, you know, successes, I think of Santa Monica, that's the one that comes right to my mind.

Young Han (07:26):
Yeah, yeah.

Margaret Abe Koga (07:28):
But it was just, you know, something new that this area that we don't have, we really haven't had that in the bay area. So COVID, you know, forced us to try it. And it it's been a success overall. But some of the cities around us, so not us, but most all the cities in the area did close down traffic on some of their downtown streets. Yeah, but some of the other cities are starting to reopen those back to cars that we just had so much overwhelming support for it. We decided to not do the entire Castro street, but the first three blocks, which is the most popular or populated with restaurants and whatnot.

Young Han (08:15):
Oh man, I can't wait to visit. I can't wait to see this and just like walk and Castro because I actually am a huge fan of it. I think that there's something to be said about. My favorite thing about being in mountain view was just the walkability. Yes. Like everything was walkable and like, it was so fun to walk down Castro street and realistically Castro street is that like, it's two lanes, it's like one going each way. It's not like it's really allowing for that much traffic anyways. So yeah, just, just go around the other streets that are right next to it. It's not that big of a deal. And so I love that idea and I think that that's super cool that you guys kept it. Semi-Permanent I can't wait to see what that does and, and become like another statistical data point to see if this, this concept works. But I love the idea of auto free zones. Very cool. That is a really big project. That's really exciting.

Margaret Abe Koga (09:04):
It was cool. Then I think most people think, oh, just, you know, put some barriers and shut down the street, but there's actually a lot of coordination that it took and, you know, we have the, the, that run. So we had to work with BTA, our, our transportation agency. And then we had to make sure it was ADA accessible and, you know, so it was actually quite a large effort and it was one of just a, you know, many, many efforts that we put together. We definitely saw, you know, we have a high rental population, so renters were coming to us saying that they were having trouble paying their rent because they were losing their jobs. So I I had asked our staff to look at you know, whatever funds we had and, and I knew we have, we have funds for like affordable housing, and so we were able to put a rent relief program together to just be able to give you know, renters who needed help a check to so that they can pay. One, two, I think it ended up being three months worth of rent that we were able to hand out to about 2000 families. So we spent about 5 million doing that and we were the first city to do that in the area. Wow. We had a growing homelessness population and RV dwellers and, and that's been a challenge. That's something that is happening even before COVID and then COVID just, you know, made it bigger. Right. So we've been came to we have these safe parking lots now that some of the RVs can park in we've been providing you know, shower, mobile showers working with our, our nonprofits, like community services, agency and hopes corridor, which is run by a church to that provides meals, and we have like laundry service and shower service there. So just been really trying to be as responsive as we can to the growing needs of our community. And you know, it's been, it's been tough, but I've also just been really inspired by how, you know, our neighbors, our residents have really wanted to come together and have come together to also offer, you know, their personal assistance. And so our, our year long, I don't know, Monica, I guess, is it logo? Monica was or our tagline was together.

Young Han (11:36):
I love it. Wholesome. Yeah. It's great. So that's amazing. Thank you for sharing. I love hearing the insight scoop on these things. As you know, I, I have like secret ambitions to run for local office someday. And so it's been so fun. It's so fun to get to.

Young Han (11:59):
I always love that, you know, you share the inside scoop on how these things work and how much more challenging it is than people see from the outside. And it's always been so fun getting to learn from you and just like, watch you in your journey. And it's like, so amazing to think about 14 years. I never actually heard, heard you say how long you've been in it. And it's like, that's yeah, it's really great. You know, and it's like really, really amazing, you know, and it's like a really good reflection point to, to think about that. But I do wanna switch gears for one second before I come back to it. Cause this is a parenting podcast. And so I'd love for you to share. I'd love for you to share with listeners about your kids, who are your kids?

Margaret Abe Koga (12:33):
Yeah, so I have two daughters. My older one is Eileen and she's 20 years old. And my wow.

Young Han (12:42):
She's all grown up.

Margaret Abe Koga (12:44):

Young Han (12:44):
Oh my gosh. We've known each other for a long time. Cause I swear. They were like in middle school when I met you. Yeah. Sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt. Go ahead.

Margaret Abe Koga (12:51):
And then my younger one, I is, is 17 and she's a senior at Mountainview high school. My, my older one goes to the local community college Foothill college and yeah. Working to actually transfer she's in a program that will guarantee a spot at university of San Francisco in a fine, fine arts degree. So that they're working their way to adulthood or they're pretty much there. And it's hard for me to believe because when I started on city council they were two and five and here they are now I was adults. And so it's been time just flies, but they've really, you been, you know, a part of my journey serving the city,

Young Han (13:40):
They've only known you in politics. Right. And like as a politician really. Right.

Margaret Abe Koga (13:44):
So yeah, I mean, I took a, you know, a break I had to take a two year break between my eight years and then two years off and then eight years. So during that time I was working for assembly member, our local assembly member as his district director. And then I switched gears and worked for synopsis, a high tech company here doing government relations. So they they've seen me do a few other things. I've worked at nonprofit city council. Technically a full-time job is hours wise, but the pay isn't, we get a small stipend. I think it's $1,100 a month. Yeah. So most of us work, you know, fulltime or part-time. And so I have worked part-time here and there over the years, but for me, like my, you know, most important job is being a mom. It's my priority. It's really was the reason why I ran for office. You know, I've always in like being in public service that originally I hadn't intended to run myself as happy helping other people. And then when I had I things changed and it was just like this light bulb that, you know, that turned on and I realized, you know, it was, it was about them, her, and, and then, you know, I know later about their future and what I could do to make sure that they, you know, have a right future ahead and that's actually become even more real now as we talk about climate change and you know, then our generation, the gen Zs are really take that issue seriously because you know, they really are afraid that they might not have a, a future if we don't save the earth. So I've really come to yeah. Under, you know, feel the, the urgency myself and have been really focusing more and more of my work around climate change issues.

Young Han (15:50):
Hmm. Very cool. So you started because of your first priority of being a mom and that's what actually got you into public service.

Margaret Abe Koga (15:58):
Yeah. Huh. So at that time on council, there was no there was one woman and then there was no one on council that had young children. So I felt like that was a huge voice that was missing on our city council and was really part, part of the motivation to run.

Young Han (16:18):
Yeah. Cause that's a big, that's a big leap. Right. Like having a, I mean I have a four year old and a two year old. So like, just even thinking about doing that is like what that's like the most physically painful time of being a parent. Like you wanna do, you know campaign and you want to go, you know, like, yeah. So that's a pretty big decision. You must have really meant it. You must have really like been inspired by your kids to go do this. That's really great. So yeah. What was your, what was your childhood like? How did you grow up?

Margaret Abe Koga (16:48):
So my parents are were, they're both gone now that they immigrants from Japan and I'm an only child. And they, and they, you know, they grew up during war world war II. So their education was interrupted. They, I think they maybe made it to high school. So they immigrated here. Actually my mom pregnant when they came out to visit the us my dad's cousin had, you know, said, Hey, come, come check it out. And they had me while they were here. So it became a decision point for them, whether to, you know, go back to Japan or stay here. And as this is the story they tell me, but, you know, they felt that as a, a girl, a female, I would have an easier, better opportunity or, and better opportunities here in the us. So they decided to immigrate here. But you know, they, they never really picked up English. My dad was a gardener. My mom did odd jobs here and there. So we struggled and, and I knew that because I was their translator. So as soon as I learned English, I was you know, helping them out and, you know, learned about finances and all the adult things very early on because of having to be a part of all those conversations. And what really struck me was how it's, when you don't have a voice you know, you do face barriers and discrimination. And that was also another something that really, you know, kept or stayed with me. And, and part of my, again inspiration for being in public service was to try to provide a voice for everyone to make sure regardless of your background. So, you know, everyone has the same opportunities.

Young Han (18:41):
I love it. I never knew that. I never knew that about you. That's really, that's really wild. I mean, that's really cool. I mean, I already liked you, but now I like you even more. That's really, really cool. What a great, what a great story and what a great origin story. That's really, really neat. I'm very cool. So this is not, and I'm, and I apologize for making light of this, but do, does that mean you speak Japanese?

Margaret Abe Koga (19:06):
I do. So that was my first language.

Young Han (19:10):
Cool! How come you never speak Japanese? I've never heard you speak Japanese.

Margaret Abe Koga (19:13):
There aren't that many people to speak it to. 

Young Han (19:16):
Oh, that's true. That's true. Yeah.

Margaret Abe Koga (19:18):
At home. Yeah. And home we spoke barely any Japanese and when, well, my parents lived with us to the, their end of life. And, and so my girls were able to at least, you know, hear it and both took Japanese. It's great. Mountain view, high school offers Japanese. So they take Japanese.

Young Han (19:40):
Yeah. So, and that's awesome so they, they both speak Japanese.

Margaret Abe Koga (19:43):
They're learning. Yeah. They definitely understand it. They hear it when they hear it. Yeah. Speaking a little more challenge, but they're studying it. They've, you know, really taken to, wanting to learn about their culture. So we were gonna go to Japan or, and then COVID hit, but hopefully we can take them soon.

Young Han (20:02):
Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's a hard pill right now. Yeah. It's just so tight and hard to travel right now. And then, especially with things changing so fast, it's like, I almost don't know if you want to be internet, you know, because things move so quickly. Then you're really gonna need to learn how to speak Japanese. Very cool. So then, like, when you think about parenting, what do the kids think about you kind of in your public service in your career trajectory? Like how do they perceive all this?

Margaret Abe Koga (20:32):
They, they definitely have been supportive, but I think they've also realized it's not for them.

Young Han (20:41):
You showed them what they don't wanna do.

Margaret Abe Koga (20:44):
And and I've always felt like there's a very fine line. And I saw it with other folks who are trying to, you know, have been collected or political in the political world and then have a family. And it's, it's tough. It's, you know, a lot of sacrifice. I looking back you know, I would, wasn't always there for my girls, like for their band recitals or their volleyball games. I, I tried as much as I could to, you know, be there, but there were times when I had to be at a council meeting on a Tuesday night, so it, I didn't work out. Yeah, but they just learned, you know, I, they were learned very early on that that was mom's life. I'm fortunate. I have a great husband, who's been a real partner and he's been there the whole time, you know, along the way, and, and I'm fortunate because it just worked out that he has always worked from home for at least some part of the week since the girls were born. So my girls really have had both of us in their lives and, and you know, I think that's really been just great, wonderful for all of us. I think the girls appreciate it. But for me too, it I think I knew that I needed to, you know, I wanted be a mom first, but I needed to have something else. And especially because I had daughters, I wanted my girls to see me doing something else so that, you know, they could see that women can be successful either in business or what I do in politics. I think that, I thought that was very important to see as, you know, young girls. So yeah. I tried to, you know, make sure that I had something else. And also I think too, you know, I it's, especially with my personality, I could get totally in just, you know, focused on them. And I think, you know, that could be sometimes stifling. So I knew I had to have something else. And so it's been a really good balance. Although there has been a lot of sacrifice and the girls under have understood that they, you know, they see what I do and I think they definitely respect it. More and more like, especially in this past year with, as Asian, you know, Americans and the, the Asian hate that that has, you know, grown yeah.

Young Han (23:20):
Exploded. Yeah.

Margaret Abe Koga (23:22):
And they've seen me and, you know, we talk about it a lot and they've really come to I understand their identity as Asian Americans, but, you know, they understand the, the fight for civil rights and the, the fight to empower our API community, which has been a real core value of mine in my work. And I think they do appreciate, you know, what that is. That means. So

Young Han (23:46):
Yeah. That's awesome. And so like a lot of this, a lot of the ways that you're thinking about parenting has, has, has almost, has almost started from your idea of like, Hey, I need a role model, what I want them to be like, you want them to be more than, more than just what they think they can be and like go out there and do something and have something. And so you started by role modeling it and finding, finding leadership opportunities and roles where you can make an impact.

Margaret Abe Koga (24:10):
Yeah. I thought it was important. My mom was, you know, my dad was actually pretty involved in the community in our Japanese American community. So like he was my role model in that sense, but what I realized was my mom, you know, kinda kept things going in the home, so my dad could go out and do these things. So, you know, there's definitely that model that, that helped me or, you know, inspired me. But I guess as you know, and my parents really taught me or, or raised me to believe that, you know, I can do anything I want and, you know, I can be just as good as a man. Right. Or, or and so I think I ended up feeling like, okay, I need to go out and do things and be a role model too.

Young Han (25:04):
That's awesome. And that's really great. And, and do you see do you see the, the relationship with the girls formulating in that way, where you, you, the way that you designed it and planned it, or have you seen, seen them deviate from that at all?

Margaret Abe Koga (25:16):
Certainly like in terms of their, you know, interests of like what they wanna be my, you know, my older one wants to be an artist, so cool. Yeah. Yeah. Which is really great. I I'm just amazed. She just has this creativity that, you know, I'm just in awe of, because I don't have it. And then right now is she got she's very she wants to go into neuroscience, so she's into the stem. Oh, wow. So very different in terms of different. But I seeing like daughter, a lot of her art has to do with empowerment and and equity. And, and so there is that element there. And I think with my younger one too, you know, she has gain or become interested in neuroscience because she wants to be able to, you know, help with the, the, the, the illnesses or the right, the mental health challenges that folks deal deal with. And so I think there is that, you know, that aspect of trying to do something bigger than yourself and helping the larger community or society. So I do appreciate that. I

Young Han (26:33):
Think they so cool. So cool. I can't wait till my kids are older and they start figuring out what they want to do. That's, that's gotta be so exciting for you as a parent?

Margaret Abe Koga (26:41):
Yeah, it's hard not to, you know, it's like, I want, yeah, I've had to hold back. Like I, from trying to impose on them what I want them to do and really let them, you know, figure out what they wanna do. But it's, yeah, it's just, it has been really fun to watch.

Young Han (27:02):
Personal question. How far off are they from what you wanted them to do? What did you want them to do?

Margaret Abe Koga (27:09):
You know, that is the thing is I had no expectations. In terms of, you know, field, and, and that was something that I learned from my parents. My, you know, during, in my time, like when high school, like most of my friends, like, especially my Asian friends in college, you know, they were all pre-med. They were either doctors, lawyers, or engineers, engineers. Yeah, that's right. And there are very few, you know, APIs in poly sci, which is, I was in let alone API women, but maybe cuz you know, my dad had interest in politics when he was in Japan, but they never told me, you know, to go be a lawyer or a doctor. They just wanted me to find my passion. And that's what I've always, you know, tried to instill in my girls too, is just to find your passion. And to all young people, you know, when folks ask it's like, it doesn't matter. As long as you find that passion and you pursue it. I think, you know, that's what is the key to your happiness? And also then you can really, you know, make a difference and make a contribution.

Young Han (28:20):
Oh, I love that. I love that. Yeah. That's really, really love. And it's very wholesome because especially talking about being an Asian American, right. Like there's a lot of cultural elements of like sticking to, you know, the plan right. Which is like one of those three fields and, and establishing yourself and it's really, really cool that your oldest is gonna be an artist or, and, or you're supporting it. Right. It's like a really, really great reprieve from that that mold. And I think that that's really, really fun. I think that's really cool. I also for whatever it's worth am okay with my daughters not being an engineer, lawyer. Yeah. Or doctor, but unlike you, I will try my best to force them into arts.

Margaret Abe Koga (29:08):
So cool. Okay.

Young Han (29:09):
Yeah. Like I have this dream I'm, I'm totally teasing. Right. I'm, I'm kind of making jokes. I'm not gonna force them. I'm gonna try to be like mature and sophisticated, like you, and then like be accepting and like, you know, like let them choose their own thing and you know, not impose, but secretly deep inside. Yes. My, my goal would be for them to be artists, I would love for them to be musicians. I would love for them to be musicians. That'd be amazing for me. Like that would be like so awesome. So I don't know. We'll see if I can, if I can subliminally project that onto them and

Margaret Abe Koga (29:41):
You can kinda like through osmosis yeah.

Young Han (29:44):
Whispered in their ear as they sleep, so before we go into the rapid fire question, I do have one more for you based on just like everything that I've heard. What's next? What are you gonna do? What are you have plans for this year and next year? Like what's next for Margaret Abe Koga?

Margaret Abe Koga (30:01):
Well I have, let's see three more years on the city council. And right now my, you know, my real priority right now is to get my younger one into college. Right.

Young Han (30:14):
But you're really close to empty nesting it here. Like you're really close. Yeah.

Margaret Abe Koga (30:18):
Yeah. And then if my, I, my older one, you know, transfers out, then she'll be on her way.

Young Han (30:24):
Yeah. Around the same time.

Margaret Abe Koga (30:26):
Yeah. So maybe. And so I am actually starting to think about what next and you know, that you know, I was running for the county supervisors seat way back in 2010 years ago. And decided to withdraw because someone else who was a close part acquaintance joined in the race. And I didn't actually think I would have a second chance, but that individual is actually turning out in 2024. So I am starting to look at that scene again.

Young Han (31:07):
Very cool.

Margaret Abe Koga (31:08):
I just think, yeah, it's like, it's funny how the world works and mainly because of just, you know, the, the term limits that we have.

Young Han (31:18):
Yeah. Those are great.

Margaret Abe Koga (31:20):
I didn't think, you know, I would be here being on council again, but here I am and opportunities coming again. So I think I just, you know, really need to take opportu, you know, take that opportunity, at least look at it.

Young Han (31:36):
Absolutely, you have your kids, you have your kids going off and being adults right around the same time as this opens out up. And you could basically, you know, do this with, you know, very unfettered to a certain degree, you know, I mean, I'm not saying they were feathering your life. Cause obviously that was your first priority to be a mom, but right. There's really no one to mom. I mean, obviously you have the mom, you're never gonna stop being a mom, but like, you know what I mean? They're gonna be off doing their thing. So like this, this sounds perfect. Yeah. It sounds like an amazing opportunity of really exciting rotation.

Margaret Abe Koga (32:07):
It'll probably be my last big, you know, race and winter Liz. I fine with it. If I win that's one, that's great. I get to do what I've always wanted to. And if not, you know, I can, I'm sure I'll find something else. And so I'm looking forward to yeah, that Tina, or just having a little bit more freedom and being able to focus on myself again which is, you know, something that I think as parents, we really have to put ourselves aside and really focus on the kids during that time. And I, I, you know, I, I loved, I love being a part of their lives, so yeah. It's been great, but I, you know, it's also challenging. And I remember when I first had, I, it was tough. It was tough to realize that it wasn't, you know, I couldn't think of that just me anymore. Right? Yeah. Yeah. That was the transition. But here we are 20 years later,

Young Han (33:04):
I know I loved and hated that transition so much. I'm like, oh, I love having kids, but I'm like, oh man, like nothing's ever gonna go be the same again. Like you can't go back. You can't like return.

Margaret Abe Koga (33:15):
I guess that's what I'm realizing is yeah, you can, you, you know, when they, they go off on their own,

Young Han (33:22):
I know, and then you're gonna miss them. Right. Like, that's the funny thing is like, you're gonna be like, Aw, what advice do you have for other parents? And soon to be parents?

Margaret Abe Koga (33:30):
You know, we all know that parenting doesn't come with a handbook. As long as you focus on your child, things are gonna turn out fine in your child's. And in case are resilient. Children are resilient. They're gonna turn out fine.

Young Han (33:43):
That's great advice. Very great advice. My brother-in-law also had very similar advice and he's Japanese. I'm not sure if that means anything or not, but I just wanted share that.

Margaret Abe Koga (33:56):
Especially like with the Japanese Americans during, you know, internment world war II, that was the, the, the focus was for the children. So I think that is something maybe that is instilled in us.

Young Han (34:10):
Oh, wow. Huh. Awesome. Very cool to know. Okay, so next one. So if you can go back and tell yourself one thing before having kids, what would you tell yourself?

Margaret Abe Koga (34:21):
Don't sweat, the small stuff.

Young Han (34:23):
You mean as a parent? You mean all of it or just in general or?

Margaret Abe Koga (34:27):
I think all of it. Frankly. Yeah. But and I think that's what parenting or being a parent or taught me was that, you know, there's bigger things to worry about. Nothing you things, perfect things. Aren't always gonna go the way you want them to. I think being a parent, you need to learn to be flexible and yeah. Just, you know, be okay, how things go sometimes even if they don't go your own your way.

Young Han (34:56):
I love that. It's great. What is the most surprising thing that you've learned about yourself after becoming a parent?

Margaret Abe Koga (35:03):
There's a light heart inside of me. You know, and, and my girls have, let me be goofy and funny and, you know, be 17 again. And like my, the big thing now is like my older one and I, we love BTS. So we just went to the concert in LA and, and that's where, like, we'll say, you know, cause I'm learning the moves and she's like, mom, you're like 20 and I'm the 40 year old I am now. But yeah, just like how they've really brought out the joy.

Young Han (35:41):
Oh my God. So cute. I love it. What's your all time favorite business book?

Margaret Abe Koga (35:47):
Oh, wow. That's an interesting one just because I, you know, I'm not in business, so it's more the maybe like maybe the political

Young Han (36:00):
Sure. What's your favorite leadership book? Political book. Yeah.

Margaret Abe Koga (36:03):
I actually go back to the five rings. It's AHI Japanese. So I did Kendo, Japanese fencing and

Young Han (36:13):
So no way, no way

Margaret Abe Koga (36:16):
And a third degree black belt, but

Young Han (36:20):
No way, this is amazing.

Margaret Abe Koga (36:25):
So philosophy actually comes from the martial arts and you know, even politics the way I've maneuvered. So the five rings by Musashi you my all time favorite. And it is, it is tied to leadership and, and you know, how you interact with people and it's all related to the martial arts and, you know, and swords and whatnot. But it does tie very well into life too.

Young Han (36:57):
I can't believe I'm learning so much about you in the, his podcast, like, like 14, 15 years later, right? Like, it's so funny to just be talking to you about all this stuff and going what that's amazing. Very cool. Yeah.

Margaret Abe Koga (37:09):
Cause we've always been like talking about what's the next project we've gotta get done.

Young Han (37:14):
That's true. That's true. We've always been hustle, hustle. Next thing. That's a really good point. Okay. we should just, that just means we should need to do more of these. That's really all that means. Yeah. okay. Last question that I added that now there's five. So when you're not being an awesome mom and a super public servant what are you doing for yourself? What what's fun time and downtime look like for Margaret?

Margaret Abe Koga (37:43):
Yeah. I've always enjoy. I've always enjoyed exercise. So the other thing that I've been doing on break now because of COVID, but I teach indoor cycling classes at the local, Y.

Young Han (37:56):
No way.

Margaret Abe Koga (37:57):
I actually have my own video from back in before the kids actually in Palo Alto. So I love exercise, all kinds, but definitely indoor cycling is my favorite and I love music

Young Han (38:09):

Margaret Abe Koga (38:10):
So I just love putting playlists together and and then yeah, helping other people to, you know, to work on their fitness and health has always been really important to me. My, my dad had a lot of ailments. I had breast cancer back in 2016. Yeah. So that made it even more a priority. So taking care of, you know, our health, I think is the most important thing we should, we can do. Right. And, and again, it's not just about me, but like during my best about I, I was like, you know what, I it's, I'm it's too. My girls are too young for me to leave for me to be gone. So I need to get through this. And that's what kept me going through the treatments. And so yeah, healthy is number one is most important. So I like that. And then music is tied into the exercise

Young Han (39:02):
BTS background dancing. Here we go. Right. There's your new band.

Margaret Abe Koga (39:06):
And people know if you're on my Facebook. Yeah, I'm a big boy band fan.

Young Han (39:12):
I love it.

Margaret Abe Koga (39:14):
And then lately I getting into yeah, more like K dramas and J dramas and you know,

Young Han (39:19):
Oh, nice. Yeah. They're so popular. Why are they so popular? It's like crazy how much fandom they've gotten.

Margaret Abe Koga (39:26):
Yeah. This is very different perspective, you know? Yeah. From American perspectives though. It's pretty.

Young Han (39:33):
Yeah. That's great. Awesome

Margaret Abe Koga (39:36):
In Korean now.

Young Han (39:37):
No, that's awesome. That'd be great. I, I try to learn Japanese for a little bit, but if you could speak Korean, then we can speak Korean together. That'd be way fun. Margaret, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.

Margaret Abe Koga (39:49):
Young Thank you for this opportunity.

Young Han (39:50):
It's great. So fun and so cool to learn so much more about you. I just like thought this was gonna be you and me giggling the entire or time, but like we actually covered so much good stuff like, and I just learned so much more about you. This was an amazing, amazing experience for me. So thank you. Well,

Margaret Abe Koga (40:04):
Thank you for all you do. And you know, you're just a real inspiration. Even my husband, we were talking about you and you, your, your entrepreneurial spirit is just really amazing and inspiring. And so yeah, I just feel very fortunate to know you and call you a friend.

Young Han (40:21):
Oh, thank you for that. I won't let you down. I'll keep it going. I will. I'll talk to you soon. Okay, Margaret. Bye

Margaret Abe Koga (40:31):
You too, Bye.

Young Han (40:31):
Thanks for tuning into another episode of the girl dad show. We really hope you enjoyed that interview. And as always, please take a moment to review, rate and subscribe. We'll see you next time.

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