Real Life

Kiwi mum reveals how she raised a multi-millionaire

Auckland mother Paula reveals her secrets to bringing up successful children

By Hayley McLarin
Oprah Winfrey once declared, "No is a complete sentence." If ever there was an antithesis, it's Paula Beaton, a formidable single mum from Auckland for whom "yes" is also a complete sentence.
An eternal optimist, she approaches everything with the same dogged determination that saw her raise her son Jamie to achieve everything he possibly could, including being accepted into all 25 of the world's top universities.
He went on to finish degrees at Harvard and Yale before he was 21. Now, at 26, he's worth $674 million, based in New York and is providing the tools for other Kiwis to follow in his footsteps.
"I counted my blessings and was really grateful to be able to have Jamie," Paula tells Woman's Day. "The challenges along the way were pretty easy to overcome. As a parent, you've got to not feel that it's a sacrifice."
Paula was nearing 30 and running a property management company when she discovered she was pregnant – the same day she and her husband separated.
With her ex not a part of Jamie's life, Paula threw herself into parenthood with the support of her parents John and Sarah, who lived with Paula, helping her to encourage Jamie in all he wanted to do.
Paula had big plans for baby Jamie
An only child, Jamie recalls, "Even when I was around nine, Mum would be training me in history for my exam while we were eating at a Wendy's in Ōtāhuhu. She'd learn all the content and know it as well as I did, if not more. She was amazingly involved."
Smiling, Paula, now 61, adds, "At kindergarten or primary, you should know everything they're learning – that's when they want your involvement. My one rule was to harness Jamie's enthusiasm, whatever he wanted to do."
Sadly, Jamie's grandmother Sarah was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when he was 10 and passed away when he was 19. He and Paula both say her tragic decline made them resolve to achieve the most in life. John, 92, still lives with Paula, who says the "incredible stability" of three generations in one home helped her son flourish.
Jamie at his graduation with proud mum Paula and grandpa John
Jamie attended St Kentigern's and then Kings College at a time when the children of single mothers simply didn't attend private schools. A pupil he admired went to study at Yale University in the US and that "set a light off for Jamie".
"We went to the States, going to all the Ivy League schools' open days," remembers Paula. "We had no idea what we were doing, but he applied for all the Ivy Leagues – all the essays and the phone interviews. Year 13 was the most stressful year of his life, but he got into all 25 schools."
When he realised so many others wanted to know how he achieved it, Jamie set up the education business Crimson Consulting. At 19, he bought NumberWorks, a tuition service he'd used himself, and he's since established a secondary school academy with more than 650 pupils.
"I'm 26 now. Does that mean 30% of my life has already gone?" ponders Jamie. "We're only here for a small amount of time and we have to make the most of every day. That means spending time on things we're passionate about – in my case, that means making an impact on a generation of students long after I'm gone."
He cites a Hamilton pupil who went through Crimson, attended Harvard University and went on to earn $140,000 at one of the world's biggest hedge funds by the age of 22.
With mentor Sir John Key
An Auckland student won scholarships to attend the California Institute of Technology, then worked for NASA, Google and Tesla.
"What I'm really motivated by is the potential you can unlock in people when they're on the right path," says Jamie, who has proudly never drunk alcohol or used drugs – and only recently had his first iced
latte. "Paula gave me so much love and intensity to be the best version of myself I could be. I need to share that with the community."
Nodding, Paula agrees, "With the privilege of having a family around you and being able to achieve something comes an obligation to add value to the world."
Paula is honing her parenting advice into a book, a follow-up to Jamie's upcoming Accepted: Secrets To Gaining Admission To The World's Top Universities. Now happily remarried, she says, "There is no child who doesn't have something that ignites their passion. The most important gift in the world is to just keep nurturing that – never be a barrier to what they want to do."
Raising students to be future leaders has given Jamie some insight into how he'd like to be as a father. He says, "I imagine getting married and having a big family. Crimson works with tens of thousands of students around the world now and I've witnessed many different parenting styles. If my little ones can have some Paula magic, they'll go flying.
"Paula has always been my rock. I'm eternally grateful to all the energy and love she poured into me."
  • undefined: Hayley Mclarin

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