Read on to find out how she started a very successful virtual public relations firm, and learn about the parallels she discovered between parenting and business.
Babies on the brain
Several years ago, I decided it was time to make some major changes in my life — both personal and professional. I’d been working at top-notch public relations agencies with a roster of clients that ranged from rock stars to up-and-coming corporate luminaries. It was exciting, challenging and exceptionally time-consuming. However, over the din of brainstorming meetings, major public events and jet engines, I was beginning to hear the distant tick-tick of my biological clock. I soon realized, though, that I didn’t have the first clue about how I was going to reconcile motherhood with the intense, non-stop professional life I’d honed for myself.
Merging the office with the offspring
Then, after much thought and a Stoli martini or two, it came to me — I would start my own business, and not just any business — a virtual business where I could control the work flow from home and manage a virtual staff of other like-minded colleagues. This arrangement would enable me to greet my future kids at the school bus at the end of the day, happily supervise play dates and be available for important mom-offspring conversations all day long.
The virtual dream becomes reality
Now, as the CEO of a successful, eight-year-old virtual public relations firm and mother of three very real children aged 3, 4, and 6, I’m living two intertwined lives simultaneously. The kids keep me grounded, sometimes confounded and always on my toes, working out compromises, strategic alliances and creative strategies that rival the public relations campaigns of any major corporation on the planet. It turned out that my children (prior to conception, in utero and thereafter) not only served as the inspiration for my going virtual, but continue to mentor me in unexpected ways.
They’ve taught me the most important lessons, a great many of which are directly applicable to my business dealings, such as how to prioritize (should I clean up the spilled contents of a malfunctioning sippy cup or squelch an escalating sister-brother squabble first?); how to be patient (No, honey, 9 minus 6 equals 3, not cat, let’s try it again… ); and how to be a calmer parent (count to 10 in a variety of romance languages).
As a result of the lessons I’ve learned as a parent, I’ve discovered how to be braver when anticipating difficult conversations with clients, my strategic thinking kicks in faster than ever and my damage control proficiency is at an all-time high. My children have provided instruction that no MBA program can touch — but please, somebody say something if you ever see me trying to cut a client’s meat into small pieces or dab a bit of mustard from a stubbled chin. That would be very bad…