SheSpeaks recently had the opportunity to interview successful working mom, Marisa Thalberg. On top of holding the position of Vice President of Global Online Marketing for Estee Lauder Companies and being a mother of two, Marisa Thalberg is the founder of a unique website dedicated to working moms, ExecutiveMoms.com. During the interview, Marisa Thalberg offered advice to working moms and let us in on how ExecutiveMoms.com provides a fabulous service to working moms.
Q. What made you want to start ExecutiveMoms.com?
A. Executive Moms was born out of a personal need, which arose soon after I became a mother for the first time. I knew I was going to be returning to work, but during my maternity leave I attended a couple of "Mommy and Me" groups and was stunned to find so few women who said they were doing the same. I had such a need then to surround myself with other women like me to whom I could relate, and from whom I could learn and be inspired. As I returned to work I looked around for an organization or group that could provide this sense of connection to other "fabulous" working moms. Women I would want to be around no matter what. When it became evident that, even in New York, this bastion of work life, no such thing existed... I decided to give birth again: to Executive Moms.
Q. Could you tell us a little bit about how and why the Executive Moms community works?
A. Executive Moms works because it is predicated around a very simple but powerful insight: that there are a ton of women who are accomplished, confident and in fact generally satisfied with their lives both as professionals and mothers-- but can simply feel that much more equipped to thrive if given a sense of connection to other women like themselves, along with some smart, helpful thoughts or resources that really resonate to all her points of interest as a multifaceted woman. That insight drives everything we do. Executive Moms also has an interesting dichotomy of being both exclusive and inclusive at the same time; it thus somehow self-selects a very special group of women who everyday debunk all the negative mythology that so wrongly exists about working moms. It is indeed an amazing community.
Q. Were there any obstacles you had to overcome before launching Executive Moms in 2002?
A. My own fear over determining to address my working mother questions by essentially giving myself a second career! I have in fact remained a true executive mom myself; having continued with a VERY full-time corporate career throughout managing Executive Moms on the side. Oh, and BEING a mother. I now have two amazing daughters. So there continues to be ongoing fear or self-recrimination about not doing more-- but I also recognize how much has been accomplished since I started this.
Q. Any advice for new mothers attempting to juggle a career and children? How have you made it work?
A. I have really come to believe that we all have to come up with our own, personal mix (I prefer this to "balance") that is a series of
prioritizations and compromises that work for YOU and your family alone. There is no one formula, and even your own mix has to be highly mutable. One of the things we learned from our audience early on is how much women like us want and need "flexibility" -- but when pressed on what that ideally means, it was less about getting a part-time schedule than just knowing you have the ability to scoot out from work for a pediatrician appointment or school play when needed without worrying about repercussions. This to me really speaks to how we strive to make it all work. Another insight: a vast majority of the women in our audience said they identify with the adage, "if you want something done, give it to a busy person." I think in terms of the juggle, it helps if you too identify with this adage, and might even thrive on keeping a bunch of balls in the air at the same time. Lastly, my real advice on this (though at times easier said than done) is to recognize that as a mother with a career, you are in fact setting a wonderful role model or your children, that you are in fact the norm across cultures and civilizations. It’s just important to make the time with your family count, and then to judge yourself simply by looking at your generally terrific, adaptive children in order to realize you are doing a pretty good job at this. Then banish any lingering guilt. P.S. Remember that Chinese takeout covers every major food group quite well.
Q. Do you feel the recession has had an effect on your community of Executive Moms? Any trends that you have noticed overall?
A. I will be better able to answer that after our big spring event in New York City on April 21st where we are tackling some of the biggest issues of working motherhood, refiltered through the lens of 2009, aided by a stellar panel of experts and moderated by "Nightline’s" Cynthia McFadden. (All working moms are invited to this, incidentally; simply visit www.executivemoms.com and secure your reservation in advance). However, thus far, I see women networking with each other a little more... and also being even more supportive and empathic. It’s an extremely challenging and stressful time for all of us, clearly.
Q. Can you share any thoughts on what is in store for the future of ExecutiveMoms.com?
I hope what is in store is that Executive Moms will continue to gain awareness and thereby grow our audience, and specifically our online
Community, as it remains a very unique resource for an audience of women who are as influential and significant as they have been surprisingly underserved.
Does www.ExecutiveMoms.com sound like a website you might like to check out?
Do you have any secrets to share about juggling career and children successfully?
This is an inspiring article and sounds like a fantastic website! I can't wait to check it out. It is difficult sometimes to find the "mis" that works for you - it will be great to see what this website has to offer.
I don't get why we don't just make the men do more work. The whole supermom thing looks like it sucks.
Wow - what an inspiration! AND how true about the 'if you want something done, give it to a busy person!' - When you are a working mom, you know how to juggle and if you don't, you learn real fast.
She really inspires me.
My husband and myself both work full-time outside of the home. We havd a 4 yr old son and a 2 yr old daughter. My day begins at 5:30 am and doesn't stop until around 12:00 am. We are both active in our church and have other community involvements. I am so glad that I don't have to feel alone. It is nice to see other women just like myself!
I am a mom who got a bill passed in the state of Ohio to allow emergency contact with our drivers license. When you go to the Doctors, work place and kids in school you always have to put an emergency contact. My son was killed in an auto accident and Hospital chaplain ended up telling me over the phone that David was dead without knowing who I was, didnt ask if anyone was home with me or if I was driving. No one deserves to be told this way. I talked with the Sgt. that was on David's case and this is how I came up with it. So if you live in Ohio you can sign up on line and you DO NOT have to wait until your license are renewed. This way law enforcement can find family members much quicker. www.money-burge.com
I feel it is important that women who work hard to balance their parental roles, careers, and outside interests are able to network and connect with others who share the same challenges. It is too often that, after spending the day with my 250 middle school aged students, I struggle to sit through an hour of watching my daughter's evening dance class - The conversations around me are filled with critical comments about school staff and mothers who work. ExecutiveMoms.com seems to be a great resource for working mothers.
What a great website...Thanks!
Like Marisa, I too have made it my mission to empower women who try everyday to "do it all." With the added benefits of career counseling, childcare resources and a national job board (to name a few), MyWorkButterfly.com has positioned itself as a comprehensive resource for mothers. I have personally video interviewed many celebrity moms and corporate executives to mentor and inspire the members. Kudos to Marisa... our missions are clearly aligned! Bradi, Co-Founder, MyWorkButterfly.com
I worked full-time from my children's birth until they both graduated from High School. Then I got MS and became a stay-at-home mom. I did it all backwards ;) Connie
I am relieved that there are other women out there that need to have people around them who are working and mommy-ing. Now if only there were a website out there for executive "single" moms. Maybe I should start that one! That is the website I would like to join.
As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled to have a connection to the City!
It is comforting to know that there are other mom's who have found balance with career, family, volunteerism and other interests in the way I have. I personally found the feature article, "How to Be a Class Mom From the Office" on ExecutiveMoms.com quite relevant and shared it with all of my twitter friends, many of whom are entrepreneurs and "career mommies" who put their families first as I do.
I and my husband both have businesses, totaling 3 and I work outside of the home with a full-time job and we have a 4 year-old daughter and a 6 year-old son. I decided that it takes making a sacrifice, maybe staying up a little extra late to get things done after homework, dinner, household chores and spending quality time. It can be done.
Totally identify... I am an artist, writer, and have my own business. I have 2 four year old twin girls... It gets hectic!! Sometimes I feel alone because of my situation. Sometimes I think I am crazy for taking on as much as I do, but I honestly can't help it. LOL!!