LOCATION: Mill Valley, Calif.
SUCCESS STORY: Creating Speak To Me, an annual series of events designed to inform, inspire, connect and empower women
WORK SCHEDULE: Ha! Goal: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. M-F with time to volunteer, workout & vacation. Reality: Whatever is takes which is usually a lot (but time/location mostly flexible) — an always evolving, often messy mix of work/life roles where I get to do what I love and be with my family almost all the time.
KIDS: Lauren (11) & Stephen (9)
SANITY VICE: Massages and mani/pedis
BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP:
- Teach your kids how to make their own breakfast as soon as you can – it’s great for them and you
- If they have a healthy school lunch program – use it! Kids love the variety of hot options, and it is a huge time and stress saver
- Get an Internet card or iPhone 5 that has a Personal Hotspot – do emails in between carpool runs or on road trips in the car (if your spouse is driving ;-))
GO-TO TECH: Google calendar (balance home/work); Waze (the best – avoids traffic & saves time); Epicurious (husband and I love to pick dinner on it and share shopping lists)
5 Questions for Jenny
1. Tell us about Speak to Me, why you started it, and why the focus on women.
Speak To Me was born out of a desire to do something that positively impacted our community and families as well as a recognition of some unmet needs that my co-founder Tracy and I had as our kids approached Kindergarten. We were coming out of our baby fogs, finishing up some rewarding volunteer work with other Bay Area moms, and had an interesting collection of needs despite being relatively time-starved. We were craving intellectual stimulation, wanting to get up to speed on important, relevant current topics, missing the opportunity to connect with women outside of our “mom” role and realizing we could use some time out for our own personal development and just have a fun night out (after dedicating so much time to caring for others). Ideally, we wanted to do ALL of this in a way that would be extremely rewarding, worth the precious time away from family/work/volunteer commitments and fit into women’s often busy lives.
So after many discussions with hundreds of women we created Speak To Me. And we are passionately dedicated to ensuring each season educates, inspires, connects and empowers women around topics that are important to all of us. Topics are carefully and thoughtfully selected to have both personal and broad-based impact, and apply to the many roles a woman plays as a mother, partner, daughter, professional, community leader, grandmother, etc. We spend endless hours searching for speakers who are experts and leaders in their field, dynamic speakers, and inspiring individuals. It is very carefully designed to be both substantive AND fun – what every woman deserves!
We strongly believe that women are the fabric of our communities as they touch so many lives in both big and small, yet powerful ways. We believe that the more informed and connected we are as women, the better our families, workplaces, communities and the world becomes. There is an amazing energy in the room at every single one of our events that always overwhelms me. It’s the magic that happens when amazingly talented women come together to get informed, inspired and empowered – it always makes me feel like anything is possible.
2. Community building seems really important to you. Where does this passion come from?
Throughout my life I have seen the power that individuals can have (regardless of their personal resources) to make a positive impact in their own communities, and how that impact has a multiplier effect on many levels. It is what creates happier, healthier communities. I personally want to foster an environment that inspires and empowers women to be their very best selves and that facilitates the sharing of their truly unique gifts. It is when we come together to share our strengths, provide support and empower one another that strong communities are formed. So I suppose Speak To Me is the gift I am sharing with others to help build our community and hopefully improve the lives of those around me in some small way.
3. Are there any great examples of good things that have come for the community as a result of one of your events?
Oh my so many!! We constantly hear from our audience that they:
– shared information, resources and insights with reckless abandon and stimulated fruitful discussions
– made life-changing adjustments relating to personal behaviors or interactions with children, spouses, friends and business associates
– quit their current job and were inspired to courageously pursue their passion
– came to a greater appreciation for their choice to stay home with their kids
– realized that they were doing better than they thought adjusting to midlife
– found motivation to take bold action at their companies to champion an initiative that shepherded more young women in executive leadership roles
– have made connections with women who have become new business associates, clients, bosses or good friends!
These are the stories that have kept me going when running a small, entrepreneurial business. When times get stressful, frustrating or overwhelming, I think of these “moments” and I know that it’s all worth it.
4. Are you doing anything interesting when it comes to “working smart” that others could do as well?
My latest life-saver is: Don’t start with e-mail. Start with top priority calls, top 3 action items, or just search for information/responses you are waiting for. Ensures you are working against YOUR plans instead of just someone else’s. Also Google calendar! Use it religiously with your team and block off your unavailable time to cut down on time coordinating meeting times. I wasted a lot of time here.
5. What is the media missing about working moms, in your opinion?
One reality that isn’t touted as much in the media as it should be is the high value of moms. These are women who are forced to multi-task on a very high level every day and who make up a very high qualified and under-utilized talent pool. They know how to manage their time, and they don’t have time to waste (yours or theirs). They are master project managers. They are usually more experienced, and have the added social skills, maturity, and calm under pressure that they developed as moms that are essential to the success of any project (at work or home). They are excited to sink their teeth into something meaty, and don’t require a full time commitment. It’s a golden opportunity for employers with part-time, seasoned professional needs. With all the technology available today, flexibility is fairly easy to accommodate. If you can find a way to increase flexibility of work hours or location (and these days fathers need it too), you can enjoy a powerhouse team member who is happy, healthy and dedicated.