In our latest edition of DKC Voices, we hear how three DKC executives, Karen Richman, Ivy Mollenkamp and Eva Ross are balancing their careers with motherhood.

Karen Richman

My notion of being a working mom was flipped on its head about 7 weeks ago. Prior to that, I’d gotten into a pretty solid routine as a mom of two young kids: I’d kiss my one-year-old daughter goodbye, walk my three-year-old son to preschool, and then be able to spend a full day at the office focusing on work. I’d get periodic updates and pictures from my nanny, so I always felt connected, but I knew my kids were in great hands and never had to worry much about them during the day.

All of that changed when I started working from home — as so many people did — when this pandemic really took hold in the U.S. My home “office” is my bedroom that I also share with my husband. [Side note: I’ve learned more about what he does over the last six weeks than I had in the previous six years combined.]

We’ve done our best to try and maintain a ‘normal’ routine as much as possible. We’ll have breakfast together with the kids at the same time every day before ‘going to work’. Generally speaking, they know that when our door is closed, it means we’re busy working and they do as good a job respecting that as you could expect of any one- and three-year-old.

I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to work, full-time, from home, and also fortunate that I can take midday breaks when my kids are eating lunch or playing in the living room to spend some extra time with them. They’ve also both joined their fair share of Zoom meetings and my son, especially, gets a kick out of being a ‘colleague’. While having a kid on my lap or someone screaming in the background isn’t always the ideal addition to a meeting, it’s nice being able to share more of what I do with them. This is a stressful time for everyone with no rule book on how best to get through it, and I often need to remind myself to appreciate these silver linings. As a mom, it is often a challenge to separate work life from family life, and now that’s virtually impossible. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. And for that I am especially grateful.

Eva Ross

Working at a PR agency will teach you one very important lesson, how to multitask. Whether you’re working on five accounts or 15, working at an agency will help you learn how to do a million things at the same time. I can say there is only one other job that will prepare you more, and that’s being a mom. Working moms deserve an award as we live through this pandemic. Working at home, being a mother, being a wife and being a teacher at the same time is one of the most challenging jobs I have ever had but we do not have a choice…we have to make it work.

Mothers have a particular strength which is unexplainable. No offense to the fathers out there but it’s like a super power that just happens. I’m not saying that we can do anything and everything…we have our good days and bad days but our motherly strength helps us get through almost everything.

Professionally, this pandemic has definitely brought forth something that none of us have ever experienced. But what has helped me is knowing that I’m working on brands such as Sesame and KIDZ BOP that have helped children get through these challenging times and brought smiles to their faces, as well as Spotify, Etsy and MAC, which have made a huge effort to give back to artists and creators across the world.

On a personal level, as much as my three children and husband drive me crazy, they have helped me survive with their smiles and hugs. They melt my heart and motivate me to keep working hard and to try to have some normalcy during this crazy time. I will forever cherish this extra time with them. And lastly, even though I can’t be with my mom and dad, their love energizes me and gives me strength to look forward to a time when we can all be together again.

Ivy Mollenkamp

Motherhood and a career run deep in my DNA.

I’m the granddaughter of two amazing women — one who traveled here to the US from Italy to start a new life and the other a smart and kind woman who single-handedly raised four children. And my mother is a Wonder Woman in her own right — a true example of how to work and raise a brood at the same time — and in the late 70s no less.

As the oldest of two sisters, a brother and two step-brothers, I was charged with making sure my siblings were cared for, entertained and loved. And when I went off to college, my girlfriends called me “Mama” as I always seemed to be driving someone home from a “late night.”

A successful career was also very important to me — being raised by such strong women, I wanted to express my independence and creativity. Throughout my entire public relations journey I’ve been surrounded by and learned from inspiring and powerful women who taught me discipline, strategic thinking, the art of multitasking, diplomacy and determination.

When it came time to have a family of my own, it would be a journey in and of itself. I knew I always wanted to be a mother and would discover it would take quite the effort to make it happen through numerous rounds of scientific help. In the end, I am blessed with three incredible children.

As I look forward to this year’s Mother’s Day, it will certainly be one to remember given today’s climate. The past six weeks have taught me that I’m anchored in family — both personally and professionally. I find I apply many of the same principles — confidence, kindness, patience and passion — to both my nuclear and DKC families. And, I’ve come to realize that I need both of those families in my life for calmness, inspiration and love.

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