My Love You


One of the cutest things my little Matthew is saying right now is “My Love You.”  At almost 2 1/2, he has so many new words coming daily but this phrase and the smile behind his eyes as he says it make me melt.  Today when I was putting him down for nap, he leaned up to my ear and whispered it to me while nuzzling up for hugs and kisses.  It makes me wonder when you truly begin to understand love.  I could swear to you that Matthew understands.  But, how?  and what?

I think what he understands is the connection and unconditional emotion that we share.  It is authentic, simple, unassuming and not influenced by the world.  The more that I think about this love I have for my kids, the more remarkable it is.  I try to tell them and show them as much as I can….through my words, and my supportive action, discipline if needed, and sneaking hugs and kisses as much as possible.

Matthew is the sweetest of little guys.  His sister Katharine was (and is) my first experience at truly unconditional parental love. “My Love You” little ones.

Commitments: Enjoy What I Have


Had a wonderful weekend with just our family.  I realize sitting here on Sunday night that we had literally no plans this weekend other than Katharine’s soccer game which was ultimately cancelled due to rain.  I can’t remember the last time our weekend was so unplanned.  And, it was wonderful.  Just a few days of enjoying what I have and feeling lucky.  So, a commitment for this evening….keep enjoying.

Creating a System

I am excited to report that after two weeks straight of Jon traveling, our new system seems to be working.  What a difference a year makes, and it is a good thing.

Last year (2013/2014 school year), both of our kids went into a great daycare/preschool for the first time.  For Katharine (our then 3 1/2 year old), it was her second year, and for Matthew (our then 16 month old) it was his first time in any kind of away from home child care.  We were super excited about getting both kids a spot in the school as there aren’t many to go around, but worried about balancing two busy work lives with daycare schedule.  Once we got through the drama of the first two weeks of Matthew’s adjustment to the school, we felt like we were settling in.  Oh, but we were wrong.  The next 8 months proceeded to be full of sick days, Jon traveling more than he ever had and me trying to hold on for dear life.  On the positive side, the kids absolutely loved the school and were growing so much every single day.

As the end of the school year approached last June, we were thrilled to be planning on a full-time nanny for the summer.  It felt like it was going to be a vacation.  Not rushing to get two kids out the door in the morning, not dealing with sick kid coverage and unplanned time off work.  We had a great summer but those brief 9 weeks between school years moved faster than I could have imaged.  As this school year began approaching and our fall travel schedules began to fill in, I started to freak out  I seriously didn’t think I could survive another year like last year.

Enter problem solving mode….we ended up deciding to build a system.  We hired a wonderful babysitter help with the kids.  She helps us both with the kids and doing odds and ends around our house including a weekly grocery store run.  We are two weeks in to our new system and I feel like I may survive.  That this small choice to get some help has built more sanity in my schedule than I ever could have believed.  The downside – guilt.  I feel like I am yet again outsourcing my life.  What is it about guilt?  It seems to haunt me despite the positive energy the system is helping me to build.  Another topic for another day….

For now, I am highly recommending a system.  It is helping to bring order to chaos and allowing my time with my kids to be as positive as possible.

Commitments: Staying Fresh

How do you stay fresh amongst an ever changing marketing landscape?  I was reading a number of things this week regarding programmatic buying.  I am amazed at the speed of change in marketing as well as the amount of content written about it (insert irony as I am writing about it!).  It made me think a lot about staying fresh.  It is so hard to do while trying to spend my day doing my day job – or at least what I perceive as my day job.  On a daily basis, I pride myself in linking what we do in marketing to sales results.  I often worry that by spending my time so focused on analyzing this linkage makes me and my team too focused in the past.  All the while the future is being scripted through change in the marketing landscape.  Welcome to my mental dilemma.

So, I am channeling my inner problem-solver, and here is what I am going to do…

Listen to my customer:  No matter the change in the marketing landscape, one thing never changes….what my customer needs, we should deliver.  Without listening, it is impossible for our marketing, and ultimately the products and services we sell to deliver.

Ask more questions that I ever have:  I love inquisitiveness.  That said, sometimes it is easy to get lazy versus to ask why.  With enough questions, I learn from every encounter and experience more than I ever could another way.

Read everything for real:  Sometimes in light of my busy life, and my short attention span, I skim.  The number of content outlets, particularly Twitter, just makes this worse.  There is so much to consume and not enough time to consume it.  So, instead of the skimming, I am committing to really reading again.  This almost makes me giggle just writing it.

Look for inspiration in the unlikely:  An Executive Creative Director I know preaches to look for creativity in the ordinary.  My version of this is looking for great marketing in the unlikely.  This evening while watching a movie with my kids (from Disney’s Fairy series), the power of marketing was crazy.  Matthew (my two year old) told me in his toddler-speak, “Mommy, me go to magic kingdom.”  Say what?!?!  How does he know this already?

Discuss:  Per a previous post of mine, often time the best ideas come through discussion.  I am surrounded by smart people every day, and to talking about marketing with them and what is or isn’t changing can help sharpen my point of view.

I am committing this evening to staying fresh and making this a part of my day job.

Little Miss Magic


Tonight while putting Katharine to bed she wanted to listen to music.  My phone was in my pocket and I decided this would be a nice relaxing way to spend the next ten minutes despite my dread for “Let It Go”, “Do You Want to be a Snowman” and other Frozen songs I was certain she would select.  Jon is gone traveling and after a long day, even these tunes provide a welcome quiet moment while snuggling one of my favorite little people.

I turned my phone over to her and let her navigate through the music selection to pick what she wants.  These little four-year old fingers are amazingly agile at navigating through the iPhone music selection so I drifted into thought of my day and what else I still needed to do tonight before I could retire to bed myself.  Before I knew it, Little Miss Magic by Jimmy Buffett was playing and Katharine snuggled up tight to sing.

Momentarily, I forgot everything but the journey I have been on with this precious little one.  How her 4 1/2 years of life have helped me to realize how important things like the warm breeze on my not so gentle skin are things not to take for granted.  Katharine kept singing through the whole song, to my amazement, and as the song closed let me know that she picked it because she is daddy’s “Little Miss Magic” and that she knows while he is on his trip that he is thinking of her.

A moment I won’t forget.  Goodnight, Little Miss Magic.

Commitments: Creativity Through Discussion

Today I was able to attend a meeting with my creative team brainstorming ideas to make one of our conventions impactful for the physicians who will be attending, while helping to grow our business.  I loved the vibe…we were all standing amongst an open, collaboration space; bringing ideas to the table; laughing and being serious all at the same time.  I was reminded of the good that can come when you allow boundaries to drop, don’t bring a perceived right answer to the table, and allow for freedom of thought and discussion.  It reminded me of a quote from a great book I read earlier this year and am thinking that I need to go back to study again:  Creativity, Inc.:  Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration.

“Frank talk, spirited debate, laughter, and love. If I could distill a Braintrust meeting down to its most essential ingredients, those four things would surely be among them.” – Ed Catmull

Catmull uses this book to share the lessons he learned as the co-founder of Pixar as they grew from an idea to a widely successful movie studio.  He is passing on great advice to those of us who want to bring creativity into business every day.  These Braintrust meetings were a gathering of most talented minds at Pixar that reviewed projects and ideas to help make them successful.  What I love about this quote, and what I felt today in my meeting was the collective group of brains that were coming together to make something better.  What made this stand out is that so often I feel like within my marketing team individuals feel like their idea is the best idea.  They have a lack of willingness to share their idea for fear of it being taken, critiqued, or worst-case shelved.  Todays meeting, and the fundamental premise of the Braintrust concept, is that ideas flourish with discussion, debate and commitment from individuals to deliver excellent work.  So, a commitment for the week.  Build a culture on my team that encourages creativity through discussion.  Help people learn to realize the strength in sharing their ideas so that the ideas become better.

Change in My Job

This week at work I had a few meetings centered around technology choices to set up our company (and our marketing team) up for success.  It dawned on me how much being a marketer and a marketing leader has changed.  When I started my marketing career in brand management at Procter & Gamble I thought a lot about brands and products, offline marketing, and connecting with consumers.  Occasionally, I would think about websites but at that point it wasn’t a big focus for me.  My leaders and I reviewed marketing plans, revenue results and return on investment of our programs.  We were traditional marketers at a best-in-class marketing company.

There was a marketing manager on our team called the “interactive marketing manager.” It seemed so novel at the time.  We staffed this role to begin to test programs that included web microsites, social marketing ideas and email communication plans.  We were trying to figure out if investing human resources and money in this digital marketing thing was worth it.  Irony.  Today, my team builds marketing programs with digital tools at the center of what they do.  In my job, I think and discuss technology options daily.  Based on this difference, you would think that my P&G experience was decades ago and not just the 10 years that it has been.

Beyond the shift toward digital and social, another massive change in the job of the marketer today is the ability to leverage data in our marketing planning process.  There is more data available than most marketers know how to use.  My experience is that often too much data is worse than none at all.  With too much data, many of my team members get stuck in analysis paralysis versus idea generation and marketing planning.  Often times my team members don’t have the experience and skills to be effective at drawing conclusions from data fast enough to build great marketing.

As a marketing leader, these two shifts amongst others have caused me to change how I approach my job.  I believe that my core functional objective is the same.  What has become different is how I do my job, how my teams bring our marketing to consumers and how I lead my people.  I have had to become more connected both in my own life (social marketing, blogging, reading business and marketing news) as well as in my work life (listening more actively to the consumers of our companies services, being online and available more often to my team).  I have had to put myself in a frame of mind to constantly learn and ask questions.  With the technology changes and the willingness of consumers to go with the change, marketing teams have to be change agents and risk takers within their companies.  As a marketing leader, I have learned to encourage and teach this behavior to my team many of whom don’t come to this naturally.

P&G’s cosmetics interactive marketing manager was the tip of the iceberg in terms of the evolution I have experienced in my marketing career.  I am counting on the next decade to be even more filled with change.  It makes me excited about what I can learn, teach and contribute.



Gaining Perspective

Does everything need to have a goal, a purpose, a schedule or a way it “should” happen? I would love to say it doesn’t in my life, but it wouldn’t be true.  It seems that in order to accomplish everything that I do these days, everything is scheduled and analyzed. Starting at 6am with a workout through 9pm once two kids are in bed, there is a purpose and schedule for almost every minute of my life.  After 9pm, I try to catch up on everything that didn’t meet the daytime cut which can include chilling with Jon, reading a book, blogging, cleaning up email from work, or just brainless television.  Occasionally, a girls night trumps the evening routine.

This last weekend started with me leaving work at noon on Friday – a rare treat.   Jon and I had scheduled an anniversary two night getaway at the Montage in Deer Valley Friday and Saturday night.  So, I drove up from work and we had a late lunch.  Before departing for Deer Valley, I decided to squeeze in my workout since I had missed it Friday morning.  So, I took off from our house on my mountain bike with a plan and a schedule.  I had to be back within an hour so we could take off for our relaxing weekend.  Mid-trail ride, while I stressed about the pace I was on, and whether I would make it back by our scheduled departure time while getting an adequate workout in, I stopped and took the picture above….and took a deep breath.


Who was I racing?  Why did I feel like I had a scheduled departure time for our “relaxing” staycation that had no start time?  Why did I feel like if I didn’t ride the trail I set out to ride, I wasn’t getting “enough” exercise?  Wow.  Perspective needed.

It all worked out.  I took a left-turn on my ride, where I was supposed to go straight.  I looked up while I was riding my bike and took in the early fall leaves instead of focusing on my handlebars.  Ultimately, I went “late” to my relaxing anniversary weekend and everything was fine.  My daily reality is that I put undue stress and pressure on myself because I think the only way to accomplish my schedule is through perfection.  Not true.  Releasing the pressure made me enjoy things more.

Tonight I am as relaxed as I have been in a long time.  After living through a weekend with no schedule and a lot of fun, I have realized I need to let go more.  I need to live with less rules, and less expectations of myself.  From here, my challenge is to continue this perspective by trying my best not to have a schedule that makes me lose this perspective.