I have noticed our relationships between our clients and the company have grown stronger, and we are more openly and authentically sharing our lives. Watching these relationships flourish and the shift of how we collaborate collectively and work together has been extremely positive and rewarding.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.
As a part of our series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alyson Yarberry.
Alyson is the founding visionary behind Modera. With nearly 20 years of experience leading local and national pieces of business, it is evident that being a master marketer and working mother is Alyson’s destiny. Prior to starting Modera in 2010, Alyson held senior executive roles at boutique agencies across Southern California. Alyson’s strength in driving operational efficiency has allowed Modera to scale year after year and attain continued client success.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
It was really by accident that I landed in marketing. I was a young single mom and had thought forging a career in accounting would be the responsible thing to do. So after landing a good job as a “staff accountant” at a large company I quickly realized that the responsible choice was going to kill my soul. So I took a job as a receptionist at a local marketing agency and quickly found my calling.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
I think the most interesting thing that has happened is finding myself working with my very first childhood friend. I believe we met at the age of 2. Lost contact for oh probably 30 years and now we meet once a week and I’m able to help her develop her own brand.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are in the midst of developing a new website for a local non-profit called Project Youth OCBF. So many non-profits have been hard hit by the pandemic since they relied heavily on fundraising events. I love having the opportunity to support community organizations and provide discounted services to help them help others. It’s really a win-win.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’m very grateful to my client and friend Jay Davis, who I met my first year in my role as an Account Executive 20 years ago. I was working in an agency and was assigned to his account, which at the time was his family-owned health plan that eventually sold to HealthNet. I worked with him on designing and developing their very first website in 2000 as well as campaigns, direct mail and collateral with his marketing team. He was extremely supportive of me as a working mother and recognized my potential early on and followed me years later when I left my role to start my own agency. His next venture became my biggest client and I have a large amount of gratitude for his loyalty and support of my career as an entrepreneur.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?
Well my child is grown so I’ve been fortunate as I didn’t have the same drastic lifestyle change as many of my employees. The biggest challenge for me was figuring out how to provide flexibility and support to my employees during the pandemic, without sacrificing productivity of the business.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Flexibility is key. I mean we had the good fortune of staying busy during this time, we still have deadlines and last minute requests, fires to put out. But office hours are a thing of the past. If my employees need an hour here and there throughout the day to care for their children or help with their schoolwork they don’t need to run it by me. Everyone is working crazy hours and getting the work done. And now that the initial shock of the lifestyle change is over, I think we are largely more productive than ever.
Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I don’t know that the pandemic has provided a challenge specific to my gender because I think we are all equally challenged by this upside down world we find ourselves in. I think the biggest challenge is determining how to cultivate new business relationships. I’ve worked hard to earn referral business from my current clients, I think during this climate people are relying heavily on referrals.
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?
While there’s obvious challenges with working from home full-time, there’s also a lot of benefits. I think approaching each day feeling grateful that we have work and the ability to be with our families can bring the anxiety level down. This allows for flexibility and while it’s easy to let work eat into your evenings these days, it’s also nice that you can take a break and play with your kids, help with homeschool, feed a baby, etc.
Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?
I have employees with kids of all ages and I think everyone agrees that lots of deep breaths are necessary to get through it! Keeping to a schedule is key, for everyone.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
I’m not an expert on managing fear or anxiety, but I’m happy to share a few personal things that have continued to bring me hope and inspiration during this time.
- Working with our clients, which a majority fall in the healthcare and nonprofit sectors, to help them reinvent themselves and adapt to the challenges brought about by the pandemic to businesses and especially nonprofits has been disheartening to watch but also extremely encouraging. Amongst our team, creativity has surged and I am extremely proud of the way our company has adapted to meet these changing needs of our clients and develop innovative solutions, services and campaigns that help our clients navigate this crisis.
- I have noticed our relationships between our clients and the company have grown stronger, and we are more openly and authentically sharing our lives. Watching these relationships flourish and the shift of how we collaborate collectively and work together has been extremely positive and rewarding.
- Making the shift to remote work so quickly and efficiently and doing so for so long definitely has its challenges, but spending more quality time at home with family, pets, and loved ones is remarkable especially as our team learns to work and thrive in a new environment.
- Working with a majority of clients in healthcare and nonprofit industries, I and my team have found a greater sense of pride and purpose within our work and how it is helping people through these times.
- Watching the world, and especially brands, embrace digital opportunities has been incredible. Supporting businesses through these shifts and digital growth and creating more opportunities for authentic relationships with their users and outlets to stay in touch has been rewarding. I am extremely grateful we have the work during this time and the opportunity to do so.
From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
I’ve learned to keep my opinions to myself! In most cases when people are feeling anxious they need to talk and feel supported and encouraged. I’ve become a lot more patient. It’s always been my first instinct to solve other people’s problems but I’ve learned that’s not what people need in times like this — unless of course they ask for it!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities.” Brene Brown
I love this because as so many of us do, I have a habit of trying to prioritize everything, and then feeling like I’m failing at everything because it’s too much to juggle.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!