“Being successful is living each day with a positive outlook”,With Dr. Ely Weinschneider and Ranu Coleman

I started to realize I’m leading at work, and I’m leading at home, and the skill set is no different to be successful at both. The key to what I define as “success” is to be committed to each aspect of your life and give up on finding the perfect balance (because it doesn’t exist) […]

I started to realize I’m leading at work, and I’m leading at home, and the skill set is no different to be successful at both. The key to what I define as “success” is to be committed to each aspect of your life and give up on finding the perfect balance (because it doesn’t exist) and learn to embrace the chaos. Being successful is living each day with a positive outlook, having balance in all the important areas of my life, and the time and resources to pursue what I am passionate about.

As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Ranu Coleman. A seasoned marketing and communications leader with deep experience in the retail/fashion space, Ranu Coleman serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Azazie, the direct-to-consumer company focused on high-quality, custom-fit, affordable bridesmaid dresses and wedding gowns. Joining Azazie in February 2018, Coleman leads the marketing team in implementing brand strategy, driving awareness of Azazie’s product offerings and engaging consumers with the brand. Previously Coleman was director of marketing for a cutting-edge tech company, following a year as senior program manager consultant, store design for Sephora, where she led the rollout of a new urban location prototype, Sephora Studio. From 2013–15 Coleman served as manager, brand marketing for equestrian footwear and apparel brand Ariat International after a similar post for Dreamwear where, for five years, her responsibilities included negotiating and shepherding strategic partnerships with national brands including Nicole Miller, Skinnygirl by Bethany Frankel, Playboy, XOXO and Laura Ashley.

 Ranu Coleman is married with one child and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My parents owned their own computer software company which kept them very busy, but I also felt like they made a lot of time to nurture and take care of me and my siblings. We understood both the value of hard work and the value of spending quality time with family. I recall numerous loud, adventurous road trips with all of us and our close family friends exploring new places and making great memories.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

I originally went to college to pursue Political Science and eventually go to Law School, but I realized that this path wasn’t for me after my first year of classes. I had always had a passion and interest in the fashion industry and decided to go to Fashion School (FIDM in LA) after getting my Bachelor’s and it was the best decision I made. From there I had an internship with Kenneth Cole in Fashion Marketing and never looked back.

Marketing felt like such a natural transition as it involves a lot of writing and strategic thinking. After years of working in retail companies I worked my way up from Associate to Manager to Director and now am the Head of Marketing for Azazie, a direct to consumer bridal and bridesmaid apparel company. The marketing landscape has changed a lot over the years, but with Azazie I still get to keep my fashion roots, and now have dove into the DTC and technology worlds as well.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

I am an early bird and usually wake up around 6:00 a.m. I spend the first 10–15 minutes on my phone looking at my schedule for the day and answering any time sensitive emails from overseas. Then I spend the mornings with my son, getting him ready for school, having breakfast together and spending a little quality time before I head into work.

When I am at the office, I like to start my day answering any important emails, spending 1:1 time with my team and also taking some time to think about high level strategy. Sometimes we get so bogged down in meetings and smaller tasks that we don’t spend enough time focusing on the initiatives that will move the needle for your business.

When I leave the office, the evenings are meant for quality time with the family. Once I put my son to sleep for the night, I go back into work mode for a little while, and then enjoy some “me” time with a nice glass of wine.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

Children don’t have a lot of control in their lives on their own, so being a parent that is present and can provide them with a solid routine can give them a sense of stability, comfort and organization that they need and crave. Not having that guidance and stability can lead to behavioral and psychological issues for the child.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is important to make time to spend with your children?

Children who spend quality time with their parents tend to have more self-confidence. They are more sociable because they sense that their parents love and value them. Making time for your children instills positive behaviors in them — the more time you spend with them, you reinforce and teach by example the positive behaviors you want them to mimic.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

My evening routine with my son involves shutting everything down and spending quality time together which includes making dinner together (when I’m home on time), bath time, and reading books every night before bed.

Every other Friday, we do “Friday Movie Night” at our house where my son gets to pick a movie to watch and we make dinner together and eat a big bowl of popcorn. It’s something we all look forward to.

On the weekends, it’s really important to me to get outside and do something fun outdoors with my child. Most of the time we go to the park, but sometimes we will go to the zoo or to the local farm and feed the animals. It’s nice being outside in nature and getting some quality time in together.

Sometimes when I am cleaning or doing household chores, I will turn up the music really loud and the whole family will have a dance party in the kitchen. My son already knows how to tell Alexa to play his favorite music!

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

Develop a routine that works for your family and your work: Routine helps establish order to my day, my mornings are focused on work and coming into the office early, and my evenings are time for quality time with my kids and family.

Ask for help. It’s important to surround yourself with supportive friends, family and have a support system at the office that values work/ life balance.

Embrace Flexibility: Often times I take calls early in the AM in my bathrobe or late at night. If you are doing a good job and getting your work done it doesn’t matter what time you do it. These days with technology like Zoom, Skype etc. it’s easy to make yourself accessible from anywhere.

Build a strong team at work so you can lighten your own load and create more space and time for family.

Let your personal and professional lives bleed into each other sometimes. At times you will have to step out of the office to pick up medicine for your child or answer an email while you are on the playground, and that’s okay.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

To me a good parent is someone who connects with their child every day in some small way. Laughing together, spending time together and doing something fun. Something I like to do with my son every day is have him help me make dinner every night or breakfast on the weekends. He loves being my little helper and it’s our special one-on-one time that we have together with no distractions.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

I inspire my child to dream big by teaching him that nothing is out of his reach. Kids have wild imaginations and I always strive to encourage and foster that imagination, so if he wants to be an astronaut one day, he knows that’s something he can do and something we encourage.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

I started to realize I’m leading at work, and I’m leading at home, and the skill set is no different to be successful at both. The key to what I define as “success” is to be committed to each aspect of your life and give up on finding the perfect balance (because it doesn’t exist) and learn to embrace the chaos. Being successful is living each day with a positive outlook, having balance in all the important areas of my life, and the time and resources to pursue what I am passionate about.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

My best parenting resource is my family and in particular my sister. Whenever I feel like I am doing a horrible job, need advice or some words of wisdom I call her and ask how she would handle a certain situation. She had kids years before I did and I was able to watch how much patience she has with them and how she balances being President of her own company while still making time for them. Those type of teachings are invaluable.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” ―Oprah Winfrey

This has been relevant to me in work and in my personal life. When it comes to business, and especially working in a field like Fashion Marketing, you have to be ambitious, proactive and have the self-confidence to ask for what you want and take risks. That has always translated over to my personal life as well.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d love to inspire people to learn to benefit from criticism. Nobody enjoys negative feedback however receiving criticism is a chance to learn, even if it’s not delivered in the best way. And even when it’s unfounded, it gives you a window into how others think and increases someone’s emotional intelligence.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

Dr. Ely Weinschneider is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in New Jersey. Dr. Ely specializes in adolescent and adult psychotherapy, parenting, couples therapy, geriatric therapy, and mood and anxiety disorders. He also has a strong clinical interest in Positive Psychology and Personal Growth and Achievement, and often makes that an integral focus of treatment.

An authority on how to have successful relationships, Dr. Ely has written, lectured and presented nationally to audiences of parents, couples, educators, mental health professionals, businesses, physicians and healthcare policymakers on subjects such as: effective parenting, raising emotionally intelligent children, motivation, bullying prevention and education, relationship building, stress management, and developing healthy living habits.

Dr. Ely also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column about the importance of “being present with your children”.

When not busy with all of the above, Dr. Ely works hard at practicing what he preaches, raising his adorable brood (which includes a set of twins and a set of triplets!) together with his wife in Toms River, New Jersey.

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