Deanna Anderson: “Home Is Where the Heart Is ”

The Power of Perseverance — My grandmothers lived through many life and society challenges but always kept their chin up and most of the time a smile on their face. I hope that my kids will remember the good times from COVID more than the stresses. I hope my kids will take the challenges we have faced […]

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The Power of Perseverance — My grandmothers lived through many life and society challenges but always kept their chin up and most of the time a smile on their face. I hope that my kids will remember the good times from COVID more than the stresses. I hope my kids will take the challenges we have faced during COVID and become stronger citizens.

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 my series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Deanna Anderson.

Deanna Anderson is a successful small business founder and owner, community connector and dedicated advocate for women and children. Since 2006, she has served as the managing director of 705 Marketing, specializing in brand development, social media and PR for nonprofits, consumer, technology, and financial services clients. As COVID quickly became a reality, she founded the Moms Making it Together Community which is now a Facebook community of nearly 10,000 moms across the country, a blog and Instagram.

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?

I started my career working in major, corporate public relations agencies and loved the mix of experiences, the opportunity to travel and the amazing people. 14 years ago, we wanted to focus on starting a family, which led to the beginning of 705 Marketing. I could still provide amazing services and client experience, but have the ability to better manage my schedule and devote more time to my children

My dad is a second generational entrepreneur and instilled in us a great work ethic and the power to create your own future. Combined with the influence of my mom being the rock of our family and her involvement in both the community and lives of her children, being an entrepreneur felt like the ideal choice to do the most for my clients, my family and the community.

I am proud of my 14-year successful track record with 705 Marketing and especially proud of the team’s ability to deliver world class marketing to nonprofits that fit within their budgets. I love to see the great stories and impact on how these amazing organizations are making a difference in the lives of the communities they serve. On March 15, as COVID quickly became a reality for parents I started a Facebook Group, Moms Making it Together for moms to share, support and smile through this next normal, which has grown to 10,000 moms across the country, a blog and Instagram. The Moms Making It Together community is a place where I can use my marketing and life experiences as a mom to help others.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

I decided to go out on my own in part after unsuccessfully trying to start a family for over a year. Well, seven weeks after the launch of 705 Marketing I found out I was pregnant with Carter. This proved for a very interesting start to my business where I learned a lot about the types of clients I wanted, why I had decided to start my own company and how to navigate being a business owner and a first-time mom. Those first 18 months also solidified why I wanted to be able to make my own schedule and work with the types of clients who supported a flexible work schedule for me so I could spend more time with Carter.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

March 15 was a game changer in our lives. Both of my kids were now virtual learning at home and my husband who typically traveled 50 percent of the time was now working remote from our home as well. Basically, I acquired three coworkers and the title of teacher in a few days. This is when I began the Moms Making It Together Community. It started as a Facebook group and is now comprised of 10,000 moms across the country, a blog and Instagram.

This group of moms has become the best friend strangers many moms have needed during this time. Our group’s goal is to share, support, and smile. On any given day there are questions from how to deal with kids’ mood swings, to the latest craft project to keep your tween busy to sharing homeschooling setups. We also bring our Mom Squad experts to share their knowledge with our group. We have had zooms on homeschooling 101, managing our anxiety during COVID, group workouts, and happy hours. We also have had Mom Squad Instagram takeovers on setting up workstations in your home, cooking, workouts, and with one of our moms who is an author. This group went from a text chain among myself and three friends to a shared note with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, which has grown into an online village that is supporting moms from across the country with kids of all ages navigate what is uncharted territory for us all .

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 believe it takes a village for our personal, professional and civic lives to happen. My kitchen cabinet is the group of men and women who help me successfully navigate these roles. They are a diverse group of people who I have met over the years who help remind me when to slow down, when to let go and when it is time to fight.

One of those kitchen cabinet members is Nancy Thigpen, who I met through my service with The Junior League of Atlanta. Nancy has provided me with such great advice, a shoulder to cry on and tough love when I needed it most. One of the most important lessons she taught me is the power of a sincere I am Sorry when you need to express it. After a stressful meeting in which I lost my cool I made my follow up call to Nancy. She started with her questions to me if I wanted her to tell me it was ok, if I wanted to vent to her or if I wanted her to tell me truthfully what I should do next. After a few minutes I told her I wanted the truth. She shared that we often have a hard time saying I’m Sorry when we need to and, in this instance, I needed to call the meeting participants and apologize for losing my cool and determine a path forward. It was a challenging day making those calls, but in the end those relationships were stronger, and we prevented future meeting issues. I have taken this advice with me and often share it with others when they are working through a challenging situation.

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?

My home office went from me and our Australian Labradoodle, Peri, to me, Carter (my now 8th grade son), Reese (my now 5th grade daughter) and Jim in an instant. I have my routines, my space and my plans which were now our routines, our space and our plans. We had to reimagine the configuration of our home so we each had our own space for work and school. I am very accustomed to having control over the house during school hours, and overnight I had to relinquish that control and discover a new normal.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

We had to set new schedules that included time to help with school, time for family and time for fun. We had to find new ways to engage with each other. One of my favorite ways we met the challenge of the four of us together all the time was yard games. We are now the proud owners of equipment for croquet, street hockey, badminton and a ninja course. Jim and I would try and end our day around 4 p.m. so we could spend time in our yard and playing games. This helped give the kids a fun part of the day to look forward to. We are trying to keep up our yard game times a couple of times a week. We have discovered a lot about our competitive nature and strategies for winning with street hockey. We have also learned that some days you just need to call it a day, snuggle on the sofa with a good show and know that better days are ahead.

Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?

705 Marketing’s nonprofit expertise comes from my passion for service to the Atlanta community and my desire to deliver strategic, creative and measurable results that improve nonprofit mission delivery. Nonprofits have been hit hard by COVID so it is an extra challenge to look for innovations to help nonprofits stretch their budgets and creative ways to fundraise and stand out as others are facing the same challenges during this time.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

One thing our team is doing is offering some pro-bono time to nonprofits. We hope that by helping them share their positive stories during this time we can help them continue to make an impact and provide long-term mission delivery once COVID is over.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

I think of balance as riding a surfboard — everything cannot be equal all the time. You must watch the waves, catch the ones that you can and ride up and down to the shore. A few things have helped us keep our sanity. First, everyone having a dedicated space to work. We tried work where you want, but then papers are in the kitchen, dining room and we are scrambling to find things when we need them. We did create crates so that if you want a change a scenery you can take your work with you, but you always come back to your home base. Second, we ended each day together doing something active. From walks at the nature center, to bike rides to yard games we had to get out of the house, get some Vitamin D and have fun. Finally, we learned quickly that very little goes as planned so you roll with waves and some days you just have to realize it’s not your day and prepare for a better tomorrow.

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?

Find Your Outlet — I recommend finding your outlet to stay sane and serene. For me it is running and my Peloton bike. Daily runs or a spin class have been my sanity. The great thing about the Peloton app and rides is I feel like I am working out with friends, which is something I miss.

Get Creative — Our kids really missed weekend nights hanging out with friends. So, we started virtual game nights with family and friends. We even had some with friends of mine from college and their kids who we do not normally see. We are continuing to do these nights as a fun way to connect with family and friends. Carter and Jim also love to cook! Lots of time has been spent trying new recipes and getting creative in the kitchen.

Give Grace — This is unchartered territory for all of us, so we must give ourselves, our spouses and kids grace. We are all going to have our moments and we need to embrace those moments.

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 have thought a lot about how my grandmothers would have found hope during COVID. Here are five ways I think our grandmothers would hope we would continue after COVID. These are a few things that they made a part of their everyday life — a slower and less complicated life.

  1. The Power of Front Porch Sitting — I remember vividly sitting on the front porch with my grandparents and their neighbors. I spent many hours on the glider enjoying a Coca-Cola out of the bottle (a treat we kept a secret from Mom). During this past spring, we spent hours in our front yard playing every yard game you can think of and a few that are Anderson’s originals. We visited with neighbors as they walked by and met a few new neighbors in the process.
  2. Home Is Where the Heart Is — We were lucky to relocate to eastern North Carolina for several weeks this summer. It was amazing to see the power of quality time together from fishing on the pier, to learning to waterski and everything in between. My grandparents’ houses were like that for me each summer, and a benefit of Jim and I both working remotely is we can work in NC and give them these precious memories.
  3. Conversations at the Dinner Table — My grandmothers knew how to cook and the power of the family coming together at the dinner table. My mom and dad continued that tradition for us most nights. Since March, we have had so many great meals together — including an epic dinner challenge. We have cooked, laughed and enjoyed the power of the dinner table to bring us together.
  4. Sometimes You Just Need a Good Snuggle — From my grandmothers to my mom, I learned to love hugs, and right now we all need a good hug. I am thankful my 13-year-old will still let me hug him, and watch out friends when we can hug again, I am going to be all in with the hugs!
  5. The Power of Perseverance — My grandmothers lived through many life and society challenges but always kept their chin up and most of the time a smile on their face. I hope that my kids will remember the good times from COVID more than the stresses. I hope my kids will take the challenges we have faced during COVID and become stronger citizens.

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?

One of my favorite ways to support friends and family is a check in call. It is amazing how much of our communication is now on text or email. The phone still works for calls or you can Facetime or Zoom. My parents can now Zoom thanks to a virtual 70th celebration for my mom back in April. Just hearing someone’s voice can brighten someone’s day.

We also like to send notes or a little thank you to friends. People love getting surprises in the mail or cards and it only takes a few minutes. I just hand delivered to my moms in the neighborhood “Mom Fuel” coffee cups to support them as we go back to school.

We must find ways to connect virtually to support each other and technology allows us to do that much more easily than ever before.

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

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” Vivian Greene

I am so thankful for my amazing family and career. This quote resonates most in two parts of my life. First at the age of 34 with a five-month-old and three-year-old I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. While we knew it was very treatable and I am today 10 years cancer free it shook me to my core. It made me think a lot about my why and what I wanted to devote my time, talent and treasure to moving forward. Out of this came my dedication to helping nonprofit clients, which brings me so much joy.

Second, both of our kids have language-based learning differences. Our oldest attends a specialized school for kids with language-based learning differences and our daughter receives support at her school. However, when Carter was in kindergarten and diagnosis with dyslexia, I thought I was the worst mom ever for not “catching it.” Carter sums it up best when he says, “My brain works differently, and I need teachers who can teach the way my brain works.” The dancing in the rain here is that both of our children understand we all have challenges and many of those are not visible on the outside. They are two of the most empathic children because of their differences.

How can our readers follow you online?

Instagram: @MomsMakingitTogether



Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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