I always think that as long as there’s breath in our bodies that means that there’s something unique that we have to offer the world and there are still amazing things happening even amidst the pandemic. People are still signing contracts, people are still growing their customer and their clientele base, people are still experiencing wins and we have to focus on the fact that good is still taking place and that there’s still so much good we can do amidst everything that’s going on to help us get to that other side.
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 Eunique Jones Gibson.
Currently, Eunique is working to live up to them as the founder and publisher of Because of Them We Can™, an award-winning campaign an platform that reaches millions of people per month with custom and curated content that extracts and amplifies the god on a daily basis. As of recent, she is the creator of CultureTags™, a game that tests just how well you know the culture through guessing acronyms. She also work with brands and agencies to create (and direct) relatable campaigns and projects through a culturally relevant and responsible lens.
Her Mantra: Do Great Work. Be a Good Person.
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 always knew I wanted to have a career that involved influencing decisions through advertising. That was sparked as a kid watching Boomerang, and also Martin, seeing the jobs Gina and Pam’s had. Getting on this path where that transitioned into marketing black excellence through the amplification of it, “Because of it We Can” campaign came from trying to find ways to empower my own children. Scaling that out and keeping it going to have this platform or business is all about the celebration of culture and community.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
The most interesting thing that has happened to me since starting the business has been seeing the impact on people, young and old. Knowing that it’s bigger than revenue and that the work is helping people to reimagine their possibilities, while educating and opening the eyes and hearts of others is an intangible reward that I never fully considered.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
The biggest thing that I’m working on right now is growing, sharing and amplifying #CultureTags, which is a game that celebrates culture and community and how we communicate. It’s like Taboo, but with acronyms. Thousands of people have purchased the game and are enjoying it; it’s bringing medicine in the form of joy during a very challenging time. I’m scaling that out and figuring out ways to make it bigger through a game show. Through the marketing of the product, I want to make sure that everyone can experience this nostalgia, this fun, and care free game. That is a big goal.
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?
For me, it isn’t just one person. There are a multitude of people who have helped me; from Pam, who’s like a spiritual mother, to my husband and my parents. My parents laid the foundation for me in terms of what it takes to work hard and dream beyond your reality in order to give your goals everything you have. My mom Pam has done the same thing, but she’s also invested capital into my ideas, which has been super helpful. And lastly, my husband. I have three kids and trying to build a business while also building a family and having small children is no easy feat. The only way that you can do what I’ve been able to do and still maintain sanity and peace is to have a very supportive partner. For me, it’s been through Chris, his encouragement and him holding down the fort. Before COVID-19 I would travel quite a bit, or I might need to go to a hotel to get away to think and process my thoughts. He’s always been super supportive of whatever it takes for me to get to the space that’s necessary for me to do what I do.
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?
As a woman leader who’s also a mom, it’s been having the kids in the house 24/7. As long as the kids are here, they need you and not only do my kids need me 24/7 (or think that they need me 24/7), so do my clients, my stakeholders, and my employees. Everyone needs my time and attention and it becomes very challenging to try and balance that against my three-year-old who’s having a tantrum or who wants me to help her cook imaginary breakfast at the same time I need to be on a zoom call. So, I’m trying to be sensitive to what my kids need and are experiencing with this huge shift in reality and normalcy and at the same time still do my job. It’s super challenging. Thankfully, the people I work with — my stakeholders and clients, are also mothers and are in the same predicament. It’s not a unique situation as far as what I’m experiencing but it’s super tough.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
For us, it meant moving my husband’s aunt into our home. My husband’s grandmother already lives with us and she fell ill during the beginning of the pandemic so his aunt moved in to help with his grandmother. Even though his grandmother has pretty much made a full recovery, her being here has helped us tremendously because we’re able to go to our warehouse if we need to, we’re able to lock my office door or do things that will get us away while also making sure our kids get the attention they need from an adult. That’s pretty drastic; they’re seven people living in our house right now, my kids, my husband’s grandmother and my husband’s aunt. That was really a decision that had to be made, given what’s going on with COVID-19 and wanting to bring everything in-home and still be able to function and run our business without any gaps.
Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?
My challenges are that I’m a mom, wife, and a business owner, without a break because of the pandemic.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Addressing that means being very transparent and realistic about what I can and can’t do because of the circumstances we all find ourselves in. For me, my eyesare still very much revolving around my children, my family and how they feel — if they feel loved, supported and protected, even more so now with the pandemic. Business is important, career is important, but my family trumps everything and creating the space to make sure that everyone is good from that front. That might mean getting up earlier, going to bed later so that I have time to do the things that are necessary to keep my business moving forward. Those are welcomed sacrifices that I just have to make right now to ensure that everyone is doing okay and that things are still getting done.
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?
It starts with having a realistic goal based on your family. Trying to subscribe to a plan, standards or even expectations that are created outside of your home are unrealistic. I can’t operate or do things on a schedule that someone might expect everyone in my county to do, or everyone in my state to do who has children like I do. My life is very different, as is the next person. It isn’t a one size fits all type of scenario. You have to be realistic with what you can and can’t do, what’s important and have to be okay with letting certain things drop and slip between the cracks knowing that you’ll pick it up at another time. This is not the season to be the super hero. This is the season where we need to really focus on what matters and really need to take a hard look at the things that we thought mattered in the past but didn’t.
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 bought a bike recently and I started riding in the morning. That’s my getaway, that’s my time to be carefree, clear my mind and go out early in the morning just have that as a self care moment. I’ve also carved out a space in my home that used to be a room we kept for storage. I bought plants and became a plant mom. I bought about 30 plants and made it a space for me to be able to go and shut the door and really relax. I think being intentional with the space that you need, be it physical or be it space to just take a walk or ride a bike, is important. Prior to the pandemic I hadn’t rode a bike in maybe five years, whereas now it’s something that’s super important to me because it gets me out the house, it gets me fresh air, it gets me movement, it’s exercise but also time that I’m not on any clock and I’m able to be carefree. I think that we just need more carefree 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 think the only way to get to the light is to go through whatever it is we’re experiencing. Knowing that there is light is important but also knowing that we have to go through this as a community, as a family, and as a country is so important and the best way to go through things is together. So, identifying people in your village, people with like-interests, whether it be through Twitter, your own family, or social media, it’s so important to find those connection points. I shared about riding a bicycle; I have an accountability partner who I’ve never met in person but follows me on Instagram who lives in New Jersey. She texts me every morning and vice versa. That’s a way to get through what we’re experiencing. I’ve put on a couple extra pounds, I want to be healthy and I need to practice some self-care and she does too. It’s about being intentional about finding people to go through the moments with knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
One of the five reasons to be hopeful is, this isn’t the first time our country, our world has experienced a pandemic. We see pictures from back in the day when people are walking around with masks on and I think that there’s nothing new under the sun. This isn’t the first pandemic, it probably won’t be the last, hopefully it’s the last in our lifetime but I think knowing there have been other pandemics, that people have survived, is important. Knowing that with this pandemic we can all play a role in protecting ourselves and our loved ones by practicing social distancing, wearing masks, washing our hands, staying inside when we can is also another reason to be hopeful because we can control and manage our response to a certain extent. Another reason to be hopeful is to look at the little people in your life who are really relying on us to keep moving forward and to make it through this moment so that they can have the future that we worked so hard to give them. Another reason to remain hopeful is knowing that people are working really hard to address this thing and I think that we have some of the smartest doctors, scientists, researchers and data analysts focusing on how to win against COVID-19. The great thing is, we’ll be smarter, wiser and more prepared than we were this time around. And lastly, I always think that as long as there’s breath in our bodies that means that there’s something unique that we have to offer the world and there are still amazing things happening even amidst the pandemic. People are still signing contracts, people are still growing their customer and their clientele base, people are still experiencing wins and we have to focus on the fact that good is still taking place and that there’s still so much good we can do amidst everything that’s going on to help us get to that other side.
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?
Think about another time that you were feeling anxious, it all comes full circle and always works out. I think worrying is a waste of the imagination and we need to imagine what our new world, our new reality, our new practices can be like because this pandemic, though it’s stressful and bringing a lot of hurt and despair to people all over, it’s also requiring us to reimagine what normal means. There are a lot of things that we have done as a country and individuals, a lot of practices that we have gone along with, whether it be working from the sun up to the sun down, to no days off, to being road and air warriors when really a lot can be done remotely. We should look at this as an opportunity, not what’s happening to us but what’s happening for us to change.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have a lot so it’s hard to narrow it down but I think about something my dad always said, “chew up the meat and spit out the bone”. You’re going to experience things that aren’t going to be pleasant, that you’re not going to like. You chew up the meat and spit out the bone and take what was good and spit the rest out. There are going to be critics and people who give you feedback, criticize you or share things with you; you may or may not like but some of it may be applicable and help you to become or do better. You chew up the meat and spit out the bones. That’s something my dad taught me that I’ll always think about no matter what I’m going through, no matter what I experience. I try to determine what’s good from it to help me tomorrow and so, “chew up the meat, spit out the bone” is definitely what I think about often.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!