I think most importantly you need to encourage them not to give up. Keep a can-do attitude no matter how worried you may be for them on the inside. This drive and perseverance will become habit forming. My son has always had an amazing eye — he sees patterns others can not. He wants to be a scientist in the future. Recently he was diagnosed with dyslexia. When my husband and I sat him down to explain why he was unable to read we changed the story and reminded him how he sees pictures and patterns differently — and that this is a gift. However, this is also why he sees words differently than others. Once he learns the tools to see the patterns of words he will be able to do anything. He thought about this and asked, “Will I still be able to be a scientist?” We encouraged him and said, “this “super-power” you have will allow you to solve what others can’t!”. Today he is in the science club, his favorite teacher is Mr. Tannenbaum, the head of the science department and he brags about being dyslexic — a super power. I believe encouragement, even when you as a parent have to dig deep to find it , is essential for children to persevere and stick to their goals.
As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Amy Teter Romero.
As the Chief Marketing Officer of CreativeDrive, Amy has helped grow CreativeDrive from a national production company to a global, tech-centric, content provider servicing clients with agile, bespoke solutions.
As the chief brand architect, Amy Romero built and transformed the CreativeDrive brand from a holding company of eight separate entities into one single recognized name across the globe through brand identity, and positioning, internal and external communications, product launches, and content strategies. In addition to marketing and communications, Amy spearheaded the infrastructure, processes and reporting for customer acquisition via CRM, tools and sales management practices.
One of her more notable campaigns was in June 2018, CreativeDrive launched a new computer-generated imagery (CGI) retail solution branded CD/CORA. The launch received premier media exposure including the NY Times, increasing revenue by 50%. The launch was recognized as one of the best product Launches, 2018 by The Drum Award.
Prior to joining CreativeDrive, Amy worked in strategic business development and marketing at several companies. She joined Omnicom’s Rapp in 2003 during the height of the dial-up to broadband internet transformation. Under her leadership, she launched and marketed the company’s TV and digital capabilities. In 2007, she was one of the pioneers at Ketchum who created and marketed the company’s digital business division to meet the demands of the social media landscape, leading to an increase of $20 million revenue nationally for that division over three years. Before taking her expertise to corporate agencies, Amy embarked on producing content and marketing solutions for entertainment and media brands, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, HBO and MSNBC.
Amy is a true leader in all aspects of life. She is an incredibly dynamic individual and personality, mentor and visionary with an uncanny ability to ‘personalize’ her approach to the specific needs of customers and teams. Amy’s strategies and work have been recognized by The Drum Awards (Best Website Launch, 2018), Best Product Launch, 2018), The Mirror Review (Innovative CMOs, 2018) and across premier media outlet, including The NY Times.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?
I’m from a large Irish family and the middle child of seven children. My mother was the head of the home and a working mother — as was her mother and her sisters. At times people ask me, how do I do it all and I reply, I know no other way. I also hope that my children will look up to me as I admire my grandmother, mother and her sisters.
Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?
My Aunt Claire was an executive at the agency Earle Planer Brown. I idolized my aunt and wanted to be just like her. She got me my first internship and I was assigned to the American Airlines Account. I fondly recall when “price wars” between airlines hit, watching newspaper advertisements being passed in the halls, the screaming and the scramble to beat the competition — I was hooked!
Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?
I’m an early riser. I get up between 4:30a and 5a. This is “my” time. With a large coffee, I catch up on news and get the day ahead of me in order. If time permits I workout; and then my children wake up. From that point on, it is all about them — last minute homework assignments, finding a pair of shoes or walking our dog. Once our babysitter arrives, I’m out the door and arrive at work by 8:30a. At work it is constant meetings, planning, reviewing reports and travel and events. I always make an effort to get home to get the kids into bed.
I believe you need a community of people to rely on for help — raising your children during the day or grabbing a bottle of wine to wind down at the end — it truly takes a village when you are a working mother!
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now 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?
On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?
I have two children, an eight and six year old. I consider this a very precious time because all they want right now is your attention and approval. They will model your every behavior because in their mind everything you do has a purpose and is correct. You are who they learn from. Therefore you must listen to them, learn from them and be 100% present when they are with you. I believe it is worse to be around them often yet buried in your phone than it is to be with them for less time but give them your full attention.
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? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.
- Get up early. It is the time to get organized. This order will provide a routine that children need. If you are running late then you will only be stressed. This feeling of chaos transcends into fear for children.
- When you are with your children, turn off all distractions — they can wait. Otherwise, get whatever it is you need to get done to have a clear head with your children.
- Be the class mom — why? For me, it helps me have control. I will never be able to make all of the “parents are welcome to join events” but as a class mom I’m the one who plans the “big event” dates and I make sure nothing is booked during this time. I will be there for the events that they will remember vs all of the smaller ones. Quality over quantity.
- Build a support system. I have neighbors, my mother, sisters and friends who I can call on. It truly takes a village to raise children, especially during hard times. Neighbors, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents love the kids in their lives, and kids can feel that. Watching other people love and teach your kids is beneficial for everyone.
- Listen to them. If they say, “Mom put down the phone and watch me this time.” Be sure to put the phone down.
How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?
I believe a great deal of consistency and routine gives you a sense of control and your children a sense of order and peace. I read an article recently about not yelling at your children, instead give them a choice and let them develop independence — I tried it out and it worked — if you don’t brush your teeth then you can’t eat sweets — it is your choice! They wanted candy and so they brushed their teeth without me having to repeat myself and cause undue stress. Another “old-school” tactic I use is from my mother — cod liver oil! That’s right — the gross liquid that every child of the 70s dreaded. Before this decree took effect, I would send my children to their rooms when they’d misbehave or fight. Then I’d have to wait a set amount of time, still agitated to have them come back down. Today, they know that if they misbehave they will receive the dreaded spoonful of liver oil. All I have to do is call them into the kitchen and they swallow (no water for rinsing!). I’m no longer holding onto anger and their behavior has miraculously gotten better in two weeks! Try it!
How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?
Most children have expressed a desire of people they want to be like or skills they’d like to learn. Many tell us who they want to be when they grow up? They all have dreams. Yet they don’t know how to accomplish them. Or they give up because they don’t understand how much work is required to achieve said goals. In order to motivate children share your goals, your defeats, your accomplishments. Additionally, expose them to people who are the person your child hopes to be.
I think most importantly you need to encourage them not to give up. Keep a can-do attitude no matter how worried you may be for them on the inside. This drive and perseverance will become habit forming.
My son has always had an amazing eye — he sees patterns others can not. He wants to be a scientist in the future. Recently he was diagnosed with dyslexia. When my husband and I sat him down to explain why he was unable to read we changed the story and reminded him how he sees pictures and patterns differently — and that this is a gift. However, this is also why he sees words differently than others. Once he learns the tools to see the patterns of words he will be able to do anything. He thought about this and asked, “Will I still be able to be a scientist?” We encouraged him and said, “this “super-power” you have will allow you to solve what others can’t!”. Today he is in the science club, his favorite teacher is Mr. Tannenbaum, the head of the science department and he brags about being dyslexic — a super power. I believe encouragement, even when you as a parent have to dig deep to find it , is essential for children to persevere and stick to their goals.
How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?
Success is feeling proud of what you’ve accomplished, both personally and professionally. There are many times in my life I’m proud of something at work and then come home to a sick child who asks me “where have you been?”. This can be a source of inner turmoil but a surmountable one.
True success is balance. With todays’ technology, we can see our child when travelling or lead productive meetings via video conferences.
What I try to remind myself most often, especially during times I feel defeated, is the things I am happy about and proud of — big or small — helping your child with a project, calling your sick friend, providing counsel to your CEO and inspiring your team. Be real. Be authentic. When people turn to me for advice — personally and professionally — it makes me feel successful and fulfilled.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?
I love the podcast, Stuff You Should Know. This podcast is hosted by two self-deprecating, Brainiacs, Clark and Bryant, whom in their opinions consider themselves two regular, well-researched guys. They often try to surprise one another with their research, and this banter and humorous exchanges is so infectious, and is reminiscent of the conversations around the dinner table during my childhood — and especially during our large Irish holiday gatherings. Ironically, the first time I was exposed to Stuff You Should know was when I was researching dyslexia. Clark and Bryant’s insights helped me speak to my son about all of the advantages that come with having this “disability” — or as we call it — his super power! After that I became a loyal listener!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Momma knows best. My favorite life lesson quote is from my mother, Ann Finck.
“Don’t always think you are being tested. Be the one who is testing too.”
My mother. The woman who has had more of an impact on my life than any other person. A single mother, a volunteer in Jamaica and a loyal nurse to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for over 40 years, has taught me to be not be consumed by (or afraid) of what others think. She taught me to think about when you should offer an opinion to others…and to think about why you are offering it. She also taught me others don’t recognize nor adopt a soft manner when making these “subtle suggestions.” My mother was recently recognized by Boston College with an honorary degree as a Doctor of Nursing Science. Watching her accept that Degree was one of the proudest moments of my life, and I can only hope my children will one day feel the same way about me that I do about her.
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. 🙂
Even in today’s world, I believe young and adult women are oppressed by the institution of marriage at every turn — from fairy tale movies to the mainstream media, women are told that they should get married and romantic love is put on the highest pedestal; it is the be-all-end-all of a woman’s identity. One example of this is how women are forced to declare her “Miss” or “Mrs.” relationship status. Men, however, get to be “Mr.” whether they’re single or married.
I believe we need to instill in young girls and women that they need to redefine their role in this world and explain that a romantic relationship is not an accomplishment — it is a choice and that the rituals surrounding marriage need to be redefined and not considered a “success”. I know from personal experience that women are up against a lot of pressures in our modern society. This is especially true when it comes to romantic relationships. When I was younger, I agreed to a marriage for the wrong reasons. I fell into a trap of “needing to get married” and I let my life be defined by that. Ultimately, this experience taught me the importance of soul searching and coming to terms with my own wants and needs.
I am currently directing a documentary about women’s role in and around the ritual of marriage. I have been collecting stories from a diverse group of women and couples, drawing on their insights to create this project. My goal is to share their stories and illuminate some of the mixed emotions, confusion, and the issues that often arise in discussions about marriage.
Separately, I am launching an Instagram channel in January 2020 with the mission for young women to stop altering their images and be proud and loud about the real you, share the real moments — the double chin, laughing too loud, snorting moments — the moments we love you for.
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!