Community//

“How Extremely Busy Executives Make Time to Be Great Parents” with Dr. Ely Weinschneider & Sara Badler

I 100% agree with quality over quantity. This is especially true for working mothers who do not get to spend every second of the day with our kids — the time you do get, you need to make it count. For me, it’s cuddling in the mornings when the girls wake up a little early, […]

I 100% agree with quality over quantity. This is especially true for working mothers who do not get to spend every second of the day with our kids — the time you do get, you need to make it count. For me, it’s cuddling in the mornings when the girls wake up a little early, having our Friday-night family dinners, and going to the park on the weekends — my favorite parts of my week. Seeing how happy the girls are and acknowledging how happy they make me feel is truly the most valuable thing as a parent.


As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Sara Badler, SVP Programmatic Revenue and Strategy at Dotdash. Before joining Dotdash, Sara was head of Programmatic Advertising at The New York Times, where she managed a programmatic team globally, focusing on revenue working with direct clients, partners and exchanges. Sara started her career in Shanghai, China, where she worked in Ad Tech at JOININ Tech for more than three years specifically focused on programmatic TV. From there, she went on to manage programmatic at Forbes Media and Hearst Corporation. Sara’s focus has always been in Ad Tech both on the publishing side and technology side. She also worked at Turn where she led inventory partnerships across the east coast.


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

Absolutely, thanks for having me. I was born and raised in St. Louis, a middle child with an older sister and younger brother. I have amazing parents who always taught me that the more you put into something, the more you will get out of it. I apply that sentiment every day to my family and my career.

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

I began my career in Shanghai working the Programmatic TV space, which sparked my passion for advertising and sales. I can vividly remember the moment my career really took off — I had just returned to New York and my boyfriend at the time (now husband) urged me to apply for an Inside Sales job at Forbes. I said no way, I will never get that job and I’m sure I don’t want that job. Despite my comments, he went ahead and applied for me anyway, and within a week I was working at Forbes in Inside Sales, now referred to as Programmatic, one of the main components of my career today. My world changed forever with that role and I am very grateful for the opportunity I was given.

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

No day is the same, which is always fun. I wake up whenever my 3.5 year old decides — normally around 6:30 AM. I help both girls get dressed, and then we have breakfast each morning as a family. I value our time as a family, especially in the mornings when we are all fresh and not worn out from a busy day. By 8am, my husband and I are out the door commuting together — one of my favorite moments of the day where we can catch up, talk about the girls, and any upcoming plans or schedules. Once I get to work, the morning consists of checking in on yesterday’s numbers, and what improvements my team can make to improve today. For lunch I mainly host clients, and afternoons are held for internal stakeholders across the organization. Post work hours, you can find me at a ton of extra-curriculars, such as a mentorship program with the FCS, speaking opportunities such as Programmatic I/O or Girls Lounge, working on my column for AdExchanger, or attending seminars to learn long term changes in our industry such as data privacy acts. Early evening, I try to sneak in a yoga class before heading home for family dinner with the girls (activities like Pilates, yoga and meditation can go a long way to steady the mind and help you concentrate on what matters.) It can be hard to balance weeknight dinners alongside drinks or dinners with clients, but I value my dinners at home the most — especially our Friday night family tradition — Shake Shack.

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?

Your children are your people, they need you but more importantly — you need them! It’s important for you to make time for your own development as a parent, and your children’s intellectual, social and emotional development as well. When you bring a human into this world, they will always be looking to you for advice, to learn behaviors. You need to be there. It is your duty as a parent!

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?

You created life! It’s so important to nurture that life and provide direction.

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?

I 100% agree with quality over quantity. This is especially true for working mothers who do not get to spend every second of the day with our kids — the time you do get, you need to make it count. For me, it’s cuddling in the mornings when the girls wake up a little early, having our Friday-night family dinners, and going to the park on the weekends — my favorite parts of my week. Seeing how happy the girls are and acknowledging how happy they make me feel is truly the most valuable thing as a parent.

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.

This is the story of my life! I think just being present is so important. Kids know when you are listening, and pick up if you are zoned-out on your phone. They learn from you, and look up to how you show respect and value in your relationships. My advice is being present, don’t beat yourself up too much if you can’t, and just do your best. The best is all you can do.

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

Being a parent means being strong, being accountable, and being loving. I don’t think there is any true definition because every parent, child and relationship is different. I will say, as a parent, I know my girls better than anyone else in world possibly could, but I still constantly remind myself over and over again that I know what I’m doing and “I got this”. Moms and Dads, this is your reminder — you got this, too!

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

I read my daughters books about amazing, strong women such as Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Oprah. I work hard, try to teach them what is important, and treasure my time with them. I hope the message they take away is try your hardest, stay true to yourself, and learn as much as you can!

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

Do what makes you happy, and you will always be successful.

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

For me, it’s not a book or podcast — it’s my backbone and support system: my friends! My friends inspire me and help me through the process of being a mom. A group of us have been friends since we were in college, and now we all have daughters. We have a group chat (and a “Mom’s Slack Group”) where we can bounce ideas, talk to each other about good and bad stories, and provide each other with guidance and support. This sense of community and support helps me every single day and I would tell everyone to go out and find people like this that you can count on. Parents helping other parents is the best support system you can have.

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

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. It’s cheesy and overused, but it’s so true! Be happy and grateful, and make the most out of what you have.

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. 🙂

Be true to who you are.

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

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

“How Extremely Busy Executives Make Time To Be Great Parents”, With Sara Mauskopf and Dr. Ely Weinschneider

by Dr. Ely Weinschneider, Psy.D.
Community//

How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents: “If the goal of parenting is to stay connected to your child and their needs then the way to do that is to spend time together” with Sara Van Dusen & Dr. Ely Weinschneider

by Dr. Ely Weinschneider, Psy.D.
Community//

How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents, with Sabrina Kieffer and Chaya Weiner

by Chaya Weiner

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.