“If you want your children to be outstanding citizens, you must lead by example” with MJ Pedone

First and foremost, children like to spend time with their parents. We are their world and safe haven. Secondly, when you spend time with your children, you’re making them feel special and letting them know that they’re just as special to you as you are to them. Lastly, if you want your children to be […]

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First and foremost, children like to spend time with their parents. We are their world and safe haven. Secondly, when you spend time with your children, you’re making them feel special and letting them know that they’re just as special to you as you are to them. Lastly, if you want your children to be outstanding citizens, you must lead by example. The more time you spend with them, the more they can emulate your behavior and learn from you.

I had the pleasure to interview MJ Pedone, President & Founder of Indra Public Relations.As President of Indra Public Relations, MJ has supervisory and strategic control over all functional disciplines of the organization. As a former partner and CEO of Pro Players Sports Marketing Group, Inc., MJ brings her managerial skills working with professional athletes, brands and individuals on endorsements, producing high-profile charity events and executing top-tier PR and branding campaigns to her broad range of clients. With over two decades of experience, MJ is a result driven and an award-winning leader. MJ’s ability to present and articulate comprehensive Public Relations strategies and complete the loop of communication has always been recognized as exceptional. MJ’s relationships and roster of clients reads like a “who’s who” of professional sports, entertainment and corporate America. MJ’s forward-thinking approach towards business strategies has led to unique and successful opportunities for her clients. Integrity is the foundation of her values and character and is inherent in the methodology that she has employed in forming her company and trusting relationships. MJ has successfully grown her agency, which was named “Top Celebrity PR Agencies” by PRWeb, “Top 10 PR Agencies in NYC” by and has been featured in Forbes, “How I Made It In A ‘Man’s’ Field: 5 High- Powered Women Tell All.” MJ is one of the top female entrepreneurs to receive the Puglia’s Award of Excellence for Public Relations & Nonprofit Leaders as well as Top Entrepreneur in Business Award, Gotham Comedy Philanthropy Award and the Power Women in Business Hall of Fame Award. MJ is a member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). MJ is a contributing writer for the books Media Magnetism and Motivational Speaker 101 and is a ghostwriter for the Impact section of the Huffington Post on behalf of her notable clients. MJ is the Men’s Editor for the Men That Trend section of the Hamptons Magazine, Social Life and is a contributing celebrity & lifestyle editor for Industry Rules, Social Lifestyle and Resident Magazine. MJ serves as a speaker and expert panelist on various topics and is the host of a high-profile celebrity-entertainment podcast, Live With MJ! MJ is the co-founder of the Giving Carpet, a social, philanthropic video network which focuses exclusively on the charitable efforts of celebrities during high-profile red-carpet events and enables donors to virtually attend and donate funds from anywhere in the world. Moreover, MJ is a board member for the Gotham Comedy foundation and Steady Buckets foundation. MJ is an investor in the animated film, Henry & Me that stars Richard Gere, Danny Aiello, Chazz Palminteri, Cyndi Lauper and the cast of the NY Yankees and has expanded her client outreach internationally.

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

I am the youngest of three and I grew up in Brooklyn. I had working parents and the most important thing to them was their children’s education, respecting others and examplifying leadership and confidence. My sister and I were very athletic growing up and did tap, jazz and gymnastics but were tom boys at heart and played sports all the time. Between me and my siblings, we had so many friends and our home was always the destination for our friends to hangout out at. It was always fun and lively and our friends were always made to feel like family. Sunday dinners were my favorite because they started around 3:00pm and lasted the rest of the day with our family and friends joining us. My parents taught us about what it means to be respectable and loyal and to treat others the way we want to be treated. They raised three self-assured adults who are all successful in their own right and who are great parents raising our children with the same set of morals.

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

My passion was always to work with athletes and to give back. I always loved going to games or watching them at home with my family and friends around the television. I also loved watching my parents give back to the less fortunate and how they made it a priority for me and my siblings to do so as well. I was in fashion after graduating and I was invited to an event that the late Elizabeth Glazer and Donna Karen hosted. I invited several athletes from the NY Knicks and NY Giants to join me. After that very successful event, the players asked if they can attend any other events and if can work with them to do their Public Relations and management, and the rest is history as we say. I knew in my heart that someday I would do something in sports, entertainment and philanthropy and I have been blessed that I have been able to combine my passion and have a successful agency for many years.

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

My day to day is quite time-consuming and typically starts when the rest of the world is sleeping beginning with reading the news, responding to emails and getting a workout in prior to my 9-year old getting up and having to get him ready and off to school. I get to the office early and meet with the team to collaborate and strategize on our client accounts and make sure everything is all set for the day before taking calls and meetings and answering more emails. Planning out Adam’s school, after school and sports schedule and then of course, taking care of whatever I need personally.

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 learn by example and as parents, we are the ones they trust and look upon to teach them right from wrong, life skills and the rules of life, as I call them in my home. Children need our unconditional love and support to grow, prosper and gain the confidence they need to be a positive and righteous human being.

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?

First and foremost, children like to spend time with their parents. We are their world and safe haven. Secondly, when you spend time with your children, you’re making them feel special and letting them know that they’re just as special to you as you are to them. Lastly, if you want your children to be outstanding citizens, you must lead by example. The more time you spend with them, the more they can emulate your behavior and learn from you.

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 have one child and he is 9 years old. Adam and I have a “date” night each week in which it is him and I and no devices. We will watch a movie, play board games, go to a museum, the park or anything he chooses and just be in the moment. Another thing we do, is cook a meal together. He loves to cook so we will make pasta and marinara sauce, healthy omelets, chicken francese, cupcakes or anything he wants to eat that day or night. He prepares all the ingredients and does it all with my assistance of course and has become quite the chef these days! Another thing we do is go to the park and shoot hoops and then switch and practice baseball. It’s a fun thing to do together and who knew that he would become the king of horse. Lastly, we turn off all electronics an hour before bedtime and watch a half hour show and he reads 20 minutes of his book to me. I really love this time because at the end of the day, he’s winding down and becomes very cuddly.

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?

My son understands that my job is very demanding and that my high-profile clients need my attention at any given hour. Being a single mom puts even more demands on me but as the breadwinner, Adam knows that I have to work if we want to do special things and for me to invest in his future. These 5 strategies from my business mentor has helped me prioritize my time to allow quality attention for my son:

1. I have learned to give up some of the control in my business and rely on my employers to handle the things that I know they can handle. This allows me additional flexibility in my schedule.

2. I now include vacation days and sync up my calendar with my son’s days off and prepare my team prior so they can handle the day to day while I’m not in the office, but always available.

3. One of the most important things, is when I’m with my son, I focus on him and not so much with checking emails, text messages or answering calls. All clients have an account executive that they can rely on should a crisis occur.

4. I make sure I know what his interests are and what he wants to do because I know in spending that time together doing what makes him happy, will ultimately make us have an even better time.

5. A very important thing Adam and I do together, is volunteer work. We visit hospitals, work at a soup kitchen, read books to children who are less educated, etc. and this to me is great quality time together because it is teaching him to appreciate his blessings and help those who need it. This quality time can’t be beat!

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

Everybody has their own definition of a good parent. For me, it is a combination of a showing love, support, teaching good values, building confidence and creating a future for a better world of coexistence. A good parent doesn’t buy love or show affection monetarily, it shown through quality time and a combination of the above.

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

Each morning, I have a morning mantra of the day. Today’s mantra was, “You can do anything you put your mind to.” I give Adam the tools that he needs to believe in himself and the reasons not to believe those who tell him that he can’t! I tell him different inspiring stories and one specifically is of Michael Jordan’s high school coach who told him that he should look to play another sport or try another profession altogether because he didn’t have what it takes to make it. Well, you know the rest of that story!

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

Success to me is when you can balance your work and home life and accomplish the goals that you set out to. When you can obtain positive outcomes that you can welcome in your life on a daily basis. My greatest success thus far is raising my beautiful son with morals, respect and love for not only others, but for himself. So far so good and we are both grateful for each and every day.

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

I’m fortunate to have incredible and successful people around me who are parents and to me, the best lessons are taught first-hand. I’ve watched them throughout the years and I follow many of their parenting skills as they have such all-around great kids that are successful in their own right.

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

“You can do anything you put your mind to.” I repeat this to my son every morning along with other life quotes as we leave for school. This quote reminds me to set goals for myself and when I achieve them, to set a few more!

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. 🙂

My movement would consider bringing people together, inclusion, across the world no matter your age, religion, ethnicity, etc. and have each of us inspire one another through acts of kindness. Maybe start with the schools and have kids write notes to other kids to share with them what they did to help another person. Maybe the schools can host an international children’s day, week, month, etc. in which there can be live video streaming where these children can meet each other and start building a relationship. How inspiring! Wow!

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

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About the author:

Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.

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