Acceptance. I’m hopeful that the Corona Crisis has taught us to be more accepting of minorities, as well as working women juggling work-life balance, as we are all in this together.
I have faith that we will prevail and be stronger than ever before. This is not the first time we have been rocked by terrible events (the Black Plague, the 1930s Depression, the Holocaust, slavery, 9/11…). I have faith that we will advance from this, and it will make for an even better world for future generations.
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 Randi Zucker, a consultant for high-profile individuals and businesses in establishing their online presences. Thrusted into becoming a homeschool mom due to Covid, Randi launched HomeschoolRoomies.com (https://homeschoolroomies.com/) — a social network specifically for homeschooling needs. When she’s not working at her desk, you can find her with her husband, two kids and a poodle (wearing gym clothes though she’ll never end up at the gym).
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?
Never in my life did I picture myself as a homeschool mom until the Pandemic came and shut down our schools. I was totally lost. I consult with numerous companies on website design and social media marketing and have been picking my brain what I could do to help make this new world for so many parents and teachers easier to navigate. That’s when the idea came to me for HomeschoolRoomies.com — a social network specifically for homeschooling families thrusted into this new role, as well as seasoned homeschooling parents, who may have been doing this for years and have tremendous insight to offer. It’s also been concerning me that once public schools do re-open, many families may not be ready to send their children back to school, and they will need to know their options.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
Here’s an interesting career story. In my early 20s I worked for an online magazine called wowOwow (it’s now PureWow). At that company, we had started an Internship program where I had interns who were double my age.These “interns” had recently lost obsolete jobs due to emerging technologies. They wanted to learn from me new online and social media skills; while I benefited from them by learning how to conduct myself in business, write more effectively and so much more by being around seasoned professionals. My story was similar to the Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro movie “The Intern.” The experience taught me that no matter how successful you are, you need to always be open to learning new skills. I find myself frequently signing up for webinars and taking online courses, even in subjects I show minor interest in.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
HomeschoolRoomies.com excites me. I’m hoping it’s a platform that helps people to create their own support systems online and create micro groups that meet their specific needs. I also hope teachers use the platform to learn new virtual teaching techniques. You can sort the network by city and state, as well as homeschooling methods and child’s grade levels. For example I hosted a nationwide virtual Bingo for moms with Kindergarteners. I uploaded Bingo cards with a words list for parents to print out at home and scheduled a Zoom to do the game. My intention was to make parents feel good about doing something fun and educational with their kids and meet new families in similar situations from around the country.
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 think having children pushes you to do better. You have to learn how to prioritize, sacrifice and strategize. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I say it takes a child to raise a successful woman.
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?
The biggest family related challenges I’m facing is being fully in the moment. I hate the term multi-tasking. I want to do one assignment at a time with my undivided attention. I want to work — without my kids distracting me, and I want to play with my kids — without my work distracting me. Since this Pandemic, I no longer work a typical “9–5” that I could do while my kids were in school and aftercare. I have to work all kinds of hours and that can easily blend into my family time. I can do 100% of my work remotely from home. My husband’s company is in real estate investments and home remodeling and that requires him to be out of the house.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I have been honest with my clients and everyone who I conduct business with that I am watching my kids full time while working. I’ve also communicated to people how I am working untraditional hours. There are some days I have to stay up until 2 am or wake up at 5 am. I work every Sunday. I also try to not carry my phone with me when I am playing with my kids so they can have my full undivided attention and I’m not tempted to work.
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 recently wrote an article on Homeschool Roomies on 6 technology-based tools (https://homeschoolroomies.com/6-tech-tools-that-helps-you-work-from-home-while-homeschooling/) that help you work from home while homeschooling. I recommend working on cloud-based and web-based applications so you work from anywhere, and at any time, from any device. For example, I use the mobile app Asana for project management. I store all my files in Google Drive and Dropbox so I can grab and work on documents off my phone. I also have a rambunctious 2 year old so I have a camera system with motion detection from Yi Home. My phone receives notification alerts when he gets out of his bed in the morning or is approaching the front door. Lastly, you can allow your children screen time as long as you have set parental controls. For instance, I give my son a speech app on a refurbished iPhone and set a lock on it so he can’t get out of that app.
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 never thought I would be one of those people to say that they have a spiritual advisor, but I do.I follow Gurutej Khalsa who is an expert in our bodies energy systems. She’s taught me ways to clear my head and shift my emotions through breathing techniques and journaling. Some days it’s as simple as me taking one breath in and pushing it out through your mouth. You can check her out at EmpoweredEnergyAcademy.com.
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”?
There might not be a “light at the end of the tunnel.” Try to tell yourself that this uncertainty may be the new normal for a very long time. Who knows what the future holds? Be in control over what it is you can control.
Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Be fortunate for everything you have. If we were dealing with the Corona Crisis 20 years earlier we would not have Facebook, Amazon, Instacart or Netflix.
- Be excited about the innovations that will arise as a result of this Pandemic. Scientists are working around the clock to find a vaccine, engineers are working to create amazing telecommunication experiences, and our school systems are re-inventing themselves to be better equipped for more virtual learning.
- Acceptance. I’m hopeful that the Corona Crisis has taught us to be more accepting of minorities, as well as working women juggling work-life balance, as we are all in this together.
- I have faith that we will prevail and be stronger than ever before. This is not the first time we have been rocked by terrible events (the Black Plague, the 1930s Depression, the Holocaust, slavery, 9/11…). I have faith that we will advance from this, and it will make for an even better world for future generations.
- Women (and children) are always saved first in life-threatening situations so we can carry on the human race… I’m joking … This is an interview about being a woman during a Pandemic, so I thought this was an appropriate fifth point. 😉
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?
Call them! Write letters! Mail them a little gift. If they live close by, drop off dinner.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“When one door closes, another one opens.” I’m not a dweller, I’m a doer, and that helps me in moving onward and upward, in my life and career.
How can our readers follow you online?
If you’re a parent facing homeschooling, you can join my free social network at HomeschoolRoomies.com. Instagram @randizucker (https://www.instagram.com/randizucker/) @homeschoolroomies (https://www.instagram.com/homeschoolroomies/).
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!