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“Try to value the time at home with your kids and family.” With Penny Bauder & Betty Gower

My advice would be not to fight it, but to lean into the challenge. Try to value the time at home with your kids and family while doing the best you can at work. I remember when I was going into labor with my first child, and the contractions were very strong, my mom told […]

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My advice would be not to fight it, but to lean into the challenge. Try to value the time at home with your kids and family while doing the best you can at work. I remember when I was going into labor with my first child, and the contractions were very strong, my mom told me not to fight them. She told me to lean into them like a wave, surrender, and they will pass. At the end, you end up with a beautiful creature. I am trying to do the same during this challenging time; lean into the challenge, breathe through it, and hopefully something meaningful will come out at the end.


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 women leaders in tech and STEM are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Betty Gower.

Betty Gower, Chief Marketing Officer at Bambu Global and NowAware, is a marketing leader with more than a decade of senior experience in general marketing, strategy, corporate branding, and communications, including work with Fortune 100 companies, private equity, agencies and startups. With a strong understanding of the customer, Betty has succeeded in enduring branding such as the Universal logo and industry leading strategy such as the Kaiser Permanente ACA rollout. By deploying data-driven approaches that build focus and collaboration among leadership, business development and sales teams, Betty has measurable success in reaching customers across healthcare, technology, oil and gas, consumer-packaged goods, and broadcast and digital media.


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?

Ibegan my career in the entertainment world, specifically in marketing to the US Hispanic population. I did not want to be perceived as the “Hispanic Expert,” and so my journey began to move away from entertainment and into other categories. I worked in oil and gas, healthcare, and CPG (consumer-packaged goods). I have enjoyed the startup world because it’s easy to shift lanes and grow as an executive. I really wanted to explore the technology sector. For me, tech is the most exciting vertical, because of its core of innovation. When my family relocated to Massachusetts, I set out to explore opportunities in the rich tech environment in the Commonwealth.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

One of our technologies is focused around a tattoo ink that can be rendered invisible. By chance, my boss ran into an 18-year-old Type 1 diabetic who wanted a medical identifier tattoo before going to college in case of an emergency. As a result of that single interaction at a pizza parlor, we developed a socially responsible vehicle to help people with life-threatening illnesses apply for an “INQUEAlert” tattoo. We were able to explore how to use a cosmetic technology to provide therapeutic impact. It also captured the excitement of a startup that can nimbly shift impactful changes easily.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Currently, because of our chemistry expertise in color-change, we are working on a solution to bring a rapid color-changing detection kit to identify COVID-19 in a sample, even among those who are asymptomatic.

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?

One of my mentors, Nadia, ran International Marketing and Distribution for Universal Pictures. To this day I wonder how I was lucky enough to receive guidance from her. Nadia took me under her wing and exposed me to strategies in creating content for international audiences. She taught me how to take existing content and manipulate it to meet different viewer expectations. She was a pioneer in international marketing with a flair for clearly identifying distinct audience perspectives.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. 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 in STEM during this pandemic?

As a mom of four with a demanding job, it’s become a game of balance and preparedness. It’s about multitasking at a whole new level. For me, it’s really about thinking and planning ahead. When my kids go to sleep at night, I begin planning a set of activities for the following day. I try to limit their screen time, other than the necessary Zoom calls for their classes, since their schools are now online. I choose activities centered around directly teaching them and preparing projects around the lessons. For an example, if during our daily walks, we see a tree root that is lifting the sidewalk, causing it to buckle or crack, we discuss topics such as the roots of the tree, and why the sidewalk is being compromised. At home, we replicate what we saw, planting seedlings, and we continue the learning about roots, trees, and the environment. With evidence that children who lose enrichment over the summer fall back academically, my biggest challenge is keeping my children enriched even during the COVID-19 stay-at-home period while performing a full-time job in tech.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

I try my best to prepare activities ahead of time, so every day I have activities ready for them to enjoy. My kids love arts and crafts, so I try to integrate their learnings of the day around hands-on projects. To solve the additional challenge of finding enough time to prepare meals, I have had my children prepare their own meals at lunch. I cut all the ingredients ahead of time but let them help in both the assembly and clean-up. While making pancakes, I have them practice their fractions and math skills as they measure out ingredients. Each child is in charge of cleaning their respective areas, which provides a vehicle for communicating about caring for our environment and collectively working toward a common goal.

Can you share the biggest work-related challenges you are facing as a woman in STEM during this pandemic?

The biggest work-related challenge I have found to be is the issue of time. There is just not enough of it. I work for a technology company leading the marketing of a color changing technology. The goal of the technology is to enable the public to identify if they have COVID-19 prior to symptoms appearing. The technology is exciting, and we want to bring it to market quickly, so the team is working hard including weekends. As the only woman in the C-suite with younger children, it can be a challenge. With a Type A personality, I want to do everything perfectly and despite the high productivity, there are only so many hours. Yet, as has been widely reported in the press, rather than limiting work time, the stay-at-home situation during COVID-19 has created a longer work week for many of us with little to no downtime. I now log in many more hours than ever before. Even two hours spent commuting are now spent working with little time to decompress and move from one activity to the next. The time pressure can be tremendous.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

First, I have adjusted to a longer workday and workweek to accomplish it all. My effort is quite intense to yield the output we all want. Despite being quite energized during the day, I have never felt more tired at night. However, the journey of bringing product and marketing to life is very exciting. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a perfect coping strategy to sustaining the focus with so many competing demands in the home and work. For me, taking a walk at least once a day enables me to clear my head and reflect rather than react. To anticipate challenges, I try to keep a 24-hour game plan, a week game plan and a project plan. Frequently, the best insights come when I just relax on a walk.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

My advice would be not to fight it, but to lean into the challenge. Try to value the time at home with your kids and family while doing the best you can at work. I remember when I was going into labor with my first child, and the contractions were very strong, my mom told me not to fight them. She told me to lean into them like a wave, surrender, and they will pass. At the end, you end up with a beautiful creature. I am trying to do the same during this challenging time; lean into the challenge, breathe through it, and hopefully something meaningful will come out at the end.

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place for long periods with your family?

Don’t sit. Stand and walk. I have a standing desk in my home office. Together with my “sanity walks,” being on your feet changes one’s perspective. At my company, we have a strategic alignment call at 7:30 every morning. I try to get up an hour earlier and go for a long walk to clear my head prior. At 6:30 AM, the children have not risen and I evaluate my 24-hour plan for work. Living in Boston provides me a cold morning environment and a beautiful setting that helps me mentally organize the order and structure of the day.

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.

This is absolutely an anxious time for all. I think this is primarily because we all feel a lack of control. But there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. The problem is a question of when? I am not sure that life will return to our past normal; I anticipate that a new normal will involve a heightened sense of the risks and opportunities around us. My 5 reasons to be hopeful are:

  1. We have the ability spend time with immediate family and to speak to and see our loved ones outside the home through technology, including video so we can see them, too.
  2. Many of us are safe and healthy, and by showing responsibility during this time, we can keep our community safe and healthy as well.
  3. My husband is a physician fighting this pandemic. I am grateful every day for his contributions to millions of lives, but I am also grateful also that he remains safe and positive in his approach.
  4. My children have become much more involved in helping each other and much more independent. During the time together, we have developed a wonderful rhythm.
  5. Lastly, I am hopeful that communities around the world are working toward a common goal. In a strange way, this has united many people, and we appreciate things that perhaps we did not appreciate before.

From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to your family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

For me, in the past, I felt as if I never had time to do chores around the house. On the weekends, we now work together to tackle different parts of the house. This past weekend, my kids and husband tackled the yard and garage. I spent a full weekend day organizing the children’s rooms.

This time is hard because we are social beings. But socially distancing has provided us with an opportunity to connect with each other inside our homes and enjoy the time together. Create a list of family projects they you thought you never have time to do because of competing schedules of sports, lessons and children’s play dates. Then do the wish list together. It is bonding and rewarding.

Lastly, cooking seems to be helping my friends and family. It has forced us to slow down a bit and enjoy the meal time together. Personally, I am using items in my pantry that I had forgotten and recipes from a large under-used collection. I am experimenting with new and re-found recipes to enjoy with the family.

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

“Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining,” Theodore Roosevelt stated. For me, this quote exhorts us to think ahead and solve barriers when a problem arises. With perseverance and creativity, obstacles at home and work will come and go. One cannot surrender, it’s about making to allow one to look ahead. During this pandemic, we cannot all give in to the constraints of being at home or being isolated. For women in STEM, we all need to pause, reflect, look ahead, and create solutions, and never whine. In STEM, the problems are great but the solutions are exciting.

How can our readers follow you online?

Yes, on linked IN.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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