Pumping breast milk on the New Jersey Turnpike, racing home from a client meeting to put a toddler to bed on time, truck drivers honking and leering at me… Did I care? Nope. Did I land the client? You bet.
I’ve made the drive back and forth from New York City more times than I can count. Before opening my own advertising agency, I worked in media sales—it’s a familiar trip. A frequent trip to this day, now with my team in tow.
Without fail, when we pile into the car and hit the road, I remember those early solo trips. I often joke about long trips and client meetings with my twins on each arm and a phone pressed to my ear. Believe me when I tell you, that’s not much of an exaggeration.
Becoming the Boss I Always Wished I Had
One of the biggest benefits I considered while starting Marketing Doctor was escaping the unfriendly landscape in the USA for working mothers at that time. Even today, people talk about working moms “having it all” as if it were some impossible or unattainable Holy Grail. What my experience as a working mother showed me was that the roadblocks I faced weren’t inescapable constants, and more organizational support could have helped me clear the hurdles.
There were a lot of reasons to start my own company, but this one has always been near and dear to my heart. No two working moms have the same exact experience, but I personally knew how hard it could be to balance everything—and I wanted to be a boss who could support my employees the way I never was.
Studies show that the time moms spend parenting is comparable to two and a half full time jobs, and that’s on top of the time we spend working. Trying to budget time on that schedule would make anyone’s head spin, and working moms are doing it on the fly while they’re living it!
I consider myself something of an expert through trial by fire, and it can be a struggle to keep all the plates spinning. Seeing other working mothers succeeding and thriving in their own way leaves me in awe.
The Easiest Choice in the World: Putting People Over Profits
Our office maternity room, which now doubles as a tele-health, nap and privacy room, and the bevy of other benefits that I make my mission to offer employees come out of my pocket, regardless of how our margins look. Big business would call it a “competitive disadvantage,” but to that, I say… Well, so what? And I’d like to do even more.
It’s the right thing to do for the business because it’s the right thing to do for our office culture, for my honest-to-God work family. There’s no great, secret “life hack” to create a great working environment, to get an employee to work harder, to convince them to go above and beyond the bare minimum. All you have to do is place the appropriate importance on your company culture.
I go over-and-above for my employees because it is the right thing to do. In turn, they go over-and-above for me without asking, and without hesitation. That’s the environment we’ve cultivated together: take good care of yourself and take good care of each other. We look out for each other. We come together when life is hard, and we come together when life is good. We do right by each other.
All the incredible work that follows is a product of that collaboration, creativity, and unity.
From Feeling Unseen to Female CEO
Marketing Doctor has seen unprecedented growth in recent years—a new office, new employees, new clients, new contracts, and industry-leading awards: Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest Growing Companies in America three years running, a two-time ranking on the global Adweek Fastest Growing Agencies list, and our treasured ranking as one Ad Age’s Top 10 Best Places to Work in the country.
Being named one of Adweek’s 2021 Women Trailblazers was incredibly special. When I tell you, my mind was blown by appearing alongside Vice President Kamala Harris! I give full credit for this honor to my team. They make me look better than I actually am.
I am so unbelievably honored by these accomplishments and feel so blessed to have this team alongside me. My heart feels so full that I just want to scream it from the rooftops—I only resist the urge because it’s pretty cold up there in the New England winter (and my kids might never talk to me again).
I felt ill-prepared to be a working mother; it’s one of the many reasons for starting my own business, and for putting so much heart and soul into seeing it thrive. I wanted to empower myself and all my future employees. It’s hard in a world that still expects women can’t “have it all” not to take this too much to heart, because I’ve been at this a long time and continue to be my own cheerleader. I certainly cannot give our working parents here as much as I’d like to, but I hope times will change in this country about what we consider the bare minimum. Just look at the amount of paid maternity time other countries offer.
All that is why it’s so, so important to provide opportunities for all my employees to work and grow based on their lives and their needs. It’s why I’m so happy to provide not only extended parental leave and a dedicated maternity room, but also flexible hours, focus time, accommodations for comfort and medical needs, staff appreciation and parties, and more.
If you don’t love coming in to work everyday, you’re not working at the right place. I’m honored to be a CEO who can give her employees so much of what they deserve; the things I dreamed about before becoming my own boss. Today, it’s a maternity room. Tomorrow, the world.
-Janet Casey, President and Founder