Mama Mentors is powered by Lincoln. Learn more about our partnership here. To us, our partnerships with brands are about so much more than business. We carve out relationships with brands whose values reflect our own and those of our members, and work together to thoughtfully tell stories and create experiences that speak to moms’ real lives and real interests.
Through projects like this one, HeyMama endeavors to enhance the professional success of our members by bridging the gap between those who have already arrived and the ones who are still on their way. We hope this journey will keep us all moving forward, just like Lincoln.
Katie Conovitz, co-founder and CEO of twelveNYC and a mother of four, knows all about the power of a good story. Her company, which she founded in 2005, specializes in taking a product or brand and making it relatable, interesting, and marketable.
“We tell client stories through custom private label products, curated gifts-with-purchase, innovative packaging vehicles, and thoughtful promotional merchandise,” Conovitz told HeyMama. “We have worked with hundreds of brands across retail, D2C, beauty, technology, and media. With offices in New York, London, and Hong Kong, our long-standing relationships within our global supply chain allow us to partner with many of the world’s most recognized brands.”
Like any business owner, Conovitz’s own 15-year entrepreneurial story has included the highest of highs and some troubling lows. “The journey in building twelveNYC has been wrought with challenges,” she explained. “The ability to use those challenges and turn them into opportunities, build mental strength to preserve and continue to march forward, has been the most difficult challenge as well as the biggest opportunity.”
And like many entrepreneurial moms, her story also involves the birth of her four children. “I started my company prior to having children. It is essentially my first baby,” she said. “Having children has made me a better businesswoman from every angle — patience, time, management, empathy, etc. Overall, [motherhood] gave me a broader sense of purpose.” She says that being able to offer her kids a “front row seat in the build of a global business” has included many sacrifices, but has also been an incredible reward. “I want my children to recognize the opportunity to lead from a place of empathy, inclusion, humbleness, and authenticity.”
But just because having and raising children has made Conovitz a better business owner doesn’t mean her story focuses on motherhood only or that she even particularly wants to discuss how she finds a way to balance business ownership and parenthood. After all, those questions are rarely asked of entrepreneurial men or working dads.
“I do not like questions around work-life balance,” she said. “Everyone has their own interpretation of balance and it is something you must work towards based on your own template.”
Instead of succumbing to outdated ideas of working and entrepreneurial motherhood, Conovitz is focused on the work at hand: sharing the stories of countless brands in a way that honors the work, dedication, and creativity of the people behind them. “I am surrounded by an incredible team that has shown up every single day and risen to the occasion,” she said. “The role of our community is more important than ever.”
Part of fostering that community involves mentorship, which is why Conovitz decided to become a Mama Mentor this year. HeyMama’s Mama Mentor program, powered by Lincoln, pairs seasoned entrepreneurs and corporate moms with like-minded, up-and-coming business and corporate working moms to help establish long-lasting professional relationships that can serve as a source of inspiration, information, and support.
“The value of peer mentorship and connection is more important than ever,” Conovitz said.
As the country continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and entrepreneurs, business owners, and other working moms try to balance, rebrand, pivot, and do whatever it takes to not only keep the doors open, but thrive, the power of storytelling will undoubtedly become more vital than ever before. And while Conovitz has made a career out of telling the stories of other brands and companies, it’s the story she’s telling her children that comes to mind these days.
“I am proud that my kids are growing up watching me take professional risks, create opportunities,” she said, “and find an immense amount of joy in my career.”