With so many incredible women-owned businesses in our network, we wanted to take a moment to highlight one that we feel is redfining and cultivating the next era of working mothers and the way they are supported in the workplace. twelveNYC is our go-to resource for creating HeyMama branded materials and they are always up for a challenge to create something our members will covet and collect. With offices in Brooklyn, London and Hong Kong, twelveNYC also creates custom merch for some of the world’s most recognized brands in the beauty, private label and promotional accessory categories. In short, they tell the brand’s stories through thoughtful, tangible product.
We interviewed Founder and HeyMama member Katie Conovitz about her thoughts on the secret to her brand’s success but this time, we wanted to flip the tables and hear how her empolyees juggle the intersection between work and family life. Anna Lepry, twelve’s Director of Marketing sat down with her colleagues to get the scoop. Read on…
How does twelveNYC support mothers?
With the exception of a few phenomenal male colleagues, women are the true heartbeat of twelve (57 of our 62 global employees are female, to be exact). At the moment, twelveNYC has twelve moms and one more baby on the way. Mothers account for the majority of our leadership team in our offices around the world. Katie Conovitz, Founder + CEO, is a mom of four (or five, if you’re counting twelveNYC), which she considers to be her first baby.
We think of our company as an optimal incubator for career-focused moms and career-driven women with motherhood on the horizon. Our team ranges from college interns to seasoned leaders who’ve spent decades in the workforce. But mother or not, being a part of twelveNYC goes beyond the standard 9 to 5. We travel the world sourcing trends, vising factory partners, and walking tradeshows. With usually little-to-no notice you have to be ready for a late-night brainstorm sesh or cross-country meeting with a new client. Everyone who works at twelveNYC works hard. It’s more than a job; it’s a career, it’s a support network and it’s personal.
Upon entering motherhood, women are often sorted into two categories: those who work, and those who don’t. As moms, each of our stories are different, however, at twelve, we all share a common thread: we work full-time in a demanding career. So, on behalf of the “working moms” in our company, we ask, how do we redefine this singularly-characterizing label? How do we ensure that our female colleagues who are on the precipice of family planning (or years out from it) don’t feel the need to put their career on hold to have a child, or pressured into picking only one lane? How do we make it all work?
We thought the best way to illustrate how we walk the walk would be to chat with a few of our colleagues to see what they had to say. Let’s find out.
Why did you make a choice to pursue an ambitious career while raising a family?
“I always wanted to have kids more than anything, but was surprised that once I had them, I felt like wearing the “being a mom” badge suddenly seemed like the only thing that defined me as a person. Although I wore my new badge proudly, I missed the career fulfillment I once had before motherhood. I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve found a space where I can both be a mom and follow my creative passions.” – Brooke, President + Creative Director
“I think motherhood has had a tremendous positive impact in my career and my approach to work. I want to be able to give my children the best of myself. I changed careers two years ago because I was no longer feeling fulfilled in my career and am proud that I showed my family the importance of taking risks and seeing what else is out there. I am inspired every single day at twelveNYC and love being able to take that home with me.” – Kim, Manager of People + Culture
I always believed women can run the world, that we can do anything we set our mind to. So, it became my mission to prove those who doubted me wrong…
Joanna, Manager of Operations
“As a young mom, there is always going to be someone who doubts your ability to succeed. I always believed women can run the world, that we can do anything we set our mind to. So, it became my mission to prove those who doubted me wrong- that I can be a full-time student and mom and receive my degree. I took this mindset with me to twelveNYC, and it has given me the capacity to be confident in helping and leading my colleagues when in need.” – Joanna, Manager of Operations
“I want my professional voice to not just reflect who I am as a mother, but as a woman as well. When you have a little one depending on every move you take, in some ways it makes me more confident as a leader. I love when my daughter brags about mommy and her work. It makes me want to work harder and push myself more creatively, because I know she’s my biggest fan.” – Ashley, Vice President, Sr. Art Director
What advice would you give to mamas on how to balance a career and motherhood?
“twelveNYC was my first baby, and since the moment I started it in 2006, it has become a true extension of who I am as an individual. Since starting twelve, I also somehow serendipitously ended up with four kids (within three years, I should mention). This whirlwind introduction to motherhood equipped me with a skillset that’s translated into both my identity as a CEO and identity as a woman. There is a type of controlled chaos that kids bring to your life- you are always tugged with guilt for not being able to be there for every single event, but similar to what I experienced in my journey of starting and running a business, you have to fight through it all to establish your own authentic path. Being a woman, a mother and a business owner is an ever-evolving story that only I can write for myself.”
– Katie Conovitz, Founder + CEO
“Some days, you will wonder how on earth you have the time or capacity to complete it all, while giving each “side” of your life the attention they deserve, but the reality is that if you have an amazing team and support group, there doesn’t necessarily have to be a “work side” and a “life side” – the balance can be more fluid between the two. My daughter sees me work, and she sees that I can also devote time to her. I’m lucky to be able to show my daughter commitment, determination and passion with my career, while being her rock as well.” – Ashley, Vice President, Sr. Art Director
Being a woman, a mother and a business owner is an ever-evolving story that only I can write for myself.
Katie Conovitz, Founder + CEO
“Believe that you can do it. Chances are, even if you stay home full time, you’ll still wonder if you’re doing everything right, so don’t feel pressured to give up your career just to make sure you are a perfect mother. Perfection doesn’t exist. I’m happy that I can show my kids that career achievement is a rewarding part of adult life.” – Carol, President of Finance
“I’ve found the ability to just tell myself, “I’ve got this”. If I can be a mom and work full-time, I can do anything. That has made me much more confident in my job.” – Brooke, President + Creative Director
Chances are, even if you stay home full time, you’ll still wonder if you’re doing everything right, so don’t feel pressured to give up your career just to make sure you are a perfect mother. Perfection doesn’t exist.
Carol, President of Finance
We recognize that the evolving roles that women and mothers take on are never a “one size fits all”. Through the lens of the working moms at twelveNYC, our real work lies within each of us discovering and defining our own narrative. “As a mother and as a leader of this company, my responsibility is to provide a work space that allows women to carve their own lane,” Katie says. Through leading by example, our hope is that next era of women at twelve will have the ability to find layered gratification, whether it be in the journey of navigating motherhood, pursuing a robust career, honing in on personal ambitions, or whatever it is that fulfills them as a female (all of course, while remembering to make time for some fun along the way).