Rikki writes.

Marketing, business, media, and their intersections


Working It

Want to Make the World a Better Place? Start By Being a Better Leader.

I originally published this piece on The Muse.

As a mother, I spend a lot of time thinking about the culture my son will grow up in. And lately, my analysis has been somewhat grim. The most pressing cultural issues seem like problems that I simply can’t address. I’m not a lawmaker, a psychologist, or a social worker. I’m the Chief Strategy Officer for a marketing and PR firm, and I struggle to keep up with the latest parenting research, much less strategies for saving the world.

I’m guessing many company leaders feel the same way. Our job is to generate revenue and grow our businesses—it’s somebody else’s job to fix America’s biggest problems, right?

But, it turns out, that’s not the right way to look at it. A growing body of research shows that the workplace is actually a realistic space to begin initiating cultural change.

Continue reading “Want to Make the World a Better Place? Start By Being a Better Leader.”

Why I’m Not Upset about “Meternity Leave”

The social sphere is abuzz today with responses to Meghann Foye‘s first book, Meternity.  The novel focuses on a woman who fakes a pregnancy in order to take a “meternity leave,” an opportunity to decompress and reflect on her career and life.

Foye’s own life apparently inspired the book. Foye writies in the New York Post, “As I watched my friends take their real maternity leaves, I saw that spending three months detached from their desks made them much more sure of themselves. One friend made the decision to leave her corporate career to create her own business; another decided to switch industries. From the outside, it seemed like those few weeks of them shifting their focus to something other than their jobs gave them a whole new lens through which to see their lives.”

Naturally, mothers across the internet became enraged. “Maternity leave is not a vacation!” they shouted from their mobile devices. One user in my Facebook feed responded, “I honestly want her to take my kids for a day and then tell me how she feels. Horrible!” and another furiously explained, “Maternity leave is not a time for lunch and getting pedicures. It’s a 24/7 selfless time to care for a brand new human being making sure you keep them alive that is totally helpless.”

Continue reading “Why I’m Not Upset about “Meternity Leave””

3 Semi-Famous Single Moms You Can Actually Relate To (And Learn From)

The needs and rights of career-loving parents continue to be part of our cultural dialogue on a daily basis, thanks in part to a number of working moms with celebrity status—think Sheryl Sandberg, Michelle Obama, Jennifer Garner, and Jessica Alba. We can learn a lot from these women, and their contributions to the conversation about the rights of mothers in the workplace are important. But, of course, we all know that their lives are not exactly representative of a “typical” parent. They have resources that many of us won’t ever have.
Continue reading “3 Semi-Famous Single Moms You Can Actually Relate To (And Learn From)”

4 Women Who Are Redefining the Concept of “Working Mother”

In her speech introducing her husband at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama told the audience that, during her first term as First Lady, her most important title was “mom-in-chief.” This statement was met with extended applause.

I love Michelle Obama. I love the causes she stands for, from fighting against childhood obesity to supporting women’s rights abroad to addressing poverty. When I go for runs around DC, I often jog past the White House and imagine Michelle Obama doing 50 push-ups and then rewarding herself with a homemade bowl of lobster mac and cheese, and this image inspires me for another two miles. I simply adore her. There’s no question that Michelle Obama’s work is a significant force in the fight for equality.
Continue reading “4 Women Who Are Redefining the Concept of “Working Mother””

4 Ways Even the Busiest People Can Be More Mindful

It was Thursday evening at 6:30, the second hour of the period of time that many working parents begrudgingly refer to as “the grind:” the three or four chaotic hours between our arrival home from work and bedtime, in which we must make dinner, eat dinner, and relish our limited time with our children before bathing them, wrangling them into their pajamas, reading umpteen bedtime stories, putting them to bed, and preparing for tomorrow morning.
Continue reading “4 Ways Even the Busiest People Can Be More Mindful”

4 Ways to Break Free from Feeling “Too Busy”

America began to acknowledge its cultural obsession with “busyness” a few years ago, when Tim Kreider wrote the now legendary piece “The Busy Trap” for theNew York Times. Nearly three years later, while our culture certainly hasn’t changed, an admitted addiction to busyness has at least transitioned from groundbreaking journalism to mainstream conversations.
Continue reading “4 Ways to Break Free from Feeling “Too Busy””

How to Explain Your Job to Virtually Anyone You’ll See This Month

’Tis the season for awkward conversations with people you haven’t seen in a year. And while it’s impossible to predict the array of inappropriate questions you’ll receive during the uncomfortable, crowded holiday gatherings you’ll be required to attend, one inquiry you’ll hear at least a few times is, “So, what do you do again?”

3 Work-Life Balance Lessons I Learned from Men

For many career-loving parents, the holidays come as a welcome reprieve: a chance to enjoy a few slow weeks at work, unwind with the kiddos, and stuff their faces full of seasonal treats. Many parents look forward to the holidays.

But not me. And it’s not because I don’t love my family. It’s because—and there’s really no nice way to say this—I suck at the holidays. My weaknesses as a parent and a professional woman seem to become more pronounced when combined with the smell of a newly cut Christmas tree or a freshly baked pie. I over-plan, over-commit, and shop at the last minute. I worry about work when I’m at home and worry about home when I’m at work. I essentially spend the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years looking (and feeling) like a tightly wound ball of tinsel.
Continue reading “3 Work-Life Balance Lessons I Learned from Men”

5 Ways Companies Can Attract More Women (Aside From Offering to Freeze Their Eggs)

Tech giant Apple made headlines last week for, like its Silicon Valley buddy Facebook, offering to cover the costs of female employees’ freezing their eggs, up to $20,000, for non-medical reasons.

While both companies frame the perk as part of their support of fertility, family, and parenthood (both Facebook and Apple reportedly have very generous coverage of fertility treatments, adoption support, and surrogacy support), it’s clear that this program also complements their ongoing effort to recruit more young women into tech. After a number of tech companies released their dismal diversity numbers earlier this year, there is a renewed cultural focus on encouraging young women to pursue an education in math and science that will lead to a high-paying position in tech.

Continue reading on The Muse.

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