Q: First, can you tell us a little bit about your “work life” and your “home life.”
At work, I’m the publisher and editor of COLlive.com, a Jewish media outlet which provides news of the Chabad community worldwide, as well as news of interest to the Orthodox Jewish community. More than a news source, it has become a meeting place of issues and the community as well. At home, I’m mom to five kids, ages 23 to 6, with one married daughter and one married son…lots of different ages and stages.
Q: What’s your typical day like?
My day starts with getting my kids who are at home (and not away in Yeshiva) off to school, and then I usually jump right into work. The mornings are my busiest work time, since we are catching up with all the events and inquiries that came in during the night/evening, and anything significant that happened during that time.
On a typical day I usually monitor the news to keep up with breaking stories, prepare and edit articles on events that have happened or will be happening, and orchestrate my team of photographers who attend events, simchas, community happenings, as well as rush to cover breaking news events.
All this takes quite a bit of juggling and maneuvering between different things. Then there are also events that I personally attend in order to report on them in person, as well as individual interviews that I do with different people and about businesses in the community.
The day can be incredibly intense and incredibly unpredictable! A quiet day can suddenly become hectic and high stress in a flurry of activity with breaking news, so making plans can be tricky, as you never really know what will happen.
Being a Jewish mother first, it’s really important to me to be near my children. In the past, our business (an advertising agency) was based in Manhattan, and I would leave work early every day to pick up my kids from school. When we started this website, I decided early on, after seeing the huge amount of hours that would need to go into it, that I would have to work from home so I could be near my kids, otherwise, I would never see them, since it is really a 24 hour job!
Your never know when something big will happen, and you have to be on call all the time to make sure you stay on top and provide news in a professional and consistent manner. There are times when I literally have to get up and out of bed to deal with a story that happens during the night, especially if it is, unfortunately, a sad event.
Q: How did you come to your current career?
I founded the website nearly 10 years ago, with my husband running the advertising sales aspect, after seeing a need for a professionally run news website in Chabad. What we couldn’t have predicted was our growth in many other Jewish areas- Orthodox and non-Orthodox – with thousands of readers and fans from around the globe who visit regularly to find out what’s happening in Crown Heights and the Jewish world.
Q: Do you have a tip for other women – whether it pertains to finding success in your industry, success in building a career in general, or success in balancing work and home?
I would tell fellow businesswomen never be afraid to demand credit and acknowledgement for your hard work and success.
Having come up against people who have a hard time accepting or believing that a woman could be in the position that I’m in, I learned a long time ago that I cannot stay quiet on who I am or fade into the background. I always make sure it’s known that I am running the business, and if someone can’t accept that, I will not deal with them professionally until they do. It’s slow going, and a real uphill battle, but I feel like these small steps on my part will make it easier for my daughters to be able to be successful and accomplished in whatever fields they decide to go into.
Another thing I would say is, that I always try to remember to make decisions based on my conscience as a frum woman, wife and mother. When it comes to the content we post, I try to think, is this something I would want my young child reading? And it the stories we post affect people, I try to think, if this article was about my husband, or my child, or my family, how would I feel? It’s a hard balance, since we are supposed to be a “news” site, and yet, we must remember who we are and what we are all about as frum Jews.
Q: Do you have a grocery/errands/shopping and/or cooking strategy to save time and get it all done?
My strategy is to make sure to get help and be comfortable delegating some of my responsibilities. I found that when I try to do it all, the household and ultimately the kids, suffer. I have household help and my husband is really great – he pitches in and makes dinner when my schedule gets too hectic, which happens quite often. Also, I tend to be forgetful about dates and times, so I have made it a habit to put everything in my phone and set an alarm, whether it’s my son starting school 45 minutes late or my daughter having to wear a white shirt to school for Rosh Chodesh, and especially for important meetings and events. This way I can rely on the reminders so that I don’t forget (because I probably will!)
Q: Do you have hobbies or interests that you devote time to outside of your work life or mommy life?
With my work and home life so busy, that doesn’t leave much time for any hobbies. If I have any spare time, I usually spend it with my husband or my children. It’s really important for me to spend quality time with family, and truthfully, it’s what I enjoy.
Q: When the day is so busy, how do you “connect” spiritually?
Luckily our site posts many Dvar Torahs, videos and talks of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and many Shiurim, so I get a chance to read and watch quite a lot of it during the editing and posting process.
Also, a few years ago, my husband and I began a shiur in Tanya (the foundation of Chabad Chassidus) every morning. It’s only a few minutes, but it gets our day started in a calm and focused way, spending a few minutes together, before we each go our own frazzled ways.