Monday, November 26, 2012

Spotlight on Mom -- Stacy DeBroff of Mom Central Consulting

I am excited to share this week's Spotlight Mom, Stacy DeBroff, Founder and CEO of Central Consulting, with you, not only because her company is located in my hometown, but also because I have been working with her consulting company as a mom blogger for the fast few years, and love the clients and brands they represent.  

If you are not familiar with Mom Central Consulting, here is a little insight into this amazing mom-founded business -- 

"As the premier firm specializing in Marketing to Moms and Influencer Relations, Mom Central Consulting helps companies develop meaningful conversations, connections, and communities with Moms. We specialize in engaging Mom Influencers in powerful word-of-mouth programs which include ambassador programs, blog tours, viral marketing programs, geo-targeted referral programs, and live grassroots events. Mom Central works with over 300 national brands, offering a breadth of consulting services, including research and social media strategy."

Mom Central Consulting relies on moms like you and me to spread the word about national brands and their products.  Many of the products I have reviewed and shared my thoughts on, as part of their mommy blogger campaigns, have made my life as a busy mom so much easier.  Many of these products I would not have otherwise known about or tried.  But, I am so gratetful that I had a chance to, and was able to share my thoughts with my readers.  Most recently I was sent the new VTech Safe&Sound Full Color Video and Audio Monitor, which Stacy and her team shared with other mom influencers in September to try out and share their thoughts, along with information centering around Baby Safety Month and focusing attention on key elements of home safety.  Stay tuned on Friday when I will share more about this baby monitor from VTech, as well as offer one lucky reader a chance to win one for themselves, or to give as a gift.  But, in the meantime, please enjoy my Spotlight on Mom interview with Stacy DeBroff of Mom Central Consulting.  Stacy really inspires mom entrepreneurs like myself, as through her books and business, she shows that you can have it all -- family and work, all while striking a balance between the two.

Name:  Stacy DeBroff, Founder and CEO of Mom Central Consulting
Company Name/Product/Service: Mom Central Consulting
Company Location: Boston, MA
Twitter Handle: @MCConsulting
Age of Company:  Began in 2008
Favorite Inspirational Quotes:
“Live the life you’ve imagined.”
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Favorite Book:
The Eight by Katherine Neville

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.
This fall marks a big change for me – I’m officially an empty-nester! My husband, Ron, and I have two children, Kyle, who’s almost 20 and a junior at Emory, and Brooks, who’s 18 and just left for Purdue. We live just outside of Boston, where I enjoy tending to my gardens, indulging in my passion for cooking, and getting together with close friends.
Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?
At Mom Central Consulting, we engage our community of Mom influencers on behalf of brands in powerful word-of-mouth programs such as brand ambassador programs, blog tours, viral marketing programs, geo-targeted referral programs, and live grassroots events. We work with hundreds of national brands and have emerged as the leading social media consulting firm focused on Moms. 
I actually took a not-so direct path to the creation of Mom Central. I worked at Harvard Law School for nine years, founding and directing, as an attorney, the Office of Public Interest Advising. Yet, I ultimately made the decision to leave Harvard to spend more time with my children and began writing several parenting books. From there, I began, an online parenting resource for Moms, and served as a spokesperson for several consumer brands. That spokesperson work evolved into consulting for national brands, which led to the creation of Mom Central Consulting.
What is a typical work day like?

One of the elements of my professional life that I truly love continues to be the fact that I’ve yet to experience two similar days! Overall, I spend time working with our awesome Mom Central Consulting project team to develop creative strategies for our clients, I connect with current or past contacts to talk about how we might find ways to work together in the future, and I continue to write and interact with the news media, talking about parenting and Mom Marketing issues. Then the phone rings, and we’re off and running on an entirely new opportunity!
What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  
Like so many Moms, I faced an inner struggle with my professional goals and family obligations. I left a wonderful opportunity at Harvard to spend more time with my young children and to write parenting books. I worked at home for more than two years to write my first book – between play dates and pediatrician visits.
Once completed, I began writing a second book, and that led to an offer to build out a Mom-focused web community. I ultimately passed on the opportunity because I knew I wasn’t adhering to my own principles. Instead, I focused on my spokesperson work that emerged after the publication of my books. This spokesperson work led to consulting with national brands and ultimately led to the formation of Mom Central Consulting.
As you can see, I took a circuitous path to starting a business. All told, it took about eight years and it certainly took longer than if I had initiated a straight trajectory, but it worked for my specific situation. 

What have been some of your major successes?
Certainly I consider our growth as a big success. We officially opened our doors in early 2008 and yet we now have four offices! Boston remains our headquarters, and we’ve opened offices in New York, Chicago, and Toronto, Canada. 
We also take great pride in partnering with Mom influencers and leading brands to create innovative campaigns. From VTech to Infantino to Whirlpool, we love connecting Moms with brands that truly make their lives easier – providing valuable information, resources, and inspiration. For example, we’ve recently worked with VTech, helping to raise awareness around September as Baby Safety Month and focusing attention on key elements of home safety.
What have been some of your major challenges?
Launching in 2008, we found ourselves creating a start-up business in the worst economy since the Great Depression. But we developed a strong business model, stayed true to our vision and principles, and worked really hard. And I’m really proud that despite these challenges, we’ve grown into the company we are today.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

Sometimes you just have to keep on keeping on! I’ve also found that by taking a deep breath and staying laser-focused on the task at hand helps keep challenges from seeming overwhelming.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
I don’t believe one magic formula exists that applies in all circumstances. Parents, families, and kids face entirely different situations, so what works for one family may not work for another. In my own case, I waited until my kids were older – teenagers, actually – before I started Mom Central Consulting. At that stage, I became more comfortable with the longer hours and travel that came with my new adventure.
What is next for your business?
I think we’ll see both continuity and growth. We’ll continue creating innovative, award-winning campaigns, as well as continue to deepen our relationship with members of our blogger community, who remain such valued partners in all of our campaigns. 
Since our launch, our strategic vision centered around making the world a better place for Moms and their kids.  And while this vision provides us with a guiding principle as we run our business on a day-to-day basis, it also allows us a strong capacity to grow because we know so much more can be done to enhance the lives of Moms.
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 
I believe strongly that more than one path exists for entrepreneurial success. And for women, this path often involves following your passions, celebrating personal reinvention, and embracing the unexpected.  Whatever your ideas may be, envision entrepreneurial success – and learn what it takes to get there.

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