Mothers In Advertising: Kari Shimmel, Chief Marketing Officer, Campbell Ewald

To celebrate Mother’s Day, AdForum sat down with a series of mothers to hear first hand what it is like to be a working mother in the advertising industry.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, AdForum sat down with a series of mothers to hear first hand what it is like to be a working mother in the advertising industry. We would like to thank Kari Shimmel, Chief Marketing Officer at Campbell Ewald for taking part in this interview series. 

By Sarah Cullen

Perspectives: Mothers In Advertising

How would you describe the culture at your agency?
Our senior leadership team is made up of parents of young kids and other mothers who make for an incredible support system. This group has a shared commitment to our agency’s families and we have developed new policies to support the juggling act of parenthood, from a generous parental/maternity leave policy to our MeTO (unlimited PTO), we are constantly looking for more ways to empower our employees to find the right balance of home/work. I am proud that our CEO is very vocal in his support of families and the well-being of every employee and his leadership is helping to create a supportive culture.
What advice would you give to other mothers who are trying to find the right work and life balance?
Give yourself permission to fail. I wish more moms were honest about how hard motherhood and career can be and that your own insecurities are shared by many of the mothers around you. Sometimes, balance is about choosing priorities and not balancing every moment. There will be days I get to drop my daughter off for school and there will be mornings when I need to do the early morning meeting. You make choices daily on how to invest in yourself, your relationships and your career. Don’t try to do all of these things at the exact same time. There are days you won’t get it right, but be kind to yourself and learn from each of those moments. Encourage other moms and realize that in trying you are in fact succeeding.
What changes do you hope to see for future working parents?
My greatest hope for the future is that working parents become courageous and actively choose to invest time into themselves and their families without fearing subsequent career backlash .

We need more companies to implement flexible time policies and for mangers to lead by example and take time off. Every year Americans leave PTO on the table and fear the guilt of leaving work behind. A cultural shift will only happen when we actively encourage and reward employees for finding balance in their lives. This time brings perspective, creativity and fulfilled people, which will also make for better workplaces. Everyone wins.
Has being a mother changed how you approach any aspects of your job; how?
I think motherhood is a crash course in empathy, multi-tasking and self-improvement. All of these have contributed to making me more mindful of my job, whether being more empathetic to my colleagues, clients or customers or being calm in the face of uncertainty. I also found that motherhood has a way of helping me understand that I cannot do anything alone, it takes a village to raise a child and courage to truly collaborate in your career.
What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of being a working mother?
Partnership and perspective. I am fortunate to have an incredible husband who is a true partner, he is the cornerstone of our home, the light of my daughter’s world and his flexible career has enabled the support of mine. Bringing my #momlife into my #adlife has also expanded my perspective. Raising another human is life’s biggest responsibility, so it’s important to remember that advertising is just advertising, and problems are opportunities, no matter how big the business challenge may be it can be solved.