Perspectives: Mothers In Advertising: Nikki Shum-Harden, VP, Client Development at RED Interactive Agency.

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 Nikki Shum-Harden, VP, Client Development at RED Interactive Agency for taking part in this interview series.

By Sarah Cullen 

 

Nikki  Shum-Harden
Nikki Shum-Harden
VP, Client Development RED Interactive

Q: How would you describe the culture at your agency? And does that culture compliment the juggling act of being a working mother?
Nikki Shum: RED is a family. I’ve been there for 9 years so I’ve literally grown up there and they’ve gone above and beyond in supporting me as a working mom. In the office, we have a private room for breastfeeding and RED even pays to ship my breast milk back when I’m traveling! We’ve recently implemented a new parental leave policy that enable parents to come back to work slowly - so parents can come back part-time but at full pay for the first 8 weeks when they return to the office. When I bring my daughter to work, different people always end up playing with her and watching her if I have to run to a meeting. RED has always taken work/life balance seriously and I feel so fortunate to be working at a place that puts in the extra effort to make working mothers feel more comfortable.
Q: What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of being a working mother?
Nikki Shum: I’d like to think that I’m setting a good example for my daughter and being a positive female role model for her, showing her what it’s like to work hard but to put family first. When I became a mom it’s like this whole other section of my brain opened up, where skills I didn’t even know I had appeared out of nowhere. I’ve got more synapses firing - I feel like Bradley Cooper in ‘Limitless'!
Q: Has being a mother enabled you to be better at your job; and how?
Nikki Shum: Absolutely, I’m a lot more efficient now, because I don’t have time for anything else! Honestly, I think I’m a lot more effective at managing people and delegating tasks. The more responsibility you have - at work and at home - the better you have to become at managing time and setting clear goals for yourself and the people around you.
Q: What advice would you give to other mothers who are trying to find the right work and life balance?
Nikki Shum: My advice would be to ask for help. From everyone. Don’t be shy and accept help wherever you can get it. Find a partner that’s supportive and can really step up, and trust the team around you to help lift you up and fill in the gaps.
Q: What changes do you hope to see for future working parents?
Nikki Shum: I would love to see more companies embracing children coming to the workplace. Pategonia has gotten a lot of positive press on their day care facilities. Distance can add a lot of unknowns in parenting, and it really goes a long way in providing a sense of comfort for working mothers. Moving toward company policies like cultures like this mean you don’t have to sacrifice your career or facetime at the office while also not being away from your kids for so long.

End of the Interview

Nikki  Shum-Harden
Nikki Shum-Harden
VP, Client Development RED Interactive