As someone who never had kids of her own, I’ll readily admit that I tend to “momify” pretty much everything I take on. Since I just spent a week in my garden, lets start there.
Every year between December and April, I start about 1000 seeds in my greenhouse. I wait expectantly for them to germinate and am thrilled when I come home to find flats full of tiny green signs of life. I nurture them with the right mix of food, heat, and water and most of the time my little green babies become strapping seedlings.
The hard part is when, after a couple months of coddling and
encouraging and feeding, sooner or later, they have to go outside to “harden”
For me it’s the equivalent of sending a child off on its first day of school – you know that they have to learn how to live in the world, but every harsh wind or cold night has you fretting.
Then, after the last chance of frost, they need to “graduate”
to their designated spots in my garden.
My vacation last week was spent planting about 50 flats of seedlings. My little green babies have outgrown their flats, and I know I can’t keep them at home in my shady shelter forever. I just have to hope I’ve given them a good enough root system and environment to survive and thrive in their new home.
Coincidentally, my company, KDPaine & Partners, was also going through a life passage last week.
I know I’m stretching this metaphor, but as I see it, there are a great number of similarities between childrearing, gardening and being a female entrepreneur.
When you first start a company, it is nothing but excitement and possibilities. You soon realize that you need to pay the bills (almost as bad as I imagine changing diapers to be) feed it with regular injections of either cash or new business, and clothe it in office space and technology. At some point this child of yours has to live in the real world. So, you launch your product, which KDPaine & Partners did in 2004, with its DIY Dashboard-- becoming one of the earliest integrated PR and Social Media Measurement platforms. We somehow, managed to survive adolescence, weathering the recessions, defections, and unimagined competition.
At some point, like most entrepreneurs and many mothers, I realized that the demands of company-rearing were outstripping my energy and expertise. So in 2009, we hired Doug Chapin, a 20-year veteran of Hewlett Packard to be COO. With him at the helm, my “baby” outgrew its clothes faster than I ever imagined and suddenly we glimpsed a vision for KDPaine & Partners that stretched far beyond the boundaries of our little berg of Berlin, NH. Which is why I sold the company to News Group International last year.
Today, I am a very proud mother of a bride, and it is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I walk KDPaine & Partners down the aisle. The last phase of the merger between Salience, Report International and KDPaine & Partners will be consummated with the launch of its new brand Salience Insight.
My little infant of an idea that only came into the world 11 years ago, is now part of one of the largest and most dynamic measurement companies on the planet. It can now provide integrated social, traditional, and marketing metrics across three continents. It sports a new and highly sophisticated reporting platform, and its membership in the News Group family enables it to tap the best in social and traditional media expertise anywhere in the world. With over 100 consultants and analysts in Europe, MENA (Middle East/North Africa) and the US, it offers seamless vertical integration from data collection to engagement, plus enhanced ability to deliver insight and recommendations.
So congratulations, felicitations and thanks are in order all around. To Mazen Nahawi, CEO of News Group, thank you for your belief in me and for sharing that vision. To Giselle Bodie, CEO of Salience Insight, congratulations and admiration for your wisdom and strength to sort out the complexity of our blended family. To Doug Chapin, thank you for the patience and guidance that made this marriage possible.