How This New Mom Went From Executive Assistant to PR Manager at One of Our Favorite Online Companies

Here at The Everymom, we are big-time fans of Minted, the go-to site for gorgeous prints and unique art, and after this conversation, we are big-time fans of Janae Reznikov, Minted’s Senior Public Relations Manager. She spends her days promoting the creativity of independent artists, lifting up their work so that the world can be just a touch more beautiful. Her support of others is also reflected in just how she joyfully parents her eleven-month-old daughter, Lila (blowouts and all). Read on for the work skills that are making Janae a great parent, how she and her husband manage childcare with two full-time jobs, and the one self-care thing she’ll always splurge on.

 

Name: Janae Reznikov
Age: 33
Current Title/Company: Senior Manager of Public Relations at Minted
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara
Children: Lila, 11 months

 

What was your first job and how did you land it?

 

I have been working since I was 12 years old. My first job was as an attendant to check passes at a local pond down the street from my house. It was a perfect summer job to work on my tan! Around 14 years old, I started hostessing more consistently at a local restaurant and have had a job ever since.

 

 

You’ve been at your current company for seven years. Can you tell us about your career path?

 

I started as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Minted in 2011. Prior to starting at Minted, I was an Executive Assistant to the CEO of an investment bank in San Francisco. Since my only relevant job experience post-college was as an assistant, I wanted to leverage my knowledge base at a smaller company where I would be able to grow my skill set and career.

In 2011, Minted was a smaller, up-and-coming company so I was able to take on various tasks across the company and gain experience in different fields. After two years in my role, Minted’s CEO was very open and encouraging to help me find a new role within the company.

 

I had expressed interest in changing my career path, and she was extremely receptive and supportive. We talked about my strengths and interests, and we both felt that PR would be a good next step for me.

 

Interestingly, I had never originally considered a career in PR! I started at entry level in 2013, and now I oversee both the wedding and baby and kid businesses of Minted for the PR team. I am so fortunate that I was able to work at a company that fostered such important career growth and allowed me to find the best fit for my career path. After starting in the PR industry I have never looked back! Our CEO has a knack of seeing talent hidden in individuals and allowing them to grow that into a career at Minted.

 

You were an Executive Assistant to the CEO of an investment bank before moving to Minted. What skills did you learn from those early positions that have helped you grow in your career?

 

So many skills are transferable as you change roles throughout your career – I feel like it is sometimes very difficult to take a step back and realize how many skills can be used in new career avenues. From attention to detail, impeccable email communication, and organization, all of these skills are so important for a variety of roles!

 

Take us through a typical workday.

 

If Lila sleeps through the night (very hit or miss these days!) I will wake up around 6 a.m. and get her ready for daycare and myself ready for work. I drop Lila off at 8 a.m. and take public transportation into San Francisco. My role is very email heavy so I spend the majority of the morning replying to any new or outstanding emails, working with our designers to pull image assets for magazine requests, and checking in with my direct reports on their priorities. I try to use the middle of the day to think about upcoming projects and strategies for longer-term initiatives.

In PR, you are always thinking four to five months ahead for magazine coverage and short-term for more seasonal, upcoming holidays. It’s an interesting exercise to be planning holiday pitching in June and July!

 

In between email catch-up, proactive pitching, and strategy planning, I sneak in two pumping sessions since Lila is still breastfeeding. It can be difficult to stay on top of with meetings and a demanding job but I try to always make it a priority. If I don’t pump she won’t have milk for daycare the next day, so that is always my goal. I have to leave the office early to get Lila from daycare at 5 p.m., so I log back on after she is asleep to catch up on any emails I may have missed while spending time with her.

 

 

Minted seems like a very creative and inspiring place to work. What about working there excites you?

 

The best part of working at Minted is that it is truly a product I use and believe in; I feel so fortunate to get to talk to people about their weddings, babies, and holidays all day! Such happy life moments! It makes my job come so naturally since these are all life stages I am currently going through and can absolutely relate to myself. Since Minted is a community of independent artists, I love that we get to promote these really cool, creative, and unique individuals to the press – finding unique story angles and fun product ideas to promote is all in a day’s work.

 

Shop Janae’s Favorite Minted Pieces

 

What advice do you have for women looking to get into the public relations or marketing field?

 

It’s extremely common to start your career in PR at an agency, but if it doesn’t start out that way, that’s okay! I don’t have agency experience due to my unique career path, and I love that I have been able to really dive deep into one company and learn all the ins and outs. If you are thinking about a career in PR, I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the media in the field you are considering, reaching out to those in the field via LinkedIn or connections, and thinking if the product you are promoting is something you believe in. You will be representing the company externally, so feeling comfortable in social settings and forging relationships is very key for the role.  

 

Minted is all about unique creativity and connection — what advice do you have for moms who are looking to foster their kids’ creativity?

 

Every kid (and adult, for that matter) is unique and will express creativity differently! At Minted we see a range of such amazing creatives such as painters, photographers, and graphic designers – they all bring their own different perspectives to their work and that’s what gives our assortment such depth. I think this can absolutely translate to your kids as well.

 

One child may be interested in acting and drama while another is more interested in watercolor – I think listening to what your kids are expressing interest in and allowing them space to explore these interests is so important!

 

Of course, it’s always nice to try a new avenue and see if it sticks, but if the interest is not there, you can’t always force it! Accepting these unique differences in all of us is what makes the world such a fun and inspiring place.

 

 

When it comes to motherhood, what are you most confident in? What are you insecure about?

 

I joke that I am a ‘novice’ mom all of the time! Since Lila is my first child I really am just learning (and Googling) every day. I am most confident in my love for Lila. Of course we have days where nothing goes according to plan – maybe we miss naps, don’t have the right ingredients for her meals, or forget diapers for daycare – but I know that every day I will kiss her goodnight, give her more hugs than I thought would be possible, and tell her how much I love her. With our constant love and support, I believe she will grow up to be a kind and caring human being – and that is what it is all about.

I feel that as new parents we are insecure about everything! I think every working mom has this internal battle in the back of her head: do I spend enough time with my daughter? Do I spend enough time in the office getting my work done? How do I balance both of these important aspects of life? Frankly, I am not sure if I will ever know the answer, and I am sure I will change how I feel with all of Lila’s different life stages. But for now, we are just taking it day by day and making it up as we go.

With our constant love and support, I believe she will grow up to be a kind and caring human being – and that is what it is all about.

 

Tell us about the transition to becoming a working mom? What surprised you?

 

I had six months off of work for maternity leave, which was so special and I enjoyed every minute of it! However, it definitely made my transition back to work a bit more challenging. I grew accustomed to our daily routine and spending every minute together so being apart from Lila for 9+ hours a day was a huge adjustment. I am almost at the six-month mark for being back to work full time and I still feel like I am adjusting!

 

For me, the biggest surprise returning to work was how much my coworkers and team supported me. I knew they were going to be supportive, but from pitching in when I have to pick Lila up sick at daycare, to bringing her to her appointments, to having to run out of meetings to pump– they have been so understanding through every step of the way! Plus, they always put up with my constant photo sharing and talking Lila updates ALL day long.

 

I’m also surprised how quickly a day goes by… what did I do with all of my free time when I wasn’t caring for a baby, pumping multiple times a day and having a full-time job?! I’ll never know.

 

 

What advice do you have for moms looking to get back into the working world?

 

It’s okay if it takes time to adjust; it is a major life change all around! You don’t have to be a perfect mom, perfect wife, and perfect employee all at once from the beginning. Be kind to yourself, allow yourself to make mistakes, ask questions, and for help if you need it! Your coworkers and team can be very understanding if you open up — plus talk to other working moms constantly! I joined a local moms group in my area and the majority of the moms are full-time working moms. They are a wealth of information and honestly just a great group to talk to if you are having a hard day, week, month or transition back to work.

Plus, there are services for everything nowadays that help save you time. I swear by Instacart for grocery delivery, Trunk Club for new clothes (perfect for changing into for work after you just got spit up on by the baby), Amazon Prime at all hours of the day, and pretty much every day of the week, and I would give up most things in my budget to get the house cleaned 2x a month!

 

Working full-time and having a family, too, can be exhausting — what does self-care look like for you?

 

Frankly, I am still figuring this out! My schedule does not currently allow much time to workout; now that Lila is approaching one year old, it is my goal to get back on track. I do love a good guilty pleasure TV show, so I try to watch one episode a night (currently watching Glow!) and it allows my brain to think of something other than work, Lila, household duties and the 1,000 other things always keeping me up at night!

I also feel very fortunate to have a supportive husband and family life. Keeping open lines of communication is so important for me! And of course, I do indulge in a good glass of wine and my favorite dessert at the end of the day.

 

How did you decide on childcare? What specific requirements were you looking for?

 

After speaking to many moms, it turns out childcare is a universal issue and there is no perfect ‘one size fits all’ solution. Because we live in the Bay Area, childcare is extremely pricey no matter which way you go. At first, we were weighing doing a nanny-share and daycare. We ultimately decided to send Lila to a Montessori daycare and are thrilled with our decision. They have a very child-lead environment and seem to really encourage raising kind and caring kids – which is very important to us!  We love that she is surrounded by other children every day; it really seems to help her development. Plus, she will be in this same school through preschool and we take comfort knowing that she will really be able to feel comfortable to learn and grow! The teachers at our school are so loving and caring towards her. She has dealt with some recent health issues and they seem just as concerned as we are about her well-being! Luckily the school is also in a great location – close to our house and public transportation to work. It really feels like it fell into place.

 

 

How do you and your husband divide parenting roles?

 

We take an all-hands-on-deck approach. If I am feeding and putting Lila to bed, he is cleaning her bottles and prepping for the next day. Although I typically pick up Lila from daycare and handle the bedtime routine, my husband often steps in (especially since I need to travel for work) and so our roles are very interchangeable. I’m still breastfeeding, so it typically means I am more on feeding duty, but my husband is always there to support and can jump in with a bottle if need be! We both find that we are hands-on parents and value our play time with Lila and family time on the weekends. We both attend her doctor appointments, pick her up from school when she is sick, and clean the house (he takes the trash and I do Lila’s laundry every week, for example). We are both working full time, so if one of us is busier at work the other helps pick up the slack. I can’t imagine how we would keep it together any other way!

 

You graduated with a degree in psychology and you volunteered at a suicide hotline for a year before working at Minted. What’s the importance of mental health to you as a mom?

 

I believe that mental health is an issue that constantly goes unnoticed and can be taboo to discuss openly. Bringing these issues to the forefront and keeping them top of mind is important as I raise my daughter. Not only for her own well being and health, but also so I raise a daughter that is considerate and kind to those that may be going through something.

 

What skills have you learned in the PR world help you as a mom? Vice versa?

 

Communication is a key skill to succeed in PR and has been vital when growing our family and becoming a mom. Constantly keeping open lines of communication with my husband and support network has been extremely important to keeping everything on track. As a mom, you are always thinking five steps ahead and weighing all of the possible outcomes. Bringing this to my work has helped me multitask and prioritize what is most important. Constantly weighing what needs to get done today urgently and what can I do tomorrow that will allow me to spend more time with my family?

 

Your family is based in the San Francisco Bay area. Do you have any favorite spots you like to take Lila now and some places that you’re excited to take her as she gets older?

 

We live about 30 minutes out of San Francisco, and the Bay Area has so many wonderful spots for kids – I can’t wait to bring Lila to them all! When she was younger, we loved walking around a local reservoir with my moms’ group, and now that she is a bit older we try to go to different parks and play in the grass – she loves the baby swing at playgrounds these days! We can’t wait to try the Oakland Zoo, the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, Exploratorium, the California Academy of Sciences, and so much more!

 

What’s been one of your all-time favorite mom moments?

 

Oy, so hard to pick just one! I think people that know me well would say I was definitely destined to be a mom, I used to always play the ‘mom’ in pretend play growing up! Now that I am a mom I have never been happier, it’s the greatest joy of my life. Seeing this baby grow and develop into a little person with a personality is the absolute best.

If I had to pick, my favorite moment is when I pick up Lila from daycare – she crawls as fast as she can over to see me and giving her a big hug and kiss is the highlight of my day, every day! Because I can’t just pick one…Her nonstop smiles and giggles bring me so much joy!

 

 

Janae Reznikov is the Everymom…

Next vacation spot? My husband and I are celebrating our five year wedding anniversary in August and leaving Lila for the first time together for three whole nights! We are off to a ranch in Idaho and plan to white-water raft, hike, and enjoy nature (and of course catch up on sleep). We love to travel, so we hope to go international with Lila next February! She did great with our first trip to Anguilla at nine months old, but who knows if that will continue, but we are willing to try it.

Guilty pleasure? Anything with sugar – I’m an addict! I’ve been known to order the Flour Shop explosion cake.

Best piece of mom advice you’ve ever received? Every stage is temporary, and you will miss them after they go by! Maybe the baby is not eating enough, not sleeping well, or fussy… it is all just temporary. I can’t believe how quickly the newborn stage passed, and now we have an almost toddler on our hands. Every mom talks about how quickly it goes by, but until you are in it yourself you don’t realize exactly what they mean!

Go-to date night? Pre-Lila, we used to plan our days and vacations going from one meal to another. We are still trying to keep up our love for food and good wine and try to make it a regular outing. Just last week we stopped by a local brewery, had foot massages, and ate dinner just the two of u,s and it was perfect!

Favorite children’s book? Currently, I love reading Lila Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 and Giraffes Can’t Dance, but we mix it up all the time! She is at the best stage where she loves flipping the pages and gets very excited every time she does.

Most embarrassing mom moment? Do all embarrassing mom moments include large blowouts in a public place? It just seems inevitable as a new mom… mine happened out and about in Target where I had to cut Lila’s onesie off of her because there was no point in trying to save it! Ah, the days when a blowout meant you were getting your hair done.

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